Home>>read BEARed to You free online

BEARed to You

By´╝ÜTawny Taylor

Chapter One

“I’m an idiot.” Abby Clumm threw down her useless cell phone, wrapped the quilt tighter around her shoulders then hefted the shotgun up to take aim at the front door. “What was I thinking, coming out here alone?” Something strong and big and scary was doing its best to shred the wooden barricade into toothpicks.

She had no interest in becoming that animal’s entrée.

Quite the opposite. She preferred being at the top of the food chain.

Darn it, but there was nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. Outside, miles and miles of wilderness stretched as far as the eye could see. The nearest neighbor was probably at least a half mile away. She didn’t stand a chance of escaping an animal attack out there. And inside the rural cabin she’d rented with her best friend, her chances weren’t much better. A garden shed had more square footage than this place.

All one room, with what could barely qualify as a kitchen, a tiny living area and a cot for a bed, there were no potential barriers to hold back whatever beast was outside, trying to find a way in. Unless the ugly circa 1970’s couch would do it. She doubted the brown, gold and rust plaid would shock the animal to death.

No. Once that door gave way, she was dead meat. It wasn’t like she actually knew how to shoot the gun she was holding. She didn’t even know if the stupid thing was loaded.

Argh! This wasn’t supposed to be happening. Her best friend, Katie, was the one who knew about this survivor-type stuff. Hunting, camping, shooting. Abby was a city girl through-and-through. She could hunt down a deal on Manolos but she could not hunt an animal, even if it was standing five feet from her with a target plastered to its chest.

Which was why Katie was supposed to have arrived at their rented cabin, about ten miles outside of Anchorage, before Abby. Of all the times for air traffic controllers to stage a strike. She bet those stubborn controllers, who doubtless made more money in a month than she did in a year, didn’t know her blood was on their hands if something happened tonight. She thought about scribbling down a note demanding legal recompense for her non-existent descendants, but when the frenzied digging at the door stopped, she got all hopeful and thought just maybe the bear or whatever had left.

Of course, she wasn’t about to open a shutter to check. She might be an idiot for getting herself into this situation in the first place, but she wasn’t that stupid. Everyone who watched thriller movies knew if she opened a shutter the deranged, rabid animal would be standing there, waiting, slobber dripping from its teeth, its huge paw raised and ready to slam through the triple-pane glass. Three quarter-of-an-inch pieces of glass wouldn’t hold up against an animal that could shake a solid door like this one had.

Her hands trembling, her heart beating a frenzied rhythm against her breastbone like a bongo drummer on crack, she sat on the back of the couch and lowered the gun. Darn thing weighed a ton.

“Please, please, let it be gone.”

Shaking, she waited, her senses on high alert. Silence hung heavy, like an angry black storm cloud.

“I want to go home. I want a Crispy Kreme and a White Chocolate Dream Latte. And a mall.” She set the gun on the floor, making sure the dangerous end—the one the bullets came from—was pointed away from her. “This wilderness stuff is for the birds, literally.” She chuckled nervously at the cheesy pun and switched on the radio. She needed human contact, even if it was one-sided. Being alone in a scary, foreign place sucked.

She briefly considered heading back into town and dishing out the dough to stay the night in a hotel. Only one problem with that plan. The animal that had nearly ripped the door from its hinges might still be outside. Better wait until tomorrow. Granted, one night in comparative luxury didn’t solve her problem. She couldn’t go home until the strike ended. And she didn’t have the money to stay in a hotel for more than a couple of days. What if the strike lasted a week? A month?

“God, this sucks!” She paced, chastising herself for letting Katie talk her into this so-called “Great Adventure”. She’d been in Alaska all of seven hours, twenty-three minutes and she’d had enough adventure to last a lifetime.

Minutes, measured in the steady--if slightly annoying--tick-tock of the wall clock, and the stream of 1980’s tunes, slowly marched by. With each one that passed, her comfort level raised a tiny bit. Forty-two minutes later, she felt pretty confident she wouldn’t end the night by becoming bear appetizer. It looked like the abominable snowman or whatever had given up.


She went back to the book she’d been reading, which she’d tossed on the couch when the attack had started. She settled herself in a cozy leather chair and kicked up her feet on the pine coffee table. She was just getting to a good part—a sex scene, of course—when someone knocked on the front door.