Someone should have warned me what riding a bear was really like. Despite his size, Mahon sprinted through the woods faster than a galloping horse, to the point that I was clutching on to his thick fur like I was holding on for dear life… which was not far from the truth.
Fortunately, it only took us a few minutes to get back to Callum’s place.
I loved riding on Mahon’s back and the adrenaline rush was incredible, yet I felt way more in control with my feet firmly on the ground.
“Is he always this fast?” I muttered as I tried to steady myself after I dismounted Mahon and watched as he transformed back into my naked god of a mate.
The way Callum turned his eyes upwards with annoyance made me chuckle. “He was showing off, really. But yes, bears can be very fast at short distances. We can easily run twice as fast as an Olympic sprinter, more than forty miles per hour. But endurance is not our thing- that’s why we go for fast attacks and then we count on our strength.”
My eyes nearly popped out listening to him- I never had bears for sprinters but Mahon certainly proved me wrong just now.
“Remind me never to try to outrun you then.”
“I thought we already sorted that out, Flame,” Callum whispered wickedly in my ear as he stood behind me, his muscular hand resting on my butt, and the air suddenly got ten degrees hotter.
I turned around to face him, pushing myself on my toes to be at his eye level. “Oh, we did. But you know what they say, practice makes perfect.” My shoulders lifted as I gave him an innocent shrug, then cheekily stuck my tongue out, grabbed my bag and hurried to enter the house before things got out of hand.
His home was beautiful, now that I had the time to look at it without some scantily-clad skank trying to get her hands on my man. The whole place had such a Callum-vibe to it- it was elegant and sophisticated but in a very subtle, down-to-earth way. The living room was spacious and tasteful, with wooden furniture and beige-coloured sofas and curtains. There was a bar at the back of the room, and a grand stone fireplace that made the place even cosier. On the other side of the floor was a beautiful dining room with the wooden open-space kitchen next to it. Much like in the guest cabin, the bedrooms were situated on the second floor.
However, my favourite part was the breathtaking view out of the windows, overseeing the whole sleuth below and the surrounding forest. No wonder that the Alpha’s cabin was the king of the hill- nothing could beat its location.
“I’m going to get some clothes from upstairs and I’ll show you around the cabin after,” Callum said as he walked by and kissed me.
Little did he know that I was never good at following instructions, so I started my own exploration of the place- until a weird smell tickled my senses. Yet, I couldn’t determine any cause of it inside the cabin.
Blimey, how strong must it be for me to catch a whiff of it from all the way outside?
Then, the sound of footsteps in the distance caught my attention. The creaks and cracks coming from the wooden steps that led to the veranda were barely noticeable, but I could clearly hear them.
My curiosity got the better of me, so I opened the door to check out what was going on, just to be greeted by a huge, muscly guy covered in tattoos and wearing nothing but a pair of shorts.
“What do we have here? It’s nice to finally meet you, Scarlett,” the stranger said with a gruff voice, bearing the same mischievous smile that Callum did when he was up to something.
“I’m sorry, do I know you?”
“Ah, sorry, where are my manners! Jack Reid, Callum’s professional other half,” he chortled, and I wondered whether all bears were so witty and smug like Callum and Jack.
“It’s nice to meet you, Jack. Callum is just grabbing something from the room and he will be right back. I assume it’s him that you are looking for.”
“In fact, my mate Mara and I came to bring you some breakfast. Traditional bear food.”
As if out of thin air, he produced a large plate with a whole raw fish on it, solving the mystery of the strange smell, and grinned.
“Oh, thank you,” I nodded courteously, even if there was a bit of hesitation on my side. Fish for breakfast seemed like an odd choice. “I’ll take it inside to cook it later.”
“No, no, no need. The bear way is to eat it raw, straight out of the plate. It goes great with some fresh coffee.”
He was pulling my leg, right? Surely, that wasn’t really a thing. Then again, I knew nothing about bear shifters- or shifters in general- so how could I possibly dismiss what he was telling me. I didn’t want to seem contemptuous of their way of life, especially if I was going to become their Luna some dau. However, eating raw fish like that was definitely going to take some getting used to it.
“Erm, right. I’ll go get some plates and cutlery then.”
I turned on my heels and grabbed the door to open it until another voice interrupted the silence on the veranda.
“Jack Reid! How dare you pull a prank like that on our future Luna? I told you already at home that it was not going to be funny, and it’s still not!”
Immediately, I swirled around to find out who was the person who had the balls to scowl the mountain of a man that was Callum’s Beta and was surprised to find a stunning, petite girl with mesmerizing eyes and plump lips. He towered over her, being nearly twice her size, once she finally joined him but I knew from the way he looked at her adoringly that she was the boss.
She stretched out her hand and, encouraged by her friendly smile, I took it. “I’m so sorry for my mate, Luna. He really is just a big kid in a gigantic body. But he becomes a lot more tolerable when he dares to use his brain.” It was quite amusing to watch how Jack’s smug grin was quickly replaced by a guilty face under the glare of his mate.
“Don’t you baby me, Jack. You might be our Beta but I am your mate, so it’s my right to call out your bullshit whenever you screw up.”
Jack lowered his head in shame before he shifted his apologetic gaze to me. “I’m sorry, Luna. It was just a joke as a payback to Callum for waking me up so early this morning. I hope you’ll forgive me.”
Now I felt bad for the guy. Sure, he pulled a prank on me but it was actually funny, and I should have known better to have fallen for it.
“Nothing to worry about, Jack,” I smiled at him and was happy to be greeted by Jack and Mara’s happy faces in turn. “And please, call me Scarlett- I am not really the Luna.”
“For now,” Mara winked at me.
Behind me, the door groaned shut and my handsome mate emerged fully clothed, much to my relief. Still, the jeans and tight fitted t-shirt that he was wearing only reminded me of the mouth-watering body that hid beneath the material.
“What’s with all the commotion here?” He gave me a peck on the cheek, slid his hand into my back pocket, and looked around. Unsurprisingly, his eyes almost immediately zoomed in on the plate that I was holding. “Do I want to know why you have a raw fish there?”
“Long story.” I left it at that while I gave Jack a knowing glance.
“Right. So what did we owe the pleasure to, Jack, Mara?”
“We thought you two could do with some breakfast, Alpha,” his Beta’s mate replied as she brought out a heavy-looking picnic basket. “I hope you are hungry.”
Within seconds, the huge table on the veranda was covered with plates full of food. Pancakes, croissants, muffins. Sausages, hash browns, and even haggis. Mara- because Jack didn’t strike me like the kind of man who would come up with all of that- had thought of everything, from honey and jams to fruits and freshly squeezed orange juice.
“Wow, Mara, this is amazing.” My voice was shaky with emotion because I was touched by her kindness and her warm welcome. “I can’t thank you enough for all your effort and thoughtfulness.”
“Anything for our future Luna,” she grinned.
“There is so much food though, you and Jack absolutely have to join us. Right, Callum?”
“Great, so it’s decided. I will just go to put the fish away, and I’ll bring us all some coffee.”
“How did I get so lucky?” My mate mumbled as he kissed me on the forehead, while Jack and Mara took their places at the table.
“Thank the Sun Goddess, I guess.”
“Oh, I will- every day.” He chuckled. “You’ll find mugs in the cupboard, and the coffee machine is pretty standard. I think we all have it black, except for Jack- he likes to have a spoon of sugar in his.”
I headed to the kitchen with all the information in mind, safely storing the fish in the fridge before I rummaged through the cupboards to grab the mugs. Once the coffee was ready, I poured the dark-brown liquid into the cups before turning my attention to the sugar. The moment that my eyes landed on the pack I needed, a wicked idea was born in my head.
With the drinks sorted, I joined the others a few minutes later, ensuring everyone had a coffee at hand.
“This is a great welcome; thank you both so much again,” I reiterated my gratitude as we all raised our mugs for a mini toast. “To the Highland Sleuth.”
“Here, here,” three voices spoke in unison before we took a sip of our drinks and tucked into the food.
As we munched away, I couldn’t help but throw a cheeky look at Jack every now and then, especially as he continued to drink his salty coffee, trying his best to maintain his cool composure.
“How is the coffee, Jack? I hope I made it according to your taste,” I smirked, not wanting to give anything away to the other.
“Perfect. Just how I love it.” He cleared his throat and downed the rest of the liquid, placing his mug back on the table. When his eyes met mine, he smiled widely and continued. “I can already tell that we will be great friends, Scarlett.”
And just like that, I’d won the approval of Callum’s right-hand man.
Well done, Scar! One down, many more to go...
What do you all think of Jack and Mara? Did Scar handle the Beta’s prankster ways well?
And, btw, who knew that bears are so damn fast? 🤔Those are real-life facts in there. Never try to outrun a bear, boys and girls- unless it’s a shifter and you are looking for some spanking 😉
Time to meet the rest of the sleuth next, including Catriona and Fergus. And that traitor is still lurking somewhere!
See you back next week, lovelies! Enjoy the weekend in the meantime.
p.s. Here is how I imagine Jack and Mara (as usual, pics are not my own and are just to share my vision of the characters with you :) )