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Called (Gem Creek Bears Book 4)

Called (Gem Creek Bears Book 4)

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Click To Read The Synopsis

Sometimes magic is all you need.

Tris Abbott thought she was finally in the clear now that Ezra and his pack are no longer a threat. She was wrong. Now the threat is something internal—something even being a bear shifter can’t save her from.

Plagued by a strange sickness, Tris must leave Gem Creek in search of answers.

What she finds is the source of every shifter’s troubles, magic unlike anything she’s ever felt, and a decision only she can make.

Click To Read Chapter One

Eloise Manor was beautiful. I stared at it as we pulled up, taking note of its cream-colored siding, black shutters, and the red brick walkway that led to its royal blue front door. While I liked the vibes the manor gave off as a whole, it was the front door I liked best. 

Something about it drew me in. 

I sat in the passenger seat of Liam’s SUV, wondering if the owners painted the door royal blue for a reason. I had once read somewhere people in the south painted their porch ceilings light blue to ward away evil spirits. While the door wasn’t light blue, I figured the color still had to symbolize something and made a mental note to search the internet for what when we made it back to the campground.

“This is it,” Liam insisted. He shifted into park, and then bent his head to stare at the manor through my window. We had parallel parked in a space out front. “Soren said the new Mystic was staying here. Can you feel her?” His eyes drifted to me. I could feel them on me, but I didn’t return his stare.

My bear wiggled her way to the surface. She enjoyed being the center of Liam’s attention far too much. It had become apparent shortly after gaining her that she had a thing for him and his bear, which made it hard to figure out what I felt for him sometimes. The lines seemed to blur.

Simmer down, I snapped at her. She huffed but did just that, retreating to the farthest corner of my mind. A tinge of satisfaction rushed through me, but I knew better than to focus on it for long. She would retaliate like a rebellious teen if I did. In the short time we’d been together, I’d learned as much.

I shifted my attention internally, trying to focus on my Mystic magic instead of my bear. It didn’t take long for me to find a tendril, and it took even less time for that tendril to call out to the new Mystic once it surfaced. An odd sensation pinched my insides, almost as though the magic wanted me to go to her.

My hand lifted to press against the center of my chest. The warmth of my Mystic magic and the cold sickness Soren mentioned warred inside me. “Yeah, I can,” I breathed.

“If you can feel her, I’m sure she can feel you. Even if she isn’t aware of what the sensation is,” Liam said. “We should head inside.”

“And do what? We don’t even know what she looks like. Heck, we don’t even know her name,” I reminded him with a scoff as I imagined walking up to this girl and trying to tell her what she was.

Liam’s brows pinched together. Before he could speak, a knock sounded at his window. 

A woman who looked to be in her early to mid-twenties with dark hair that fell to her shoulders in sleek strands and blunt cut bangs stood there. Her eyes were brown and friendly. They warmed even more when she flashed us a smile. Liam rolled his window down, letting in her sweet floral scent, and my bear surfaced.

An unfamiliar scent lingered beneath her floral one. 

I inhaled on instinct and wondered if what I smelled was her crow. She had to be the one from Soren’s flock who had been watching over the second Mystic.

“Hey, Liam,” she said, her smile widening. “Long time no see.”

My bear grumbled. She didn’t like the familiarity this woman seemed to have with him. 

I had a jealous bear inside me. Great.

“Gemma.” Liam nodded. 

The woman’s gaze shifted to me. Her eyes were still friendly, but I noticed they also held a sharpness to them that let me know she didn’t miss much. From the glint in her eyes, I knew she’d caught my bear’s reaction to her. It didn’t seem to bother her though. Her features softened before she shifted her stare back to Liam, and my bear wrote her off as nonthreatening. The unease I’d felt twisting my gut dissipated.

Thank goodness. 

“Soren said you’d be coming to see the second Mystic soon,” Gemma said.

“Is she still here?” Liam asked.

Gemma nodded. “She’s inside. You came at the perfect time. She should be leaving to head to the coffee shop around the corner any minute now.” 

“How do you know?” I asked, wondering if seeing the future was Gemma’s gift. 

Soren had been able to touch me and know that I was sick. Seeing the future didn’t seem all that farfetched. 

Gemma shrugged, her eyes on me. “She’s predictable.”

I glanced at the manor, my eyes zeroing in on its royal blue front door while hoping Gemma was right. 

“How did you find her?” Liam asked.

“By accident, really. Soren had a new print run of brochures for Skyline made up and I was here to drop a few off to the Griffins—they own the manor—and that’s when I saw her. She was checking in. I knew what she was instantly. I could feel it. Mystic magic seemed to vibrate off her,” Gemma said in a wistful tone. “I’ve never felt anything like it.”

“I know what you mean,” Liam insisted, clearly remembering what it had felt like being around me as the Mystic for the first time.

My gaze shifted between the two of them. They both seemed lost in thought.

“I’m sure.” Gemma cleared her throat and shoved her blunt-cut bangs out of her eyes. Her gaze settled on me. “It’s nice to meet you, by the way. Tris, right?”

“Yeah.” I smiled.

“Soren mentioned your name. He also mentioned the news he gave you.” Her face fell and sympathy reflected in her eyes. “I’m sorry your body doesn’t seem to be handling the split of Mystic magic well, even after you’ve been claimed.”

My bear perked at the mention of having been claimed. I understood her concern, immediately wondering how Gemma could tell I’d been claimed. Was it because I was no longer a beacon, or could she sense my bear the same way I sensed her crow?

Maybe it was a combination of both.

“Do you know if the second Mystic suffers from the same sickness?” I asked, figuring since she’d been watching her—whoever she was—she might know.

Gemma shrugged. “I don’t think so. She seems fine. Albeit a tad nervous, but I imagine that’s warranted with suddenly becoming a Mystic.” 

The memory of how crazed I’d felt after learning what I’d become surfaced. I’d questioned my sanity more than once. Sympathy pulsed through me for her. 

“I might be able to help you,” Gemma said suddenly, pulling me from my thoughts. “With figuring out your next step, I mean.”

I opened my mouth to ask her what she meant, but the sound of the front door to Eloise Manor opening caught my attention. I shifted to see a blond girl close to my age step through. I knew in an instant she was the second Mystic.

I could feel my magic reaching out to hers.

She was taller than me by a few inches, and as the sunshine hit her, I noticed her hair resembled the color of straw. It fell almost to her waist in beach waves. I stared at her as she closed the door to the manor and started down the red brick steps, watching as her eyes swept around. At first, I thought she was searching for me, but then I noticed the paranoia in her eyes.

She was searching for someone—someone she hoped she wouldn’t find. 

I knew that look well.

“That’s her,” I whispered before anyone else could. As though she’d heard me, the second Mystic’s eyes fell to me. She blinked and then cut across the yard to the nearby sidewalk at a brisk pace. “I’m going to talk to her. Wait here.”

I didn’t wait for Liam to reply. Instead, I slipped from his SUV and started after her. When I rounded the corner, she was crossing the street. My bear urged me to move faster, my curiosity of the girl mirrored in her. She understood the need to speak with her, to know if she was sick like I was. 

“Hey, wait up!” I shouted after her. She glanced at me but didn’t stop. Instead, her pace quickened. “Please!”

People on the sidewalk glanced my way, flashing me strange expressions. I ignored them and picked up my pace, nearly running to catch up to her now. 

“I know what’s going on! I can help you!” I shouted.

The girl paused and glanced back at me, giving me a chance to catch up. The Mystic magic inside me went crazy, dancing about as though energized by our closeness. The area between her brows furrowed, and I knew it was because she could feel it too.

“How?” she asked. Her eyes narrowed, and her chin jutted out. “How can you help me? How do you even know what’s going on?”

I moved to the right, letting an older woman and her dog pass before I answered her. “Because I’m one too.” Her muscles grew visibly tense as her eyes searched me. She was trying to figure out if I was screwing with her. I didn’t blame her. Heck, she was probably worried I was a figment of her imagination. “You can feel it, can’t you? The magic that’s in you flowing through me too. They’re calling to one another, right?”

For a brief moment, relief trickled through her eyes. It disappeared all too quickly and was replaced with more skepticism. Gaining her trust wasn’t going to be easy. I respected that. “I can’t feel anything. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

She spun to walk away, but I grabbed her wrist. The instant our skin touched, my magic was sucked from me. The sensation reminded me of what it felt like to be choked—all the air leaving you at once from the shock and not being able to replace it the way your lungs wanted. 

I released her, and felt the coldness in the center of my chest spread outward like ripples of water once a pebble has been tossed into its smooth surface, disturbing it. 

My bear released a whimper. She knew as well as I did that wasn’t a good sign. I’d either transferred some of my magic to her by touching her, or she’d siphoned it from me.

Her eyes widened as she rubbed her wrist. “What the hell was that?”

“That was my magic entering you,” I whispered, hoping I had her attention. She needed to stop running from me.

“Magic?” She smoothed a hand over her face, her entire body becoming slack. Her eyes lifted to the cloudless sky above us, and she shook her head. “Nope. There’s no such thing as magic.” Her words seemed to be more of a reminder to herself. 

“There is,” I insisted, irritated at the fact she was still in denial. “You just felt it, and I know that’s not the first time.”

While I didn’t know how she learned she was a Mystic—if her situation had been similar to my own—I did know she would have felt it when it happened. She’d be able to feel it now too, standing here with me. Even my magic still buzzed with the energy of a three-year-old with a sugar rush.

She shook her head and a wild chuckle slipped free from her. “None of this makes sense. I’m losing it. That’s the only logical answer here. I’ve freaking lost my mind.”

I shoved my hands into the back pockets of my jeans. “Let’s sit over there and talk,” I said, nodding to a metal bench a few feet away. “That’s all I want to do is talk. Okay?”

She glanced at me, exhaled a deep breath, and then moved toward the bench. My bear released a satisfied rumble, her way of congratulating me. 

I stepped to the bench. It was tucked in the shade of a nearby tree and cool to the touch because of it. Its coldness seeped through my jeans and chilled me even more than I already was as I sat. Goose bumps prickled across my skin. I pressed my hands beneath my thighs to keep them warm.

“So, talk,” the girl said, her eyes on me. She licked her lips. “Explain how you can help me and what the hell really happened when you touched me.” Her voice was thick with emotion.

I looked at her, really looked, and spotted dark circles beneath her eyes and panic radiating off her. She was scared. 

Of what—being the Mystic or something else?

“Okay, and I will. I’m Tris, by the way,” I said. “Like I said before, I’m a Mystic too.”

“That’s not possible. The lady said there was only one.”

My stomach tightened. “What lady?”

“The lady in the water. The one standing with all the people. She said there could only be one.” She smoothed a hand over her face. “Oh my gosh, I sound absolutely insane.” Her hand fell, and she stared at me. “Well, maybe not. After all, you’re sitting there telling me you’re a Mystic too.”

So she had become a Mystic in a similar way as I had. Maybe water was the only way for the magic to pass through—a conduit of sorts. 

“There’s supposed to only be one at a time, yes.” My teeth sank into my bottom lip as I thought of how to continue in a way that would be believable. She already seemed so skeptical—not that I could blame her—but I didn’t want to spook her or take any chances she’d run off on me. 

“But?” she pressed. “You look like you’re about to add a but in there.”

“But, I died. During that blip of time before I was revived, the Mystic magic moved on to choose you.”

Simple and to the point. Hopefully, it would be enough of an answer for her and she wouldn’t make me go into more detail.

“You died and were revived,” she said, as though reiterating my words would help her process them. At least that was what I thought she was doing—until her eyes snapped to mine and darkened. She shifted to the edge of the bench as though ready to run, her muscles stiffening. “You’re here to kill me, aren’t you? So you can take your magic back?”

“What? No. That’s not why I’m here. Not at all.”

“Then why?”

“I wanted to make sure you’re safe and to also make sure you’re not sick like I am.” The words tumbled from my mouth, knowing she could take off again any second. “I wanted to make sure you understood how this whole Mystic thing works, and to answer any questions you might have.”

She settled back against the bench again. I watched as tension left her body. “I can feel your sickness. Is that going to happen to me too? Am I going to get sick?” she asked and then sighed. “That would just be my freaking luck right now.”

“I don’t think so. I’m the only one affected because I’m not supposed to be here anymore.” The words made my pulse quicken and my mouth go dry.

“You said you wanted to tell me how being a Mystic works,” she said, her eyes never wavering from me. “But all I want to know is if I can give this power or magic, whatever you want to call it, back. I have enough on my plate.”

“It can’t be given back. It’s yours whether you want it or not,” I insisted, knowing my words were the last thing she wanted to hear. I flashed her a smile, hoping to soften their blow. “You’re meant for great things, though.” The words sounded cheesy, but they were the truth.

She made a scoffing noise. “Yeah? Like what?”

“Saving shifters from a curse that causes a deadly sickness.” There was no way to sugarcoat things. It was best to just let it all out. 

She arched a brow. “Shifters?”

“I know how it sounds, trust me,” I said, holding up my hands. “But it’s true. Shifters are real.” My bear moved to the surface to prove my point further, but I nudged her away. 

Now isn’t the time, I told her. She will just freak out even more when our eyes brighten. My bear huffed and grumbled as she went back to her corner.

“They were cursed forever ago by a sickness that wipes them out. One we, as Mystics, can heal,” I said after giving her a few seconds to work through the reality shifters were real. “It’s what we’re meant to do.”

“So, I’m some sort of personal healer for shifters now? Awesome. My life just keeps getting better.”

I smirked at the sarcasm in her tone. 

“Not per se,” I said before explaining things to her in more detail. When I was finished, she looked shell-shocked, but it was to be expected. “I know it’s a lot to take in. Trust me. I was in your shoes not too long ago. Do you want my number? That way you can call me if you have any more questions.”

She smoothed a few wavy strands away from her face and grabbed her cell from her back pocket. “Sure. Yeah. Thanks.” She opened a new contact in her phone, and I rattled off my number to her. 

“No problem. Feel free to call me whenever,” I said, moving to stand.

“I hope you figure out how to stabilize things for yourself.”


“Since shifters are real, maybe witches are too,” she said with a nervous chuckle. “Maybe you can find one to help you.”

I blinked, stunned. “They are, and that’s a great idea.”

“Wait. What? Really?” she asked. “Witches are real too?”

I nodded as an idea came to me—one that I needed to discuss with Liam. Right now. “Yeah. Um. I should get going. Call me if you ever need to talk about anything and take care, okay?”

“Thanks. You too.” She frowned. I knew it was because I was in such a rush, but I needed to talk to Liam. 

I started to walk away, but paused and glanced back at her. “Wait, I didn’t get your name.”

“Brynn,” she said.

“I’ll see you around, Brynn.”

She smiled before standing too. “See you. And thanks for the heads up on everything,” she said.

“You’re welcome.” I gave her a wave and then started back toward where Liam had parked in front of Eloise Manor, realizing too late I’d forgotten to mention to Brynn that Gemma and Soren’s flock were watching her.

Crap. Well, at least they seemed like they were one of the good guys.

When I rounded the corner, Liam stood leaning against his SUV, waiting on me.

“What did she say?” he asked when he spotted me. “Is everything okay? I was just getting ready to come looking for you.”

“I explained things to her. She doesn’t like it, but I think she’ll be okay,” I said.

“And she’s healthy, right?” Gemma asked. Concern shifted through her eyes. “She seemed fine to me.”

“I think so.” I nodded. “She siphoned some of my Mystic magic from me though.”

“What?” Alarm rang through Liam’s tone. “Are you okay?” He was at my side in a second, his jaw tense as though he was ready to beat someone for taking anything from me.

“Simmer down,” I insisted with a chuckle. “I’m fine. She didn’t mean to; it just happened when I touched her.”

Liam ran a hand through his hair and exhaled a breath. “Okay.”

“If she siphoned your magic, that can’t be a good thing,” Gemma said in a tone so soft I wondered if she hadn’t meant to say the words out loud. She blinked a few times, and then her eyes snapped to me. “I mean, it probably means your magic is unstable and looking for a way out—a way to connect with the second Mystic’s more stable magic.”

I swallowed hard. Fear she was right burned through me. My gaze drifted to Liam. “I think I need to find the witch who helped keep Ezra’s sickness at bay. The one who gave him the tonic. Maybe she can do the same for me.”

“Okay, but something like that won’t work for long,” he said, folding his arms over his solid chest. “It’ll lose potency.”

“I don’t need it to work forever. I just need it to work until we can find a more permanent solution,” I said, holding his stare. “Any ideas on how to find the witch?”

He smoothed his hand along the back of his neck. “I can ask around.”

“I can help with finding her,” Gemma chimed in, her expression hesitant. “Well, maybe—if my gift will cooperate and if you can get me something she’s touched.”

Sometimes magic is all you need.

Tris Abbott thought she was finally in the clear now that Ezra and his pack are no longer a threat. She was wrong. Now the threat is something internal—something even being a bear shifter can’t save her from.

Main Tropes

  • High-Stakes
  • Bear Shifters
  • Small Town

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