The Bearington Brothers & Their Fated Mate (My Love; My Mate; My Shifter - Chronicles - Book One)

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Chapter Seventeen: Training Can Be A Bitch

“I did it!” Laila shouted as she collapsed with exhaustion.

Vectore grinned, “you did, now do the other.”

Laila groaned. She’s been training for three weeks now and has shifted into over a dozen small animals. The larger ones take more energy and concentration. But once she has shifted the first time, it’s easier the next.

With a sigh, she shifted into a fox.

“Very good,” Vectore said with a nod, “now the other.”

Laila mumbled as she shifted into a deer.

“Wonderful,” Vectore said with a proud smile, “you didn’t even shift to human in between.”

Laila paused. He was right- damn she’s getting the hang of this. “Can we practice what I really want now?”

Vectore studied the white-tailed deer. “Okay. If you can shift into a wolf, we’ll practice the other.”

Laila shifted into her human form. “You really want me to shift into one of those?”

Vectore stood over her. “You are the Queen of the Animals do NOT mistake a wolf for a shifter.”

She took a deep breath and nodded. He was right. Besides, hadn’t the wolves come to their rescue that day? With new determination, she steadied her breathing and concentrated on what a wolf looks like.

“A silver wolf, impressive.”

Laila looked down at herself and squealed with excitement. She was absolutely beautiful.

A whistle came from the other side of the yard, and Laila turned to find Park watching her.

With a happy yelp, she ran to him and knocked him over, then started licking his face. He laughed as he tried to hold her back.

“Down, girl.”

“Awe, does a wolf intimidate you?” She asked teasingly.

Park laughed, “you intimidate me in any form.”

She chuckled then howled.

“Wolves!” Paxton shouted as he came around the corner of the cabin. He froze when he saw the silver wolf.

Park laughed when he saw the look on his brother’s face. “Isn’t she magnificent?”

Paxton took a step towards them. “Laila?”

She leaped at Paxton and knocked him on his ass. “Do you like it?”

Paxton chuckled as he scratched behind her ear. “I love it.”

She shifted into the field mouse while still on his lap. Paxton chuckled as Park looked at her with amazement in his eyes.

“You’re getting good at this,” Paxton said.

Laila crawled up to his shoulder. “Soon, I’ll be practicing birds.”

“Is that so?” Paxton asked with a smile.

“Uh-huh,” she said, nodding her little head. “But first I have to master the larger animals. I have the small ones down pact,” she said, then jumped off his shoulder onto the ground and shifted into a rabbit.

The twins chuckled.

“You’re amazing, you know that?” Park said with a grin.

Laila hopped up and down then shifted into the deer.

“The more I shift, the easier it gets,” she said.

“Well, we’ll leave you to it then,” Paxton said as he got to his feet.

They scratched her back as they passed her and headed back to the area where they have been clearing for almost a month now.

Laila walked over to Vectore and shifted into her silver wolf. “Can we do it now?”

Vectore smiled. He’d watched how at ease she had been, with shifting for the twins. She’s ready for a bigger challenge.

He nodded to her. “Let’s get started.”

~🐾~

Vectore stared at Laila. “I think you’ve got it.”

Laila felt an excitement flow through her body then shifted back to her human form. It has been three days since they’d started this. It was so much harder than she’d thought it would be, but she’d finally mastered it.

“Do you think it’s good enough to show Park and Paxton?”

Vectore laughed. “What do you think?”

She nodded, “I’m ready.”

“Then I give you the rest of the day to yourself. But tomorrow, we’re going back to your normal training.”

With a squeal, she kissed his cheek, then shifted into her silver wolf and went in search of the twins.

“Laila!”

Laila turned to Riley as she ran up to her.

“Where are you headed?” Riley asked as she slid her hand through Laila’s silver fur.

“Looking for the twins, have you seen them?”

Riley nodded. “They’re at the creek cooling down. Can I come?”

Laila shook her head. “I have a surprise for them.”

“Oh,” Riley said with a frown.

Laila shifted to her human form and looked at her best friend. “Are you okay?”

Riley shrugged. “Between your training, the twins working on their land, Ryce and his brother keeping watch, and Mark out recruiting for the upcoming war. I have no one and nothing to do.”

“Riley,” Laila cried as she hugged her best friend. “I am so sorry. Why didn’t you say something?”

Riley shrugged as she held onto her best friend.

“I’ll tell you what,” Laila said with a smile as she backed away. “Tonight, you can start helping me with my clinic, and tomorrow you can join me in training. Maybe there’s something Vectore can help you with your healing.”

Riley grinned. “That sounds great!”

“Next time tell me you’re bored and lonely,” Laila said, then kissed Riley’s cheek.

Riley nodded, “yeah, I should have said something sooner.”

“I’ve got to go before the twins go back to work. I love you, Riley. Never forget that.”

Riley grinned, “I love you too. Now go.”

Laila shifted back into her silver wolf and ran towards the creek.

~🐾~

Park sat on a large rock, looking out over the water of the creek. They’d started on the base of the new house, and it was coming along nicely. They’d had to make Laila promise to never return to that area after their afternoon of lovemaking in the sun.

Paxton kicked Park’s foot. “Do you smell that?”

Park sniffed the air. “I smell, Laila.”

Paxton snorted, “we always smell Laila; her scent is all over us. No, this is something new.”

Park sniffed the air again.

“Bear,” they said at the same time.

Park jumped to his feet. “Why would a bear be out this way?”

“It’s not a shifter,” Paxton said.

Park shook his head. “Maybe it’s one of Laila’s friends.”

“It doesn’t smell like a regular bear,” Paxton said.

Park sniffed again. “I smell...” He paused. “Whoever it is, is nervous- and close.”

Paxton spun around. “Uh,” he said, pointing up the small hill from the creek.

Park turned and looked up. “Now, I smell sex.”

Paxton chuckled, “she’s in heat.”

“No,” Park said with a shake of his head, “it only came when she saw us.”

They stood there staring at the brown bear who was standing above them, staring down at them.

“Maybe we should shift before she gets hungry,” Paxton said with a laugh.

Park laughed, “she’s already hungry just not for food.”

Paxton chuckled. “We better go tell her that we already have a mate.”

They shifted into their bears and ran towards the female bear who had been watching them.

“She’s beautiful,” Paxton said as they neared her.

“The most beautiful bear I have ever seen,” Park said in agreement.

They stopped before the female bear.

Paxton sniffed the air again. “She’s with cub.”

“Then she has a mate,” Park said.

Paxton studied the bear closely. Her eyes never left him as he studied her. Then he took a step back.

“Laila?”

Park looked from Paxton to the bear and back again. She looked at him, and his heart skipped a beat.

“Surprise!” The bear shouted.

“Laila,” Park breathed.

“Do you not like?” Laila asked, terrified she’d done something wrong.

Paxton sniffed her hip. “I can smell our cubs in this form.”

Laila felt joy flow through her. “I wanted to be able to shift with you...

“You’re so beautiful,” Park said, interrupting her.

She chuckled, “I know, I heard you guys talking to each other.”

Paxton snorted.

“Are you angry?” She asked as she turned her head towards Paxton.

“Fuck no,” Paxton said, “this means we can...

“Paxton!” Park exclaimed.

Laila giggled. She knew what was on her mate’s mind. She’d thought about it too.

“How fast can you run?” Park asked.

“I don’t know yet.”

“Well, let’s find out,” Paxton said, then turned and took off.

Park nudged her with his head then took off after his brother.

With a laugh, she followed them.

~🐾~

“Good morning, ladies,” Vectore said as Laila and Riley walked into the backyard the next morning.

Laila smiled at the Shaman. Riley blushed as she slowly waved at him.

“I hope it’s okay that I join in training this morning,” Riley said.

Vectore crossed his arms over his chest. “I have been waiting for weeks for you to open your mouth.”

Riley looked at Laila.

Laila shrugged her shoulders. “He’s very blunt.”

Vectore walked over to Riley and placed his hands on her shoulders. “You are an important member of this tribe.”

“Are we a tribe or a pack?” Laila asked.

Vectore looked over at her and smiled. “A little of both.”

Both women giggled.

Vectore looked back at Riley.

“Laila is the important one,” Riley said once she stopped giggling.

Laila frowned. She hadn’t realized Riley felt that way.

Vectore lightly shook her shoulders. “If you’re not careful, your jealousy is going to make you vulnerable.”

Riley frowned, “I can’t help it.”

Laila stared at Riley. “You’re jealous of me?”

Riley looked at her and snorted. “Can you blame me? I found out about the shifters first, and you get two mates and two gifts. If talking to animals wasn’t enough, you also get to shift into them...

Laila pulled Riley away from Vectore. “How DARE you.”

“Laila...” Vectore started.

“No!” Laila yelled. “I’m her queen, and she will listen to me!” She said, fuming.

Riley snorted, “that’s another thing...

Laila slapped Riley across the face. Vectore sucked in a sharp breath and took a step back.

Riley looked at Laila, stunned as she held her hand to her cheek.

“You are being a bitch!” Laila yelled in Riley’s face. “Get over it!”

Riley opened her mouth to say something, but Laila beat her to it.

“I love you, Riley. You have been my best friend since we were five. You have NEVER been jealous of ME. What is your problem? Yes, you found your mate first, and he’s an incredible shifter who loves you more than his own life. Why would you let yourself be jealous because I have found mine? Okay, so I have two, and I have two incredible gifts that only those closest to me know about. But you got the late queen’s gift. You’re our fucking HEALER! Or did you forget how important that is?”

“So, I can heal, but I can’t do SHIT to help! I have to wait until AFTER the fighting is over and hope like hell that everyone is still alive enough that I can heal them! I almost lost Mark because I couldn’t get to him...” She burst into tears.

Laila pulled her best friend into her arms. “If you weren’t concentrating on being jealous and came to me or Vectore sooner, you could have been training with me. I don’t know how a healer works, but I’m sure there’s more to it than just laying of the hands,” she said as she looked over at Vectore.

Vectore nodded, “indeed.”

Riley looked at the Shaman without leaving the comfort of her best friend’s arms. “Why didn’t you say something?”

“Because you needed to get over your jealousy and come to me.”

Riley sniffled, “Mark told me that my jealousy would cause worthless problems.”

Laila chuckled, “Riley, we have always come to each other for everything. Why didn’t you say something to me so I could have slapped you sooner?”

Riley chuckled then snorted. “Because I’m an idiot.”

Laila shook her head. “Riley. You have people who love you and a strong mate and gift. There is nothing to be jealous of. I will NEVER tell you that you’re any less of a person or shifter’s mate then I am. People want to kill me and my children, who haven’t even gotten to live yet, there’s not much to be jealous of.”

Riley laughed, “there’s plenty, but you’re right. I’m just as blessed as you are, and I should get my head out of my ass.”

Laila grinned, “there’s my best friend.”

Riley grinned back. “Besides, they want me dead, too, remember.”

Laila snorted. “How could I forget?”

“Now that the catfight is over, can we get started?” Vectore asked as he rolled his eyes at the two women. But secretly was smiling inside.

The two women looked at him with scowls. “It wasn’t a catfight,” they said at the same time.

Vectore chuckled, “okay, if you say so.”

“Are we good?” Laila asked as she looked at Riley.

Riley turned to her best friend and grinned. “Yeah, we’re more than good,” she said with a chuckle. “When was the last time that you slapped me?”

Laila laughed, “senior year. You were yelling about a guy you liked dating a girl we didn’t like instead of you.”

Riley frowned and snorted. “I guess I’ve always had trouble with jealousy.”

Laila smiled, “and you’ve always had me to slap it out of you.”

Riley chuckled as Laila hugged her.

“And you will always have me,” Laila promised. “It’s you and me, babe.”

“Oh, no,” Riley groaned.

“Oh, yes,” Laila said with a cat who ate the canary grin. “You know what’s coming next.”

Riley fought back her own grin.

“I’ve got you, babe,” Laila sang as she threw her arm over Riley’s shoulders and started swaying them side to side.

Riley laughed as she joined Laila in the song.

“I--’ve go--t yo--u ba--be.” They sang the last verse then burst into fits of giggles.

“It will always be you and me,” Laila said as she hugged Riley close.

Riley grinned as she hugged her back.

“Are we done serenading?” Vectore asked, trying his hardest to hold back his smile as he tried to scowl at them. They were just too precious to not find adorable.

They looked at him and burst into laughter.

“You can’t hide that smile from us, Shaman,” Riley said with a grin.

“Yeah. You enjoyed that,” Laila said as she watched the man.

“Okay, you’ve got me,” Vectore said with a wide grin, “but now I’d like to train you two.”

“Let’s get on with it,” Riley said.

“Yeah,” Laila said with a mischievous smile. “How long will you make us wait to start training?”

He scowled at her, and both girls laughed.

Vectore hid his smile from them. They have proven more than capable of ruling the shifters and all animal kind. There was more to the both of them, and he was keeping his mouth shut until the guys discovered the piece that held the glue together.

~🐾~

Training was grueling, but Laila learned to shift on the move, and Riley was learning to heal from a distance. She has succeeded up to ten feet so far.

Denver had agreed to allow a couple of his men to help with Riley’s training.

Today, Vectore wants Riley to learn to heal two at the same time.

Laila sat on the grass and watched as Vectore used a small pocket knife to cut the two coyote’s hands. Laila and Riley had thrown fits when Vectore had mentioned that was how they would be training until he assured them that he numbed the men, and they felt nothing. The cuts were small and not life-threatening if Riley failed.

“How is it going?” Park asked as he sat on the ground next to Laila to her right.

“Very well actually,” she said as she leaned her head against his shoulder.

“Aren’t you training today?” Paxton asked as he sat next to her on her left side and took her hand in his.

Laila smiled, “I’m on a break.”

“Want to go for a run?” Paxton whispered in her ear.

Laila’s cheeks turned hot pink when she remembered what had happened the first time, she’d gone for a run with her mates in her bear form.

Paxton chuckled as he kissed her pinkened cheek.

“Riley!” Laila called out.

Riley paused and turned to her.

“Will you be okay by yourself?”

Riley looked at the twins on either side of her friend then at Laila and grinned. “I will be fine,” she assured Laila, then winked at her and went back to her training.

Laila grinned as she got to her feet, then backed away from her mates and shifted into her bear.

“Meet you guys at the creek,” she said, then took off.

Park and Paxton growled as they got to their feet and shifted then took off after their mate.

When they met up at the creek, Park tackled Laila. Laila growled with laughter as she tumbled to the ground, then got away from Park and splashed into the water. Paxton joined her in the water, and she splashed him.

They played around in the water for an hour before they shifted and made love on the bank.

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