He nodded. “I can set out a trap if you want.”
She shook her head, entranced by all the new scents filling her nose. Her mouth began to water. “I smell Kung Pao chicken too.”
“Bears are omnivores, so what tastes good in human form will usually taste good in Bear. We’re taught that a Bear’s sense of smell is much stronger than that of a bloodhound. We can track prey over miles, and our mates even further than that.”
“Our night vision is better in Bear form, and we aren’t color blind the way most other shifters are. We have the full human spectrum.”
“That’s cool.” Her voice was almost gone, lost in a deep bass rumble, totally inhuman.
“It’s okay, sweetheart.” His voice had gone gravelly as well. Ryan was changing with her. “Let go. Follow the spiral path you sense before you. Your Bear will guide the way.”
She could feel it more than see it, the spiral path Ryan was talking about. It swirled inside her, strange yet familiar at the same time, leading her to the presence that had woken inside her. The creature stirred, stretched, filling her thoughts with its own.
Her Bear was curious, proud, and filled with need for their mate.
Glory’s skin rippled, flowed over muscle and bone that was suddenly way too big for her frame. Everything tingled, as if her limbs had gone to sleep and were just now waking up, but the pain she expected didn’t come. Instead, it was seamless, a flow of water over rocks rather than grating of bone over tissue.
It felt…good. Different, but good, and she understood now why Tabby needed to run in her fur. Glory wanted out, wanted to roam the forest, finding new scents. She wanted to go exploring in her new badass furry skin, and woe to anyone who wanted to stop her.
She looked up from her hands to find herself nose to nose with another Grizzly. Ryan had changed as well, following his own path to release his Bear.
Glory made a chuffing noise, running her nose along his chin, his neck, taking in his scent until she was satisfied she could find him no matter where he went.
Ryan did the same, sniffing around her, rubbing against her until she couldn’t tell her scent from his any longer. The scents mingled, melded together, marking them both as taken.
Ryan’s massive Grizzly head whipped around, a low snarl startling her. He positioned himself in front of her, his shoulders bunching as he went to two feet in an aggressive stance that shocked her.
Ryan was protecting her, but she had no idea what from.
After a minute, he settled back down with a chirring noise, a remarkably satisfied sound that had her rumbling what should have been a laugh.
She watched as Ryan slowly shifted back to human. It was like watching water flow through him, moving him and bending him, blending man and animal together until one was gone and only the other remained. She wished she’d been able to watch him shift into his Bear, to see the strength in him made flesh, but all that naked skin was worth missing out on the transformation.
“Change back, Glory.” Ryan began picking up his clothes, laughing when she whined. “Tonight, I promise. We’ll strip down to our skin and just enjoy each other. But until I can get you into the woods and show you what being a Bear is really all about, you need to go back to work.”
She could call out sick. Hell, she owned the damn place, along with Cyn. Tabby would—
“No.” Ryan was laughing, but his eyes were still dotted with brown. His Bear was all for her idea of ditching work, but the man ruled. “Shift back, sweetheart.”
She did as he asked, settling into her human skin with a pout. “You are no fun.”
He leaned his forehead against hers. “Tell me that again when you’re writhing in my lap, screaming my name.”
For some reason, it took her just as long to get dressed as it did to get naked. It might have had something to do with the way her hands shook, but she refused to give Ryan the satisfaction of knowing how badly he’d affected her.
From the grin on his face, he already knew.
Well. This was going to get awkward.
Temp had seen them change.
Ryan didn’t know how to tell Glory that her brother, whom she trusted, had caught how they shifted in Cynful’s back room. Chasing after the man when he ran wasn’t an option. A Grizzly—or a naked accountant, for that matter—chasing a man down Main Street Halle wasn’t a sight the locals were ready for.
Glory had needed him, needed his strength, his ability to guide her through her shift and back again. And leaving her alone, when she’d been attacked in broad daylight, wasn’t an option. He’d do something about Temp later, maybe after he spoke with Bunny and Julian. The Spirit Bear would know what to do. In the meantime, he’d enjoy the fact that his mate had finally changed.
Ryan pulled his mate into his apartment after her shift was done at Cynful, desperate to feel her skin to skin. Seeing her change, watching the flow of her animal over her, had made him realize that Glory really was his. She would forever be his mate, his woman, his to love, to fuck, to have children with.
He’d dropped to his knees as soon as the door shut behind them, lifted up her skirt, and kissed her covered pussy.
“I’m going to go with…you’re horny.”
The laughter in her voice would disappear soon enough. Ryan had every intention of feasting on his mate.
God, he still couldn’t get over it.
“Bed?” Glory’s voice was breathless and filled with desire.
She whimpered. “You’re going to kill me.”
He smiled and picked her up. “Consider me baby bear.”
She quirked her eyebrow at him. “Just right, huh?”
He loved the fact that she got him, even when they were both exhausted. “Yup.”
She laughed when he dropped her on the sofa, careful not to hurt her. The only pain she’d feel tonight was sexual. He had every intention of draping her over the arm of the sofa, of pounding into her until they were both screaming.
But first, he had a mate to taste.
A bunch of filmy fabric hit him in the face. Apparently Glory was way ahead of him. While he’d been daydreaming about what he wanted to do to her sprawled, naked body, she’d gotten her clothes off. He tossed the clothes aside, moaning at the sight of her splayed legs.