Nuria Orson has waited fifteen years to return to her hometown of Silvertip, Alberta, the place where she was molested at age fifteen by her boyfriend’s older brother. If she had her way, she would never return, but she needs to sell her childhood home so she can move on with her life. Her plan is to slip into town, sell the house, and relocate as far away as possible before anyone finds out. Not an easy task for a grizzly shifter easily scented by anyone who wanders close enough.
Austin Tarben has spent half his life silently pining for the girl he was certain was his mate before she left town with her parents in the middle of the night fifteen years ago. Believing she willingly dumped him for his brother before she disappeared, he has longed for answers for all these years.
When Austin learns his childhood sweetheart is in town, he forces himself to confront her if for no other reason than peace of mind. But Nuria doesn’t welcome him with open arms. In fact, she’s furious. As the true story of what happened in high school unfolds, the two mates must decide if they can put the past behind them and forge a future together.
But Austin isn’t the only shifter in town shocked by Nuria’s arrival. It would seem she has a pile of enemies. Before Austin and Nuria can possibly reconcile, they need to figure out who wants her dead and why.
There are some misunderstandings even mates can’t overcome, and it’s difficult to be certain the act of binding together for the rest of their lives will create a bond strong enough to heal the hurt.
I am really loving this series. These bears are devoted and protective of what’s theirs. In this one Austin wants answers from Nuria and when he gets them he isn’t sure she can ever forgive him. She is still unbound after fifteen years and she is still his mate. This is a favorite scene when she reveals the reason her parents spirited her away all those years ago.
“You pulled away from me. For weeks, maybe months, you pulled away. We used to spend every afternoon together doing homework, eating snacks, laughing, watching stupid reruns on TV…” The flood of memories ate a hole in him.She wrapped her arms around herself as if chilled.
“And then you stopped coming around as often. I still saw you at school. We hung a few times, but something had changed. I didn’t know what. Rumor had it you were seeing someone else. Rumor had it you were seeing Antoine. And then I saw you in the barn that day.”
He swallowed, the memory bringing bile to his mouth as it always did. His voice was lower when he continued. “My life ended that moment. I never recovered. Why? Were you seeing him behind my back?”
She tucked her lips into her mouth, not meeting his gaze. Her gorgeous curls fell around her face like a curtain. Her hair was thicker and longer than he remembered. Something else was different about it too…
It wasn’t pulled back. When they were younger, she hated it getting in her eyes. She spent so much time brushing the wispy loose curls away from her forehead or cheeks that she made him laugh. Now it was down. Shrouding her. Covering her face. Was she hiding? From the world?
“Make me understand,” he begged.
“It’s too late, Austin. There’s nothing to say. You made your judgment about me. You can’t take it back.”
He furrowed his brow. “I made a judgment? How do you figure?” He leaned forward, set his hands on both sides of her thighs, and crowded her personal space. “Tell me, Nuria. Make me understand why my girlfriend, my mate, the woman I intended to spend my life with, was in the barn of my parents’ home fucking my brother?”
His voice rose higher. “Why did I have to see that? Tell me?” he insisted.
Suddenly, she snapped. Her head jerked up, and fury filled her eyes. “You think you’re so smart? If you were so sure we were meant to bind to each other, then why the hell did you believe I would fuck your damn brother so easily?”
He flinched. “You telling me you didn’t?”
She shoved at his chest, but he didn’t move. “That’s what I’m telling you, you dick. Not only did I manage to get away, but now I’m finding out my own boyfriend saw his smarmy brother trying to rape me, and instead of helping, he fucking left me there to fend for myself.” She screamed those last words, spit hitting him in the face.
He felt like he’d been slapped. No. Much worse.
She shoved away from him in his stupor and scrambled to stand behind him. Tears streamed down her face. “I wish you hadn’t come here at all. I never would have known what a fucking jackass you were.” Her voice rose higher in pitch. “You fucking left me there in that barn? With your disgusting brother pawing at me? Tearing at my clothes?”
He spun around to face her.
“I fought with all my might to keep him from pulling off my jeans. Do you know how much bigger he is? I had to jerk my face back and forth to keep him from biting my neck and fucking binding me to him. I was fifteen years old, Austin. Fifteen.”
Austin lowered his ass to his heels, unable to hold himself up. He set his hands on his thighs.
“The only thing that saved me from a fate worse than hell that day was a cat that jumped down from the rafters and scared your brother for enough seconds for me to wiggle out from under him and run from the barn. I ran hard and fast in human form until I got to the tree line, and then I shifted and ran faster in bear form.”
Austin felt like he’d been punched in the gut.
She was shaking. Tears fell freely down her face. She wiped them away with the back of her hand. “And my boyfriend, the person I trusted most in the world, saw that? You left me there?” She sobbed, and then she spun around and ran from the room.
He listened as she stormed out of the house, the back door slamming. And then she was gone.
He had no doubt she’d shifted and headed into the woods. He couldn’t blame her. He was indeed the biggest dick alive.
Jameson, Becca. Grizzly Beginning (Arcadian Bears Book 2) (Kindle Locations 183-215). Hartwood Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Not only does Austin have to win back his mate, but now someone is trying to kill her. Suspenseful and sizzling I couldn’t put this book down.
5 Contented Purrs for Becca!
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Becca Jameson currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two kids, and the various pets that wander through.After editing for about five years she recently started writing. She is loving the journey, dabbling in various genres.When not writing or editing she can usually be found taxiing kids to and from their activities, scrapbooking, and reading!Late at night she can usually be found sequestered in her office creating fantasy with a glass of red wine and a bar of dark chocolate.