Sometimes a bear is more than just a bear.
Oscar is a socially awkward bear who’s not like the other bear shifters in Colorado. He’s a white spirit bear, and he works as a phone psychic. When he decides to try the Grizzly List weekly, he’s only looking for a friend, knowing love isn’t in the cards for him.
Firefighter Patrick is an outgoing grizzly shifter who’s happy to meet Oscar and give him whatever he needs, as long as Oscar doesn’t need a mate. Patrick doesn’t believe in fated mates.
Can these two teach each other that what they want and what they need aren’t the same thing?
Oscar couldn’t do this.
He stopped on the sidewalk where he could see the grizzly in the coffee shop, waiting. Patrick was… beautiful. Dark and strong and fine and large.
He wasn’t. Not dark or strong or large or fine.
He was whatever the polar opposite of brave was. Cowardly? Stupid scared? Craven? That was it. Craven.
He chuckled, making a lady walking her dog look at him oddly and he ducked his head, backed away. Oscar shifted from foot to foot, trying to decide what to do.
Finally Oscar backed into the shadows where he could see Patrick, but Patrick couldn’t see him, and texted. “I’m sorry. I can’t do this. I’m not brave.”
He watched Patrick pull out his phone, then frown.
Oh, he sucked. “Please don’t frown. I’m not good at new things and I’m just… I’m so sorry and you’re so…” Beautiful. Perfect. Stunning. Sexy. “…fine.”
Patrick didn’t text back. He just hit one button. Oscar’s phone started to ring.
He almost didn’t answer, but that would have been mean and he was a coward, not mean. “Hey.”
“Hey, Oscar.” Patrick didn’t sound angry. That was good, right? “What’s the matter?”
“You’re stunning and I’m stupid?” That was the best answer he had. His heart was racing, going pitter patter.
Patrick looked around. “So you can see me? You’re not stupid. You’re so neat I want to talk with you in person.”
They’d chatted for an hour or more every day.
“I can. I didn’t expect to feel so scared. You’re totally my friend and I just…” He stepped forward, out into the light.
“Hey!” Patrick stood and walked outside, leaving his stuff at the table. “There you are.” The hug Patrick enveloped Oscar in felt like home.
“Oh.” Oscar hummed and hugged right back, all the fear disappearing like a puff of smoke. “Hello.”
“Hi. See, it’s just nerves. Come sit with me.” Patrick shot him a warm, happy grin.
“Yeah. Are there good pastries today?” Patrick was so tall and wide. Oscar felt like a little bear, which he wasn’t. Patrick was just—wow. Large and warm and he smelled so good.
“Mmm. They have maple sticky buns.”
“Oh.” They headed in and the scents amazed him, heavy and heady in his nose. His eyes crossed, and Patrick chuckled.
“Right? It gets huge sometimes.”
“Yeah, exactly. The biggest.” Scents were so important to bears.
“What would you like?” Patrick asked. “I’ll grab it for you.”
“I’d like a cinnamon bun latte and whatever pastry you’re having.” He wanted to taste Patrick’s favorite.
“Cool.” Patrick pressed a hand to his shoulder on the way by, the touch making him tingle.
It was. Cool. It was better than cool. Oscar felt awake and aware, like he was lit up. Like Christmas. He was buzzing hard enough he really didn’t need the coffee.
When it showed up, though, it smelled like pure heaven and he took a sip, loving how the sweet spiciness tasted. The sticky bun looked like heaven on a plate, too.
Patrick sat across from him. “There. Better.”
“I’m sorry, huh? I don’t do this much.”
“No problem. You didn’t run. You told me what you needed. I’m proud.”
Oscar felt his cheeks heat and he ducked his head. “Thanks.”
About the Author:
Julia Talbot has been assimilated by Texas and lives with her partner and two howling bassets. She writes full tine. She has a penchant for blank books, gay porn, and big, ugly hats. She can most often be found in coffee shops and restaurants, scribbling in her notebook and entertaining other diners with her mutterings.
3 winners will each receive one eBook copy of BREWING by Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga