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Forbidden Love – A BBW BWWM Shifter Romance Novel

Forbidden Love - A BBW BWWM Shifter Romance NovelAlex meandered down the path, completely at ease in the forest he’d grown up in. The trees were familiar, like old friends, whispering the secrets of the past and of his people as he walked. He cocked his head, listening for the river, debating whether to make a detour to sit by the shore. He was under no obligation to hurry back to the camp, so he turned to the left off the path and strolled leisurely through the trees, occasionally brushing his hand over the bark of a tree or through the fronds of a fern.

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When he reached the river, he plopped down on a boulder facing the shining river, smiling to himself as the memory of how he’d learned to listen to the trees returned. He watched as salmon swam swiftly past him, moving upriver. A crane swooped down and snagged one out of the water, the large fish jerking left and right in the vain hope of freedom. Alex watched the crane land on the opposite shore and begin its afternoon meal, pulling apart the still squirming fish between its talons. He sighed and lay back on the boulder, letting the sun shine down on him, warming him in the cool mountain air

As a small child, his grandfather’s murmurs had captivated him with the beautiful stories of the trees. Stories of his people, of the past, of all the wonders he would never be able to see. He had explained that one day, when puberty hit and turned Alex into a man, he would hear the trees too.

“Why can’t I hear them now, Papa?” he’d asked, staring wide-eyed at his grandfather.

“You must have patience, young Alex. Only those who wait patiently are gifted with the ears to hear the trees’ secrets.”

“I want to hear them, so I’ll wait,” he’d replied. “But do I have to like it?”

His grandfather’s deep chuckle answered him. “No, you don’t have to like it. Don’t worry, my grandson, you’ll hear the trees, like your father, like your mother, like everyone in our family.”

And when he’d turned fifteen, he had heard them. The same day he’d discovered the truth about himself and his family: they were werewolves.

At first he’d been frightened when he’d transformed into a four-legged creature covered in black and gray fur. His view of the world had changed; he had been shorter than he was as a man, but not by much, and when he ran, he moved like the mustangs who stampeded through the valleys. He had been able to see everything so much more clearly than as a man, and his hearing was sharper too, as the werewolf, and sometimes he changed just to hear the sounds of the forest more clearly.

He was startled from his thoughts and from his reclined position by a gunshot, followed by the bellow of a creature in pain. He waited a moment, focusing on the direction from which he’d heard the sound. He rose after another bellow echoed through the woods, moving swiftly in the direction of the noise.

Alex shifted quickly into wolf form, speeding through the trees, a black and gray blur. He reached a clearing and heard a loud crashing as if some large creature had fallen and couldn’t get back up. He stopped behind a copse of trees to take in the scene, sensitive to strange smells and sounds. Safety first.

A bear lay on the ground, bleeding heavily from its back leg. Alex lifted his head and sniffed the air and realized this wasn’t a bear, but a werebear. Grimacing at the smell of his enemy, he thought about turning and leaving the werebear to its fate. But an answer eluded him; who had shot it? No one had approached the creature yet, and because of all its thrashing, he couldn’t hear anything beyond the clearing.

Indecision plagued him; the creature was obviously in a great deal of pain, but the werebear clan in this area were the archenemies of his family, the werewolves. As far as he knew, all werebears and werewolves were natural enemies, all clans, no matter where they lived.

*****

Alice’s leg throbbed with pain. She’d nearly passed out twice once she’d made it to the clearing. After the poacher had shot her, she’d managed to run another two hundred yards before collapsing to the ground, the pain too much to continue. She’d tried to drag herself out of the clearing into the brush, but she knew the trail of blood would lead them directly to her. Twice she’d attempted to put weight on the wounded leg, but it refused to hold even a small amount of her weight so she could limp away.

So she’d waited for them to come to her. She’d bellowed loudly, hoping another werebear might be nearby and come to her aid, but to no avail. She lay there, debating with herself: remain a werebear or return to her human form. The poachers knew they’d shot a bear, so maybe if she turned into a human, they’d be so confused they’d help her rather than kill her. She knew the value of a werebear pelt; she’d heard horror stories about poachers taking a were in human form and torturing them until they transformed. Only death awaited the were after transformation.

The snap of a twig and a familiar smell interrupted her thoughts. A werewolf was nearby. Just great, she thought, a grimace of pain crossing her bear face. Two enemies so close they could probably hear her heart beating madly, and she was completely helpless. She moved her eyes from side to side, searching for the werewolf’s hiding place. The poachers would come in from the south, so she assumed the werewolf would be to her right. She sniffed the air in that direction again, but only the smell of her own fear reached her nostrils. She raised her head and listened, but only the crashing of hunting boots reached her ears.

She sighed, resigned to her fate. The werewolf wouldn’t help her; they were natural enemies to the werebear, had been for centuries. The poachers would get her pelt one way or the other. She thought about bellowing once more, but the futility of it stopped her. She rested on the ground and waited for death.

*****

Alex looked around the clearing again. The werebear had quieted some, and footsteps were closing in. The werebear lay on a pile of leaves, gingerly trying to rise onto all fours in order to escape. The clearing was a circle approximately ten feet around and offered no hiding places for the werebear. If it couldn’t get up and get into the cover of trees, the humans heading in their direction would be upon it soon.

The crashing of the poachers (for that’s what the humans were; shooting a bear, were or otherwise, is illegal) were getting closer and closer. The werebear was beginning to panic, panting loudly and scooting along the floor of the forest, leaving a trail a mile wide for the poachers to follow. Its fear was palpable; Alex could smell it seeping through its skin and into the clearing.

He sighed. He couldn’t walk away from a helpless creature, even if he hated what it was. He’d help the thing get away and leave it to save itself after that.

Before Alex could go to the werebear’s aid, though, the poachers crashed into the clearing, cheering at the site of the downed werebear. The one who seemed to be the leader moved closer to it, gun pointing at its head. His redneck pals also moved closer, one of whom set his rifle against a tree, unaware what an injured werebear was capable of. It swiped its huge paw at one’s leg, who barely evaded. The other two laughed uproariously when he fell back on his butt.

“Back it up, idiot! That thing will take out your leg with one swipe,” the leader said, his gun pointed at the werebear’s head.

“How much ya’ think can we get for it, Bud?” one of them asked.

“Not sure, since Carl shot its leg. It’s damaged, so not as much, probably,” Bud replied.

The one who had asked the question kicked Carl, who still sat on the ground after his close call with the werebear. “You ass! Why didn’t you let me or Bud take the shot?”

Carl jumped to his feet to defend himself. “Hey! You’re the one who told me to take the shot! I can’t help it if that thing smelled your stinky ass.”

They bickered back and forth in the friendly, hateful way men who are close do. Bud lowered his gun, having determined the werebear couldn’t escape. He interrupted his friends. “Stop it. We need to finish this. The truck is over a mile away, and that thing looks about two hundred pounds.”

Mike, the one who’d fallen, spoke. “Jesus, it’s gonna take us forever to carry that big ol’ thing outta here.”

“Shoot it, Bud. Get a clean shot, though, so we can get a good price,” Carl told Bud.

Bud raised his gun again, pointing it at the werebear’s head. He moved a step closer for a cleaner shot. The werebear had been snuffling during the exchange, and now fear showed clearly in its eyes.

Alex jumped into the clearing with a loud growl, drawing the attention of the poachers away from the bear. Carl, who’d put his gun in the holster across his back, fumbled to get it out. Alex took that opening and swiped at his arm, throwing him across the clearing and into a tree. Bud fired a wild shot, missing by a mile. Alex turned to him and Mike, who stood next to him. He used his great paw and swiped at the rifle, which flew out of Bud’s hands and into the brush. Mike hadn’t even attempted to get to his gun, sitting across the clearing where he’d set it down in his excitement when he’d seen the downed werebear.

Alex growled menacingly, staring at the poachers as he circled to put himself between them and the werebear. Bud stared at him wonderingly. Alex growled again and lowered his head in preparation to attack. Bud recognized the signal and put his hands up defensively.

“Ok, boys, we need to go,” he said quietly. “Back up slowly with your hands up.”

Forbidden Love BWWM paranormal romance“Is that a wolf or a werewolf?” Mike asked.

“It’s a werewolf, I’m pretty sure,” Bud answered quietly. Alex growled in response, a mistake. Bud’s eyes narrowed knowingly. “We’re leaving, wolf. We’re going.”

“I think my ribs are broken. Help me up, guys,” Carl murmured, pain in every word. His arm was bleeding as badly as the werebear’s leg. Neither would die from their injuries, but both needed medical help.

Mike helped Carl get to his feet and pulled him out of the clearing. Bud was the last to leave; he knelt to pick up the gun Alex had knocked from his hand, his eyes never leaving the wolf’s as he walked into the forest.

Alex turned to the werebear, who had been strangely silent as it watched the scene unfold. He stepped away from it, watching it as it watched him.

*****

Alice had been astonished when the werewolf jumped into the clearing, snarling loudly, menacingly, sending shivers down her spine. She could imagine the humans crushing fear as they stared at this magnificent, growling beast. She’d watched as the wolf threw one of the men across the clearing and circled to put himself between her and the other two poachers, knocking the rifle out of the big one’s hands. And to her complete amazement, the men backed away slowly, helping their fallen friend up before escaping the wolf’s ferocious paws.

She flinched when the werewolf turned to stare at her. She watched him warily, waiting for him to leave so she could transform into her human form and bind her wound. She’d have to leave the forest as a human, which could prove awkward, but that was her only option.

Alice grunted and tossed her head at the werewolf, indicating he should leave, but he didn’t move. He kept staring at her as if making a decision. She stared back, growing impatient and a little angry at him, but she couldn’t communicate with him in bear form. I’m sure as hell not changing into my human form in front of him, she thought. He may have saved her from the poachers, but that didn’t mean she was safe from him. Hatred ran deep between her clan and his pack, assuming he was with the werewolf pack in this area. If not, she trusted him even less.

She looked down at her wound, then up at him, trying to indicate to him that she needed to tend to her wound. She nodded her head at him again, and then moved her eyes to the left, hoping he’d go back the way he had come. No luck.

Before her eyes, a handsome man appeared, chiseled abs, a beautiful face, and dark hair. She stared with her big brown eyes, memorizing every feature.

“I’m Alex. I know what you are. I can help you with the gunshot wound, if you’ll let me,” he said, pointing at her leg. “You’ll have to turn into a human, though.”

Alice’s astonishment only increased at his words. Why would he, a werewolf, help her, a werebear? She shook her massive head at him and raised a paw to wave him away from her.

He shook his own head, exasperated by her behavior. “I know you don’t trust a werewolf, and I don’t blame you. But there’s no way you’re going to make it back to your clan without help and you know it. Let me help you, and then you can be on your way.”

Alice debated the lucidity of his words. She looked at the wound; the bullet was still lodged in it, and she had lost a lot of blood. She didn’t want to admit it, but she could tell she was weakened by the loss. She stared at him and made her decision.

*****

When the werebear finally shifted into its human form, Alex’s eyes widened in surprise. A woman stared up at him. Her chocolate skin was almost the same color as the fur that covered her body as the werebear, and her beautifully ample body was perfectly shaped. Her eyes, the brown of a squirrel’s fur, stared at him defiantly.

“Why did you save me, wolf?” she asked almost angrily.

“Well, aren’t you sweet?” he replied sarcastically. He looked at her thigh where the wound gaped and oozed, and she covered it with her hand. He was hesitant to touch her.

“Don’t stare at me. It’s rude,” she snapped at him, shifting to sit up so she could get a better view of her leg. She gasped in pain when she moved even that little bit, her lips thinning and paling simultaneously.

Alex bent down to help her when she’d gasped. She jerked her eyes up to him. He tilted his head and asked, “Are you going to let me help you?”

She sighed, her eyes boring into his to see if she could trust him. Finally she relented and moved her hand. Alex studied the wound, gently probing the area with his fingers, ignoring her glare, but looking up when she gasped again.

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled. This close her eyes are beautiful, he thought. He shook his head at the ridiculousness of the thought. “So, what’s your name?”

She looked up at him. Her eyes had been watching his long fingers on her thigh. “My name is Alice.”

“What were you doing out here? You’re very close to my pack’s camp.” He’d stopped touching her wound and was looking at her.

“I didn’t know I was close to your pack’s camp,” she said brusquely. “I hadn’t been out in the woods for a while and needed some time in nature. I actually started far from here, probably two miles.” She nodded her head towards the east.

“You’ll never make it two miles on this leg, Alice.” She liked the way he said her name, but told herself she shouldn’t. “If you want, I can take you to our camp and my mother can look at your leg.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea. Can you get me to my car?”

“I walked here; my truck is at camp. I can’t carry you two miles,” Alex said quietly. He was still kneeling next to her, his face only inches from hers. A moment of silence passed while they stared at each other; he stood up abruptly. “Let me take you to my camp. I promise no harm will come to you. My mother will look at your wound and then I’ll drive you to your car.”

Alice hesitated. “How will you get me there? I tried to put weight on my leg and it won’t take any.”

“I can carry you if you stay in human form. I’ll transform into a wolf,” he explained. She stared at him, incredulous, and snorted. “I know you won’t like that, but that’s your best option.”

“You’re right, I don’t like it,” she mumbled. “But I also don’t have a choice. I can’t get myself out of this.”

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