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In all the best fairytales, bear shifters mate for life. Right?
Silver Rose thought having her credit wiped out by her ex-boyfriend was the worst thing that would happen to her—then her grandpa died. Now, she isn’t sure which is worse—living with her sister for three months and gaining an inheritance—or having her independence and losing it all. But someone doesn’t want the girls to succeed in living on Beresford Mountain and is leaving nasty surprises, each one more horrible than the last. And as Silver discovers—bankruptcy and getting close to her sister aren’t the only dangers in the woods.
Abe Beresford, bear shifter, has seen the worst side of the mating bond and he never wants to be that attached to anyone. Ever. When he has a one night stand with Silver, he’s confident there’s no risk of falling in love—or even worse, mating for life. When he starts to feel more than just lust for the lovely Silver, he backs off, hurting Silver’s feelings but protecting his heart.
But Abe can’t resist either Silver or the urge to claim his mate—even if she’s human and hasn’t a clue about bear shifters. And when Silver runs into trouble on the mountain can Abe avoid the mating bond and still save her from a rabid attacker? Or is he doomed to succeed at rescuing her only to watch her walk away?
Lions and wolves and bears, oh my…
Read on for an excerpt of
SILVER: A Sexy Shapeshifter Fairytale Romance
The outside door of the bar opened and the last of the daylight flooded in. She blinked back spots and checked out the newcomer. Tall, dark and delicious. Mmm, yes, definitely someone she could lap up with a spoon.
Whoa, she pulled herself back. That had to be the alcohol thrumming in her system. Yes he was gorgeous. He was tall in a bar full of unusually-tall people. Was everyone in this town related? Even most of the women looked bigger than normal—stronger. She’d noticed that when she’d first walked in. But this guy was sexy dangerous to boot, with blacker than black hair and just a bristle of beard. His eyes met hers and they flashed interest. She warmed inside, blamed the vodka, and quick looked away.
She’d come here looking for trouble in her swishy short dress and her high laced-up heels that showed off the expert nail treatment her friend Traci had done for free last week. Last week, when she’d finally given up on being able to afford her own rent and taken up residency on Traci’s couch.
Had it really only been three weeks since she’d woken up one morning and realized Bill was gone, and he’d taken not just everything worth anything in the apartment, but her credit rating and all her money too?
She really needed that third drink.
“Here, miss, that gentleman over there just bought you this.” The new bartender handed Silver another vodka and cranberry and nodded at the other end of the bar.
She blinked blearily at the guy down the bar. Bleh. Too much hair on his neck and ears and not enough in the fringe he had combed over the top. And there was something about the way he was looking at her. She gave a quick shiver.
“No thanks.” She tried to push the glass back but it was too late—it was a busy Friday night and the bartender had moved on. Hairy neck guy smiled at her and she frowned, giving her frostiest go-away look. But just looking at him must have been enough because he got up off of his stool, drink in hand and a loopy smile on his face, and headed for her.
Fabulous, just what she needed.
She got up too fast and had to hold still, letting the room rise up to meet her. She should not be this drunk. Two drinks, right? Either Nita was heavy handed or they’d both miscounted.
Hairy guy wedged himself between her stool and the off-duty waitresses partying it up next to her. “Hi.” He breathed fumes down her shirt.
Silver choked on his exhaled whiskey and looked frantically around for a solution. The bar was packed with people chatting it up and laughing, but of course she knew no one here in Smittsville. After all, she’d only been here twenty-four hours and was only here for the reading of the will.
Or at least that had been the plan. Now everything she’d thought she was going to be doing for the next three months might be put on hold, that is, if she decided to do what Grandpa wanted her to do and move into his ancient cabin with her sister.
Her very own overbearing, thinks she knows best, ruin my life sister. The sister she’d thought she’d hated until she’d seen her coming in to the lawyers office with that hopeful look on her face. At the thought of the disaster her emotions were concerning her sister she nearly reached for the drink and swallowed it down.
“So, you want to go out and see my truck? I got a Hemi in it.” Hairy Ear’s words were damp.
Silver wiped the spray off her cheek. “Um…”
Damn. Coming here hadn’t been her best idea, but dealing with Scarlett after everything else that had happened this month with Bill had really rattled her, and she’d wanted to blow off some steam. In this tiny town there were only two places to get a drink and she’d caught sight of Scarlett entering the Growler with a guy. So that had left her here at the Chug ‘N Whiskey, a hole in the wall if there ever was one.
Her nemesis draped an arm around her shoulders. “I’m Ned,” he breathed into her face.
She waved a hand in front of her watering eyes and pushed his arm off. “I’m sorry.” Stepping back, she ran smack into her own barstool. “There must be some mistake. I don’t know you.”
“I just bought you a drink.” His smile faded and his face turned hard. Silver tried to move around the barstool, but his arm shot out, blocking her path. “You owe me a kiss.”
“No, I don’t.” She jerked her head away but her reflexes were too slow. Wide wet lips hit her on the cheek, smearing whiskey-laced slobber down her skin. “Eww! Get away.” She pushed on his chest, but it was like trying to shift a boulder. He wasn’t moving. And worse than, his grubby paw landed on her thigh, inching up her short skirt and heading fast for her ass.
Why oh why had she decided to be a rebel and not wear panties?
From out of nowhere black-haired hotty stepped up. “Ned, the lady doesn’t want your attention.” She craned her neck to look up at him. At five foot eight she’d always felt like a giraffe, and with her heels on tonight she was close to six feet, but he towered over her by a good five or six inches. Despite the dire situation she felt a warm glow of gratitude to him for making her feel almost petite.
“Back off Abe. I bought her a drink. Ned moved in closer. “She owes me a kiss.”
Silver wasn’t sure if it was his huge silver belt buckle or something else pressing against her belly. She scooted behind her rescuer. “I didn’t drink it. Look, it’s still there.” She pointed at the full glass still sitting on the bar, brim-full of jewel bright cranberry on ice.
“She doesn’t want your drink, Ned. Why don’t you go back to your end of the bar and sit down before someone steals your seat.”
“She owes me a kiss—a real kiss with tongue.” Ned moved faster than she thought a man of his size could, ducking around Abe and heading for Silver. She stumbled back, grabbing for balance, but her rescuer was quicker. She didn’t see his hand come up but before she could blink he had Ned’s shoulder locked in place and was walking him out of the bar to raucous cheers and cat-calls.
Silver reached for her purse on the bar and rummaged for her phone. She couldn’t afford cab fare, but she was way too drunk to drive all the way to the outskirts of town where her no-tell motel was located.
“Leaving so fast?” Her rescuer had come back into the bar. “How about one more drink? I know you didn’t want Ned’s offering, but it’s good alcohol and it’ll just go to waste if you don’t drink it.”
He moved in close and the warmth of his presence spread through her. Not only was this man super tall, and super good looking, but she could feel the rush of him all over her skin.
She hesitated. “Well, it is just sitting there.”
He waved down the bartender and ordered a beer. “Now, what’s your name, pretty lady?”
The line was cheesy, and she knew she was more than tipsy, but the way he smiled at her had her tingling from the top of her head to the tips of her toes peeping out of her black strappy heels.
“I’m Silver.” She held out her hand. This was so not her, picking up men in bars. She’d always taken her time. Been cautious. Made sure they were safe. But the old her had terrible taste in men, first the notorious Steven Schmidt, and then the even worse rebound man, Bill. What was there to lose by embracing her fresh start and go with her gut?
His broad hand nearly swallowed hers up. “Silver—Silver Rose?” His brows lifted.
“Yes.” She frowned up at him. “Do I know you?”
He grinned, the sudden pirate smile lighting up the depths of his black eyes. “Abe Beresford. We played together up on the mountain as children.”
She took a second look, trying to find the boy in the man. “Wow, you have grown up.”
“So have you.” He looked her up and down, and unlike Ned’s attention, his had her already flushed cheeks burning.
It was still early and she had nowhere to go but back to a lonely hotel room. Why not have some fun with one of the best looking men she’d seen in a long time? A small quiver of caution raised its head, Scarlett would disapprove.
She squashed the feeling. Scarlett, with her bossy ways had been out of her life for over a year. Just because Grandpa’s will said they had to live together for three months to inherit didn’t mean Scarlett would be in charge. This was Silver’s second chance. Why not start by proving to her sister, and to herself, that she could make her own decisions? That she could be the naughty one and didn’t always have to be protected.
The bartender brought his beer.
“Put that on my tab.” Silver smiled up at Abe and he smiled back. “I owe you for fending off Ned.”
“You don’t owe me a thing. But if it will make you feel better, you can pay for it—as long as you let me get the next one.”
Screw it. She’d had a rough day and she could always call that cab later. Besides, this was Abe Beresford. She’d run all over the mountain with him when they were children. Why not do some adult exploration, now that they were grown up? “Sounds like a plan. Let’s find a table.” She winked at him.
He winked back, a long slow movement of thick, black eyelashes showcasing the gleam in his devil-may-care eyes. “Shall we?” He held out an elbow and she linked her arm in his.
A deep shiver ran through her as they made their way to a shadowy table for two. This was going to be some night.