Beary Guarded (Polar Bliss Book 2)

By: Ruby Shae


“Yeah, it kind of shocked me, too.”

“Does Jane know?”

“I don’t think so.”

She nodded and thought about her friend.

Jane was four years older than her, the same age as Ridge, and the woman and her brother had been inseparable since elementary school. You rarely found one without the other, and like Jillian, Riley’s best friend and sister-in-law, Jane had practically grown up with her family. Even if she didn’t like him romantically, when Ridge found his mate, Jane would be devastated.

“If you’re sure, then I think the apartment would be great,” she said.

“Good,” Ryker smiled. “I’ll call an inspector tomorrow, just in case, and if all goes well, you should be able to move in after some light cleaning and a fresh coat of paint.”

“That sounds great,” she said. “Thank you.”

“You’re more than welcome, peanut,” he said, using the endearment her parents favored. “Above all else, I want you to be happy.”

“I’m not sure if I can be,” she said, honestly, “but I’d like to try.”



***



Nathaniel McCallister breathed a sigh of relief when the exit that would lead him to Longmeadow, Pennsylvania, came into view. He’d only visited the small town twice before, but he recognized the picturesque, tree lined landscape, and the vast, snow covered flora called to his wolf.

After driving for nearly three days with minimal opportunities to shift, he couldn’t wait to change into his wolf and explore the wild forest land of his new home. Unlike most of the other jobs he’d taken, Longmeadow was home to two families of shifters, both polar bears, and he was looking forward to being around his kind again.

A few miles down the road, a several homes came into view, and he turned off the highway.

His new office was on Main Street, as were most of the small businesses that added to the charm of the small, snowy town, and he couldn’t wait to settle in. Despite the high visiting rate by patrons from smaller nearby towns, and the regular influx of tourists on their way to the Canadian border, the small town had an incredibly low crime rate. The sheriff’s office consisted of the sheriff and three deputies, and the four men were more than enough protection for the entire community.

Nate had been working in law enforcement for nearly ten years, in both large and small cities across the country, and the comfortable, relaxed atmosphere of a small town was where he felt most at home. The usual lack of excitement in small town law wasn’t for everyone, but he preferred it. He also favored the cold. When he saw the opening for a sheriff in Longmeadow, he’d jumped at the chance to interview for his dream job.

He’d fallen in love with the quaint village on his first visit, and on his second, he’d purchased a small, two-bedroom home on the edge of town. It was a little big for him, especially considering he’d been living in apartments for the last ten years, and had very few possessions, but it would be a great place to start a family.

If he ever found his mate.

At thirty-one years old, he wasn’t sure he would ever find her, and he was honestly tired of looking. When he first got his badge, he enjoyed the constant attention the job awarded him, but the badge bunnies got old fast, and he rarely met anyone worth a second date.

The badge was an aphrodisiac for women of all ages, all relationship statuses, and all walks of life, and they were all looking for the same thing: a notch on their bedpost that represented an officer of the law.

He’d stopped fulfilling their dreams years ago.

If he met someone worth his time, then he might start dating again, but it could only go so far. He wouldn’t marry someone who wasn’t his mate, and honestly, he wouldn’t feel right about being exclusive and wasting someone’s time. If it never happened for him, then he was content to live out the rest of his life alone, and Longmeadow was a good place to do it.

The white twinkling lights of Polar Bliss, the local coffee house, caught his eye, and he laughed as he glanced in the snowflake covered windows and maneuvered his truck past the building.

Longmeadow snowed six months out of the year, and the obvious play-on-words was perfect for the cold, white covered city. The name wouldn’t mean anything to most people—very few full humans, including his new deputies and the majority of the town’s residents, knew about shifters—but he felt certain he’d just found the first shifter family.

He’d found out about the bears from other shifters he’d crossed paths with over the years, but the only way to confirm their existence was to meet them in person. If there really were two families of bears in the area, they must be doing something right to remain undetected for so long. One family had lived there for over three generations.

He decided to confirm his assessment after he checked into the sheriff’s office.

The sky was filled with nearly black clouds, and though he was tired, he wouldn’t risk waiting to unload the contents of his truck into his new home. A large, warm, black coffee from Polar Bliss was exactly what he needed to fulfill his need for caffeine, and give him a plausible excuse, aside from being the new curious sheriff, to meet the coffee house owners.