Today, my dear friend Holly Day is back on the blog with her newest release, Bear Claw. I’m scheduling this blog post during one of my early morning writing sessions, and the pictures made my mouth water and I’m craving a bear claw and macarons and pastry for breakfast. Maybe Holly should apologize for that, too?! 😁
Nah, just kidding. No need to apologize, but maybe since we only live a couple hours from each other, she should compensate me by sending me a box of pastries? Everyone in favor, say “aye!” 😁
Hi, Nell! Hello, Nell’s readers!
Holly Day here 😊. As some of you might know, I like to celebrate things, and tomorrow, it’s Be an Angel Day. *nods* Yup, it’s true. A day when you’re supposed to act like an angel. I won’t tell you if I will or not, but I wrote a story to celebrate the day, and it so just happens that it’s released today, yay! 🥳
I’ll be over at A.L. Lester’s blog in a couple of days, and I started that post by apologising because I’d written an alpha story – Ally dislikes those. I’m thinking I should do the same here because Nell dislikes stories where one of the characters ‘doesn’t want a boyfriend’. Sorry, Nell! Shiro does not want a boyfriend. He really, truly doesn’t 😂.
I feel like, maybe, I’ll have to apologise to everyone I visit with this story LOL.
The thing is, The Bear Claw is an alternate universe story. All supernatural characters are either dominant or submissive – not in a BDSM kind of way but in a pack-structure kind of way – and Shiro is submissive. Every dominant he meets can order him to do things.
His first mate was an abusive arse, but since he died, Shiro has been free, or as free as a submissive can be in a society like the one he’s living in. He owns a bakery and while he’s unable to shift into an animal, he can put emotions into cookies and cakes. His employee and friend, Astra, has the ability to make coffee taste divine. If only one of them had been a dominant, they could’ve lived their lives as they saw fit.
When Pitch, a dominant werewolf, takes an interest in Shiro, he does his best to fake being a dominant. When that doesn’t work, he hides in the kitchen of his bakery and does his best to avoid Pitch altogether.
It’s not working very well.
Pitch kept his face blank despite wanting to frown. All he’d said was that Shiro needed someone to take care of him—all submissives needed someone to take care of them. He and Bernard were proof of it… or Bernard more than him.
Bernard came here after finishing his shift at the bar every day to walk Shiro and Astra to work. It should be enough for Shiro to understand he needed a dominant. He gave Shiro one last look before heading for the table where Astra had put two cups of coffee.
Bernard sat, took a sip, and smiled at Astra.
Pitch sat, took a sip, and almost spit it out. “Fecking shit!” He hadn’t meant to growl, and when Astra raised an eyebrow at him, he took a calming breath. “There is something wrong with my coffee, Astra.”
“No, I don’t think so. I told you it would taste like rat poison.”
“Unless I…” Left Shiro alone. He shook his head and set the cup aside. “I see.”
She straightened her back. “I know your kind.”
She rolled her eyes. “The kind who thinks that because you can order someone around, you have the right to. Shiro works ten times as hard as you do, and yet you think you have the right to harass him.”
“I wasn’t harassing him.”
Bernard’s gaze jumped between them.
“No? What did you say to make him panic so hard I could smell it?”
Pitch gritted his teeth. “Only that he needed someone to take care of him.”
Both she and Bernard snorted which made Pitch glare at Bernard. “He does. He’s working too hard, and you said it yourself, it’s not safe for him to walk the streets at night.”
“Because of stupid alphas.” Astra couldn’t meet his gaze, but she glared at his nose for several seconds. “It’s not Shiro’s fault people like you think they have the right to dictate his life.”
Pitch didn’t respond. He wasn’t dictating Shiro’s life. He could, but he wasn’t.
Bernard finished his coffee, a bit faster than could be considered normal. “I stink. I have to change shirt. Will you be okay without me for a few minutes?”
“Depends on if dickhead here is gonna stay civil or pull some stupid dominant shit.” Astra crossed her arms over her chest and glared at Pitch’s nose again. She had more spunk than he’d given her credit for.
“I’ll guard them with my life.” He’d meant to make his tone mocking, but it came out all serious. He could guard them. Crazy as it was, he didn’t want some drunken dominants to saunter in here and disturb Shiro while he was baking. He’d appeared contented while he was baking.
Bernard got up, and Astra took the coffee cups, both the empty and the full. As soon as Bernard had left, she put a fresh cup in front of him, and he cautiously took a sip. Divine. The best coffee he’d ever had.
He shrugged off his leather jacket and scratched one heavily tattooed arm before taking another sip. “Is it only coffee or can you change the taste of any food.”
“Only liquid.” She wiped away a drop she’d spilled on the table. “Shiro does baked goods.”
“All kinds of baked goods?”
She shrugged. “It’s not the same. My skill is that I can either make it the best you’ve ever had, bland, or terrible. Should Bernard have taken a sip of your coffee before he’d only taste coffee, nothing special. It’s limited to you, or you know the person I’m pouring it for. It’s a good skill when working in a place like this, but it doesn’t have a great impact on the world.”
Pitch frowned. “Don’t say that. You could have this place overflowing with customers. It could bring in a lot of money.”
She narrowed her eyes. “Money you’d take.”
“What?” He was too stunned to get angry. Did she think he’d steal from them?
“I see the way you’re watching Shiro. He doesn’t want a mate.”
“Remember the taste of the coffee.”
Pitch scratched the stubble on his cheek. “He needs someone to take care of him.”
“No, he doesn’t. He needs to be allowed to live his life without dancing to the whims of his puppet master. He runs a business; he doesn’t need a dominant to sweep in and steal it from him.”
Steal it? It was better if dominants owned businesses since they couldn’t be manipulated.
Astra huffed. “You’re still not getting it.” With a shake of her head, she went behind the counter and started organizing the display shelf.
In a world where all supernatural beings are either dominant or submissive, Shiro Amano doesn’t have many choices. As a submissive, any dominant walking into his bakery can order him around. He hates it. All he wants is to live his life in peace and bake pastries he can spike with emotions far away from obnoxious alphas.
Pitch Rhys wants a mate, but he won’t settle for anything but a true mate. As a powerful wolf shifter, he has subs flocking around him, but his true mate is hiding in the kitchen of a bakery and refuses to see him. He can order him to, of course, but since he threatened Pitch with a knife when he allowed his power to leak, he doesn’t think it’s the way to go. Instead, he’s settling to see how many pastries and cups of coffee he can consume in a day.
Two years ago, Shiro escaped an abusive relationship, and he’s not looking for a new one, but when word gets out Shiro is an unmated sub, dominants are invading the bakery. Pitch does his best to scare them off so he can woo Shiro at his own pace, but things escalate too fast. Will Pitch be able to get Shiro to trust him before it’s too late? Can he convince him he wants nothing more than to make him happy and keep him safe?
Gay Paranormal Romance / 46,763 words
JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/TheBearClaw
According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.
Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.
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