Bearing Hearts (City Shifters: the Den Book 2)

Bearing Hearts (City Shifters: the Den Book 2) by Layla Nash Read Free Book Online

Book: Bearing Hearts (City Shifters: the Den Book 2) by Layla Nash Read Free Book Online
Authors: Layla Nash
you for being worried about me. Axel sounded pretty mad, didn't he?"
    The polar bear started growling again and I shot him a dirty look over my shoulder before squeezing Tyler's hands. "But we had a good talk and he apologized, and he promised to never be mad like that again. Didn't he?" And I turned to look at Axel.
    The vein in his temple looked ready to burst and a muscle in his jaw jumped, but he nodded and took a deep breath. "She's right, Tyler. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have yelled at Lucy."
    Tyler gave him the stink-eye but smiled at me as he patted my cheek. "Come watch the movie with us?"
    When Axel's growl started up again, Josie edged forward and held out her hand to me. "We would like Lucy to stay with us tonight. You can join us for breakfast, Axel, but Kaiser thought Lucy would be more comfortable upstairs."
    And she gave him another look that promised dire consequences if he got too aggressive. I made a mental note to ask how she did that. Maybe I needed to practice that in the mirror. I held my breath. I didn't need his permission, of course, but there were strong dynamics at work that I didn't understand and couldn't manage. I didn't want to damage the relationship between Josie and Axel, or Kaiser and Axel, not when I'd be gone in a matter of hours and they would remain together. So I waited, and looked at Axel to gauge his reaction.
    He looked almost bereft. Maybe lonely or sad or just tired. My heart ached for him.
    As the silence stretched, Tyler eyed the polar bear. "Josie promised pancakes for breakfast. You can come if you want, but I get to sit by Lucy."
    Axel rotated his neck, the vertebrae cracking like breaking ice, and he took a deep breath all the way from his toes. His hand landed like a pile of bricks on my shoulder, and he pulled me back to say very, very quietly, "This conversation isn't over."
    I looked up at him and wished things were different. I wished his brother was still alive, and that I met Axel first, and that whatever separated them never happened. I wished a lot of things. No doubt he did as well. Without thinking, I touched his chest, right over his heart. He hurt, too. "No, but I think we both need a break."
    Something changed in his eyes, in his face, and he softened. I almost thought he would kiss me again, right there in front of Josie, and my heart stuttered at the thought. Then his ears went red and he abruptly shooed me out the door. "Fine."
    I blinked, looking around as Tyler scrambled up the stairs to the sixth floor, and Josie sighed. "Kaiser will talk to him about his manners."
    "Maybe send Tyler instead," I said. "That kiddo is brave to take on a polar bear."
    "He's got a bit of a crush on you, and a well-developed sense of justice." She snorted, shaking her head, and we started up the stairs after him. "But no sense of self-preservation, frankly. I can't believe he kicked Axel."
    "I don't think Axel believed it, either." And I laughed, wishing I could have seen the bear's face.
    She shook her head again and hauled the door open. "I'm sure he didn't know what to do. But for now, let's find you some clothes that actually fit."
    "Thank God," I said. I followed her into the guest room to find better pajamas, then to the couch as the kids set up the movie and popped popcorn and settled in for a cozy night. Even with the kids and the movie and all the distractions, my thoughts wandered back to Axel, sitting alone in his apartment below us.

Chapter 5
    A xel paced through his living room as Lucy's steps retreated up the stairs and faded away. He heard Kaiser's apartment door open and close, and distantly, the sound of an animated movie playing. He stalked the confines of his apartment, a growl building in his chest as he ran out of room. He needed to vent the frustration of her walking away. He should have handled things differently, should have known how to talk to her. Just as his bear reared up and claimed her, kissed her, wanted to tell her they loved her and she needed to

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