Still living with the memories of his mother’s death and subjected to the violent abuse from his stepdad, Jay almost loses his mind when he’s attacked by his childhood bully who turns into a bear. One identical to the grizzly bear that killed his mother years ago. The last thing he needs is to find out that Pack Valley is much weirder than it seems and that his first love Kyle and his family have a tendency to purr.
Everything crashes together one night—from bullies and abusers getting what they deserve to a black jaguar protecting and claiming his mate. Can Jay deal with being claimed by his best friend or will fear of rejection stop him taking a chance?
He was on his own.
Jay took advantage of his attacker’s momentary distraction, leapt to his feet and tried to run back down to the hiking path. He had a vague idea how far he was from the path, as he spent most of his free time roaming the forest to avoid going home. His stepdad and Billy were a lot alike. The man had even praised Billy when Jay had turned up with a black eye and finished off the job, leaving Jay black and blue.
Those bruises were always in places easy to hide from the prying eyes of the protective community. But the real reason he stayed quiet was the threat of losing the cabin his mother had loved so much.
The more he fought back, the harder his stepdad would hit. He’d learned early on to pick his battles in order to survive. He had only one year and three days left before the deed passed to him on his twentyfirst birthday.
It felt like a prison sentence, but the thought of losing the last thing left of his mother hurt more than anything his stepdad could dish out.
Jay made it about thirty yards before Billy’s big body shoved his own skinny frame into a tree. Billy grabbed his hands when he tried to hit back and pinned them over his head in one massive, pawlike fist, cutting off circulation. At nineteen, Jay was only two years younger than the asshole in front of him, but the other man had at least forty pounds of muscle on him.
“You wanna know how a real man fucks, you fagbag? I’m gonna show you what a little bitch you are.” The fucker leant forward, wafting rancid fishbreath into his face and Jay almost puked. Perhaps he should have; maybe it would have allowed him to get away.
“Leave me the fuck alone, Billy! You’ve had your fun, now piss off!” Jay yelled in an attempt to disguise his fear as anger, but, in truth, he was seconds away from screaming like a little girl.
Jay gave in to the urge when Billy started to pull at his clothes “HELP! Get the fuck off me, asshole! HELP! AAAAAHRH!” He got a smack to the face for his trouble as the bastard laughed.
Jay bucked against Billy but didn’t even manage to move the bigger man at all. He felt his jeans begin to give way and slide down an inch. Shit!
Grinning, Billy laughed again as the jeans slipped further down his hips and began to fall. But Billy’s face looked odd, scary odd, as if he was growing a snout and his arms were way hairier than they had been a minute ago.
What the fuck?
“They can’t hear you. The pack is celebrating Halloween with the townies. It’s just you and me out in this forest. No one is gonna stop me this time. You’ll pay for what your bitch mother did to my father.”
Father? Jay had never met Billy’s dad; he had disappeared not long after Jay’s mother had died.
Not caring now whether he hurt himself in the process, Jay resolved to get the fuck away from this freak, now. It took all of his strength to slip free of the sweaty, meaty fist and he savagely bit the arm reaching for him. He noticed Billy’s hand now brandished five large claws and thick brown fur covered Billy’s skin.
“What the fuck are you?” Jay whispered, eyes wide. He knew this town had more going on beneath the surface, but shit, this reminded him of a Buffy episode.
He’d swear that Billy’s now definitely snoutlike face was starting to resemble a grizzly bear. His mother had been killed by a grizzly bear when he was young. He watched in horror as Billy’s bones popped and cracked as he changed into something that looked disturbingly like the bear: the one that still haunted his nightmares and memories.
It couldn’t be. No way. That particular bear had been hunted down and killed after the town had discovered his mother’s body.
Cold, murderous eyes gleamed with excitement as Billy lifted its snout to sniff the air. The deformed human slash bear hybrid’s mouth twisted in sadistic humour as it growled, “Poor little freak. No townie, no mother, no goddamned council, or pack Alpha to come and save your ass. You’re mine now and I’m gonna make you scream and beg before I kill you. Your stupid human bitch protected you once and the pack has protected you since because of her bravery. Now you’re mine!” The last words were almost unintelligible through the growling, snapping jaws.