Cold air enters the car, and the chill cuts right through me. I can’t seem to open my eyes. I feel shattered glass all around me. The car groans, and I pray that we aren’t going to slide any more. I don’t think I can take another hit like that. I inhale deeply, trying to pull air into my lungs, but the cold just makes it burn.
I’ll freeze to death out here. The tracks, no one will see them with how fast the snow is coming down. They’ll be covered in minutes, most likely. Now the little bear-covered underwear I put on don’t seem so cute anymore. I thought they would be lucky to help me on my shifter quest. Now, when they find my body, they’re going to see I’m a twenty-year-old woman wearing little bear underwear.
I open my mouth and let out a scream, hoping someone will hear me, but all I hear in return is the sound of the wind picking up. The cold settles into my bones as everything goes black.
The snow is really starting to come down, and I know it won’t be long until several feet coats everything. They said it would be the worst snowfall we’ve seen in over twenty years. I decide to bring in an extra load of wood from the shed. Just as I reach the porch, I hear a loud screech in the distance, followed by the sound of a crash. Dropping the wood, I leap from the porch, shifting before my paws hit the snow.
This is a dangerous time of year to be on the roads, so I hope whoever this is is okay. I run through the forest, trying to make it to where I heard the noise. I’m not close to the road, but my hearing is good, even in human form. When I’m almost there, I hear the sound of a female screaming.
The sound sends panic down my spine, and I run even faster.
When I come to the bottom of a hill, I see an old, beat-up car flipped on its side. I bolt towards the car. Climbing on top, I look in and see a woman passed out inside. The window is busted open and she’s already dusted with the falling snow. I rip the door open and then shift back to human form in case she wakes up and I scare her. Reaching down, I pop her seat belt, pulling her from the car. I look back inside and see only a small bag. I grab it and throw it over my shoulder before climbing off the car, holding her gently.
Mine. The word hits me hard.
Looking down at her, I see she’s tiny and shivering. She’s not dressed for cold weather, so I hold her to me and make my way back to the cabin as quick as I can in human form. The way the storm is coming down, she won’t be getting her car off the bottom of that hill for quite some time, and if she doesn’t get warm soon she’s going to freeze to death. Her delicate-looking skin won’t be able to take it.
Pulling her closer to me, I hurry through the trees and snow, getting back to my cabin in record time. I carry the little thing straight inside and head to the fire, holding her and dusting some of the snow away. Her clothes are completely soaked and she’s shivering in her sleep. Her lips are blue now, and her teeth are chattering. I don’t know what to do.
“I’ve got to get you warm, little one.”
She’s so incredibly tiny. Her body must be frozen to the core. Laying her down on the blanket in front of the fire, I start to strip off the wet clothes. Her blonde hair has soft gold touches to it in the firelight, and it reminds of the color of honey.
I take off her thin, long-sleeved shirt. Her simple white bra underneath is soaked, so I have to take it off, too. I look away as I cover her with a blanket, trying to keep her modesty intact as much as possible. I don’t know this woman, but I would hope that if someone were to find my mate, they would take care of her without hurting her. The thought of her having a mate makes a growl rumble in my throat.
Mine. The word hits again even stronger than before.
Carefully I remove her wet jeans and boots, only to discover her underwear has little bears all over it. I smile, thinking the little cubs are cute. Maybe if she likes bears…
I stop the thought before it starts and cover her with another blanket. Leaving her by the fire for just a moment, I go to my room and stoke the fire in there. The room is bathed in the glow of the fire in moments, and I throw a few fresh logs on to keep the room warm.