Bear With Me Now

Katie Shepard

Berkley, 2023

Agent: Jessica Watterson

Two people are ready for their lives to get a little wilder in this romantic comedy by debut author Katie Shepard.
After being hospitalized for panic attacks two years after his mother’s death, charitable foundation executive Teagan van Zijl is dragged by his sister to a wilderness therapy retreat in Montana. Lost in the woods, Teagan nearly gets eaten by a bear but is saved by an angel in muddy hiking boots—the program’s handywoman, Darcy Albano, that is. After spending the summer with Darcy, Teagan realizes he 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 how to move forward. But once they get to the city, all Teagan can think of is how to confess the truth while keeping her in his life. 
Darcy Albano thought she was going to work as a wilderness guide when she was hired on the camp staff, but ended up a handywoman instead—only the latest screwing-over she’s endured since her ex stole her car and her parents ruined her credit score. But Teagan van Zijl is the silver lining she didn’t expect to appear—clearly going through something but willing to commit to Darcy’s unique brand of wilderness education as the cure for what ails him. They form an unlikely bond based on the unexpected support they provide each other. Darcy never imagined staying in the city, but with Teagan’s unshakeable belief in her abilities, anything seems possible.

"A funny, poignant, romantic exploration of mental health and of the way love can help us heal. Katie Shepard has a unique talent for mixing gentle humor, weighty topics, and swoony moments. You will fall in love with Darcy and Teagan on page one and you will laugh, and cry, and cheer as they discover themselves and each other. A perfect, dazzling debut, and the start of my new favorite series! (And let’s not forget the bear, the wolves, and all the otters…)"—Ali Hazelwood, New York Times bestselling author of Loathe to Love You

"I didn't even have to play dead, because this book already killed me. Shepard's nuanced wit and vibrant prose sparkle off of the page. Readers will go wild for this sexy and heartfelt romance between two unforgettable characters as they help each other make it out of the woods of life."—Thea Guanzon, author of The Hurricane Wars trilogy

"Angsty, swoony, sharply written, and full of heart, Bear with Me Now is a deeply compassionate romance about finding love in the midst of profound struggles and vulnerabilities, discovering the gift of entrusting all of yourself to a worthy someone to love and be loved by in return."—Chloe Liese, author of Two Wrongs Make a Right

"Bear With Me Now is a stellar debut. Witty, moving, and unique, it features two memorable characters in kind-hearted charity executive Teagan—too ashamed of his struggles with mental illness to admit that's why he's in wilderness rehab—and tough-as-nails handywoman Darcy who signs on as the sober companion he doesn't actually need. Shepard builds a beautiful, realistic love story about two damaged people finding strength in each other, and she addresses the serious issues of mental illness and addiction with a deft touch. I was rooting for Darcy and Teagan the whole time, and I can't wait to see what Shepard writes next."—Sarah Hawley, author of A Witch's Guide to Fake Dating a Demon

"Shepard's wonderful debut romance features characters who are so beautifully depicted, they become real.... This exquisite combination of issues, humor, and hot sex make Shepard a writer to watch."—Booklist, starred review