When Lt. Goldin crashes his spaceship on an unnamed planet during a battle with the vicious Delfers, he thinks he’s lucky just to be alive—then he’s carried away by a huge bear who calls him Goldi.
When he awakes, a gorgeous man, not a bear, is sitting by his side, tending to him, and later making passionate love to Goldin. The next morning, he realizes that not one but two men have been caring for him—twins, who spend most of their time making love to him and protecting him from the vicious Delfers.
His rescuers are bear shifters, betrothed to the king of the Bear Clan, the powerful Shaara, who is none too pleased that Goldin has come between him and his mates. When the king makes Goldin a propostion, Mark must decide how far he’s willing to go to appease the handsome king and save his mates.
Meat cooking? He had to be dreaming. Or hallucinating. The second option seemed the most likely when he got his eyes open. Squatting on the other side of a campfire from him was one of the best looking, most magnificently built men Mark had ever seen, though a little furry for his tastes. He’d always preferred his male partners with a smooth, hairless chest like his own, but he could learn to appreciate the downy covering on a body like that. The best thing was the man was naked except for a green triangular leaf the size of Mark’s head covering his privates. The top was rolled around a vine and twisted low around his hips to hold it in place in the front. He could only imagine what that sort of codpiece would look like in the back and had to shake his head at an image of the vine up the crack of the man’s ass. Mark wore a green leaf too, but around his arm, not his crotch. His own crotch was as bare and exposed as the rest of him. At some point, he’d been stripped stark naked and was stretched out on the dirt floor of a cave.
“My God,” He had to lick his lips, work some moisture up in his mouth, and try again. “Who the hell are you?”
“Rall. No Dellfer.”
“You understand me?” Okay, the answer was obvious, but he’d just woken up, naked on a dirt floor with a godlike man cooking him meat. A little disorientation and a few dumb questions were to be expected. “Uh…how?”
The man shrugged. “You speak. I hear, Goldi.”
“Well, yeah, but I mean, how do you know my language?”
“Hear your language from speaker boxes. Listen. Learn.”
Speaker boxes? Did he mean radios? Mark shook his head, not able to make the appearance of the man he looked at reconcile in any way with technology. “How did you get me away from the bear?”
“My bear frightened. You fight hard. Hurt self.”
“Your bear? That thing is some kind of pet?”
“My bear. Me. Need to eat now, Goldi. Make you strong.”
He stood, and Mark caught his breath. Damn, what a body. In a quick estimate, Mark figured he stood about four inches taller than his own height and probably weighed fifty or sixty more pounds. Mark, who stood at six-feet-two inches, was no midget himself on his home planet and no slouch at keeping himself in shape.
Mark worked onboard ship at making sure his body was in prime condition. His abs were sculpted with muscles, but Rall put him to shame in sheer bulk. His body was unbelievable. Mark, to his embarrassment, and without a stitch of clothing to hide it, had his usual reaction to seeing a gorgeous male body. Mark rolled over, putting his embarrassment under him. He’d had to hide his reaction to a fine male body more times than once—all through his teen years and his time in the service. With the need for every able body to fight off the Dellfer invasion, homosexuality was tolerated in the ranks, as long as it wasn’t flaunted in a straight man’s face. In his home world, however, homosexuality was deeply frowned upon, even though at one time in history it had been widely accepted. Society had gone from liberal to ultra conservative, and the government officials, consisting of homophobic fanatics, who were so far right they’d almost come full circle, would have outlawed homosexuality altogether if they could have. He was used to hiding his real feelings and who he really was.
Propped up on one elbow, he took the stick with chunks of roasted meat Rall held out to him. “I know you’re not Dellfer, but who are you?”
“No Dellfer. Dellfer enemy. Try kill all clan. Clan stay in forest. Dellfer fear forest, but think they come look for you.”
“They love to get their hand on Feds.”
“Treat bad. Make hurt long time. They kill you, Goldi.”
“What are you calling me?”
The gorgeous man cocked his head. “Take from clothes so Dellfer no have.” He tossed a patch of cloth over to Mark. The heat and smoke from the crash had obliterated most of the letters of the name printed on his name tag. Sure enough, what was left said Goldi.
Mark laid his head down on his folded arm, still holding the meat stick, too exhausted to try to explain. “Could I get some water?”
Rall took a length of vine as limber as a rubber tube from a stack next to Mark. He squatted in front of him, poked a small stick through one ragged end of the vine and tipped the end to Mark’s mouth. Water spilled from the vine. The taste was a little like grass smelled, but it was wet and any thought of it maybe being poisonous went right out of his head. Rall showed him how to snap the vine at a joint and puncture a membrane with the stick to get more water. Whoever the hell Rall was, if he’d meant him harm, he could have killed him long ago. He’d helped him, but maybe his help had a limit. The huge man got up and walked out of the circle of firelight.
“Need see if Dellfer search for you. Need see if danger my clan.” He placed two more sticks with chunks of meat in easy reach, built up the fire, and walked out of the circle of light. “No fear my bear. No harm you.”
“Are you coming back?”
The man kept going and didn’t look back. Mark rolled to his back to get the pressure off his tender chest and arm, too exhausted to try to figure it out. He remembered those words of reassurance, though, as he fell into an exhausted and uneasy sleep. They didn’t stop him from recoiling when he woke, and the bear was asleep beside him. The thing was longer than he was and its head twice the size of his own. It did, however, radiate heat. The fire had died down, and he was cold. He could feel heat coming from its bulky body, warming the side that faced away from the glowing coals. Still not sure he wouldn’t get eaten, he stretched back out, keeping a wary eye on it until he slept again.
The next time he woke, Rall was back, the bear was gone, and Mark shook with chills and fever. His head ached, and his arm throbbed, swollen with infection. Rall stayed beside him, coaxing him into taking water from the tube-like vines and putting cool, wet leaves on his forehead. Mark considered the idea that the water might be making him sick, and he tried to avoid it, but Rall made him drink, pouring it into his mouth until he choked if he didn’t swallow.
Later, he awoke from a feverish dream and got the idea Rall really was a Dellfer spy of some kind, maybe a turned prisoner pretending to help, using deception to get information from him. He couldn’t hold on to the thought. He didn’t know what Rall put on his arm, but it had taken some of the pain away. The water quenched his thirst. If he died, it wouldn’t be because Rall hadn’t helped him. He looked up and found Rall’s worried gaze on him.
“They’re looking…for me?”
“Yes. I warn my clan. They move farther into the forest.”
“I stay. Goldi my man.”