Eventide of the Bear

By: Cherise Sinclair

The Wild Hunt Legacy: Book 3


With grateful thanks to my wonderful critique partners, Monette Michaels, Fiona Archer, and Bianca Sommerland.

A huge thank you to Marian Shulman who took the time to beta read the rough version and weeded out numerous inconsistencies. *mwah!*

A big shout-out to Ekatarina Sayanova and her team at Red Quill Editing who tucked me into their tight schedule and did a marvelous job.

To my News & Discussion crew on Facebook (AKA the Shadowkittens), I’m sending big squishy hugs. The “inspiring” pictures and suggestions along with your enthusiasm and generosity have kept me returning to the keyboard day after day.


Three years before

Pine Knoll, Mt. Hood Territory – full moon

What if no one wants to mate with me? Arms wrapped around herself, Emma Cavanaugh stood on the sidewalk and watched shifters stream into the three-story house for the full moon Gathering. She’d be joining them since she was an adult now and ready for her first Gathering.

Finally. Most females went into their first heat before twenty-two, and she’d worried something was wrong with her, although bear shifters tended to be delayed. No matter. She was here now. Her need had driven her right to the door of the Gathering.

C’mon, bear. Time to move.

Feeling as if she walked on brittle ice, she made it almost to the door. Then a group of shifters passed her.


Their heady scent raised tingles across her skin. She froze. The masculine voices vibrated all the way to her core. How amazing was that? Would any of those males want her?

Worry flattened her bubbly excitement. What if they didn’t? What if she stood against the wall all night, alone and unwanted like at the dance she’d sneaked out to attend when she was thirteen?

As she tried to get her feet to move, blonde CeeCee and her giggly friend, Marnie, shoved her to one side.

“Way to block the trail, big griz,” Marnie said, deliberately loud.

“It’s because her hips take up the entire sidewalk,” CeeCee said. “Lovely clothes, Emma, just like my grandmum would wear.”

Like swipes from sharp claws, their words hurt.

As her mother had taught, Emma bit back what she wanted to say. Sure, she was a bear shifter, larger than wolf and panther females, but she wasn’t that big, and she certainly wasn’t a grizzly.

As they walked away, she made a mental note to throw away the flowery skirt and loose blouse. She tried to shrug off the feeling of being of being hated. After the years at the Pine Knoll School, she should be accustomed to insults from her age mates. No one had wanted to be friends with Emma, even if her mother had permitted it.

Priscilla Cavanaugh had been self-centered, obsessed with power and status, and possessed no love for anyone, even her daughter. Every Daonain in the territory had hated Priscilla and had extended their dislike to her daughter, Emma. Her mother had died two months ago, but the animosity toward the Cavanaugh name seemed unending.

Maybe someone more vivacious and charming could have changed their minds. Emma’d hoped becoming a bard would lend her some confidence or persuasiveness. Even a bit of courage wouldn’t have gone unappreciated. But no. Apparently, the talent to sing and entertain an audience didn’t translate into day-to-day eloquence. Even worse, no one in town wanted to hear her sing. Emma’s shoulders drooped. Maybe this evening would be different. Because, after mating, people regarded each other differently. Didn’t they? Would a male still be mean after he’d…been…with her? It was time to shake out her fur and venture out of her cave. Maybe tonight she could make some friends.

I can do this.

Hope rising in her heart, she walked up the steps and inside. As with many shifter homes, the decor was traditional—dark hardwood floors and cream-colored walls with mahogany trim and crown molding. The downstairs rooms had been opened up, so the living room flowed into a sitting room on the left, the dining area and kitchen on the right. Since shifters mated in human form, territories maintained comfortable housing for the full moon Gatherings.

Everywhere she looked, females held court. CeeCee sat on a leather couch with five males striving to impress her. Marnie stood near the riverstone fireplace with her own cluster of males.

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