Beary Guarded (Polar Bliss Book 2)By: Ruby Shae
He’d been too tired to do anything.
Sleep had come swift and deep, and he didn’t wake until the next morning.
After a quick shower, he grabbed his phone, wallet, and keys, and headed to Polar Bliss. He only had the weekend before his first shift Monday morning, and he needed to make a list of what he needed to get done, but he couldn't do anything without coffee. It was the perfect time to check out the town, starting with the quaint little coffee house.
He drove to the center of town and parked his car across the street from the shop. The window decor still made him smile, and when he walked inside, the smell of coffee nearly made him howl. A second later, another smell made him stop dead in his tracks.
Behind the counter stood a beautiful fairy goddess, with a long blue-black hair, and dark, chocolate brown eyes. She stood about seven inches shorter than him, and had curves that went on for miles.
His dick swelled to the point of pain, and though he could feel several of the patrons staring at him, he couldn’t look away from her beauty. His wolf paced and howled beneath the surface, urging him to claim her, and he barely suppressed a growl from escaping his lips when she looked directly at him.
A long scar started where her lips came together on the left side of her mouth, and seemed to disappear into her ear. It didn’t detract from her beauty, nothing could do that in his eyes, but shifters rarely scarred. They weren’t immortal, but they healed from most wounds easily when they took their animal forms. Scars only formed when something kept them from changing for over twenty-four hours.
She’d been hurt on purpose, and he wanted blood.
Sheriff or not, he would hunt down the person responsible for her pain and seek revenge.
He took a step toward her to declare his intent, and a group of women swarmed him. Word travelled fast in small towns, and judging by the multiple comments and wedding rings in his path, the badge bunnies were aware of his position.
He didn’t care about any of them.
He hastily excused himself, and pushed through the group just in time to see his mate disappear through an unmarked door.
He moved to follow her, but another bear blocked his pursuit.
“Sorry man,” the bear growled in his face, “that door is for employees only.”
“Look,” Nate said, “I have to talk to her. She's my—”
He looked around and realized they’d gained the attention of everyone in the tiny shop. He couldn't say what he needed to say to make the man understand, so he took a deep breath and stepped back on the other side of the counter.
“Sorry,” Nate said, trying to ease the gossip. “I can talk to her later.”
The man nodded and went back to making beverages, and Nate ordered a black coffee, a Polar Bare, from the tall, auburn-haired human who had jumped behind the counter after his mate had run. From the way they’d been laughing and teasing when he’d walked in, he assumed the green-eyed beauty belonged to the male bear, though he hadn’t marked her yet. If he had, she would carry the bear’s scent and every shifter would know who had claimed her.
They must be still dating.
Nate shook his head and focused on his own mate. Their first encounter hadn’t gone the way he’d hoped, but though he was disappointed, he wasn’t about to give up.
He just needed to figure out a plan.
Several women tried to stop him on his way out of the shop, but he ignored them all. He usually had more tolerance for people in general, but he had a feeling tolerance went out the window when he’d walked into the coffee house and came face-to-face with his mate.
He only wanted one woman, and the sooner everyone in town figured that out, the better.
Riley dipped the paint roller into the tray, gathered more paint, and rolled it on the wall. The soft, barely-there lavender color made her smile, and she was happy she decided to decorate the apartment in purples and blues.
Growing up, she could have repainted the soft white walls of the bedroom in her family home anytime, but she’d never felt the need. Probably because she loved Ryker too much, and ultimately thought of the house as his. Technically, the apartment was his, too, but it felt different…detached somehow…and she felt liberated inside of it. She liked being able to personalize the place.
The sun had set hours ago, and after she’d cried until there were no tears left, she’d started painting. She knew her brothers had probably figured out where she’d gone, and though she felt guilty for not contacting them, and for leaving Ridge alone during a busy Saturday morning, she’d needed to be alone.
Her stomach growled again and she frowned. She’d skipped lunch and dinner, and the two bottles of water she’d survived on so far were waning. The only place she could order from this late was The Bear’s Den, but she didn’t want to go there, even for take-out. She didn’t want to risk running into anyone she knew, or her mate.
She’d have to go home, eat, and then come back.
She wouldn’t be able to avoid her brothers, but that was okay. She could deal with their questions and concerns, and put their minds at ease.