Story Excerpt
The Bear Naked Truth

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Harvey Colton was so bored he wanted to gouge his eyes out just to create a little excitement. They hadn't been on the road forever, but it sure as hell felt like it. Two weeks in the cab of a truck, with only a few nights spent in an actual motel, did not make for a happy bear.

He knew this was a bad idea when he left King City, but he refused to let his baby brother go out into the world alone, and Rob's goofy friends didn't count. Jed, Billy Ray, and Dwayne were loyal friends, but they were just as much trouble as Rob.

The latest chaos was a prime example. Harvey fully understood protecting one's mate, but his brother couldn't just claim his mate and live happily ever after. Somehow, in claiming Casey Newton, Rob had ended up mated to an omega, which turned him into an alpha bear, and that got him banished from their clan.

Rob never could do things the simple way.

Deciding to tag along had three purposes for Harvey. Someone needed to keep an eye on Rob, Rob's mate, and Rob's friends. They might technically be old enough to move out on their own—barely—but they had no idea of what was out there in the big, bad world.

Harvey did.

It also allowed Harvey to leave King city. There was no way in hell he was going to stick around someplace where any member of his family wasn't welcome. He had been feeling the urge to move away from King City since he had returned on leave from his tour of duty in the service. This just kind of upped his timeline.

And lastly, and maybe most importantly, it allowed Harvey time with his mate.

Harvey glanced over at his mate, who was currently driving the truck they were in. It didn't help his already rotten mood any that said mate was refusing to even acknowledge he was breathing.

"Are you ever going to say anything to me?" he asked.

Dwayne's answer was instant. "No."

Harvey rolled his eyes. His mate was such a stubborn ass. Dwayne had been avoiding him since he came home from his tour of duty abroad not long before they left town. The man wouldn't say more than a few words to him, and if he did, it usually involved telling him to go fuck himself. Dwayne was actually getting quite creative in the different ways he told Harvey to "fuck off".

His mate was also as sexy as hell and Harvey had been fighting his bear to keep from pouncing on the guy. There was an understated masculine beauty to the man that pushed every one of Harvey's buttons. The man's natural scent—honey and fresh berries—was better than any cologne could ever be.

From the sunlight blond hair that hung around his heart shaped face like a halo to eyes so deeply blue they reminded Harvey of the Mediterranean Sea, Dwayne was beautiful. The slick muscular chest Harvey had glimpsed a handful of times, the long solid thighs, and the shoulders that squared up Dwayne's six foot two frame made him perfect in Harvey's eyes.

Now, if he could just get Dwayne to talk to him, he might get a chance to find out if the handsome man felt as good as he looked. Dwayne had steadfastly refused to have anything to do with him since he came back from his tour of service, going as far as leaving the room if he walked into it. Heaven forbid Harvey actually try to have a conversation with the man.

The only reason they were even in the same vehicle was because Harvey didn't have one and the others were full. He was pretty sure Dwayne would have happily dumped him on the side of the road if he could have gotten away with it.

"You can't ignore me forever, you know."

"Watch me," Dwayne replied without even looking in Harvey's direction.

Harvey heaved an audible breath and stretched his feet out as far as they would go. He was glad his mate had a big truck or there would be no leg room. Scooting a little to the side, Harvey angled himself so he had an unrestricted view of Dwayne.

He stared.


God, his mate was gorgeous.

Dwayne shot him a look. "What are you doing?"

"Admiring the view."

A small wrinkle appeared between Dwayne's deep blue eyes. "Well, don't."

Harvey snorted. Like not looking at Dwayne was even a possibility. He had been looking for awhile now. Harvey had shifted for the first time when he was twelve years old, earlier than most. Dwayne had shifted three years later.

He'd known then that there was something special about Dwayne, but it wasn't until the man fully transitioned a year ago that Harvey truly understood his fascination with the gorgeous man. And it was the mistakes he made with that knowledge that kept the solid wall of ice between them now.

He couldn't say he wouldn't repeat them. He was a man after all. They were known to fuck up from time to time. "I'd do it again, Dwayne."

Dwayne's only response was the tightening of his jaw.

"No matter how much you hate it, you know I made the right decision." Denying his mate had been the hardest thing he had ever done, but he'd do it again in a heartbeat if it meant keeping Dwayne safe.

Dwayne shot him a look filled with more anger and sadness than any man should bear. "It should have been our decision to make, but you took that away from me, from us."

"I couldn't claim you then and you know it."

"Well, you can't claim me now either."

Harvey growled. He'd be damned if he would be denied what the fates had given him. He had worked too hard to make sure Dwayne was safe to give him up now. "Do you really think when it comes down to it, your bear is going to deny me?"

Dwayne's eyes were glacial. "My bear does not control me."

Harvey felt something deep inside of him clench in protest. "You're not refusing your bear, are you?" They couldn't do that. Their bears were an integral part of them. Denying one's bear was the same as denying their ability to breathe.

"Just you never mind about my bear."


"I told you, I'm fine!" Dwayne snapped. "Now, drop it."

Harvey did something he did with very few people. He pressed his lips together and didn't say what was on his mind, which was probably a good thing. He wanted to shout at Dwayne and that wouldn't win him any points.

"Any idea where we're headed?"


Harvey rolled his eyes again. He had to give it to his mate. Dwayne was persistent. Unfortunately, he was persistent at being an ass. "We've been on the road for two weeks. You'd think we'd find a suitable spot at some point."

"I don't think it's easy to find territory that isn't already claimed."

That was true.