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Authors: Catherine Vale

Bear Meets Girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Vale

Bear Meets Girl

Order Of Protection Series
A BBW Paranormal Shifter Romance

Copyright © 2015, Catherine Vale

Published by Wild Hearts Press

 

Website:
http://www.CatherineVale.com

 

All rights reserved. Without limiting the
rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in
any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or
otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and
the above publisher of this book.

 

This is a work of fiction. All names,
characters, locations, brands, incidents, and places are either the product of
the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.  The author
acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products
referenced in this work of fiction. The publication/use of these trademarks is
not associated with or sponsored by the trademark owners.

 

This book is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This book may not be resold or given away to other people. If
you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an
additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not
purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to
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respecting the hard work of this author.

 

 

Chapter One

            Angela
sipped from a frothy mugful of Sam Adams as she straddled the back of the
barstool she sat on, and waited for her partner to show up. Her keen green eyes
lazily perused the crowded bar, hoping to find someone of interest, but though
the place was teeming with fae and shifters and mages, they were all the usual
crowd - no fresh blood to be found.

            Well,
unless she counted the posse of pixies who were currently tearing up the dance
floor. Full of mischief and mayhem, they moved their little bodies to some kind
of techno beat they’d convinced the DJ to put on, and while their sparkling
outfits and wild hair certainly qualified them as ‘interesting’, she had no
intention of getting involved with the kind of trouble their kind tended to
bring.

           
Well,
not unless she had to arrest them. And since she was off-shift, she was really
hoping things didn’t come to that tonight.

            The
front door opened, and Angela turned her head just in time to see Raina walk
through the door. Tall and willowy, with inky black hair and eyes that were
nearly as dark, she tended to draw the eye of every male she walked past,
especially dressed as she was in her long black leather coat and knee-high
stiletto boots. Paired with a plum sweater and skin-tight jeans, she somehow
managed to look classy and dangerous at the same time, like a woman who flirts
without fear because there’s always a knife at her fingertips if she decides
she doesn’t like the way you’re looking at her.

            But
then, Raina Madison didn’t usually carry knives. As a mage, she really didn’t
need to.

            “Hey
Angie.” Her partner slid neatly onto the stool next to Angela and ordered a
Guinness. “Sorry I’m late… was trying to catch up on some sleep. You know, to
recover from the double-shift we’ve been pulling nearly
all week.
” She
narrowed her dark eyes at Angela to convey her displeasure at being dragged out
of her condo on the first night they’d had off in nearly two weeks, then
snatched up her beer and took a long pull from the bottle. “I’m going to need a
lot more of these to drown out the sound of my bed calling my name.”

            “Oh
please.” Angela rolled her eyes, but leaned over the counter to order her
friend another beer. “You’re starting to sound like an old maid. You gotta get
out every once in awhile.”

            “Yeah,
but did we
really
have to go to the Crazy Horse?” Raina complained,
pouting a little. “I mean, if we’re going to go out and enjoy ourselves, at
least we can go to a place where every third person doesn’t happen to be
someone that we’ve cuffed within the last twelve months.”

            Angela
sighed. That was the crux of being a Protector – you tended to run into a
lot of violators when you were off the job. She and Raina both worked for the
Order of Protection – a government-sanctioned organization whose job it
was to police supernaturals. It was their job to make sure that the various
Supernatural races didn’t violate the treaty that had been established with the
United Nations in order to allow everyone to live peaceably on this planet.

            Of
course that was easier said than done, since millions of years of evolution predisposed
most supernaturals to think of humans as food rather than friends or allies.
But humans grossly outnumbered supernaturals on this planet, so everyone had no
choice but to get along if they didn’t want to be annihilated.

            “You
know that we can’t go to human bars,” Angela chided Raina quietly as she tugged
at her red leather motocross jacket. Unlike Raina, she
did
carry weapons
underneath her jacket – though she had plenty of teeth and claws in her
bear form, as a human she was nearly as vulnerable as anyone else. There were
knives tucked into her matching red leather boots, and a gun tucked into the
holster fastened to her belt. “If your father found out, he’d lock you away in
a tower and skin my pelt.”

            Raina
wrinkled her nose. “Dad might be a little overprotective, but he’s not
that
bad,”
she said, and then pouted again. “Still though, you’re probably right. But on
our next day off, I vote that we just hang out at my place with several pints
of Ben and Jerry’s and watch a season of Orange is the New Black.”

            “Make
it a season of Wentworth, and you’ve got yourself a deal.” Angela decided not
to mention just how tempting the idea sounded to her right now. The truth was
that she was bone-tired too, and could probably have used some sleep, but she’d
woken up in the middle of the afternoon, restless for some reason, with anxiety
eating away at her brain. She’d chalked it up to her workaholic tendencies and
not being used to having a day to actually lie around and do nothing, and had
thought that going out would be enough of a distraction to ease her mind.

            But
even though the lights and music and crush of bodies and alcohol were certainly
enough to drown anyone’s troubles away, the niggling anxiety in her chest
remained.

           
Maybe
it’s not being a workaholic that’s causing the stress,
she thought,
worrying her lower lip with her teeth.
Maybe it’s a premonition. Like,
something bad is going to happen.

           
She opened her mouth to tell
Raina that maybe they should go hit the supermarket for Ben and Jerry’s now,
then snapped it shut as she recognized the tell-tale gleam in Raina’s dark
eyes. Following her friend’s gaze, she quickly found the source of her friend’s
fascination – a dark elf dressed in a pair of tight black jeans and
nothing else, his long white hair flowing down around his muscular shoulders as
he returned her stare, his eyes liquid pools of silver that clearly beckoned
and enticed.

            “You’ve
got to be kidding me.” Angela elbowed Raina in the gut. “A dark elf? You’re probably
going to find baggies of rapture littered all over his room when he takes you
back to his place.” Dark elves were considered the drug dealers of the supernatural
world, and rapture to them was what crack cocaine was to humans.

            “Maybe,
but they’re really good in bed, and besides, not all dark elves are dealers.”
Raina’s eyes never left his, even as she massaged her stomach where Angela had
elbowed her. Her plum-colored lips curved into a seductive smile that Angela
knew meant business. “Besides, selling fae drugs isn’t illegal so long as he
isn’t dealing them to humans.”

            Angela
snorted. “You know damn well that most of them do, so you’re walking on shaky
ground there.”

            Raina
shrugged. “If I find out he’s doing anything illegal, I’ll arrest him,” she
replied matter-of-factly, sliding off the barstool. She turned back with a grin
and added, “After I’m done with him, of course.” She winked, then sashayed her
way across the bar to where her soon-to-be lover awaited her.

            Sighing,
Angela leaned against the bar and watched as Raina and her dark elf made their
way onto the dance floor to join the pixies in what was fast turning into a
bump-and-grind.
Well, at least someone’s getting laid tonight,
she
thought a little grumpily, picking up Raina’s abandoned second beer, and taking
a swig from the bottle. Guinness was still a little on the heavy side for her
at this time of year since they hadn’t quite turned the corner into fall yet,
but she drank it down anyway – she needed to loosen some of the tension
from her shoulders.

            An
incubus tried to make a pass at her, as well as a vampire, but she waved them
both off – blood suckers weren’t really her thing. But that kind of was
the kicker, wasn’t it? Mostly none of the races that populated the bar tonight
were ‘her thing’, because she was a shifter bear and with few exceptions, most
shifters liked to mate with their own kind.

            Not
that there weren’t shifters at the bar, of course, because there were. But few
of them were bears, and again, she wasn’t interested in any of them. It also
didn’t help that she was a Protector – most shifters were very pack or
clan oriented, and though she was still technically a member of the clan she
was raised in, she had divided loyalties, and a lot of shifters didn’t like
that too much.

           
Yeah,
well I guess that’s what I get for wanting to serve and protect,
she
grumbled to herself.

            The
sound of splintering wood and shouting caught her attention, and she looked
over to see a vampire and a shifter squaring off, broken bits of chair and
glass between them on the floor. A crowd had begun to form around them, so she
could clearly see the blood running down the side of the vampire’s pasty pale
forehead, and the orange glow in the shifter male’s eyes that signaled an
impending fight.

            “I’m
waiting for an apology for knocking my drink out of my hand,” the shifter
growled, his deep voice reverberating in his throat.

            “And
I’m waiting for an apology for smashing your glass into my forehead,” the
vampire hissed, clenching his fists. The shifter responded by giving him the
one-fingered salute, and the vampire bared his fangs before launching himself
at the shifter.

            “Hey,
hey!” Angela shouted, pushing through the crowd, holding the shield amulet on
the chain around her neck aloft that served as a badge for Protectors. “Break
it up, guys!”

The two paid her absolutely no
heed. The shifter male ripped the vampire from his throat and tossed him,
sending the undead guy crashing into the far wall. The vampire snarled,
struggling to his feet as the shifter transformed into a panther, his black fur
rippling as he flexed his muscles, preparing for battle.

“I SAID BREAK IT UP!”

Angela pulled the gun from her
holster and fired it at the panther just as he launched himself at the vampire.
A high-voltage stream of electricity shot from the barrel of the gun, and hit
the shifter directly between his shoulder blades, and the male dropped to the
ground, howling in agony as he immediately began flickering back and forth
between forms.

The vampire started toward
him, and Angela raised her gun. “Don’t even think about it.”

“And just what are you going
to do about it?” he sneered, his pale blue eyes glittered as he stared down the
barrel of her gun. “That thing won’t hurt me.”

“Maybe, but I’m sure I have
something that will, and besides, you don’t want to resist with a bunch of
witnesses around.” Angela kept her voice even, but the anxiety that had been
gnawing at her tripled, especially when Raina didn’t show up to assist her.
Where
had her partner gone? Had she left with her dark elf lover already?

The vampire hissed at her
again, his eyes turning red. “I didn’t do anything wrong,” he insisted, flexing
his clawed hands. “He attacked me first. Everyone saw it.”

“What, and you think that I’m
going to turn my back and give you a free pass so everyone can watch you suck
the life force out of this guy?” Angela set her jaw. “That’s not the way this
world works. Now get on your knees and put your hands behind your head, or I
will have to use force to restrain you.”

The vampire bared his teeth,
shifting into an aggressive stance. “You can’t hope to subdue me, shifter girl
– ”

“I wouldn’t do that if I were
you,” a dark voice growled.

Angela’s back stiffened at the
menace in the stranger’s voice, but she didn’t dare turn around to see who it
was and take her eyes off the vamp. A gust of air whipped through the crowd
then, and suddenly a behemoth of a man stood behind the vampire, dressed in a
black leather jacket and shit-kickers. Angela sucked in a gasp – he was
gorgeous, tall and muscular as he towered over them all, a headful of chestnut locks
curling around a face that looked as if it had been carved by angels and cursed
by Titans. His violet eyes were laser sharp as he glared down at the man, his
sensuous lips curled back in a snarl, exposing very white, very sharp fangs,
and Angela instantly felt a jolt as she recognized the shifter inside him. His
meaty arm jammed beneath the vamp’s pale throat as he crushed the back of the
vamp’s head against his broad chest.

“Let go of me!” the vampire
choked, struggling to sink his fangs into the man’s arm, and then froze as the
man conjured a ball of flame from thin air. The ball hovered in the air just
inches from his gloved palm, and as he drew it alongside the vampire’s face,
the vamp’s forehead broke out into a cold – or would that be a hot?
– sweat.

“I suggest you do as the lady
says,” the man growled as Angela struggled not to gape at him. All kinds of
alarm bells were going off in her head – her nose was telling her this
man was a shifter, and yet shifters couldn’t conjure balls of flames in their
hands. That was a mage talent, and no shifter could wield mage powers.

There is one who can.

No. No way. He wasn’t real.
Not as far as Angela knew, because she’d never seen him, and she’d been alive
for at least a hundred years now.

“Unless you think you can
survive being turned into ash,” the man said softly, “I suggest you get on your
hands and knees like the nice lady over there says. Before I erase the memory
of your existence from this earth.”

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