Read Bear Cop: BBW Bear Shifter Paranormal Romance Online

Authors: Zoe Chant

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Women's Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Romance, #Military, #New Adult & College, #Paranormal, #Two Hours or More (65-100 Pages), #Contemporary Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Fantasy, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Short Stories, #Werewolves & Shifters

Bear Cop: BBW Bear Shifter Paranormal Romance

BOOK: Bear Cop: BBW Bear Shifter Paranormal Romance
3.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Chapter One

 

 

Eve Connolly stared at her phone in consternation, nearly dropping the cupcakes she had just been about to place in the display.

“Sorry, Eve.” The voice of Phil, the bakery delivery man, came over the phone's speaker. “I'm fine, but the car's busted. That truck pushed me straight off the road. The car doesn't look that bad, but it needs to be towed. We are waiting for the cops to show up.”

Eve sighed deeply. “You're sure you're all right?” she asked reflexively. But her mind was already busy calculating how to best deal with the remaining deliveries for the day.

“Not even a scratch on me,” Phil reassured her. “Listen, Eve, I know it's my first day today, and I'm really sorry this happened.”

“Not your fault, Phil.” Eve put the tray of cupcakes down, still wondering what they'd do without a driver and a car for the day.

No wedding deliveries today, thank God. Those are always the worst,
she thought.

Eve loved the little bakery she ran and as good as owned, but today was quickly proving to turn into one of the more stressful days.

“Just wait for the cops,” she said resolutely. “If the car has to go to the shop, we'll get a rental for the week. Or Mr. Herbert's old pick-up will have to do for a few days. Anyway, what's important is that no one is hurt.”

Mr. Herbert would probably love an occasion for his old truck to be put to use once more. The thing was still painted with the ghastly logo he'd come up with when he had founded the tiny small-town bakery a long time ago. By now he really only came in to chat with his customers, many of whom had bought the tempting creations of Linden Creek Bakery for half a century.

“Thanks for taking it so well, Eve,” Phil said, still sounding subdued.

“No need to get worked up about it now. Let the insurance handle it,” she said. Phil's description made it seem like a clear enough case, at least. Still, even if that other guy had caused the accident, a week without their new delivery car would be quite a hassle.

Eve sighed heavily once Phil ended the call, remembering how Mr. Herbert kept giving her meaningful looks whenever he talked about how his joints ached, and how his back couldn't take long hours in front of cakes and tarts and cupcakes anymore. She really hoped he wouldn't ask her to buy out the bakery again.

She didn't mind talking with their customers—most were very sweet—but the small town gossip often became too much for her. Half the conversations always seemed to drift towards the same topic: How was it that a beautiful, single woman like her spent her days and weekends behind the mixing bowl instead of finding herself a man to spoil with the bakery's famed cupcakes?

With a frown, Eve tore her eyes away from the bestselling red velvet cupcakes that she had decorated with little hearts just this morning.

Not for her,
she told herself firmly. That was just how it was. It didn't even matter that she wasn’t good at finding clothes that would hide her hips and round belly. She’d never had success with any of the new diet fads anyway—and really, who would buy from a baker who didn't enjoy her own creations?

It was just as well she was forever doomed to stay single. She could eat all the cupcakes she wanted, and would never have to fear that someone would find out about her past. Life in Linden Creek really wasn't bad—especially for someone who had tried her best to hide from the police for the past decade.

She could never buy the bakery. The purchase would require legal paperwork, and she was living under a false last name. It was just too risky.

She pursed her lips.

Concentrate, Eve. You need to get to Phil, you need to deal with whatever he has done to the car, and then you need to come up with a wedding cake design for the Johnsons this evening
. It was a full day, and the Herberts wouldn't even be around to help out today.

When the little bell tinkled to alarm her that someone had come into the shop, she looked up—only to freeze in surprised delight.

Woah
, her mind supplied as her eyes came to rest on a broad chest.
Woah!

And then the rest of her brain caught up with the part of her that couldn't tear her eyes away from what had to be the fittest man to ever enter her little bakery.

Police!
her mind called out in warning.

That broad chest was covered by a uniform shirt. He'd have a gun and handcuffs. And there, parked right outside the bakery, was his police car waiting to take her away...

“It smells amazing in here,” the cop said. He eyed the little tower of colorful macaroons that she had piled up this morning to accompany the sugar cookie display in the window.

Eve's heart was still racing with fear. But this wasn't how cops introduced themselves before they put handcuffs on you, was it?

For a moment, Eve contemplated whether he could be bribed with macaroons, and was only barely able to hold back the hysterical laughter that wanted to escape at the thought.

“Sorry, you probably already got the call,” the cop said. “There was an accident with your delivery car, but no one is hurt. My colleague's already there. I thought I'd give you a ride. Your driver said you're without a car, so I thought I'd use the chance to introduce myself. I'm Chris Anders.”

Eve felt her knees weaken, and not just because he wasn't here to arrest her after all! He'd just given her the most incredible smile—brown eyes filled with a deep warmth that made something in her belly tighten, white teeth flashing as though he'd sprung straight from some commercial, all broad shoulders and strong arms. When he took off his hat, she saw that he had short brown hair just long enough to curl a little, giving him a hint of ruggedness that went very well with his firm jaw and warm eyes.

Too well,
Eve thought, her stomach twisting with a strange heat. How long had it been since someone had made her feel that way?

She forced herself to tear her eyes away from where she could watch his pecs shift beneath his uniform shirt. This was the wrong time to become distracted by this vision of manliness right before her. For one thing, there was the accident, which would mean yet more work if they couldn't use the car for today's deliveries. And also, there was the fact that her past wouldn't hold up to investigation.

Ten years ago she had changed her name and her story, on the run until she wound up in the small town of Linden Creek, where a kind old baker needed someone to help out a few hours every weekend. It hadn't taken long until he'd let Eve take over more and more of his work, and he had never asked questions about her past. Mr. Herbert knew that she was a good person who wouldn't do anything wrong—but a cop would never believe her.

“Is everything all right? Your driver is fine, I promise,” the cop said. He took a step closer, looking worried. “I can take you to him. It's really just for the insurance formalities. From what he said, it sounds like your car is still good to go. Just scratches.”

Eve realized suddenly that all this time, she must have been gaping at him like a lunatic. Wonderful, that was just what she needed! If he wasn't suspicious yet, he probably would be very soon, if she kept staring at him like she wanted to jump him at the first chance!

He's probably used to that,
she told herself firmly. A guy like that could have any woman he desired.

“Sorry—sorry. Just the shock. Hi,” she said belatedly, feeling her cheeks heat.

Now she felt like an idiot. There was still flour all over her arms, she realized too late when she held out her hand.

But he only laughed softly and shook it. His hand was warm and strong.

“Welcome to Linden Creek,” Eve said. “Jim must be relieved to have you, he's been looking forward to retirement for ages. He comes in every Monday for our apple pie. I'm Evelyn Myers. Most folks here just call me Eve. I hope you'll get a chance to try our pies as well. Some of our recipes still come from Mr. Herbert’s grandma.”

Great, now she was babbling. She forced herself to give him a bright smile. If he didn't think yet that she was an idiot, that had probably done it. But that was a lesson she had learned quickly—if you didn't want people to ask about your past, just smile a lot and talk about pies, or cakes, or the weather, or the preparations for the next state fair. It was strange how lonely you could be, even if you spent half your day smiling at the people who bought your cupcakes.

“Eve,” he said slowly, as if he was savoring the word.

Ooh
. She felt her knees weaken again.

She had never heard someone say her name like that. His voice was all warm, with the barest hint of something darker beneath—almost like a soft growl. Whatever it was, it was damn sexy.

“Pleased to meet you. And your pies,” he said with a grin. She felt a surge of relief at the thought that maybe she hadn't
completely
embarrassed herself. “I'll definitely be back for them. Possibly even more often than Jim. Those cupcakes look amazing.”

Eve felt her cheeks heat even more. Was he flirting? Men like that didn't flirt with women like her, she told herself once more. Or maybe they did, but they didn't mean anything by it.

She tugged uncomfortably at her shirt to try and hide the curve of her belly a little better, then bit back a sound of dismay when she realized that she had managed to get more flour all over herself. Great. What a wonderful first impression she must have left. But at least it didn't seem like he'd come to arrest her. That was really the best she could hope for.

 

***

 

Chris Anders couldn't quite believe his luck as one of the most beautiful women he'd ever met fastened her seat-belt in the car next to him.

He hadn't actually looked forward to a future as a small-town cop. It wasn't that he missed the big city, but small towns could get lonely, and it was hard to keep a secret. And he certainly had one he needed to keep. But it was that same secret that had led him to Linden Creek—for a man who could shift into a bear at will, there was no better home than a quiet town surrounded by forests and mountains. His bear would be happy here.

But Chris himself thought that he'd be lonely here. By now he was reasonably certain that he'd never find a mate his bear could settle on. None of the girls he'd met in the city had ever made his bear take interest.

Until he'd stepped into this tiny, rural bakery with the most amazing window displays, and had found something even sweeter inside. Long, blonde hair up in a bun, smudges of flour on her arms, generous curves and wide hips his bear approved of with a rumble of delight—and when she'd taken his hand, he had leaned forward a little, and his bear had taken a whiff of her and firmly made his interest known. She'd smelled like her cupcakes, like almond and vanilla and cherry pie, but beneath all of that, there was something
more
—something sweet that called to him.

Like smelling a wild comb of honey in the forest,
his bear told him. Chris had to grin. That probably wouldn't go over well as a compliment.

“It's going to take us a while to get there,” he said in apology. “Parts of the road up north are still flooded. Does it always rain so much here in the spring? Jim gave me a list of bridges they've had to close, and it feels like half the roads are blocked.”

Eve turned her head and gave him a little smile. “You must have brought the weather with you. I can't remember a flooding this bad in—well, since I came here!”

“How long have you lived here?” he asked, watching as Eve reached up to her bun and undid the pin that held it up.

He had to force himself to keep his attention on the road as her hair tumbled down—long, blonde strands that filled his car with the scent of vanilla. He wondered what it would be like to kiss her, to bury his fingers in her hair and allow his bear to take a deep breath of her scent. Could this be what it was like to find your mate? Something about her seemed almost familiar, as though he had seen her before. Was this his heart recognizing her?

Mine
, his bear thought, and Chris leaned forward to fiddle with the radio to disguise the way his body was starting to take an interest in her.

“Oh, I've lived here a long time,” Eve replied. “It must have been ten years now. It's a quiet town, you'll find. None of that excitement you city cops must get.”

Was she teasing now? Chris dared another look at her and saw that her cheeks were flushed, even though she was looking out of the window now instead of meeting his eyes. Damn, he hoped she hadn't noticed what was definitely the beginnings of a hard-on in his pants.

“I like forests,” he said, partly to distract himself. “That feeling of freedom when you know you can run for hours and there will be yet more hills to climb, yet more stones and trees and clearings to explore, or creeks to cross... I think it's the feeling some people get when they look at the ocean. But I've never been an ocean person.”

“Then you'll love it here,” she said with determination. “We get tourists who come for the hiking trails. You can spend all weekend hiking, if that is your thing, without seeing a single soul.”

Chris gave her another grin. “Perfect. But I think I'll have to come and get provisions for my trip from you before I leave.”

BOOK: Bear Cop: BBW Bear Shifter Paranormal Romance
3.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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