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Gray Back Alpha Bear

By:T. S. Joyce

el bad about it. Maybe. “I should’ve let Willa finish you off,” Creed said over his shoulder. “So far I’ve seen zero improvement.”

Easton narrowed his blazing green eyes through the back window, then looked away over the cliff the road was edging.

“He tries more around Willa,” Matt said, resting his elbow on the open window. “Maybe that’s the solution. Bring her up to the landing while we work.”

“Maybe,” Creed muttered, though he couldn’t see it.

Easton was marginally less psychotic around Willa, yes, but he was still a beast to handle and ready to fight. Yesterday, he’d fought Clinton just for popping off about Willa’s small boobs. Clinton had called them “innie belly buttons” or some shit. It had been funny, and Willa cracked up, but Easton lost it.

Willa wasn’t the solution for the problems he had in socializing Easton.

She was a balm.

“Is Damon visiting today?” Matt asked, leaning forward in his seat and staring at something out the front window.

“I don’t think so.”

“Then why is there a Mercedes parked in front of our trailers?”

Damn it all, Matt was right. The black luxury car stuck out like a sore thumb parked on the gravel road in front of their tiny homes. Crap. Did Damon own a Mercedes? Normally, his driver, Mason, chauffeured him around in a Town Car.

Fan-fuckin-tastic, just what he needed today—to talk numbers with Damon and disappoint him all over again.

But when he pulled closer, Willa came out of the screened-in porch she shared with her mate, Matt, and behind her sauntered a sexy ghost from his past. Holy hell, it was Gia. Creed’s heart thumped erratically behind his ribcage as he parked his truck in front of his house. Excitement flared through him. Fuck, yes. She was probably in town visiting Willa, and he was going to get his dick stroked. Maybe that’s what his problem was lately. He hadn’t gotten any since that drunken night with Gia. Hadn’t wanted any, really, but now Gia was about to fix all his problems.

Creed threw open his door, determined to keep Gia safe from his crew of village idiots. “Easton, you go on,” he said, pointing to the trail in the tree line that would lead Beaston to his wilderness trailer den.

“But…I want to say hi to Willa.”

“Now,” Creed gritted out, allowing steel into his order.

Easton’s eyes blazed that inhuman green color that said his bear was pushing, but he spat and limped toward the trees.

“Bombshell!” Jason crowed, jogging over to Willa and her friend.

Gia’s face fell as if the word stung, and Creed stifled a growl. Gia wasn’t like the other bombshells. She was sweeter, not cut-throat like Brittney and Kara had been. He’d always hated when Willa linked Gia’s name to the trio she called “the bombshells.” Gia was more.

Creed cuffed Jason in the back of the head and wrapped Gia up in a hug that lifted her off the ground. She made a shocked sound, but he didn’t care. Damn, it was good to see her. He thought he’d never see her again, and now here she was in his trailer park.

“How long are you in town for?” he asked, nipping her neck. She’d liked that when they’d hooked up in the back of his truck the night he’d met her.

“Well…” Gia hesitated and slid her arms around his shoulders. She looked down at him with those soft brown eyes he hadn’t been able to get out of his head for five months. “That all depends on you.”

“On me?” He cocked his head and studied her. Gia’s face had filled out a little, and she was thicker around the middle. Even her arms felt like they’d lost that bony, starved look the real bombshells had boasted. Fuck, she looked even better than he remembered. “Damn, woman. You’re a sight for sore eyes.”

“Creed, put her down,” Willa said in a low, growly voice. Her eyes had gone green—the color of her maker’s eyes. The color of Easton’s.

He did, gently, but Gia didn’t seem uncomfortable with his affectionate greeting. “What’s your problem, Second?”

“You need to be easy with her.”

Creed looked back and forth between Willa and Gia.

“What’s going on?” Matt asked from behind Creed.

“Can we talk?” Gia asked in a whisper, as if her throat was closing over words she didn’t want to say.

Creed’s heartrate kicked up again. Something was wrong. Willa had said to be easy with her. Maybe she was sick. Maybe she was here to beg him to Turn her so she could survive whatever was eating her up. Oh God, he couldn’t Turn anyone. Wouldn’t hurt them like that. Especially not Gia. Sensitive Gia with her heart too big. A bear would rip her up from the inside out. She wasn’t strong like Willa. But if she was sick…

“Yeah,” he said, twitching his head toward his trailer. “We can talk in my place.”

Jason and Clinton made to follow, but he stilled them with his hand. “No. Stay out here.”

He grabbed Gia’s hand because it felt right. Because after all this time apart, it felt like no time had passed between them. Because he liked touching her, and right now, it was the only thing keeping his unraveling bear from splitting his skin.

“Tell me fast,” he said, pulling her through the side door of his trailer. “Just lay it on me. What’s wrong with you?”

Gia froze, a look of confusion rippling across her face. Today, she was wearing her hair in a messy blob on top of her head, strands of her brunette hair streaming down the sides as if she’d fixed it in a hurry. She was so fucking beautiful. He brushed a lock of it away from her forehead and cupped her cheeks. “Are you sick?”

“Kind of?”

He shook his head, searching her scared eyes. From here, he could see little gold flecks in them. “What does ‘kind of’ mean? What are you sick from?”

She scrunched up her face. “Don’t freak out because I don’t need anything from you, and I’m not asking you to be involved if you are really against it. I just need help, and you’re the only one I can think of to answer my questions—”

“Gia, Gia, hold up. Slow down. What are you talking about?”

With a sigh, she eased away f