Bearllionaire: (BWWM) Paranormal BBW Bear Shifter Romance Standalone (6 page)

BOOK: Bearllionaire: (BWWM) Paranormal BBW Bear Shifter Romance Standalone
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6

R
yder licked
his lips and tried to think of a good response. The clock by the bedside was broken at her feet. She must have thrown it.

He knew how it looked. He’d brought her to a cabin and implied it was hers, when all of his stuff was set up in it.

And then he’d bedded her on a couch and been gone when she woke up.

She bit her lip nervously and looked at the clock she’d broken with adorable guilt in her eyes. He couldn’t help surveying her generous form and wanting to just take her to bed and make it better, but…

“Were you just thinking I’d be easy?” she asked, brown eyes blazing fire. “I guess I proved you right. You pretend like you want to work together, get me up to your ‘cabin,’ screw me senseless, and then just get up to take a phone call?”

He winced. How to explain? He was so good at high-pressure negotiation, yet now, with his gorgeous mate spitting all kinds of words that made sense but were totally wrong, he couldn’t seem to perform.

“You don’t understand,” he said, dodging a plate she threw his direction. She was small compared to him, but damn did she scare him. Still, he’d expect nothing less from his strong-minded potential mate. “I wasn’t planning that. I was just as taken aback as you were. It’s been a long time since I’ve… been with someone. Dated someone. You were… irresistible.”

Her expression softened, but her lips stayed pressed together. “You expect me to believe Ryder Hart just couldn’t control himself with me?”

“There’s more to it,” Ryder said nervously, scrubbing the back of his neck with one hand and wondering what to do about the bear thing. “I just… can’t explain it all yet. How about we have dinner?”

Her eyes flashed, but just then, her stomach made a betraying growling noise.

“I promise that won’t happen again,” he said. “Unless you want it. Even then, we’d have to talk first. Despite what it looks like, that’s not what I want from you, Janna. I know this sounds crazy, but I want you. Just as you are.”

“You barely know me,” she said darkly.

“Do you believe in love at first sight?” he tried weakly.

“No,” she said.

He sighed. If he didn’t have his bear, he wouldn’t either. But he knew his animal had wisdom about this that he didn’t. He would trust it and hope it would lead him to the right way to win her.

“Give me a chance,” he said. “Let’s try and put this behind us for now.” She blushed, and he swallowed, trying to press on despite the delicious thoughts of her that kept coming to his head. Janna writhing beneath him, Janna moaning his name, Janna crying out for him, and his bear answering…

“Just give me the week you were going to give me,” he said. “Forgive me for this mistake.”

Her eyes flashed in anger, and he realized that was a bad way to word it.

“No,” he corrected. “I mean…” The stubborn part of him had enough. “Woman, I’m getting dinner. And you’re going to eat that and then listen to what I have to say.” He eyed her sternly, hoping that sent the right message.

Instead, she looked at him for a moment and then burst into laughter. Then she sashayed away into the bedroom.

Suddenly, Ryder wasn’t sure who was in control after all. Damn. His mate was a one-in-a-million woman.

J
anna sank against the door
, grateful she’d had a chance to shut it in Ryder’s face before her mocking laughter turned into something more hysterical. She covered her mouth with her hand, waiting for her heartbeat to return to normal.

Even angry with him for leaving her alone in bed, even yelling at him for bringing her to his cabin and not telling her, he had an effect on her.

Tall, handsome Ryder Hart was just as devastatingly gorgeous when he was hemming and hawing over making a mistake as he was when he was making love to her.

A deep part of her said,
Let’s keep him
.

Another part said,
We’ve been wrong before. He could leave us. We have no promise of anything.
And to be fair, when she made love to him, she hadn’t demanded anything but the pleasure he could give her. She had no right to be angry with him for something that had been her choice.

But that was when she’d thought he’d been just as carried away as she was. Heck, she’d only been alone with him for two minutes before she practically jumped his bones. Gone was the practical accountant; in her place was a feral animal eager to get any piece of him.

It wasn’t like her. She rubbed her chest over her heart, still not feeling fully like herself. Perhaps it was just the sex, but she still felt exhilarated. More alive than ever before.

And damn, could he do sex.

But then she’d seen the clothes in the closet. He hadn’t changed his mind and brought her to her own private cabin, as she’d initially thought. He’d brought her to
his
place, like a presumptuous first date who assumed he was going to get some. Worse, she’d proven him right.

But even as her logical mind chastised her for her indiscretion, her body ached with relief that they’d been together. It had felt wonderful, been exactly what she needed, and he’d used protection. So what was the harm? She wasn’t old-fashioned enough to feel that it should affect his opinion of her. And yet, she still wanted him to know she didn’t just jump into bed with every hot billionaire that wanted her.

Crazy as it sounded, there had been something between them. Something she wanted to explore, even though she knew better than to hope for something to happen this quickly with one of the most powerful men in the country.

Ryder Hart.
Ryder Hart
had been making love to her. She could barely believe it.

He was waiting out there. She giggled again at his attempt to be commanding. Sure, it had made her go weak in the knees. But she also knew now she had equal, or maybe more, power over him now. His attempt to command her had simply stemmed from his adorable sense of frustration at the situation. And looking at his crumpled brow, rumpled clothing, and huge muscles that could nonetheless not get him out of this mess, she couldn’t fight back a laugh.

And it had felt good and made her feel more in control of a situation that had started to worry her.

She wasn’t going to fall too hard for Ryder Hart. Not more than she wanted to. She’d taken what she wanted, no more, and as she heard him out and got to know him, maybe she’d be more able to decide what she wanted from him.

She grinned and opened her suitcase, looking for something to torture him. She heard his low, sexy voice on the phone, probably ordering dinner, and lust coiled inside her again.
No
, she told her body,
we’re not doing that again. Not soon. We need to get to know him. See if we can trust him
.

You can
, a part of her said. But she ignored it. She needed more than intuition this time. It was too easy to mistake intuition for simply something she wanted anyway. She wouldn’t be fooled again.

And with a man who could have any choice of woman on his arm, she’d have to be extra careful if she didn’t want to end up cheated on again.

She put on a bra that pushed the ladies up and together in a pleasing way, pulled on some Spanx that smoothed from the bottom of her breasts to her knees, and put on a soft V-neck sweater in red and a form-fitting black skirt. She gave her hair a quick toss, knowing there was nothing much she could do for the tight, unruly curls, and swiped on her signature red lipstick. Her pretty brown skin didn’t need makeup, still glowing from sex, so she crossed through the room and opened the door to peek out shyly.

Though she was pretty sure she was a knockout in this outfit, she couldn’t help feeling a shudder of self-consciousness when she met his sapphire-blue gaze. His full lips pressed into a firm line, and she thought she saw him shift slightly, as if he were instantly aroused by her. She pushed away the thought and swept into the room and headed for a cupboard. She pulled out a mug and filled it with ice water from the fridge and sat down at the table to look out the window at the snow as if nothing were wrong.

Ryder let out a little huff and sat across from her. There was silence for a moment, and she could tell it bothered him more than it bothered her. So she sipped her water annoyingly and waited for him to say something. It was more entertaining that way.

“I was thinking we could head up to the lodge at eight in the morning tomorrow. Get started on the books.”

“Mm-hmm,” she said, not looking at him.

He cleared his throat. Even that sound was enough to send shockwaves down to her toes. “Does that sound okay? And then I arranged for a special lunch.”

She turned to him. “Special?”

It was his turn to grin slyly, a knowing look in those beautiful eyes. He brushed dark hair off his forehead. “You’ll see. I want it to be a surprise.”

She shrugged. “I guess so. After tonight, that’s some big shoes to fill.”

He coughed. “Excuse me?”

She laughed, trying to hide her nerves at blurting that out. “I just mean, after what happened this evening, it’ll be difficult to surprise me.”

“Oh,” he said simply, sounding baffled. “Well, I hope this surprise is better.”

“That’d be hard,” she retorted.

He shifted in his chair and she stifled a laugh by putting her water to her lips again.

“Well, we’ll see,” he said. “Anyway, I ordered dinner. I hope you like steak.”

“Who doesn’t?” she said glibly. The longer she was near him, the more nervous she felt, even when she wasn’t looking at him.

“The lodge restaurant has been impressive so far. And I told them it was a special occasion. I expect they won’t disappoint.”

“When will they be coming?”

“Ten minutes or so,” he said. “It took you a few minutes to get ready. Not that I mind.” His eyes ran over her slowly, taking in every inch like he wanted to strip the clothing right off of her and start all over again.

She wriggled in her chair, a little uncomfortable in the Spanx. He eyed her midsection, as if he could tell something wasn’t quite right, but then decided not to say anything about it.

“So tell me about you, Janna. Despite my rather rude attempts so far, I really do want to get to know you. I promise.”

She sighed. “All right. Since I have nothing else to do right now, I’ll give you a chance. I mean, I have to say, what we just did? I’d be lying if I didn’t say it blew my mind.”

“I’m glad,” he said, and the warmth was back between them, melting away the awkwardness like sun on spring snow. “It blew my mind, too.”

“What do you want to know?”

“What are your hopes and dreams?” he asked, leaning forward on his impressive forearms. “What do you want more than anything in the world?”

Safety
, she thought to herself.
A little place with someone I can trust, who sees me for who I am, and who accepts me and would never leave.

But didn’t every woman want that? The fairytale? She could take care of herself; she knew that. But she still wanted a partner who could do it for her sometimes. When she was tired. Someone she could care for too.

But looking into Ryder’s handsome, striking face, she couldn’t say it.

“I guess I’d like to own my own business. Pay the mortgage off, you know?”

“Would you want to stay here in town if you did?”

She shrugged. “Depends who is here.” She blushed because she knew that was too obvious. If Ryder Hart settled here, then yes, she’d be tempted to stay. That is if things worked out between them. Which she knew she was crazy to hope for. “I’d like to be independent. And at some point, I guess I would like a family.”

“Kids?” he asked.

“Sure,” she said.

“How many?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “The biological clock is ticking. I don’t think I’d mind adopting though.”

He winced. “You’re still in your prime.”

“You have something against adoption?”

He shook his head, his thick, dark hair moving in tantalizing ways around his face and neck. “No, I just hate seeing you think you’re too old to have your own if you want to. I think adoption is amazing.”

She smiled because she could see he was being genuine. For some reason, he didn’t seem like the type to lie. Maybe the type to put his foot in it by telling too much truth too fast, but not a snake like Scott.

Even if she did get the feeling Ryder was hiding something. Then again, they barely knew each other. It was natural to keep some things hidden.

At least that’s what she told herself.

“So your friends. Tell me about them,” he said.

“My friends?”

“Yeah, the girls you were with when I first met you. Seems like you’ve found something good there,” he said.

She warmed at the fact that he’d been paying attention. One of the things she’d always hated about Scott was how he didn’t seem to listen or notice little things that were important to her. “Well, I guess that’s one thing I should be grateful to Scott for. Without him, I wouldn’t have met Kylie or Leslie. They’ve made all the difference in my life.”

“I’d say that’s because you made all the difference in theirs, not because of any virtue of Scott’s.” He frowned, and she could swear the big man was pouting. The thought made her heart skip a beat. If he were just a one-night stand looking for a local girl to romance for a week, would he look that jealous whenever Scott’s name was brought up?

“Still, I never would have met them if I hadn’t gone to Leslie’s bar, trying to drown my sorrows. And Kylie has her own story.”

“They’re both locals?” Ryder asked, seeming genuinely interested in a way that made her warm inside.

“Yes,” she said. “And they’ve been a huge blessing. I wish they could come up here.”

“You could invite them,” he said. But he seemed to regret that the moment it was out of his mouth, and she was glad. Because as much as she loved seeing her friends, she couldn’t resist the thought of just a little more time with Ryder Hart. All to herself. She could castigate herself afterwards for being stupid about it.

For now, she wanted the fantasy.

And even if it went bad, wouldn’t she have the most amazing story to tell?

BOOK: Bearllionaire: (BWWM) Paranormal BBW Bear Shifter Romance Standalone
13.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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