Chapter One: Searching for Their Mate
Laila Smithers looked at her camera then up at the eagle perched high in the tree. She has taken several pictures of the magnificent bird, but the dang thing just sits there. Not very exciting.
She smirked when the bird took flight. With a chuckle, she started snapping pictures. The wingspan was wide and beautiful. She got in some good shots before it disappeared into the sky.
A low growl had her spinning around. She almost dropped her camera in her fright but held it tight in her hands. The beautiful grey wolf stared at her. She quickly snapped a few pictures of the wolf. If she’s going to die, at least they can say she captured it on film.
The wolf pounced, and she closed her eyes and turned her head, not wanting to witness her own death.
A loud roar startled her and made her jump.
Laila felt something move past her and sucked in a breath as she opened her eyes and watched a large brown bear take down the wolf. She automatically snapped pictures as the bear and wolf fought.
It was a magnificent scene. She has never seen a bear and wolf in a full-on brawl before. And that was precisely what it was. It reminded her of a bar fight.
A sound came from her right, and she turned to find another brown bear. He walked around her so he could watch the fight between the other bear and wolf. She took a few shots of the new bear then went back to taking pictures of the other bear and the wolf.
The wolf let out a horrible noise, then escaped from the bear and ran off.
“Wow,” she whispered.
The bear turned to her blood dripping from his mouth. Okay, so she probably should have run a long time ago. Because she went from wolf lunch to bear supper. Or maybe a snack since there were two of them.
The bear approached her, and her heart thumped loudly in her chest. She closed her eyes, and her fingers automatically clicked the button on her camera. Closeups were awesome, but she won’t live to see them.
The bear stopped inches from her face, and she could feel its hot breath. She swallowed and tried not to panic.
Should I drop to the ground and play dead? She wondered.
Her father had once told her to do just that if she ever came face to face with a bear. And here she is a bear literally in her face, and she’s standing there her eyes closed her breathing uneven.
The bear sniffed her hair, and she almost squealed. Then the bear did something completely unexpected.
He licked her!
Well, no use playing dead. She thought as she fell to the ground.
“Paxton! What have you done?!”
Paxton looked at his brother. “I couldn’t help it, she smelled so good.”
Not the good where he wanted to eat her luscious body. No, no. The kind of good that made him want to taste her in a totally different way.
“Is she playing dead?” Park asked as he approached the girl.
Paxton nudged her with his nose. “No, she passed out.”
Park grumbled, “I guess it will make it easier to get her out of here,” he said as he shifted back to his human form.
Paxton shifted and watched his brother lift the girl into his arms. “How did Stephaun find out about her?”
Park looked at his twin. They were identical, and no one has ever been able to tell them apart. Only their mother had been able to, and now she and their father are gone.
Many years ago, when they had come of age and were ready to find their mates. A Shaman who was visited their tribe had given them a premonition of how they would find her. They have been searching for a long time. Had thought a couple of times that they had found her, but none of them could tell between Paxton and Park.
They were closer than human twins because of their shifter bond. So, they hadn’t been surprised when the Shaman had told them there was one woman and she will love them both equally.
She will also give them sons who will rule the Shapeshifter world when they are grown. How that prophecy was to come to pass, he would not say.
When Park had seen this girl at a bar a couple of weeks ago, her scent had over-powered him.
‘The scent of a flower will take you under its spell, and you will know you have found your mate.’
The scents of other women they have thought to be the one have been strong but had never knocked them over as this one had. They have been watching her since they had found her, seeing what she was like. And she is a nature lover and takes pictures of everything.
Okay yeah, a bit stalkerish, but fuck it’s been a long time, and they’re getting a bit desperate.
“Grab her camera,” Park said as he started walking.
Paxton picked up the camera and looked through the pictures. He whistled and looked up at Park.
“What should I do with the pictures?”
“Delete the ones of you fighting Stephaun and any close-ups of you.”
“What about the ones of you?” Paxton asked as he started deleting.
Park smiled, “leave one of me and one of you.”
“And the wolf?”
“Delete them...” Park paused and looked at his brother. “Scratch that. Leave the ones of just the wolf. She needs to know what he looks like and know what he will do if he finds her alone again.”
“Right-o,” Paxton said with a nod.
“We need to find out how Stephaun found her,” Park said as he started walking again.
“Right,” Paxton said with a nod.
“We also need to come in contact with her to see if what we feel is the real thing this time.”
Paxton looked at him. “I think the attack today proves that.”
Park snorted. “He just knows that we suspect her you know there is only one way to prove she is the one.”
Paxton nodded, “next time we see her in the bar or at the club.”
“Right,” Park said as he looked down at her, “she sure is prettier than the others.”
Paxton grinned. “How lucky are we, huh, brother?”
Laila opened her eyes and blinked.
Where am I? She wondered as she looked around.
She sat up when she realized where she was. She’s in her bed, at home. How the hell had she gotten here?
My camera! She thought as she moved to get out of bed.
She spotted her camera on her nightstand and breathed a sigh of relief. She picked it up and shuffled through the pictures she’d taken today.
The pictures of the wolf were there. A chill flowed through her body. She won’t be going there again any time soon.
The pictures of the bear and wolf fighting were gone. Had she imagined it? No, it was too vivid of a memory to be her imagination. Then she found the pictures of the bears. But there was only one of each of them.
What happened to her pictures, and how had she gotten home? The last thing she remembered was the one bear sniffing her then licking...
“What the fuck is going on?”
She looked at the two pictures of the bears. They looked identical, except she could see the difference in them.
The one who had stood off to her right was a lighter brown, almost golden the other bear darker more of a pure brown.
She could also see something different in their eyes. The golden bear looked to have a sweeter disposition. While the darker one looked to be more feral, more aggressive.
If they were men, they would be total opposites except for their looks... How the hell would she know that?
“Is she here?” Paxton asked as he and Park looked around the bar.
“No,” Park said with a frown.
“We still have the club to check out,” Paxton said, slapping his brother’s shoulder.
Park nodded, and they turned to leave the bar.
“Oh. No. You. Don’t,” a familiar female’s voice said from behind them.
They both groaned as they turned to her and plastered smiles on their faces.
“Penny,” Paxton said with fake enthusiasm.
She snorted, “don’t you Penny me.”
Park looked from Penny to his brother and back again. “You didn’t,” he said with a groan.
“No, I didn’t,” Paxton said.
“No. But I did,” Penny said as she licked her lips, “and I was promised more.”
“Paxton!” Park said with a growl.
Paxton looked at his brother. “I thought she was the one. She likes both of us...”
“We hadn’t given her the test yet,” Park hissed.
“What test?” Penny asked.
“May as well,” Paxton said with a shrug.
Park rolled his eyes. “Fine,” he said, then walked away.
“Where is he going?” Penny asked as she watched Park walk away.
“To the men’s room, I’ve got to go too. Why don’t you wait for us at the bar?”
She licked her lips again. “All right. But I better be getting some tonight,” she said as she looked at his crotch.
Paxton fought the urge to roll his eyes as he turned to head for the men’s bathroom.
“So, who’s testing her?” Paxton asked when he saw his brother.
“I will since you’ve already almost blown it.”
Paxton laughed, “actually, I did blow it; twice.”
Park groaned and rolled his eyes. “I don’t need to hear about it. You know we’re supposed to stay true to our mate.”
Paxton scoffed, “the Shaman said nothing about oral sex. Besides, that was over a hundred years ago. Did he really expect us to hold back for that long?” He stopped talking and stared at his brother. “No way- You mean- For fuck’s sake Park- It has been a hundred and twenty years...”
“Twenty-two,” Park said.
Paxton threw his hands into the air. “Let’s hope we find her soon. God, your balls must be purple by now.”
Park snorted, “you leave my balls out of this.”
“No women,” Park said, “got easier when porn came into existence.”
Paxton laughed, “let’s find our mate.”
Park nodded, then pulled his shirt over his head and handed it to his brother. Paxton took his brother’s shirt and handed his own over. They smiled at each other as they pulled the shirts over their heads.
“Your shirt looks better on me,” Paxton said with a grin.
Park rolled his eyes. “Fuck off.”
Paxton laughed, “hurry, we need to find our mate you need to get laid.”
Park snorted, then nodded to his brother and walked out of the restroom. He spotted Penny at the bar and walked towards her. He hoped she thought he was Paxton because he has never really liked her. She wore way too much makeup and not enough clothes.
She had been Paxton’s pick. Yeah, she smelled of flowers, all human females do. But her scent was mild. He would have never smelled her if Paxton hadn’t pointed her out to him.
“Hey doll,” Park said, coming up behind Penny and wrapped his arms around her.
“Paxton,” Penny said with a purr as she turned to face him. “Where’s your brother?”
Park smiled, “still in the bathroom. Want to get out of here?”
She grinned, “I’d love to. To tell you the truth, I don’t really like your brother. He’s too goody, goody for my taste. I’d like to keep you all to myself.”
Park frowned. He doesn’t like this woman, but that hurt.
Paxton showed up with a grin on his face and wrapped his arm around Park’s shoulders.
“Did she pass?” He asked.
Park shook his head, and Paxton sighed.
“Sorry, doll,” Paxton said with a frown.
Penny frowned. “What’s going on? I thought you were Paxton,” she said as she pointed at Park.
Park snorted, “no, I’m the goody, goody brother, Park.”
Penny covered her mouth with her hand. “I’m sorry,” she said, then laughed, her cheeks turning bright red. “I can’t tell you two apart!”
Paxton frowned, “yeah, that’s where the problem is.”
Penny looked between them. “Was it something I said or done? I said, I’m sorry.”
The brothers shook their heads. “Sorry, Penny,” they said at the same time, then turned and walked away.
“I’m sorry!” She squealed then stomped her feet in a tantrum.
“Dude. We dodged a bullet with that one,” Paxton said, looking back at Penny, who was still stomping her feet.
“She was your choice,” Park pointed out.
Paxton grinned, “yeah, but she gave great head.”
Park rolled his eyes. “Let’s see if the girl is at the club.”
Laila sat in a booth at her favorite club. Her best friend Riley was dancing on the dance floor with a bulking man who looked like the Incredible Hulk without the green skin.
“Hello,” two men said at the same time as they sat down in the booth across from her.
Laila’s eyes widened as she stared at them. They were gorgeous, identical twins right down to their sky-blue eyes and tan skin. But their hair was different. She could tell it was natural, but she could see a difference. The one to her right had light brown hair kind of a golden brown while the other had darker hair. Like pure brown...
That’s how she’d described her bears.
Well, now she knows what they would look like if they were human.
They both had bushy brown eyebrows but not too bushy. The hair on their muscled arms was a soft brown color. She wondered what their chests looked like. She caught herself before she licked her lips.
Fuck, what was with her?
“I’m Paxton,” the one to the left said, “and this is my brother, Park.”
Park smiled at her, and if she’d been wearing socks, she was sure that smile would have knocked them right off her feet.
“I’m Laila,” she whispered.
The brothers smiled at each other than at her. Why hasn’t she asked them to leave her table?
“So, would you like to dance?” Park asked.
Their voices were similar, but Park’s seemed to be more of a milky chocolate while Paxton’s was more of a dark chocolate.
“Yeah, come on,” Paxton said as he got to his feet and pulled her to hers.
Park got out of the booth and followed them, and her eyes widened. Did they want her to dance with both of them?
Riley watched Laila as the brothers surrounded her. Her friend’s eyes widened then she gave her two thumbs up. Great, Riley has been nagging her to lose her virginity since high school. But to two men? Surely, they want her to choose one. Right?
She watched the two brothers as they stopped circling her and planted themselves one in front and one behind her. They didn’t touch her, but she could feel the heat from each of their bodies.
She looked between the two identical men with their minor differences and whimpered. If they asked her to choose, she didn’t think she could.
She wanted them both.