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Shift Out of Luck

By:Ruby Dixon



“You ever going to do anything about that or just stand here and howl at the moon like a dumbass wolf?”

Leo Prufuchs doesn’t need a reply so I don’t bother giving him one. That requires me diverting my attention away from the lush figure across the street, making her way into her shop to start the day. Some bears drink coffee in the morning. Some do shots of Red Bull to wake them up. Me? I stand just inside my trading post and watch Adelaide Laurent climb out of her shoebox of a car and unlock the door to her spa—the one the locals said wouldn’t last a month. Yet three years later, she’s still here. Still thriving. Still making my balls bluer than the Boundary Waters.

Beside me, Leo shakes his head in dismay. “You’re a disgrace to the clan, boy.” He claps me on the shoulder, and the blow is hard enough that it rattles my teeth.

If he’d done the same to a human, bones would be broken, which is exactly why I’ve been standing in my store every morning for the last three years watching Adelaide, instead of bringing her to work after we’d had a good early-morning love-making session.

Adelaide’s a curvy girl with plenty of meat on her bones, but she’s still a human and way too frail for a beast like me. Even in my unshifted human form, I’m about twice her size. I’m big all over, and there are very few human women who’ve ever been able to take me comfortably. Adelaide’s just not one of them.

The problem is that I can’t get hard for anyone but her. Since she swayed that sweet ass of hers into the town meeting three years ago announcing her development plans, my dick only rises to full attention when she’s around.

At first, it was just healthy masculine appreciation. She looks like a fifties pinup model with her red lips and blonde hair with its big curls. My mouth waters just thinking about what one of her fat nipples would taste like. From head to toe, she’s a hot package.

Any red-blooded bear would get excited when she waltzed by. But as time wore on, my appreciation turned to lust, which has turned into an obsession. And now, no one interests me but her, which is too damned bad.

The door to the spa slams shut behind her, and I finally turn away.

“I’m worried about you, brother.” Leo follows me to the checkout counter, and watches over the top of his coffee mug while I double check the starting cash in the register drawer. “Have you gotten laid at all this past month? Those girls over in Vancouver were all over you last weekend, but we might as well have been at a little league tournament for all the excitement you were showing.”

“They were jailbait,” I reply abruptly.

“Sixteen is the age of consent,” Leo argues. “Besides, they were at least eighteen, and I slept with two of them so they were the equivalent of one cougar.”

“You’re twenty-eight,” I reply dryly. “I don’t think sleeping with eighteen-year olds, even two of them, makes the girls cougars.”

“They howled and scratched the shit out of me, so they acted like some kind of animals.” He reaches one massive hand over his shoulder to rub his phantom scratches. Leo acts more like a cub than the fully matured bear he is. “And bonus, they both walked away in one piece the next morning. True, they were walking funny because I’m so thoroughly amazing in bed, but the only thing they were worried about was when I was coming back to town.”

“Those females were part of the Vancouver South clan,” I remind him. “They were not human.”

“You gotta put that shit with Lowery out of your mind. That was an anomaly. There’ve been plenty of human and bear matings.”

“Name one,” I challenge.

Leo opens his mouth and closes it. Then tries again. Finally, he says, “There’s Grace and Scott Barnes.”

“Scott’s the human, not Grace. I’m not getting in bed with a human, no matter how beautiful she is.”

Leo tugs on his ear, and then drains his coffee. “If you can live with her shacking up with another guy, then by all means, just stare out the window.”

I slam the drawer shut harder than necessary and the resulting clang makes Leo jump.

“Guess that answers that,” he mutters.

It’s a good thing the cash register is made out of industrial steel. Otherwise, I’d have broken it. The thought of another man between Adelaide’s plump thighs makes me want to rip the machine off the wooden counter and drive it through Leo’s shaggy blond head. I remove my hands from the heavy metal register, and take a couple of deep breaths. “Don’t you have somewhere to go?” I ask as evenly as possible. Leo’s my cousin, and I know my mom would take issue if I dragged his ass home, bloodied and maimed.