Publication Date: April 25, 2023
Love makes life a little wilder in this romantic comedy by debut author Katie Shepard.
After a panic attack puts him in the hospital, charity executive Teagan Van Zijl is dragged by his sister to a wilderness therapy retreat in Montana. Lost in the woods while absconding from midafternoon meditation, Teagan is nearly eaten by a bear before his rescue by a furious angel in muddy hiking boots: the program’s handywoman, Darcy Albano, who was mostly worried for the bear.
Darcy thought she was going to work as a trail guide when she was hired onto the camp staff but ended up cleaning and hauling instead—merely the latest screwing-over she’s endured since her ex stole her car and her parents ruined her credit score. Teagan becomes the silver lining she didn’t expect, a man clearly going through something yet willing to commit to Darcy’s unique brand of wilderness education as the cure for what ails him.
After weeks in the mountains with Darcy, Teagan doesn’t want to return to New York without her. He hires Darcy as his sober companion—a position he doesn’t actually need filled and for which Darcy is completely unqualified—hoping she can help him figure out a way to move forward. But once they get to the city, all Teagan can think of is how to confess the truth without losing her. Together, they begin to imagine what their lives might look like if they could depend on each other for help—even in outrunning a bear.
Bear With Me Now is the debut novel by Katie Shepard. It is an unlikely romance filled with mental health issues, addictions, relationship issues, and a lot of wildlife. Set primarily in Montana, it then segues to New York City. Talk about opposites!
This story focuses on Darcy and Teagan. Teagan’s sister Sloane gets him into a new age-type rehab in rural Montana. Set in the woods, it has a lot of different characters, and somehow Darcy and Teagan connect. Talk about opposites attracting. We learn why Teagan and his younger sister are in rehab and the fallacy of their reasoning. Teagan is so attracted to Darcy he’ll say or do anything to keep her around. Even lie that he’s an alcoholic so she’ll follow him to New York when he needs to return to work.
The story moves at a quick pace and has a lot of stories woven together. There is some repetitiveness to the story that I wanted to gloss over. There are problems with Teagan’s work at his family’s foundation, which causes him anxiety and panic attacks.
The author adds animal and wildlife facts throughout and beautiful scenic descriptions. There are some steamy moments, unscrupulous characters, people saying and doing what they believe others want to hear along with family and coworkers, and darkness becoming light.
The ending takes us full circle back to Montana with a happily ever after and some unexpected twists and turns.
Wildlife, learning to communicate while overcoming mental health issues, and beautiful scenery had me wishing I was in Montana, seeing Yellowstone firsthand.
Bear With Me Now is packed with visual definitions, solid character development, compassionate mental health details, and steamy moments to sweeten the tale. I look forward to reading Ms. Shepard’s next book, Sweeten the Deal.
Katie Shepard studied Soviet history and worked in human rights law before burning way, way out, and achieved professional tranquility as a simple country bankruptcy lawyer. She lives in Texas with her husband, kids, and elderly rescue cat, but is often found hiking in the Rocky Mountains or the virtual woods of Thedas.