[Siren Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Erotic Romance, Alternative, Paranormal, Shape-shifters, MM, HEA]
The Rising men are pure myth, or so Dane thinks. Everyone in the town of Grizzly Ridge whispers about how either the Rising men can control the wild bears that roam the mountains, or that they are the wild bears themselves.
On his way home from work one night, a stranger nearly hits Dane on the backroad. When the guy gets out of his truck, Dane is kidnapped and taken high into the mountains.
Clint grew up in the mountains, his bear clan hidden from humans. Out on an errand one night, Clint decides to take a shortcut and nearly runs a man over. Pissed at the guy’s carelessness, he gets out and discovers the human is his mate. His bear takes over and Clint bites him, starting the process that will enable Dane to carry his child.
But Clint’s life is filled with dangers—and his father is the biggest danger of all.
With trouble at home, Noel decides to take off for the weekend. With nothing more than his backpack, Noel hikes up into the mountains and comes across two grizzly bears. But they are no ordinary grizzlies—the bears shift into gorgeous men. But Noel has eyes for only one of them and gives into his desires when Bobby Ray seduces him right there on the path.
Noel is enchanted with Bobby Ray, until he realizes this isn’t some fantasy and he’s stepped into some strange world fraught with danger.
Bobby Ray claims Noel on the spot and takes him home. But life on the mountain isn’t easy, and keeping Noel safe proves challenging, especially when it’s Noel’s brother who tries to kill Bobby Ray. Worse yet, there’s a nomad on the loose, and tension rises between the bears and wolves.
But Bobby Ray is determined to prove to Noel that their love for one another can pull them through anything standing in their way.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
“Put me down!” Dane shouted as he kicked and fought to get free. He pulled his pepper spray from his pocket, but it fell to the ground and rolled into the tall grass.
“Stop wiggling,” the man said. “You’re gonna hurt yourself.”
“I’m gonna hurt you if you don’t let me go.” Dane pounded on the guy’s back, but it was like punching a brick wall. He jackknifed, hoping the move would take the stranger by surprise and he’d drop Dane, but his hold became tighter.
“This is kidnapping!” Dane kept slapping at the stranger’s back to no avail. “I’ll have you arrested!”
“Hate to disappoint you, but the law doesn’t go into the mountains.” He dumped Dane into the passenger’s seat.
The mountains? Nooo! He couldn’t be a Rising. Those stories were just myths. This man did not change into a bear.
So why does he have a decal of a bear on his truck?
Because he lives in Grizzly Ridge.
Oh God. Dane was having a conversation with himself. He reached for the door handle, but the stranger got into the driver’s side and pulled him back. “No use running, cub. The deal is done. You smell like my mate, and nothing on earth is gonna stop me from taking what’s mine.” The stranger pulled his truck back onto the road. “So just sit still and stop trying to escape.”
Dane nearly pissed himself as his heart thumped wildly. “Say what?” he screeched. “I’m not yours, you caveman. Let me out of here now!”
“Name’s Clint, not Caveman.” Clint turned onto an access road, and the truck climbed higher and higher. Dane looked out his window to see the back road disappearing. Clint turned the heater on, and hot hair blasted Dane.
“Look,” Dane said, hoping to reason with Clint, “I’m not sure what you think I smell like, but I can assure you, I’m not your mate. I’m just a waiter who was trying to get home.”
“Now you’re mine.” Clint followed the winding road, keeping his gaze straight ahead. The dashboard lights illuminated his features, making him look a hundred times scarier.
When the road evened out, Dane tried for the handle again. He’d gotten the door opened and was ready to jump when Clint slammed on the brakes, making Dane whack his head against the doorframe.
“Damn it, cub,” Clint growled. “Now look what you made me do.”
Dane yelped when Clint pulled him back. He turned Dane's head from side to side, examining him. “Let me go.” Dane tried to snatch his head away, but Clint’s grip was firm.
“Are you hurt?”
“Fuck you, you madman.” Dane threw a punch, but it landed on Clint’s shoulder. The strike didn’t faze Clint, but pain shot through Dane’s knuckles.
“Are. You. Hurt?” Clint’s eyes narrowed.
“No.” Dane glowered at him as he finally yanked his head free. “Don’t touch me, you crazy bastard.”
The side of Clint’s mouth curled into a wicked smile. “You’ll be begging for my touch in a few hours.”
What did that mean?
Dane screamed when the loony fuck jerked him close and bit him on his shoulder. The move had caught Dane by surprise, but…it hadn’t hurt. In fact, Dane’s cock had hardened so fast that he nearly came.
“Get off me!” Dane slugged the side of Clint’s head.
Clint released Dane and pulled back. “It’s the way of my kind,” he said, sounding almost apologetic. “My bear took over, and”—he shook his head—“couldn’t stop him.”
Bear? Dane eased back, staring into Clint’s gray eyes. “You’re as batshit crazy as Walt.”
Clint growled. “Who the fuck is Walt?”
The passenger door was still open. Dane leaped from his seat and ran so fast his knees nearly hit his chest. He had no clue where he was going, but away from Clint sounded fantastic.
Low-hanging branches slapped him in the face as he stumbled a few times. Dane’s heart beat so fast that it should’ve given out. A loud roar came behind him, but he didn’t look back.
Don’t you dare look back!
Dane’s leg muscles cramped. He stumbled again, but this time he went down. Terrified beyond words, he flipped to his back and saw a humongous bear bearing down on him. He curled into the fetal position, waiting to be torn to shreds.
The bear sniffed Dane’s head, licked his arms, and pawed his legs. He made a snuffling sound as he butted his head against Dane’s head.
“Go away,” Dane whimpered.
“I’m sorry, cub.” Dane glanced past his arms and saw a very naked Clint hunched down next to him. “I told you my bear took over. I’m not trying to scare you.”
“Then you’re failing miserably.” Dane lowered his arms and pushed himself into sitting position. “Why the hell are you naked?”
“Clothes shred when I shift.”
“Th-that bear was you?” No way would Dane believe that. It was impossible.
“I’m not trying to scare or hurt you, cub. My bear went nuts when he realized what you were to him.” Clint held out a hand and Dane got to his feet and backed away.
“I just wanna go home.” He touched where Clint had bitten him and sensations whiplashed through him. His cock hardened again as he sizzled with need. “What did you do to me?”
Clint stood and brushed his knuckles over Dane’s cheek. “I’ll explain everything once I get you home.”
“No, no, no.” Dane shook his head and backed up until he ran into a tree. “I’m not going anywhere with you.”
Clint blew out a frustrated breath. “Don’t make me do this the hard way again, Cub.”
“My name is Dane, not Cub.”
Clint approached, his muscled body flexing. “Either walk back to my truck or be carried. You don’t have a third option, cub.”
Clint saw the fear in Dane’s eyes. His mate intended on getting past him. He was prepared to chase him, but just as Dane turned toward the door, he stumbled back, bracing his hand on the banister. His skin flushed as his cock hardened.
“I’m gonna cut your balls off for doing this to me.” Dane took a seat on the steps, fanning himself.
The bath had been a temporary fix. Dane was heating back up. Once again Clint cursed himself for jumping the gun. He might be wild and dominant, but he wasn’t a bastard. At least he didn’t think he was. His brothers might argue otherwise.
Clint growled when he heard a noise outside. He went to his door and swung it open. Walker and Bobby Ray stood on his porch, looking at everything but Clint. “I thought I told you guys to stay away.”
“Can’t help we’re curious,” Bobby Ray said.
“Dane isn’t a sideshow.” Clint looked around to make sure Clarence was nowhere in sight.
“He’s not here,” Bobby Ray said. “Wade is making sure he stays away.”
Like Wade could keep their father from doing what he wanted. When Clarence set his mind to something, nothing stopped him. “Tell Wade thanks.”
Bobby Ray’s brows shot up. “You’re seriously being polite?”
Walker nudged Bobby Ray with his elbow. “Don’t poke the bear when he’s in heat.”
“I’m not in heat,” Clint argued. He’d been fighting his urges, fearing he’d hurt the human, but truth was, he was so hard he could pound nails with his cock. “Now go the fuck away.”
He slammed the door, waited a second, then opened it again. His brothers were still standing there. Bobby Ray had a goofy-ass grin on his face while Walker smirked.
“Seriously?” Clint growled.
“We’re going,” Walker groused.
Clint waited for them to leave before closing the door again. Dane still lay on the steps with his arms stretched out and his head resting on them.
Clint picked his mate up and took him back upstairs, where he laid him on the bed. When he tried to pull away, Dane grabbed his wrist. “Don’t go.”
“I’m trying very hard not to take advantage of the fact you’re in heat.” Clint sat on the side of the bed.
“I don’t care,” Dane said, scooting closer. “You have to do something about this.”
Clint clenched his jaw. “What if you become pregnant?”
Although Clint had never thought about being a father, never thought he’d find his mate, the prospect didn’t terrify him. He glanced at Dane’s belly and imagined it swollen with his child. His heart skipped a beat.
“Use a condom.” Dane’s fingers dug into Clint’s wrist.
“Condoms won’t work, Cub.” Unable to stop himself, he brushed his hand over Dane’s stomach. “Your body is ready, and if we have sex, more than likely you’ll conceive.”
Doubt still clouded Dane’s blue eyes. He rolled to his hands and knees and crawled to Clint. The move was mesmerizing and nothing short of seductive. He pushed at Clint’s shoulders, and Clint allowed himself to fall backward onto the bed.
Dane was naked, and all Clint had on was a thin pair of pajama pants. He gripped Dane’s sides as his mate slid a leg over Clint’s body and straddled him. Damn if Dane didn’t make a gorgeous sight sitting atop him. He ground against Clint, moaning as he ran his fingers over Clint's hard nipples.
Clint cursed as he released Dane and worked his pajama pants down his thighs, letting his cock spring free. Dane curled his fingers around Clint’s length and stroked him as his mate whimpered.
In one fluid motion, Clint rolled them, placing Dane under him. He scooted inward until the head of his cock pressed against Dane’s hole. The natural lubricant shifters possessed spurted against Dane’s entrance and relaxed his muscles as Clint worked his cock inside his mate. Fuck, Dane was tight.
Dane slid his legs around Clint’s waist, writhing beneath him. “More,” Dane whimpered.
“I need to take this slow.” Clint gritted his teeth. His bear wanted him to conquer, regardless of the consequences. His beast was running on pure instinct, whereas Clint knew he had to be careful not to break the human.
“You need to get your dick inside me.” Dane drove downward, impaling himself. They both cursed, then moaned. Clint rolled them again, placing Dane on top. Now that he was inside his mate, Dane could ride him until they were both sweaty and spent.
“I usually don’t like this position,” Dane confessed as he swiveled his hips, driving Clint’s cock deeper. “Makes me feel too exposed.”
“You look fucking fantastic sitting on my dick.” Clint gripped Dane’s hips.
“You’re grabbing my love handles.” Dane blushed.
“I’m grabbing your sexy body.” Clint didn’t like Dane’s low self-esteem about his body. He’d already told his mate that he didn’t want skin and bones, yet Dane was still embarrassed. That didn’t make a lick of sense. Dane had nothing to be ashamed of. He was damn perfect.
Pressing his palms against Clint’s chest, Dane bounced on Clint’s cock as his head rolled to the side. His eyelids fluttered closed as he moaned.
Clint loved that Dane was taking pleasure from him. His thoughts scattered as he thrust upward, driving his cock deep into Dane’s ass. Dane’s body felt as if it had been made for Clint.
Love handles and all.
Needing to go even deeper, Clint held on to his mate as he rolled them again. He grabbed Dane’s legs and spread them wide. Fuck yeah. This position was even better. Dane’s ass gripped Clint’s cock so hard that Clint fought not to come too quickly.
His bear snarled in pure satisfaction. Clint ran his hands down Dane’s hairless legs and inner thighs, then curled his hand around his mate’s bobbing cock. Dane hissed, punching his hips upward, crying out as he fisted his hands in the sheets.
“That’s it,” Noel said as he crossed his arms. “I’m moving out.”
Bart rose from the chair and stabbed his finger against Noel’s chest. The menacing expression on Bart's face made Noel take a step back. He knew better than to push his brother too far, but he’d been so mad he hadn’t cared. He cared now, though. The last thing he wanted was for Bart to beat the shit out of him.
“You aren’t going anywhere. Your name is on the lease, and you know damn well I can’t afford for you to move out.”
“Then you shouldn’t have rented the house.” Noel tried to get around Bart, but his brother gripped his arm in a bruising hold and spun Noel to face him. The look in Bart’s eyes said he’d have no problem smacking Noel around if he didn’t comply.
Rick trotted downstairs, looked between Noel and Bart, then sauntered to the wrecked kitchen. He grabbed a bottle of juice before heading back upstairs. Apparently no one was concerned with cleaning the place up.
“Stop having a fucking hissy fit and leave me alone,” Bart warned as he shoved Noel away. “I have a hangover from hell, and your mouth is getting on my last nerve.”
Noel trudged down the hallway and into his room. He closed the door, grabbed a backpack, and tossed a few essentials inside. He wasn’t sticking around to see what the landlord would do.
The weekend was finally here, and Noel wanted to take off. Spending it hanging around Bart and their roommates made life feel dismal. Noel needed the stars above him, the woods around him, and the dirt below his feet. He only ever felt at peace when he hiked in the mountains.
This time he planned on going farther than he’d ever been before. Maybe he’d get lost and bears would eat him. That would save him the trouble of living with Bart.
The thought made him remember the rumors he’d heard growing up about the Rising men—rumors that still floated around today. Noel rolled his eyes at the idea of men taming or changing into bears. Grizzly Ridge residents needed to get lives.
He left through the side entrance of the house and hurried to his car before Mr. Archmand showed up and raised hell. Noel might’ve yelled at Bart, but he wasn’t a confrontational man. He cringed just thinking about their elderly landlord screaming at him.
Noel drove to the rest area at the bottom of the mountains and parked by the outhouses. No one seemed to be around, and he couldn’t understand why. It was a gorgeous spring day and the temperatures were supposed to reach into the seventies.
After grabbing his backpack, Noel locked up his Ford Focus and headed up the northern trail. He patted his backpack, making sure he hadn’t forgotten his bottle of water. When he felt it, he moved on.
Noel spent the better part of the day walking higher and higher into the mountains. The place was so beautiful, so serene that it helped him clear his mind and forget about his idiot brother, Bart’s asshole friends, and the landlord who probably wanted their heads on pikes.
He’d been so busy walking and enjoying himself that he hadn’t paid attention to the time. Finally, he glanced skyward, past the canopy of trees and saw that the sun was sinking.
Shit. He needed to start back down. It was too late to make it to his car before dark and Noel hadn’t thought to bring a flashlight but he had to make the trek anyway. He checked his cell phone for the time and noticed he didn’t have any reception.
Noel tried to hurry but became disoriented. He’d gone off-trail to explore a ridge, and now, as he glanced around, he couldn’t remember which way he’d come from.
He spotted a path and hurried to it, but as he rushed along, he realized it didn’t go downhill but led him east. Maybe. Without any navigational help from his phone—and he'd forgotten to bring a compass in his haste to leave the house—Noel couldn’t honestly tell which way he was going, but it wasn’t down.
He shivered as he looked around. Although the day had been gorgeous, the air was getting chilly as the sun set, and Noel only had a light jacket.
“Damn you, Bart,” he growled. “If I hadn’t been trying to get away from our landlord, I wouldn’t be in this mess right now.”
He stilled and spun in a circle when he heard a howl…and then another. He’d grown up with rumors that wolves and other predatory animals roamed these parts, not just bears. He should’ve stayed close to town. He shouldn’t have wandered this deep into the mountains.
Noel bolted down the path, slapping at branches and hitting his feet on loose rocks and roots. He squealed when he went down, and the fall knocked the wind out of him.
Noel shoved to his feet and ran, then stopped so abruptly that he fell on his ass. He rolled to his stomach and tried to control his breathing and racing heart as he looked at the two gigantic bears just to his left.
Both animals turned their heads toward him. Fuck, fuck, fuck! Noel was about to be torn to shreds and eaten. Knowing he couldn’t outrun them, he curled into the fetal position, covered his head with his arms, and waited in terror for the bears to make a meal out of him.
“Please don’t eat me. Please don’t eat me,” he kept whispering as he strained to hear their approach.
“I saw him first,” someone argued.
“You’re a damn liar,” another person snapped. “We both saw him at the same time.”
“Then we’ll share,” the first man said.
What the hell? Noel couldn't figure out why he heard voices instead of growls. With his heart in his throat, he lifted his arm from his eyes to see who had been talking. His jaw dropped. Where the bears had been seconds before, two very naked men now stood.
Two very naked and very gorgeous men.
Noel must’ve hit his head when he’d fallen. There was no other explanation. He thought of the story that said the Rising men could change into bears, but quickly dismissed that asinine idea.
The two men must’ve scared off the bears, but that didn’t explain why they didn’t have any clothes on.
They sauntered toward him, and Noel scooted backward until his back hit the trunk of the tree. He pushed to his hands and knees, wondering if he could outrun them—or if he even wanted to.
Hello. Two naked, drop-dead gorgeous men in front of you. Are you really going to run away from that? They were like some sort of fantasy come to life.
Yep, he’d definitely hit his head and was out cold, and this was nothing more than a dream.
A very lifelike dream.
“Now what’re you doin’ out here so far away from home?” the one on the left asked Noel.
“He’s come here to make our night even better,” the other said.
Now his dream was turning into a strange porno. It had to be with those cheesy-ass lines. The only thing missing was the corny music. Noel should know. He’d watched too many of them that he should’ve had carpal tunnel and a swollen right bicep.
“Is this real?” Noel got to his feet but kept his distance from them.
The men looked at each other, then directed their attention back to Noel. The one with the pretty, gray-green eyes gave Noel a breathtaking smile. “I should be the one asking that question. A sweet-looking thing like you lost in the woods? This has to be a dream.”
“He does look like a tasty morsel,” the other said. The second guy wore a beard, but no mustache, and was maybe an inch taller than his friend. He was handsome, but not as handsome as the other guy. The other man had five-o’clock shadow running along his sexy jaw, a mustache, dark blond hair, and damn, Noel couldn’t stop staring at his breathtaking eyes.
“I think he’s drooling over you, Bobby Ray.” The second one grinned.
“That’s fine by me,” Bobby Ray said.
Noel’s heart thumped harder when Bobby Ray drew closer. He stopped, sniffed the air, then turned to his friend. “Fuck me. He smells like my mate.”
The second guy’s black brows shot up as he studied Noel. “No shit.”
Bobby Ray growled, closed his eyes, and shook his head. He turned, as if fighting against an emotion, then spun back toward Noel.
Holy shit! Bobby Ray had canines! Noel squeaked and tried to take off, but Bobby Ray grabbed him and sank those sharp teeth into his shoulder.
“Don’t eat me!” Noel shrieked.
“He’s not gonna eat you,” the other man said. “He’s marking you.”
That didn’t help Noel’s panic. He shoved at Bobby Ray’s chest and kicked his legs, but Bobby Ray wouldn’t let him go. Noel shivered and whimpered when Bobby Ray licked at the bite mark. His cock grew hard as Bobby Ray’s arms slid around him.
“Okay, I’m heading out,” the other guy told Noel. “If I see his hairy ass trying to hump you, I’ll have to bleach my eyes.”
Noel heard the man, but his attention was on Bobby Ray as he kissed his way over Noel’s neck, slid his tongue over Noel’s jaw, and nibbled at his ear.
“Tell me I can fuck you,” Bobby Ray groaned in Noel’s ear. “I need to be inside you.”
“Your teeth were just inside of me.” Noel shoved at him again. “Now get off me, you lunatic. I don’t care how sexy you are, fuck off.”
Bobby Ray’s chuckle was devilishly wicked. Noel nearly melted at the sound. Noel’s cock was so hard that he was tempted to say yes.
Bobby Ray’s hand glided down Noel’s back and landed on his ass. He squeezed, eliciting a moan from Noel.
“Let me fuck you, Sugar.” Bobby Ray licked at Noel’s Adam’s apple. “Let me bring us both pleasure.”
“I…can’t…think.” Noel slumped in Bobby Ray’s arms, his head rocking to the side as he moaned.
“Don’t need to think.” Bobby Ray scraped his teeth along Noel’s shoulder. When his tongue flicked against the bite mark, Noel cried out. White-hot fingers of pleasure assaulted him. His body ached to be taken, to be used by this hedonistic man.
Noel didn’t stop Bobby Ray when he slid the backpack off his back, removed Noel’s jacket, undid his pants, and shoved them past his knees. He never stopped nibbling at Noel’s shoulder, either.
If this was a dream, it was the best dream ever, and Noel would be damned if he acted like a prude in this fantasy. He would still be lost and cold when he finally woke, but that was fine with him.
Bobby Ray lowered him to the ground. Noel willingly went, allowing the stranger to place him on his hands and knees. He blanketed Noel’s back, and something wet bathed his hole. Seconds later, Bobby Ray’s thick cock inched inside him.
Noel’s head lowered as he hissed. He was pissed that he couldn’t spread his legs wider. He clawed at the earth, whimpering and mewling as Bobby Ray thrust deep inside him.
“What’s your name, Sugar?” Bobby Ray’s lips were at Noel’s ear as he lashed his tongue over the lobe.
Shivering, he said, “Noel.”
“You’re mine, Noel.” Bobby Ray reared back and pistoned into him. Noel shuddered, his heart thundered, and a level of pleasure he’d never felt before gripped him and pulled him under.