Authors: Sherry Wasson
A Mate for The Werebear
(One Night Stand Series Book 3)
Billionaire Wolf Shifter Paranormal Romance
All Right Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Sherry’s Other Book
The Wolf's Lover
(One Night Stand Series Book 1)
Eye of The Tiger
(One Night Stand Series Book 2)
Emily had given up on life. She went to her boring job at the DMV and went home to microwaved dinners. She barely knew why she was alive anymore.
Then she met him.
Once a year when werebear Anthony comes out of hibernation, he's filled with overwhelming lust. He finds a willing woman and has a one night stand before moving on to meet up with his tribe.
But Emily is different. She's the most compelling woman he's ever met and he's not sure he'll be able to walk away from her after one night of heedless passion.
Can he convince her to walk away from her life of monotony and join his tribe of paranormal creatures or will the truth frighten her too much to take the biggest risk of her life?
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Note from Author
Sherry’s Other Books
Another night, another microwave dinner. Emily opened her fridge and selected a dish at random. Pasta with chicken that would taste like rubber and broccoli that tasted even worse. Yummy. She popped the plastic tray into the microwave and keyed in the time.
She hadn’t eaten a proper meal in over a year now. She couldn’t pinpoint exactly when this down spiral had begun, but she’d given up on the idea that it was going to end sometime soon.
The truth was, she’d given up on everything. She didn’t have enough energy to hate her job at the DMV anymore. She was apathetic about her studio apartment and the food she ate.
She barely even knew why she was living anymore.
The microwave dinged and Emily pulled out her dinner. She peeled back the clear film on top and dug in with a plastic fork. No clean up this way.
The trick to keeping an apartment you’re apathetic about clean is to never make a mess in the first place.
Emily finished off her dinner and threw out the tray. She rinsed off her hands in the sink, dried them on a dish towel, and then walked the five steps between the kitchen and the window beside her bed.
The place wasn’t a home so much as a hotel room. Emily had moved into it after her parents had died and her sister had disappeared.
“Please, please, please,” she whispered to the night sky. “Give me something to live for.”
A star winked at her, then disappeared. Just an airplane. It would be difficult to see the stars past the gray concrete of the apartment block.
A shadow moved in the parking lot. Emily studied it. Someone from her building getting in late? Most of her neighbors were short, and whoever this was had height. He moved into the edge of the light from the streetlamp. Emily estimated him to be past six feet tall with a body made of muscle. Broad shoulders strained against the flannel shirt he was wearing. His face was too shadowed to make out.
He took another step and disappeared from the light. Emily shivered. For a second there, she could have sworn he was looking right at her. Emily drew the curtains closed. She had to let go of foolish notions. She was an adult, and she was alone. No one was coming to rescue her and the night sky wasn’t listening to her pleas for help.
The universe was empty, and she was little more than a ghost drifting through it these days.
Emily changed out of her work clothes slowly. She was too young to feel this old, and too tired to fix it. Tomorrow she’d go to work, and she’d find something to keep her going one more day. That was all she needed. Life, one day at a time.
She pulled the curtains closed and cut off his view of her. Anthony frowned in the darkness of the parking lot. The place smelled like old garbage made too hot by the July sun. He’d come here looking for her.
Anthony came to this city once a year after he woke up from his hibernation and sought out a mate to slack his lust before he made his way back to his tribe. Usually he found it easiest to pick up a willing woman in a bar and have done with it after a night of pleasure.
He didn’t know why he was following this woman. He’d seen her walking down the street on her way to lunch and her soul had called out to his. The pain she was in was crushing. It had drawn him in like a bug zapper.
That was the problem with his gift of empathy. It was impossible for him to turn away from the call of another’s pain. The call of her pain had been so loud Anthony had thought her mortally wounded. That she was still walking and acting like any other human being was miraculous to him.
He wanted to save her, but he didn’t have time. He needed to deal with his lust and then move on. The tribe would grow impatient if he made them wait for too long. He shouldn’t be dawdling outside the windows of strange women that he wanted to take into his arms and comfort.
He tried to take two steps back from her window. Her invisible keen of pain caught in him like a hook.
He could wait one more night. He’d make sure she was alive in the morning, and then he’d move on.
Anthony opened the door to his car and settled into the driver seat to wait. He turned on the AC and tried to block out the scent of garbage. Maybe her pain was simply from living in this hell hole of a building, but her human senses wouldn’t feel as abused as his werebear ones.
It was strange to think of her as human. The only other woman he’d felt this attached to had been a werehawk. Humans usually seemed like such shallow, fleeting things to him.
He shouldn’t care about the woman in the window. And yet he waited.
She was running late for work again. She barely slept at night, but she always lost track of time when she was lying in bed staring at the ceiling.
Emily cinched the straps of her shoes and headed out the door in her business casual slacks and white blouse. Before she’d lost her family and moved to Seattle to escape the memories, she’d been a fashion designer. She used to care about what she wore. What she wore to the DMV hardly seemed to matter. Everyone was going to wait a long time in line and then hate her. Accessories weren’t going to change that.
Funny. At her old job she would have claimed accessories were capable of making or breaking your day. She knew better now. The only thing capable of unmaking a person was tragedy, and accessories couldn’t fix that. Grief was like a vicious little creature yanking on the loose threads of your mind until you were an unwound heap on the floor.
Emily hurried down the stairs and burst out the metal front door of the apartment. Her beaten up old sedan was parked exactly where she’d left it. A man was standing beside it. Emily slowed her steps.
He looked like he was made for shadows. His hair was wavy and dark and his eyes were gray and piercing. Danger radiated off of him from his work boots to the muscles of his forearms.
She could turn around and bolt back into the apartment building, but she’d never make it to work in anything that could remotely pass as on time. Emily clutched her keys hard in her hands.
He was loitering beside the driver side door. His eyes tracked her as she moved toward him.
Emily gave him a nod and a small smile. “Hello.” She unlocked her car and grabbed the door handle.
“Nice morning, isn’t it?” the man said.
It was early spring. Every morning was nice, except for when it was raining, which the clouds overhead were threatening to do. “Sure,” Emily said nervously. She didn’t want to meet his eyes. She yanked open her car door and slid in.
“Have a good day at work,” the man called before she could close the door.
Emily slammed the door and relocked it, then her hands were shaking so bad it took her two tries to get her key into the ignition.
She slammed on the gas and dared a peek over her shoulder. The man was gone.
Anthony watched her drive away. It had taken all his nerve to make this first contact. Ridiculous. He usually found it effortless to approach a target. He didn’t know why this one had him twisted into knots.
He should walk away now and leave her alone. It was no business of his why she was in agony. He still had time to go to a bar and find an easy one night stand.
Anthony climbed into his car and turned on the ignition. He wouldn’t follow her to work, but he knew where she got her morning coffee at. He could casually run into her again while she was waiting in line.
It was a relief to escape the parking lot. The smell of garbage was replaced by asphalt and the heaviness of air just before it rains.
Anthony made a deal with himself that he’d see her this one last time, than go find a woman and forget about her. He needed to get back to his tribe.
The coffeehouse was a cheerily inviting yellow building with red shutters and open windows that sent the smell of coffee to the sidewalk to lure in passersby.
Anthony liked the smell of coffee. It was bitter and all consuming. He couldn’t even read the wash of emotions from the crowd of human beings with the overwhelming smell of coffee clogging his senses.
Anthony ordered a cup of black coffee then took it to a table with metal chairs in the corner. There were much comfier armchairs scattered around the place, but Anthony didn’t care for indulgence. He needed to stay sharp. The woman was dulling him enough as it was.
He’d see her this morning when she wandered in and he’d be able to see her without the distress radiating off of her. That should be sufficient for him to realize he was obsessing over nothing and leave.
He didn’t need her complicating his life. She was only a brief obsession, nothing more. She wouldn’t even be worth mentioning when he got back to his tribe, partially because they would disapprove of him delaying his trip back to dally with a human.
The coffee was ridiculously bitter, but Anthony didn’t add any cream or sugar. Those things had always seemed like weaknesses to him, an admission of not being able to handle the strong flavor of coffee.
He was a werebear, and he prided himself on being able to handle anything.
Then the woman walked through the door, and for the first time in a long time, he felt fear.
There he was again. Emily recognized the man from the parking lot immediately. She almost turned right back around and left the coffeehouse, but she really wanted a cup of coffee and this was her favorite spot. He hadn’t done anything that was actually threatening. The only crime he could be convicted of was loitering.
Emily took a deep breath and forced herself to calm down as she stepped up to the counter to order.
“Fancy meeting you here,” Mystery Man said.
Emily’s hand jerked, sending her credit card skittering down the counter.
“Sorry,” the man said quickly.
Emily shook her head. “It’s fine. You startled me, is all.” She snatched her credit card back and handed it to the woman behind the cash register.
“I’m Anthony,” he said, holding out a hand for her to shake.
Emily bit her lip. She couldn’t run screaming in the other direction because a man introduced himself to her. “Emily.” She shook his hand quickly. Or at least, she meant to be quick. The moment her skin touched his, electricity shot through her system. Emily gasped and looked up into his eyes.
His pupils were dilated and his lips were open slightly as if he was about to say something, or kiss her.
Emily flushed and pulled her hand back. “Did you just move into the apartment building?” she asked. It would explain why she kept seeing him in the parking lot. Was that him last night, or was her mind playing tricks on her?
“No. I’m only in town for a few days.”
“Oh.” Emily moved down to the pickup counter. Anthony followed her. Emily’s skin prickled. She was attracted to him, she couldn’t deny it, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that if he didn’t leave soon her entire life was going to change.
Not that change was necessarily a bad thing at this point, but the prospect was still frightening. The last time her life had changed, she’d lost everything.
The espresso machine whistled. Emily fidgeted. “I’m on break from work,” she said to fill the silence between them. “Are you in town for a conference or something?” She couldn’t imagine he was here on vacation. This wasn’t exactly a prime tourist spot.
“No. Just passing through. I’m meeting up with family a little south of here.”
“Why are you in town for a couple days then? If you’re just passing through, I mean.”
Stop talking, Emily
. It was none of her business why he was staying a couple days instead of immediately pushing on.
“Thought I’d stop to see the sights,” Anthony said. His expression looked strangely sincere.
“The sights in Seattle?”
“It doesn’t look it, but Seattle is home to great beauty.”
He was looking at her too intensely. Emily shivered. “I wouldn’t know about that,” she said. “But I’m pretty new here myself. I just moved out this year.”
Anthony sipped his coffee, but his eyes never stopped burning a hole through her forehead. “That explains it, then.”
“That explains what?”
The barista finally called her name and Emily snatched up her drink.
“Why I’ve never seen you before,” Anthony said.
Emily nearly dropped her drink. She steadied it in her hands and held it close to her chest. “It’s a big city. You probably haven’t seen most people in it.”
“But I would have seen you.”
She had to get out. That sense of impending change was twisting her stomach. Anthony was crazy. That was the only clear explanation for how obviously smitten he was with her. No one fell head over heels for Emily. There was nothing interesting enough about her for that.
“I have to go,” Emily said. She spun around and walked briskly out of the coffee shop. Her office was across the street. She convinced herself that if she reached the door and walked inside, she’d be free of him. But Emily hesitated when she reached the glass doors to her office building. She stole a look over her shoulder.
He was still standing there outside the coffeehouse, watching her. He gave her a slow smile that threatened to fill her stomach with butterflies.
Emily rushed into her office. There would be no more changing for her.
Anthony leaned against the cool wall of the coffeehouse and planned his next move.
, his better senses told him. He’d talked to her now. He’d barely been able to sense the pain that radiated off of her in the coffeehouse, but it was still there, like a razor under the surface waiting to slice the unwary.
It was no business of his. Emily hadn’t seemed all that fragile when he’d talked to her. She didn’t look like a woman dying of a mortal wound. She would do better if he left her alone.
He’d see her one more time, and then he would leave. He couldn’t stay here watching her forever. He would leave tonight, as soon as he saw that she got home from work.