Read Eric's Edge Online

Authors: Holley Trent

Tags: #werebear, #bear shifter, #shapeshifter romance, #psychic, #private eye, #private investigator

Eric's Edge


Maria Weisz has always been Shrew & Company’s most easygoing investigator and the sisterhood relies on her soothing empathy during times of stress. The Shrews have no idea, though, that Maria’s outward calm disguises long-simmering turmoil.


For years, she’s relied on her secret lover Eric Falk to chase away her demons, but he’s tired of an outlet for her anger. He’s ready to call it quits; however, when his alpha and Maria’s boss make them partner up to fetch a couple of kidnapped Bear shifter kids, he has no choice but to reevaluate a commitment.


With unsettling revelations about Maria’s nomadic childhood surfacing and the formerly mellow Eric becoming a Bear with power that rivals his alpha, she’s desperate to shut him out. Although he claims he loves her in spite of her hang-ups, she’s used to the people who claim to love her lying to her. A Shrew and a Bear might make a formidable duo both on the job and off, but Maria can’t trust giving him her heart.



Maria Weisz didn’t
to kill anyone, but if she had to, she would, and probably wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. Most people wouldn’t admit that about themselves, but it made Maria good at her job. She wouldn’t make much of a private investigator if she wasn’t prepared to act swiftly and severely when she needed to.

As she sat in the passenger seat of her rental car, slumped low and watching the spectacle ten yards up the sidewalk, she pondered if she’d choose tidy or messy—if she’d put her hands to the idiot’s neck and squeeze until his eyes bulged or put a bullet into him from a distance. Either way, he’d get what he deserved.

That arm he yanked belonged to a child, and that boy couldn’t fight back against someone three times his weight.

Maria could fight that someone, though. In fact, she’d be happy to. She’d been in dire need of an outlet for her darkness, anyway.

Her fingers flexed around the door handle, and her other hand pressed against the seat to brace her.

Fat tears rolled down the boy’s cheeks.

Maybe I’ll give the guy a punch for every tear.

Her thumb depressed the seatbelt buckle, and the door creaked open.

He shouldn’t have the boy if that’s how he’s going to treat him. Why does he have him?

Her bare foot was on the ground and fingers curling into fists when the manager ran out of the store into the fray.

He shouted, “What the fuck are you doing? Let go of that kid. I already called the cops, so don’t try me, dude.”

“Why don’t you mind your own business, bub?”

Maybe Maria’s eyes were playing tricks on her, but she would have bet that ogre tightened his grip around the boy’s forearm—tight enough to bruise.

No one would miss him if I took him out.

“Why don’t you mind your mouth?” The manager said, his stance cocky and the jut of his chin aggressive. “That is, unless you want me to pop you in it like I just saw you do to that kid.”

The ogre let go of the kid only to charge the manager, who—thank the gods—didn’t back down.

He kept his chin high, eyes narrowed, and arms crossed over his chest as the guy screamed in his face. “Go on,” he said. “Keep screaming, ya dumb shit. Go on and scream. Hit me if you want. Go ahead so we can be doubly sure you’ll end up in a cell somewhere tonight.”

A crowd gathered around them, and someone pulled the crying boy back.

“Go on,” the manager goaded. “Go on and hit me, motherfucker. You know you want to in front of all these witnesses. Go on and show them what you’re capable of. I bet it’d make you feel a lot better, huh? Take it out on someone your own size.”

And it looked like the guy was going to do it. He balled his hand into a fist and pulled it back, but the flashing lights from a police cruiser broke his intense stare from the manager.

The blue-and-red lights put an eerie glow inside Maria’s darkened rental car, and the police presence thinned the crowd. A few onlookers hung back—likely the few diehard bleeding hearts who wanted to make sure the police got accurate statements—but most probably felt their job was done.

The pair of cops stepped into the group, and though Maria could no longer see what was happening, she settled into her seat. She was assured that the kid would be safe, at least for the night, if those cops did their job.

Her years as a caseworker had taught her that more often than not, law enforcement did the best it could for kids in domestic violence situations, but sometimes they were too slow. Sometimes kids slipped through the cracks. Sometimes parents didn’t have any respect for authority, and they lashed out at the people helping their children. Sometimes, they hurt them the same way they hurt their kids.

She put her seatbelt on and closed her door as her partner for the evening emerged from the drugstore and returned to the car.

Eric stuffed the bag down onto the floorboard beside Maria’s feet and stabbed the key into the ignition.

“What’s going on out here?” he asked. “The manager brought a cash drawer up to the register and then ran out before the cashier could install it.”

“Get me out of here,” she said softly, and left the rest unsaid.
Get me out of here before I hurt him
Get me out of here before I expose what I am to these people.

She was a monster. Maybe she fought for the good side, but when she lost control, she didn’t dispense her punishment fairly or evenly. She went into blind rages and sometimes didn’t stop hitting—wouldn’t stop
—until someone pulled her away. That was one of the reasons her boss, Dana, never let Maria work without a partner. That, and Maria just wasn’t a very good fighter unless she was provoked—unless she got angry—and she simply didn’t have enough triggers. Kids being hurt was one, and the news was full of those lately.

“Any particular place this time, or is it up to me?” Eric pushed his auburn hair behind his ears and looked at her intently.

She turned away from him and shrugged. “Doesn’t matter as long as it’s clean and discreet.”

“Same place as last time?”


It didn’t really matter which motel they fucked at as long as no one saw them there. She didn’t want to explain herself to her friends and coworkers—the women at the Shrew & Company Investigation Agency. She certainly didn’t want to have to explain herself to her partner Astrid, who happened to be Eric’s sister.

Maria had been hooking up with Eric Falk for
—long before the Shrews found themselves in a series of entanglements that put them smack dab in the middle of a shapeshifter war in western North Carolina. Dana was married to a Catamount who’d been changed against his will, and her involvement with Patrick had tied Dana and her girls into other skirmishes related to the Cat drama, namely that of the Bears. They’d been trying to neutralize the Bear alpha Gene for well over a year and to install the rightful alpha Bryan Ridge in his place. And that was another
situation for sure, because their Shrew Tamara had turned out to be Bryan’s mate…and a Bear herself. Of course the Shrews were entangled, and now Maria was fucking a Bear. Eric hadn’t started as a Bear, though. That had happened a few months ago. Gene sent his enforcers out to make trouble, and Eric had been an easy target.

He wasn’t so easy anymore.

Eric got the car moving and reached to turn on the radio.

Maria grabbed his wrist. “No music tonight, okay? I just…”

Can’t stand the noise.

She shook her head and dropped his hand. “Please.”

“All right.” He drove in silence for a while, smoothly changing lanes and navigating with purpose. He knew where they were going, even if she didn’t. Her vision was unfixed, her focus shot.

“I wish you’d talk to me.” He glanced over at her. His warm, dark eyes seemed to be searching her for any clue about what was bothering her
this time
, but she never shared. They had a system, and he knew it. She’d call or text and use their code.
. It meant nothing to anyone else, but Eric would know it meant
I want to be fucked until I can’t think

He always showed up at their meeting place in a discreet vehicle no one could track back to either of them and didn’t ask any questions.

She suspected he was growing weary of the rendezvous, even if he didn’t say it. She could tell. Years ago, along with Astrid and the other Shrews, she’d been a victim of a research study—a drug trial that altered her DNA in irreversible ways. In simple terms, she was a mutant. That study had almost killed her, but having survived it, she wasn’t quite human on the inside anymore. She was stronger than any average man, had more acute vision, and was faster than any person on
record, though certainly, other Shrews were quicker. With that physical stuff came the psychic weirdness, too. She could see auras and read moods.

“An empath,” her hippie mother called her, and Ma was so proud. She thought her daughter being weird in a whole new way was a good thing, but Ma didn’t know about the side effects. She had no idea about the dark thoughts and the rage Maria had once been able to breathe away through meditation. If she’d known, she’d been disappointed. Maria was supposed to be above that sort of negativity. She certainly wasn’t supposed to internalize it—to consume it and let it sit in her body like poisonous mercury or something.

Eric didn’t say anything else, not even after he parked in the shadows behind the motel they sometimes frequented.

As always, she waited in the car until he’d checked in and came out to fetch her. They always chose a motel that had rooms with outside doors so she wouldn’t have to walk through the lobby and possibly be caught on camera.

She opened her door and put up her hood, stuffing her curly hair inside and tightening the drawstring.

Once again she put one bare foot on the ground, then the other, grabbed the bag of condoms from the floorboard, and slammed the door.

“Downstairs this time.” Eric canted his head toward the middle of the row of rooms. “I told him I needed quiet, and there’s no one on either side of that one.”

So no one would hear the headboard rattling against the wall.

She nodded and followed.

And as always, there was no speaking when they stepped into the room. Eric didn’t even turn on the light. He heeled off his sneakers as he closed the curtains, and Maria pulled her loose shirt over her head.

She had no holster to deal with because unlike the other Shrews, she didn’t carry when she was off the clock, and she didn’t have a bra to worry about either because she simply didn’t wear them. Didn’t see the point of wearing them.

She dropped her skirt and her panties along with it, and waited for the ripping of paper and crinkling of foil before she moved on to the bed.

She didn’t know if it’d be a one-condom or a two-condom kind of night. That all depended on how gentle Eric was. He was always too gentle, even when he was rough.

He found her in the dark and pushed her onto the bed, pulling her arms behind her back and holding them tightly against her spine.

She savored the burn in her shoulders—the delicious pain that chased back the obsessive thoughts—and the sting of her skin as his palm came down on her ass again and again.

She didn’t cry out, didn’t moan. Just breathed and tasted the pain. Wished he’d swat her harder and help her chase those destructive thoughts away.

He pressed his hand over her sex and rubbed it roughly, flicking at her clit and stuffing large fingers into her repeatedly.

“You’re not going to break me,” she said.

He was always holding back, especially since he’d become a Bear. He wasn’t going to hurt her. She wasn’t indestructible, but whatever he did to her in the throes of passion would certainly heal by morning.

A low growl rattled in his chest, and he yanked her hips and picked her up. He dropped her onto the bed tits-down and pulled her back to him.

He kept her hands pressed against the small of her back and pushed the head of his cock against her ass.

“Go ahead, Eric.”

The familiar click of a lube lid being popped open reached her ears, and her brain processed it the same time the warm slick drizzled between her cheeks.

He rubbed the liquid between her legs and into her ass, not bothering to stretch her, but she never wanted the foreplay. She wanted the sensation all at once—the pressure, the pain, the fear that maybe it was too much.

It never was, though.

Hissing, he pushed into her in one slow, easy stroke—likely more for his sake than her own—and even through the pain of being breached without foreplay, she bore down on him.

More. Give me more. Don’t wait.

He kept one hand on her wrists and the other on her right hip, and started thrusting, first slowly and with shallow movements, and then faster, harder, deeper.

His breath came out in a ragged rattle as the cheap headboard tapped against the wall and the fronts of his thighs smacked against her ass.

Her fingers curled into the air and mouth opened for her to draw in breath, and she welcomed that mental blankness—the place where she couldn’t think about anything except the burn in her ass and how he was ignoring her cunt and how she wished he had more hands. Or maybe some rope. He could tie her down so he could use the hand on her wrists for other things.

He pushed her flat onto the bed and put her hands over her head.

“Put your hands under your forehead and keep your face against the covers,” he said.

And she did so quickly, afraid he’d stop thrusting.

She had less air now, and the oxygen deprivation added to the blurring of thoughts in her mind—the whitewashing of her anger. With his fucking her ass, and the rub of her nipples against the rough comforter and her throbbing clit rasping against the bed with each thrust, it was almost too much.

too much, but for the moment, it was enough.

,” she whispered like some sort of refrain, and her pussy clenched around nothing in orgasm and powerful tingles lashed from her sex up her spine and down her legs.

And then he yanked her back again, and she kept coming as he thrust into her, growling that way angry bears did when someone got too close to them and they were near their breaking points.

…this…anymore…” he growled out, and his fingers dug deep into the meat of her ass as his cock shuddered inside her.

Then he pulled out of her, pushed her down onto her belly, and padded to the bathroom.

The light he turned on reached the bed, and she pulled a pillow over her head, body exposed and used up, and her not caring a bit.

The sex made it easier for her not to care.

He ran water in the sink, and moments later sank onto the edge of the bed. “I’m serious, Maria. We’re not doing this anymore.”

She sighed and lifted a corner of the pillow to look at him, but he was facing the dresser, not her. “You can’t mean that.”

“I do.”

“Well. Okay. I figured you would when you were ready to date someone.”

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