Read Unbound Online

Authors: Elle Thorne

Tags: #Fiction, #Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Paranormal, #Coming of Age

Unbound

Unbound
Elle Thorne
Barbed Borders Press
ABOUT THE STORY

G
lory Aleman is bound

…bound to her duties, and bound by ancient law. She’s pledged to a shifter of another family to keep old bloodlines alive.

Dane Forester has been anything but bound…

He’s a freewheeling, sexy, successful, movie star who uses every role and every woman to escape and forget the heartbreak he left in Woodland Creek.

Great, right?

Sure, right up until a will-reading brings him back to Woodland Creek, and back to that which he never really escaped.

Again, no problem, right?

Oh-so-very wrong. Glory’s bound to another man, slated to become his in less than a month.

This was the role Dane Forester was meant for. He better not choke.

E
njoy
!

A spin off, standalone novella of Shifters Forever that takes place in Woodland Creek, a place teeming with shifters!

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1

D
ane Forester leapt
out of the military helicopter, spun midair and seized the rope dangling from a second identical helicopter. Hanging from the second one, sweat dripping down his forehead, he kept his eyes trained on the distance.

He waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

When the fuck is he going to call it?

Finally, the director yelled, “Cut!” The megaphone booming the sound so loudly it resonated in his mind.

Shifter hearing is way too damned sensitive for this shit.

Dane let go of the rope, jumped to the ground.

He looked to the director for a nod that the scene would work and he didn’t have to repeat the entire ordeal.

The director looked at a computer screen, pursed his lips, looked up at Dane, frowned, pursed them even more, and then cocked his head. “It’s beyond me how you do those stunts so damned well and usually on the first take.”

“Luck,” Dane smiled the practiced smile his publicist was convinced got him most of his roles. “Are we done?”

“It’s a wrap.”

Dane wondered if he could slip away without catching anyone’s eye. He headed toward his trailer, where he had a change of clothes, a ball cap, and some dark sunglasses. If he could escape—

“Dane.”

He turned toward the voice and frowned when he saw his agent. “What are you doing here?”
Damn, hope he’s not here with another role. I was hoping for a long break.

“Nice to see you too.” His agent crabbed right back with a forgiving smile. “You’re not answering your phone.”

“Yeah, well, I was jumping from helicopter to helicopter and dangling midair.” He instantly regretted saying that when he saw the expression that crossed his agent’s face. Dane raised a hand, preempting the words he already knew his oldest human friend in Hollywood was going to say. “I know how you feel about it. I won’t quit doing my own stunts.”

“I’m not going to preach, don’t worry. You had a call at the office. I didn’t want to give your number out, even though she said she was related to you. There are too many kooks out there.”

Curiosity made Dane’s eyebrow quirk upward. Stan wasn’t moved to call Dane for any random story. It had to be a good one, or at least one he’d fact checked. “Who was it?”

“The caller ID said the last name was Forester, but still, could have been a crazed fan.”

Stan was one of the very few who knew Dane Snow was only his stage name. That he was Dane Forester on all his paperwork. Stan had kept his secret for more than a decade.

“Right. I get that. What did they want? You wouldn’t drive all the way out here if it wasn’t legit and a damned good reason.”

“Her name was Mae Forester. She said your uncle had died. That there is a will-hearing.”

Mae Forester. Dane hadn’t heard or thought of her name in more than a decade. Maybe a decade and a half.

Mae Forester had been mated to one of Dane’s uncles. Brad Forester. Brad and Dane’s brother Greg had been killed by other shifters.

Dane had been sent to stay with a third uncle in Woodland Creek, Frank. So Uncle Frank had died? A surge of shame passed through him. Dane hadn’t kept up with Uncle Frank. Not after he’d been sent away from Woodland Creek.

“I’ll call Mae.”
Later.
“If she calls back give her my number.”

Woodland Creek.
The very name brought back a monsoon of emotions and memories he’d tried to leave behind.

Red hair and cheeks that blushed too easily came to mind when he thought of Woodland Creek. Also, full lips, full hips, and a sassy attitude.

Glory.

He hadn’t wanted to think of her name because it brought back the searing pain.

Their shared time together had been unforgettable. Losing it had catapulted a headstrong young Dane to pursue a life that encompassed pretending to be everything he wasn’t.

And then one day, it was too late. He couldn’t fix what was undone. And he couldn’t go back and get revenge. He had no rights, not where she was concerned.

“I’m done for the day,” he told Stan. “I won’t be reachable.” He’d take a drive to the mountains, shift into his leopard and do some exploring. And hiding.

He slipped into his trailer.

He paused.

Something…

He let his snow leopard senses concentrate because something was making his feline’s alarms go off. The hair on the back of his neck rose.

A pulse, definitely human, came from somewhere within the trailer.

No.

Make that two pulses.

Female pulses judging from the speed.

He took a deep breath, let the aromas in the air sit on his lungs while his snow leopard analyzed them.

Female pheromones. Two females, aroused. Somewhere in the trailer?

What the fuck?

Dane had seen a lot in his years in Hollywood. Hell, he’d experienced a lot, and nothing much could surprise him anymore. He opened the door to the closet in the living area.

Empty, except for the stuff that belonged. Nothing out of place, and nothing that looked like it would give off the scent of females in lust.

He moved forward. The trailer had three rooms. One larger one that he slept in and two that had bedroom furniture but remained unused.

A low moan sounded from behind the nearest closed door. The smallest bedroom.

Did a couple decide to get it on while he was out?

He opened the door, ready to shoo the amorous ones from his trailer.

“Dane!”

A blond head rose from its position between another woman’s legs. It was his co-star, Ashley. She was naked, kneeling in front of a pair of legs that were as open as a pair of legs could get. Her hands were placed one each side of a completely clean shaven light pink pussy, spreading the lips wide, the deep pink center glistening and winking.

Dane tore his gaze from the sight to Ashley’s face. Her lips were moist, covered with the juices she’d just raised her head from. Her eyes were glazed, sex glazed or drug glazed, or both.

“I want you to meet my new friend, Dane. She’s ours.”

Ours?

Dane and Ashley had indulged in occasional sexual acrobatics. Ashley’s appetite was insatiable and her adherence to not getting emotional appealed to him because he had no interested in anything more than sex when it came to women.

But as to her statement that the woman splayed out, spread-legged on the bed, being theirs…
where did that come from?

“Looks like you’ve already started the party,” he pointed out, finding himself strangely disinterested. Typically, the vision of two girls, both naked, both wet… because yes, he could scent how wet Ashley was…

But oddly now, he wasn’t moved by it. Not even the tiniest of twitches from his cock.

Fuck. He’d almost be tempted to see a doctor for a condition like this, except he knew exactly what was wrong with him.

Glory.

2


A
ren’t you excited
?”

“This will be the bonding of the century.”

Why should I be excited?

Glory Aleman couldn’t voice that question. Not aloud. Her cousins would be aghast. Her upcoming bonding with the eldest son of the prestigious Moore shifters was an honor for her family. And it would preserve and strengthen a treaty between the Aleman shifter families and the Moore shifter families.

She had no interest in the bonding. For years she’d been able to pretend it would never happen. That the slated date would never arrive.

Now it’s less than a week away.

Six days, four hours, and thirty seven minutes.

Who knew the precise countdown to something?

People who dreaded it. That’s who.

Her cousins had traveled several thousand miles to help with the upcoming ceremony. They were younger and quite enamored with Perry Moore. Glory understood their fascination with him. He wasn’t bad looking. Not at all.

Mary, Glory’s third cousin removed, braided Glory’s long red locks while her sister Sara painted Glory’s toenails.

“Perry,” Sara said with a sigh. “He’s so dreamy. He’s the most handsome of the Moore ivy shifters.”

“And to think, he’s all yours,” Mary added.

“To think,” Glory said and pushed away the grimace that threatened to make its appearance.

“Your parents were so wise to plan that bonding so early. Especially since…” Mary’s voice drifted away.

Her unspoken words pierced Glory’s heart with the ever familiar stab of pain when she thought of her parents.

She’d lived alone in their home, stayed here, bound by duty and bound by the roots of being an ivy shifter. Her extended family hadn’t stopped her from staying in her parents’ home, though she knew after the bonding ceremony she’d have to move to wherever Perry Moore wanted to live.

“There.” Mary secured Glory’s braid with a bow and clapped her hands with a flourish, as if completing some major assignment.

Yes, Glory’s parents had been wise to arrange her bonding with Perry. And he seemed very handsome in the pictures she’d seen of him, though there was a glint in his eyes that she hoped she was misreading.

“Want to look online for a new wardrobe?” Sara pressed the power button on the computer.

“What’s wrong with the wardrobe I have?”

Sara laughed, then caught the expression on Glory’s face, realized that she was serious, and clapped her hand over her mouth. “I’m sorry. I thought you were kidding,” she mumbled behind her fingers.

“Sara’s just saying you will want some new clothing for your mate. That you’ll want to look as good as you can.”

Glory studied herself in the mirror. The braid secured her hair behind her back, though a few unruly curls had made their way out already. Her eyes were too wide, too large, and very green. Her breasts… well, those were too small for the hips she had, she scowled at her shape. More pear than hourglass, with those hips.

I doubt clothes would do anything about that.

She pulled her top down, hoping to hide her shape, but a man came to mind. A light–eyed man with an easy smile that used to make her senses buzz as if she were intoxicated. The same man who’d told her she had a perfect body, a woman’s body, full of curves.

Now she realized, he’d never meant it. If he had, he would’ve never left without a backward glance.

She wished she’d been able to do not looking back thing.

She hadn’t.

She couldn’t.

Her nightly dreams were filled with visions of a man who was so stunningly handsome, he took her breath away.

Every damned night. Every dream. Visions of one man played through her mind. Of course, in her dreams he was eighteen, the age he was the last time she saw him. Now she knew he was much older. More than a decade had passed.

She also knew he was far more handsome than he’d been back then. His younger, less mature face had fulfilled the promise of chiseled, glorious manhood. He was the type dreams were made of.

Of course he was. Dane Snow, the man she’d always known as Dane Forester, had grown up to become Hollywood’s latest heartthrob.

He played in all the latest action movies, the Hollywood magazines said. Doing his own stunts and his own co-stars.

She tried not to let the sting of that get to her. Tried and failed.

Of course, he did. He was a snow leopard shifter. Movie stunts were no big deal to a man with his physical prowess.

What about sex? Was that not a big deal to him either?
Plowing his way through starlets and models?

Fuck him.

And fuck this upcoming bonding bullshit.

No, Glory Aleman, daughter of the ivy shifters was not the least bit excited.

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