Title: Securing His Mate
Author: Laura M. Baird
Genre: Contemporary Shifter Romance
A vow to his ailing mother gives Grizzly shifter Micah six months to find his mate, or he and his brothers lose their family's land. He can't contemplate a lifelong bond, but one tease of Nicolette's enticing scent has him and his bear ready to do what it takes to make her his.
Nicolette and her sister are all each other have in the world so she protects their existence by living a sedate life. A chance encounter with the charming Micah has her rethinking her decisions.
But how will she view him when she learns he's a shifter and her only experience with that world led to heartache? Micah offers love and security, but can he convince her their bond is meant to be?
He's reluctant to face his destiny. She's protected herself from more heartache. Their bond will prove fate doesn't make mistakes.
This standalone novella is part of a multi-author steamy paranormal romance series about five Grizzly bear shifter brothers and the women they fall in love with.
Although my story is a stand-alone, I encourage readers to enjoy the other 4 books in the series and experience each brother's journey toward finding their fated mate.
With her concentration back on the ride, she gunned her Yamaha to get ahead of Bailey. They were getting into denser woods and the trail narrowed, only allowing for single file riding. Her sister knew to slow down and let Nicolette gain some distance in order to ensure there were no safety hazards ahead. Never having gone this far from their own place, Nicolette was unfamiliar with this area. She hadn't noticed any signs or markings that indicated it was private property, but didn't mean it wasn't possible.
After rounding a bend, she had a mere second to react to the obstacle in her way. With no other choice due to trees lining the path, she squeezed her brakes and maneuvered the bike sideways, keeping it upright to avoid sailing over the handlebars. Dirt and debris sprayed up, covering the man who stood in the center of the lane. Nicolette brought her bike to a halt with her back tire inches from the man's feet. She yanked off her helmet and met the stare of deep green eyes that were somehow familiar. For a brief instant her vision clouded before clearing again. Blinking a few times, she continued to stare at the admittedly handsome stranger.
His nostrils flared as he took a deep breath, and suddenly his eyes widened as he retreated a few steps; more accurately, as if he'd been knocked back by an invisible force. His mouth parted but he remained silent as his gaze flickered over her shoulder at the sound of Bailey approaching.
Concern for her sister had Nicolette moving with haste. Without thinking, she let her helmet drop as she gunned her bike to intercept Bailey. When she got her to stop, Nicolette looked back to see the man hadn't moved, his gaze locked with hers.
“Who is he?” Bailey asked loud enough to be heard over their idling engines.
Eyes still on the man, it took a moment to answer. “I, I don't know and I don't think we should stick around to find out. Turn around and head back home.”
“What about you? Your helmet?”
“I couldn't care less about that helmet. Your safety comes first.”
“And if you fall and crack your head open or–”
She whipped her head around to her sister. “Bailey, I'll be fine. Now move.”
Before either could react, the man spoke out. “I won't hurt either of you.” Nicolette whirled to face him but she didn't get a word out as he resumed talking. “You just surprised me, is all. You're on my property. Thought you might be poachers we're having a problem with.”
“Who are you?” Nicolette shouted. Wait, did he hear us from that distance?
“Micah. Micah King.”
Nicolette's eyes widened. She knew him. Well, as much as any fan and follower of GNCC could. He had certainly changed, matured. Micah had filled out and looked even more appealing than she remembered. She scanned the area, looking for his bike, because no doubt he'd ridden one out here. Micah King's bike was practically a second appendage, allowing him to become an over-night success on the racing circuit in the East about three years ago. Then earlier this year he just quit.
“My family owns a good portion of this area. We live in Kingston.”
Coincidence that her path led her here? Micah shared little about his personal life in past interviews and Nicolette had no idea this was where he was from. Besides, she'd never ventured into Kingston in the time they'd been in the area. She preferred the little town closer to where she and Bailey lived which was in the opposite direction.
She kept her gaze on Micah, now noticing his shaggy blond hair peppered with dirt he hadn't bothered to shake out. Wearing only a dark blue t-shirt, blue jeans, and black boots, he didn't appear to have any other gear.
“Did you walk out here? Why the hell were you just standing there? What if I'd been a poacher with a weapon? What then?”
And why am I even asking him that?
The corner of his suddenly alluring mouth kicked up. “I can handle myself. My bike's about fifty feet behind me, around the bend.” He stooped to pick up her helmet and held it out. “You really should take this back. Wouldn't want you hurting that pretty head of yours.”
Nicolette felt her eyes narrow as she heard Bailey snort. If there's one thing she hated, it was men treating her like glass; like she had no business being out on a bike in the first place.
She gunned her engine, heading in his direction. He simply watched her as if he hadn't a care in the world. As if she wouldn't run him down like she wanted to do. No, she really didn't want to do that. Instead, she clutched the brakes again, sweeping her back tire around to give him another spray of dirt and dust. He opened his eyes he had closed and continued to hold his body still, his mouth making the only movement as he grinned. Snatching her helmet, she smiled saucily at him. “Thanks.” After slapping it on, she sped back to her sister without Micah doing a damn thing to her.
Where had that boldness come from? He could've snatched me from my bike and done Lord only knows what!
It wasn't boldness, it was irrational anger and a reckless act.
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Laura began her writing and publishing journey while working as a dental hygienist, and nearly five years later, she's become an award winning and best-selling author of over twenty romances. She draws inspiration from her life experiences, which include serving in the U.S. Army, working in the fast-food and retail industries, and her continued work in the healthcare field. She's living her happily-ever-after with her own hunky hero of over thirty-one years, enjoying life in the Pacific Northwest.
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