Wild Bear

By: Terry Bolryder


On the top of a low, rolling Montana hill, a lone bear sat surveying the sunrise.

Today was his last day of freedom. His last day of roaming the hills for every free moment when he wasn’t at work. He hated being in his human skin. Hated having to express everything through speech, hated dealing with human drama.

Sure, there would be benefits to taking a mate. Like saving the land he’d been born on and bonded with all his life. The beautiful sprawling acres of trees, the well-maintained lodges, the stables with the horses he knew as friends.

But for just one more moment, he wanted to enjoy the feeling of being a bear with nothing to do and nowhere to go.

The fact that he liked the mate he’d have to take was a benefit as well. She had beautiful, dusky skin with a rosy glow. Pretty curls that would look great spread out in bed. Perfect red lips that he’d already stolen a kiss from multiple times.

And she was coming in on a plane later that day.

Maverick the bear shrugged to himself and let out a low huff as he adjusted his massive girth and rested with his head on his paws.

His mate didn’t even know bear shifters existed, let alone that he was one. For the next few days, weeks even, while he won her, he would have to be in human form. Trying to win her the way humans did.

If they were both just bears, things would have been simpler.

Then again, the human part of him did sort of long for a companion. Someone to hike in the rain with or ride horses with or just spend quiet nights in front of the fire with.

He didn’t know if his mate, a loud, rambunctious city girl, would be up for those kinds of things, though. What if she wanted him to go to New York?

A more chilling thought hit him. What if she didn’t want him at all?


He was an alpha bear, descended from alpha bears—strong, solid, pureblooded.

His mother had been an asshole, but she was full bear. That was perhaps why she’d left the second he was weaned, leaving him wet and shaking on the edge of the land for Maverick’s father to find.

They were bears after all, and bears didn’t need to be coddled like humans.

Except no one had found him, and once he’d recovered from the abandonment, he found a welcoming home in the woods, living happily in the foliage on berries. Until Shane and Jesse, his half-brothers, ran across him while riding horses in the high country.

Then they’d dragged him home and tried to make a human out of him, but they’d only sort of succeeded.

He was still more comfortable as a bear. Despite their insistences they were more human.

He hadn’t even know he could shift into a human until he met Shane and Jesse and his father.

He harrumphed and looked out at the sun moving over the shaded hills below him.

Being a bear was simple. Eat. Roam. Hunt. Explore. Sleep. A cycle that was comforting and solitary and went on and on with the rhythm of nature.

The sound of an approaching truck rumbling up the hill announced the arrival of their guest—

Harmony, the friend of his brothers’ mates. The animal in him had recognized the natural pattern of things. Three females, three brothers needing mates.

He was the last one who needed to make good on what fate had put in front of him.

But as excited as he was at the thought of claiming an alpha female like Harmony, he mourned the wild life he was leaving behind—

the rolling hills, the steep mountains.

After work, she’d want him home with her, doing coddling human things, not exploring, not roaming.

So boring.

At least the sex would be good. And he’d have someone to talk to. For some reason, that more than anything else really intrigued him.

So Maverick the bear hefted himself up and lumbered down the hill and through the brush, back in the direction of his cabin.

Time to get ready to win over his mate.

That meant taking a shower, and trying to fit into frustrating human clothes. He’d even washed some the other day.

For someone as special as Harmony, he’d not only wear stifling clothes; he’d wear clean ones.

She was a very lucky female indeed.

* * *

Harmony’s suitcase was on the bed, and she grabbed clothes from it and moved them into the wooden dresser of her guest room.

Her friends, Ruby and Bonnie, were chatting avidly about all the things they were going to do together on the ranch, but Harmony’s head was somewhere else.

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