Joshua Running Bear’s life is in turmoil. The thousand-year-old shaman no longer hears the voices of their ancestors, not after his successor is born. He’d expected to die when they no longer had need of him, so he’s surprised when he begins to grow younger by the day.
But not as surprised as he is when he finds a new mate—and a female bear shifter at that. The closer he tries to get, the more Hannah pushes him away. Not all is as it seems with the shebear, and he’ll soon learn the deep, dark secret she holds close.
Joshua also feels a pull to the reservation’s sheriff, Mattheu. Mattheu’s not his mate, but there’s something pushing them together. Only adding more craziness to Joshua’s life, a killer is on the hunt for Mattheu.
Can Joshua keep them safe long enough to claim them both?
Hannah walked as quickly as her feet would take her from the hall, not even stopping to glance at Joshua. He was mistaken and the sooner he realized it, the better. She wasn’t going to give him any indication that she would consider his claim. He wasn’t her mate and she wasn’t his.
Her heels click-clacked on the pavement as she walked down the narrow walkway outside the door. She needed to climb inside her car and get as far away from Joshua as possible.
No one will ever want you.
Her father’s voice always loved to show up whenever it wasn’t needed. She fished inside her shoulder bag for her car keys so she could jump in as soon as she as she arrived. By the time she’d made it to her vehicle, she still couldn’t find them. Leaning the bag on the window, she dug inside, her hands shaking. “Damn it!”
The fine hairs on the back of her neck rose. She recognized who it was without turning around. After a pause, she continued to dig inside her bag, praying he’d get the hint and go away.
“You can’t simply ignore me after what I announced in there,” Joshua said.
“I can’t?” she asked as she kept on digging, panic setting in. Where were her darned keys?
She caught a shaking noise from behind her. She’d recognize that jingle anywhere. Closing her eyes, she gathered up the courage to turn.
Hannah spun and witnessed Joshua holding her keys out with one thick finger.
Their gazes met, and she felt another sliver of need swim through her veins. Clenching her teeth, she forced the desire down, refusing to acknowledge it.
She leaned forward to snag them, but he pulled them away.
“Talk to me,” he whispered.
“I have nothing to say to you.”
That was a lie. There were so many things she’d love to be able to tell him. So many things were pent up inside. Hannah had no one to share with, and a little part of her screamed for Joshua’s attentions.
To have someone to share her fears as well as her dreams.
“I just announced to the entire den that you’re my mate and you have nothing to say to me?”
“Besides the fact you’re insane? Nope, not one word. Can I please have my keys?”
Joshua sighed, his shoulder slacking some. “Why are you so sure I’m wrong?”
No one will ever want you.
“You don’t want me, Joshua. Your inner wiring is all messed up. I mean, just look at yourself in the mirror.” Joshua Running Bear was the oldest bear in Bear Mountain and the den’s shaman. Up until a few months ago, he looked the part. His wrinkles had had wrinkles. Suddenly, his successor was born and Joshua had commenced to age backwards—and quickly. He now appeared younger than Graham, his grandson and Bear Mountain’s sheriff.
If he was aging backwards, then who knew what else was backwards in the male?
“Heck, you might be back in diapers in a few weeks as quickly as you’ve been growing younger.”
Joshua frowned. “I seem to have slowed down. I look to be about the age I was when I found out I would be the den’s shaman.”
“Did the last shaman grow young?”
“I am the first…”
Hannah frowned. “But the den is a thousand years old.”
Joshua simply stared at her. He denied nothing.
“You’re a thousand years old?” she asked.
“I’ve lived a very, very long life.”
“And now you might get a chance to do it all over again,” she said. “That’s great.”
“Perhaps. And maybe a chance to find love again.”
Hannah shook her head. “No.” She eyed the hand clasping her keys. “Please. Just let me go.”
Joshua took a step forward, and she gasped, hugging her shoulder bag before her.
He paused, frowning. “I would never hurt you, Hannah.”
She tried to breathe through her panic, her heart thundering in her ears. “Please don’t touch me.”
Joshua took a step back, observing as she endeavored to stop the panic attack from consuming her. She drew in the deepest breaths she could to ward off the hyperventilating. When her breathing returned to somewhat normal, she leaned forward and stole her keys from him.
Flipping open the locks, she glared at him. “You don’t want me, Joshua. I’m damaged goods. I can’t be what you want.”
Hannah unlocked her door and slid inside before he had an opportunity to respond. She placed the key in the ignition and turned the engine over. As soon as the car started, she hit the gas and put some distance between her and the male who thought to claim her.
No one will ever want me.