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I could see them glancing at Goldie. They could not take their minds off her either. She was just too perfect for words, too gorgeous to comprehend.

We’d always had one goal in mind: survival. And although we had each other, we were lonely creatures, wanting—yearning—for a mate.

One we could share.

One we could create a family with.

I growled low as those thoughts filled my head, and I stared at our female.

I thought about her belly big with our cubs. She would look glorious, even fuller, rounder. Her body was already perfect, but she’d be even more so filled with our young… the ones only we would give her.

“Should we be concerned?” Bruin spoke. He moved closer, clearly needing to be near Goldie. He inhaled sharply, grumbling low in pleasure.

“She’ll be fine,” Bear said matter-of-factly. Our eldest brother had his laser-trained focus on her. “She’ll come around soon enough. We shocked her.” He stoked the fire and added a few more logs to the flames. “We need to ensure she’s got enough food and fresh water. Bring extra furs to keep her warm.”

Bear stood, his height towering within the tiny confines of the cottage.

“We should move her to my bed,” Bruin growled.

“No, she should be in mine. It’s the biggest.” Bear was the one to speak.

I narrowed my eyes in annoyance at my brothers, feeling the territorial nature that was already filling our small confines.

Although we would share her gladly, it was inevitable that there would still be a fight for dominance and a touch of jealousy between us.

I rose to stand beside my brothers as the three of us looked down at Goldie. She looked so small amongst the straw-and-fur-covered bench we built for her.

“She’s a tiny thing. She should be in mine.” We were all so massive compared to our little human, but my bed was the smallest, the one she wouldn’t be consumed in.

Bear and Bruin grumbled, and I bared my teeth at them. We all knew, without saying anything else, she wouldn’t be in any of our beds.

With one last look down at our woman, I didn’t stop myself from bending down and dragging my tongue along her cheek. She stirred slightly but otherwise stayed asleep.

A second later, my brothers were leaning in and licking her too. We took in her flavor and left our scent on her.

And it was the most perfect thing in our world.




It was the smell of a nearby fire and the sound of crackling wood that roused me.

For a second, I just kept my eyes closed, taking in my surroundings with my other senses. Everything rushed back to me in startling clarity.

Standing by the creek. Seeing three massive bear-beasts looking at me with interest and a lot of heat.

I heard nothing aside from the fire, but I could feel my heart racing a little faster, because I knew I wasn’t wholly alone.

Were they close? Where had they taken me?

Whatever platform I was on was soft, the furs underneath me warm. Another thick covering had been draped over my lower half, and I stretched my toes, realizing they had taken off my boots.

They’d gone to a lot of trouble to keep me comfortable, to make sure I was warm.

That went a long way to easing my worries, but still, the heavy weight of confusion and fear floated beneath my skin.

Although I should be terrified of the creatures, instinctively I knew they’d never hurt me. I knew they were the ones who watched me as a child, who led me back to my cottage when I’d gotten lost.

I never told my parents what happened, always keeping that secret close to my heart, knowing that if I uttered a word about them, it would be dangerous.

For them.

I opened my eyes and slowly looked around. I couldn’t see much from my vantage point, but I could tell I was inside an unfamiliar cottage.

The ceilings were massively high, with gorgeous, natural wood beams running parallel, and exposed wooden framing.

I pushed myself up and braced my hands on the soft fur beneath me. A fire was roaring steadily in the hearth across from where I sat.

I glanced around the room and saw a kitchen off to the side, and although everything was normal in appearance, I took note that things seemed larger.

The counters. The shelving. Even the furniture was slightly larger than normal, as if they were built to fit a larger frame than that of a human.

My pulse started beating a little faster, because I knew where I was. I knew for what creatures this home was built.

I sat on the edge of the platform and listened, but still I heard nothing but the sound of my pounding heart.

To my right were three large chairs, the next bigger than the previous one. Although my head ached from when I fell, and my wrists and ankles were sore, I could stand with little difficulty.

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