Professional nature photographer Shayne Law has made a few mistakes in his life, like any other middle-aged gay man. One of those mistakes occurred eight months before on a photography shoot: breaking sexy and alluring Timber Skenandoa's heart, a bear shifter living among the Skenandoa Clan.
When Shayne is given a photography job in Skenandoa Deep again, near Lake Erie, he may have a second chance at love with the Iroquois Indian, Timber. As Halloween nears, the two men learn each other's ins and outs, and the specifics of why Shayne broke Timber's heart the previous winter. Also, Shayne sees Timber as the Alpha bear shifter he is, and the proud and strong bear leader of his Skenandoa Clan.
Will Timber take Shayne back as his human lover, coveting Shayne's heart and soul? Or will the man and bear be enemies, at each other's throats, for the rest of their lives?
A beautiful black bear stood in the distance, among the maples and oaks. Its fur gleamed in the sunshine and its eyes were that familiar muddy brown. The bear's frame looked massive, obnoxious in size.
I knew almost instantly that it was Timber, having shifted into his Alpha bear form behind me, cleverly escaping into the woods some twenty feet away. He made eye contact with me, looking sad. And then he growled, raising his muzzle towards the top of the treetops.
I heard ... I heard him say inside my head,::Snap some pics. Isn't this what Lilian Bark wants? Let's put a show on for her. Do your job, Shayne. Take advantage of the moment.::
I raised the camera from my neck and snapped off a number of shots: the familiar bear growling, muzzle dripping with saliva, nub of a tail shifting left and right, and showing off its mouth of sharp looking teeth.
::Now for the real show, Shayne::, he said to my mind, leading me through his photo shoot, becoming fun but demanding at the same time.
Instantly, with just a blink of an eye, he stood on his hind legs, rearing, raised his front paws, extended his claws, and opened his muzzle as wide as it would go, acting as if he were terrorizing me, ready to attack me. Warm air exited from his nostrils and mouth because of the cold. More saliva dripped from his jaws.
I snapped several pics, one after the next, repeatedly, steadily into the moment with him, and loving every minute of his show.
::Running to you now, faking an attack. Get ready, guy. Here I come.::
Timber the bear fell on his front legs with an unbelievable thump, growled into the morning, shook his head, and lumbered towards me, scaring the crap out of me. He grunted, opened his mouth in a steady rumble, and ...
I snapped more pictures than I could count.Snap. Snap. Snap.My heartbeat raced as if the moment were real between us, man versus nature, or man versus animal. Goosebumps formed on my arms and legs, all over my body, proving that I was frightened, even if Timber was just playing with me, and the camera.
He rushed towards me, practicing a deliberate gait, and lunged at me with his muzzle wide open, baring his jaws and razor sharp teeth. He snapped at the camera, missing its lens by millimeters. And then, gently, rather eloquently, and with heavy motion that could have easily been determined as simplistic, moving with practiced grace, unwilling to harm me, he fell over me, into me and the camera.
I fell backwards, losing my balance, and clutched the camera to my chest. Part of his weight fell on top of me and ... I closed my eyes, shaking, unsure of what had just transpired regarding his blunt force. I stayed conscious for a second ... two seconds ... three seconds, and then blacked out because of fear, shock, something, possibly believing in death for maybe the first time in my life. Darkness surrounded me.