“At a Bear’s Mercy” by Caitlin Ricci and A.J. Marcus is part of the ‘Patching Up’ paranormal m/m romance series and features Dr. Pierce Nillian, a marine biologist who crosses paths with a male named Tim, who is destined to have a connection to him because of their respective sisters. Complicated expectations result in Pierce learning there are more species than he realized, but he has to decide if he is willing to get to know Tim better once he realizes the other male has ulterior motives.
This very short novella gives a glimpse of a bear-shifter family and their complex mating rituals. Pierce seems to be a brilliant man with respect to science but pretty clueless about social nuances, as is seen by his interactions with both his sister and with Tim. I think this is a nice glimpse of the characters but the story is not as well-developed as I would like and the instant attraction and heated lust wasn’t believable for me. I would love to read a longer story that features these characters and their respective families and hope to see them in future stories.
Pierce Nillian is shy, socially awkward, and hasn’t had a real date in years. At least not one that wasn’t with someone from one of his therapy groups. When he meets a man needing help with an injured dog, Pierce knows how to help. He’s a marine biologist who works with animals all day, and also has two dogs of his own. Once the dog is patched up, he expects not to see Tim again.
But the next day Tim comes back, and this time he’s brought reinforcements in the form of his sister, along with Pierce’s little sister, who it turns out are dating each other. To add to it, Nikki and Jo can’t be together officially until Tim finds a mate, because Nikki and Tim are bear shifters. Pierce has done a lot of things for his sister in the past, but becoming a bear’s mate is a tall order. His gut reaction is to refuse, but Tim is good at getting his way, and he wants Pierce for himself.