Before the Epilogue...
Without much thought, Carson gave up his life in the human world to move to Bear Mountain and live with his mates, Jared and Royce. The bond he experienced with his two bears had felt so powerful, that he’d plunged in headfirst, ready for a new adventure.
As time has worn on, the potent insta-lust they felt in those first days fades some and the weight of a new, burgeoning romance falls on their shoulders. Adding in a new wrinkle, doubts form that threaten their chance at forever.
They all soon discover that a relationship demands work on all sides. It will take commitment to propel them from the lust of their animal mating to the love they all sensed was possible from the start.
Unless secrets tear them apart first.
This story begins before the epilogue in Bear Mountain, Book One and well before their story continues in Book Eleven.
More From Bear Mountain
Before the Epilogue
Carson Davies’ fingers flew over the keyboard as he tried to wrap up work for the day. Intent on the screen, he let out a scream as he felt a pair of hands grab him from behind. Flipping his head to the side, he saw a smiling Royce behind him and breathed out a relieved sigh.
“You’re going to give me a heart attack if you sneak up on me like that,” Carson said.
“I can give you mouth to mouth, if you need it,” Royce added with a grin.
“Oh yeah?” Carson asked, his heart still thundering in his chest.
As Royce wrapped his big, strong arms about Carson and lowered his head, that thundering shifted from fear to anticipation. The scent of his big bear shifter filled his nose—the musky scent of man and that woodsy aroma of bear—and it got his blood pressure rising.
When Royce’s lips hit his, the shifter feasted on him. A hunger Carson hadn’t felt just moments before raced through his veins—but that wasn’t news. They barely had to touch him to get his heart pounding and need making it impossible to think straight. Royce drew away after a moment, leaving him wanting more.
“I brought dinner,” Royce murmured huskily. “You should come eat. Jared’s getting the table set.”
Carson glanced at the time at the corner of his screen. “You two are home early.”
“We’re celebrating,” Royce announced.
One of Carson’s brows rose. “And just what are we celebrating?”
“You arrived at the inn exactly three months ago.”
Carson chuckled. “Really? We’re doing quarterly anniversaries?”
Royce smiled. “Well, to be honest, I was planning on grabbing dinner from the restaurant on my way home anyway. We’ve all been busy.”
“So why did we need a reason for take out tonight versus every other night we’ve done it?” Carson asked with a grin. He knew the three-month thing was a bit cheesy, but there was something inherently adorable that Royce had remembered and wanted the mark the date.
“I ran across an invoice that somehow got missed in my data entry—and in doing my research, I stumbled across your check-in date. I figured fate was trying to tell me to appreciate the blessings I have and come home early to my mate and brother bear to celebrate.”
“Your bear gods sent you a message, hmm?”
“Something like that,” Royce murmured before swooping in for another kiss.
Carson moaned against the bear’s lips, hungry for more than a few enticing kisses. And it definitely wasn’t for food. He turned back to his computer, even as his body screamed in protest. “Let me wrap up a couple of emails and I’ll be out for dinner shortly.”
Royce nuzzled against his ear as Carson forced his fingers moved back to the keyboard, making it hard to focus on work.
The bear’s tongue laid a hot trail down his neck, making Carson’s head fall back some. He bit back a moan, the need for Royce growing with every second. Royce let out a low growl, the rippling sound washing over Carson and making his body ache.
His fingers typed along, the speed varying as he paid more attention to the hot kisses on his neck and ear—but after he had to fix a typo three times before truly correcting it, he knew he had to put his foot down.
“The longer you do that, the longer it’ll take me to finish.”
Royce chuckled, sending warm breath over his ear. Carson sighed inwardly, half of him wanting to say forget it and let Royce tempt him away from his desk. But he had a potential new client and needed to wrap up at least that one email. He had a big Skype meeting coming up and needed to share some information with the client beforehand.
The big bear shifter exited the office, Carson’s stare on his perfect, firm ass the entire time. He let out a sigh once his mate was gone and quickly finished off the email he’d been typing—as well as answered a couple more brief ones. Once he was done for the day, he climbed from his seat and wandered out to the living room.
His other mate, Jared, was putting the final touches on the dining room table. Crystal. Candles. The whole shebang. A smile forced its way on his face.
Carson stopped next to Jared, letting out a low whistle. “Going all out, hmm?”
Jared rose to his full height from where he’d been bent over the dining table, a broad grin on his face. He cocked his head to the side. “You’re not worth going all out?”
Carson could only smile harder, no matter how much he tried to hide it. The last couple of weeks, his bears had gone out of their way to be…
He paused, trying to consider the wording. Romantic?
What had started as a lust-filled pairing was evolving into something much more—something he was ill-equipped to handle. Lust, he knew. Love, he had less experience with.
Was that what this thing between them was becoming?
Carson had quickly accepted the almost instantaneous animal bond he had with the pair. Chemistry had drawn them together and he’d gone willingly, the carnality leading him down their dark road. But if the lust ever faded…
What did they have left?
A tiny bit of panic hit him square in the chest.
Carson was a relationship failure. He’d had a string of bad luck over the years and didn’t know if he knew how to be a good boyfriend.
Whatever the hell a mate was equivalent to in their world. He was almost afraid to ask; fearful he wouldn’t measure up to their expectations.
Jared frowned, concern on his face. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Carson said, emotion twisting in his chest. He looked up into those glowing eyes of Jared’s knowing how much they cared.
Knowing how much he cared for them.
And how scared he was it would all go to hell eventually.
Jared reached out and brushed a few strands from Carson’s face before lowering his head to steal a kiss. It was softer than the claiming kiss that he’d just shared with Royce, but no less demanding in its own right.
Carson lost himself in that kiss, trying to quell the worry building within. For now, all was well.
When Jared pulled away, Carson looked up into his mate’s glowing eyes. Bear shifter eyes glowed when they felt strong emotions. Sometimes he thanked the heavens his didn’t do the same. Like now. He felt vulnerable enough without them knowing what was churning inside his mind.
And in his heart.
Jared stared down at him, an odd expression on his face. “You can talk to us, you know? If something is bothering you—you don’t have to face it alone.”
Carson patted Jared on the arm, shoving the worry away. “I know. I’m good. Real good.” Why he was tempting something bad, he wasn’t sure. Just thinking something like that was opening the door for failure.
This won’t fail.
His smiled faded some, the worry creeping back in.