The Bears' Den
Welcome to the second book in The Bears’ Den series. We never know what form love will take in our lives. We never know when it will spring up or with whom. As Brad Kelly said in the parent book of this series, A Different Kind of Family: “It doesn’t matter who you love, or how you love, or even when you love. It only matters that you love.”
In this story, we find that sometimes there is more love in a relationship than just two people can manage. George Fowler and Paul Harrera had been happily together for two decades. Both coming from less-than-ideal pasts, they found comfort in helping each other heal their wounds over the years. Then, Paul experienced a health crisis. Often this can be enough to tear any couple apart. But despite Paul’s ongoing health problems, they found a way to keep making it work.
Then, unexpectedly, young Jacob Cooper enters the picture. Also from a troubled past, Jacob manages to endear himself to both men as he tries to find his way in his newfound sexuality. Soon all three men find a bond growing between them that none of them had expected. Will this newfound affection George, Paul, and Jacob feel for each other lead to something more? Will they be able to navigate these uncharted waters?
Love has a way of making the most unusual situations into loving, caring—albeit unconventional—families. This story explores one way in which polyamory can work in the gay community. It is a topic many do not understand, or are uncomfortable with. But it is a genuine kind of love, if the parties involved find a way to make it work. A different kind of love, maybe, but as they say, Love is Love!
- 1 To Be Read list
Heat Level: 2
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay, Polyamorous
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 46-65
Protagonist 3 Age: 46-65
Tropes: Age Difference, Bad Breakup, Coming Out / Closeted, Find Love and Come Out, Forbidden Love, Healing Power of Sex, Married Life, May/December, Office / Workplace Romance, Queer Wedding, Rescue, Second Chances, Slow Burning Love, True Love
Word Count: 40150
Setting: Rockford, Illinois
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
* * PROLOGUE * *
PRESENT DAY: Thursday Evening
All Jacob Cooper could think of was climbing in bed and going to sleep. It had been a very busy and challenging day as he had worked a double shift on the seventh floor of SwedishAmerican Hospital. Jacob was exhausted both physically and emotionally. Not even the festive decorations adorning the halls for the upcoming holidays could lift his spirits.
His job as a “Patient Care Technician” (PCT) was a hybrid of duties of both a Certified Nurse’s Aide (CNA) and a Medical Assistant (MA). It meant not only caring for patients’ basic needs, but also drawing blood, doing electrocardiograms (EKGs), and other duties the nurses deemed necessary and within their scope of practice. One day he would be supervising those in his position, if he could ever make it through nursing school.READ MORE
When the elevator doors opened as he left the floor to head home, he met his co-worker, fellow PCT and friend, Missy Johnson, who was also leaving the night. Missy had worked a normal evening shift on the surgical floor two stories above, but she was almost as ready as Jacob was to leave.
“Hey there, Handsome!” she greeted Jacob.
“Hey,” Jacob responded, his normally soft-spoken voice tinged with fatigue. He entered the elevator and the doors closed before the car continued its descent.
“You look exhausted,” Missy observed.
“Yeah, I worked a double today.”
“Again? Still trying to make up for that deadbeat boyfriend of yours not working?” Missy joked.
Jacob threw Missy a glare and eye roll. “He’s trying to get disability,” he bristled. “He does have a bad back, you know.”
“So he says,” Missy commented. “You two have been together like seven months now. Has he even seen a disability lawyer yet?”
Jacob averted Missy’s eyes when he responded, “Not yet. But he’s working on it.”
“How much work does it take to call and make an appointment? And what about his supposed job search … that is, if he’s even looking.”
The elevator car stopped its motion and the doors opened to the first-floor lobby. They exited the elevator and headed for the main entrance to the parking lots.
“I just worry about you, Jake,” Missy said, taking Jacob’s hand in hers. “You are such a kind and gentle man, and I’m afraid Ron is taking advantage of you.”
“I know, and I appreciate that,” Jacob responded. “And for your information, we had quite a discussion about that this morning.”
“About him getting disability or getting a job?”
“Both. He was a bit upset that I pushed the issue, but he said he’d work on something today.”
“Hopefully that’s a good sign,” Missy offered. “I mean, the man is ten years older than you and you have your life way more together than he does. I never did understand what you see in him.”
“I love older guys and gingers,” Jacob answered with a bashful smile.
“I don’t care if he’s Prince Fucking Harry,” Missy complained. “No man is worth killing yourself over to support. How many doubles have you worked the past few weeks?”
Again, Jacob looked away at the car keys he had pulled from his pocket. “Too many,” he responded softly.
“Then I rest my case.” Missy gently brushed the dark brown hair from Jacob’s eyes and caressed his stubbled jawline. “Take care of yourself first, Jake. I don’t want to see you make yourself sick over this guy.”
He looked at Missy with his beautiful brown “puppy dog” eyes and nodded his head. “Okay. And thank you for your concern. I really do appreciate it.”
Missy gave him a hug and they bundled up in their jackets before heading out into the cold towards their cars. Once in the sanctuary of the driver’s seat of his car, Jacob rested his forehead on the steering wheel, took a deep breath, and sighed.
He knew Missy was right. He knew he needed to push Ron harder to pick up some of the support of their relationship, so it did not all fall on his shoulders alone. Intellectually, he was aware off all of this. But all his twenty-five-year-old hormones could see was an older ginger bear that he just could not let go of, even if lately he rarely had the sexual energy to do anything about it.
But tonight, Jacob knew his boyfriend, Ron Hillman, would be in bed waiting for him. It would be a chance to cuddle up in a warm bed next to that ginger bear of a man and fall asleep restfully. All of the “intellectual” considerations could wait until morning.
Jacob started the car and navigated his way to their modest apartment on Rockford’s southeast side. It was not the best of neighborhoods, but it was what they could afford on his pay alone. Once there, he parked on the street in front of the building and headed inside. A quick look at his cell phone told him it was eleven-thirty p.m., so he knew Ron would be in bed already.
After unlocking the three locks that secured their apartment door, Jacob entered their modest abode and was immediately greeted by two suitcases and several large garbage bags full of what appeared to be clothing. His stunned glance moved to the sofa in the living room on which Ron was sitting, watching television.
“What’s all this?” Jacob asked warily.
“it’s your stuff,” Ron answered flatly.
Jacob looked at Ron with confusion.
“After our talk this morning, I decided it’s time for us to move on,” Ron explained. “You seemed unhappy with me. Plus, we haven’t had sex in weeks because you’re always ‘too tired’.” Ron used “air quotes” and a whiny voice for the last two words. “So, I found someone who isn’t too tired for sex with me. He’ll be moving in with me tomorrow.”
“What about the lease?” Jacob was still shocked at what was developing in front of his eyes.
“It was up for renewal this week, so I signed it in my name alone. You’re free and clear to go where ever you want to. Maybe you can get enough rest there.” Ron was condescending in his approach to Jacob. “And maybe work on that belly you’re getting.”
“What?!” Jacob looked down at his waist line. He had developed a slight “paunch” from stress eating and crazy shifts. But he was still in no way “fat”. He was actually quite slender.
“So just like that, we’re through?” Jacob’s voice remained soft, but now it was faltering a bit.
Ron looked at him with a raised brow.
“So how old is your new conquest?” Jacob asked.
“He’s twenty-one, horny, and fit as can be.”
“How do you plan to live? You don’t have any money or income.”
“His family has money. He’s in college and living off his trust fund. He’s going into finance and plans on being very wealthy one day. Oh, and he has a HUGE ‘daddy fetish’. Not that it’s any of your business.”
Jacob shook his head. He gathered up the suitcases and bags and lugged them to his car. He tossed his key at Ron and did not bother with saying goodbye, partially because he did not feel Ron deserved such niceties. But mostly it was because he did not have the strength or energy for it. He just needed to get away. To go someplace where he could feel safe and protected. There was just one place he knew he could count on for that: George and Paul’s house.COLLAPSE