Tonic Nanouk ran a hand through his inky black hair. His inner animal growled in frustration as his human side stared at his currently useless cell phone. After all, what good was the small hunk of metal and glass if it refused to ring?
It had been days since he’d last spoken to her. Maya Osborn. The only woman who was currently capable of driving him and his inner Polar Bear out of his mind.
Maybe he should just give up. Or maybe he should just run over to her apartment, scoop her up over his shoulder caveman-style, and bring her back to his place. No, to his bed.
Yes, agreed his Bear.
Then he could do what he’d been longing to since he’d first seen her and that was to basically kiss her silly. He wanted to smooth away every objection from her mouth with his lips and tongue. He yearned to make love to her until she was as desperately head over heels for him as he was for her.
Sounded good to his beast who was all for loving on the female until she was too weak to stand. Maybe then she would finally see that he was the only man, the only Bear, for her.
“Tonic?” the voice of his new cousin-in-law made his head snap up, “thanks for picking me up,” she said and he plastered on a wide smile for the heavily pregnant female.
The idea of cubs made him nervous as hell, and since both his cousin and his brother Locke were expecting with their mates, it seemed an almost contagious condition in Barvale.
Roxanne Atiqtalaaq released a sigh as she settled in the passenger seat. The redhead was mated to Tonic’s cousin Bowie, who was currently knee deep in an investigation regarding a certain former Clan member and banker who swindled several small business owners out of their life savings.
The man was more rat than Bear and he was currently on the run. Now, that they were personally involved, due to Locke’s mate being one of his victims, the Nanouk triplets had sworn to do everything they could to catch the fucker.
That included chauffeuring their cousin’s pregnant mate while he was working on the case. Roxanne was alright, he supposed, though she could cut a man with her sharp tongue and even sharper wits. Actually, Tonic admired the female. She was tough and headstrong, but more importantly she was a good woman who loved his cousin.
Maybe he was a little jealous of their relationship, but he knew better than most that finding and claiming your mate was never easy. It had taken Bowie a lot of work to land the pretty little vixen, but it must have been worth it. Every time he saw him, the man was smiling from ear to ear.
Tonic’s brother Locke had also claimed his mate this past year. After learning that Nita was one of Peter Crawford’s victims, his enormous though younger bro had become extremely volatile after the crook’s disappearance.
His mate had not only been a victim of the corrupt banker, but Peter Crawford had also had the hots for Nita. The former First National Bank of Barvale employee was lucky Locke hadn’t torn him limb from limb after their last meeting.
They’d all thought he was going to give back the money then surrender himself to the law to be formally charged and prosecuted, but he ran. In Tonic’s opinion, they let the fucker get off far too easily.
In fact, he should’ve encouraged his beast of a brother to kick the shit out of Crawford when he wanted to, but things in New Jersey worked a little differently than they did where the Nanouk triplets had grown up. Out in the wilds of Alaska, people like Peter Crawford disappeared without any questions being asked.
But Tonic had no love for that place. No fond memories of the petty cruel ways of the White Bear Clan. But perhaps in this one instance, their ways would have been better. His Bear grumbled at his train of thought and he knew the animal did not like recalling that place his parents had died and his cousin had suffered from the rampant bigotry and prejudice.
Barvale was a far better place, he conceded. Even if Peter Crawford had disappeared without a trace after he and his brothers let him live. Both he and his father, the former bank president, who appeared to be in on the scam despite his distraught and feigned sorrow when he’d been confronted with his son’s misdeeds, were gone.
Bowie seemed to think the Clan’s Enforcers were hot on the Crawford’s trail, but Tonic was not so sure. And that fact rankled. A lot.
His Bear growled deeply in his chest and he closed his eyes a moment to gain control before putting his pickup truck into drive. He felt Roxanne’s eyes on him and forced himself to calm down.
“Buckle up,” he grinned at his cousin’s mate and she pointed to the thing as if to say, “no duh, fucko”.
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