Read Bear's Match (Bear Heat Book 6) Online

Authors: Natalie Kristen

Tags: #BBW, #Paranormal, #Shifter, #Romance, #Fiction, #Adult, #Erotic, #Contemporary, #Bear, #Protect, #Security Co., #Black Bears Group, #Hyland Wolves, #Courage, #Suspense, #Danger, #True Mate, #Bachelor, #Single Woman, #Forever Love, #Survived, #Harrowing Ordeal, #Once Human, #Dangerous & Deadly, #Under Control, #Client, #Secrets, #Sinister & Horrific, #Trust Issues, #Promises

Bear's Match (Bear Heat Book 6)

BOOK: Bear's Match (Bear Heat Book 6)
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BEAR'S
MATCH

By

Natalie Kristen

BEAR HEAT series

Bear's Bride (Book 1)

Bear's Kiss (Book 2)

Bear's Claim (Book 3)

Bear's Baby (Book 4)

Bear's Heart (Book 5)

Bear's Match (Book 6)

Copyright
© 201
6
Natalie Kristen

ALL
RIGHTS RESERVED

No
part of this book may be used, reproduced or transmitted in any
manner whatsoever without the author's written permission except in
the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and
reviews.

This
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are
used fictitiously or are the products of the author's imagination.
Any resemblance to actual locales, events, establishments or persons,
living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

About
this Book

Luke
Keller survived a horrible, harrowing ordeal that changed his life
forever. He used to be human, but now there is something dangerous
and deadly lurking inside of him.

Just
when he thinks he has his beast under control, someone from his past
crashes back into his life and sets his world ablaze.

Nicole
Forrest is determined, feisty and she has worked damn hard to get
where she is. She has her life, her career, her future all mapped
out but when she receives a call for help from one of her clients,
everything goes to hell in a branded handbag.

Thrust
into a situation that is fast unraveling into something sinister and
horrific, Luke and Nicole will have to overcome their fears and trust
each other with their secrets and their hearts. Sometimes, keeping a
promise can cost you your life. Will Luke and Nicole be strong
enough to fight for what they believe in and for a future together?

*
* * * *

CHAPTER
ONE

Nicole pushed into the small
bar at the end of the street and slid into her usual spot at the
corner of the bar counter. “Hey, Ed. The usual please.”
She put down her briefcase and nodded at the bartender.

“Long day?” Ed
drawled, sliding a gin and tonic in front of her as she checked her
email on her phone.

“Long enough. Thanks.”
Nicole managed a smile and put down her phone firmly with a sigh.
She wasn't going to reply to any more emails tonight. Clients
expected her to be at their beck and call, and she usually made
herself readily available and contactable but hey, she was their
lawyer, not their slave. She would represent them, negotiate for
them, protect their interests and fight for their rights. She would
work late into the night and burn her weekends for them, but now she
just wanted to drink in peace. It was nine o'clock on a Thursday
night, for Chrissake. Waaay after office hours.

Ed nodded and went back to
serving the other customers. If a customer wanted to talk, Ed would
listen. He could shoot the crap with the best of them, but he also
knew when someone wanted to be left alone. Ed was the quintessential
bartender—observant, friendly and efficient.

Nicole sipped her drink and
glanced around the bar. The Sandpit was a tiny, cozy bar at the
corner of the street where she worked. It was her old boss who had
brought her to The Sandpit on her first day at Morgann Hill, one of
the largest law firms in the city. She remembered her first day as a
young, bright-eyed legal associate. Mr Robert Watkins was one of the
senior partners in the firm and she had been so nervous on her first
day. Mr Watkins had appeared austere and imposing during the
interview but he turned out to be a patient, grandfatherly gentleman.
He was a good boss and a wonderful mentor, and the firm threw a big
party for him when he retired last year.

Nicole smiled wistfully as
she thought of her old boss. Robert had just sent her a photo last
week through her phone. He and his wife were in their bathing suits
with their arms around their grinning grandchildren. “With the
grandkids at Splash Waterpark” was the caption.

Her phone vibrated on the
counter. Nicole saw that it was yet another email from the same
impatient client. She picked her phone up but instead of opening the
email, she dumped her phone into her handbag and zipped up her bag
with a flourish.

There. Now she could drink
in peace.

She was a good lawyer. She
was fast, hardworking, efficient, and she gave her clients the best
legal service their money could buy. Yes, they were paying her big
bucks, but they were only paying her for her legal services and
expertise. They didn't own her life. Not that she had much of a
social life. She worked long hours and sometimes over the weekends
as well. She thought about the men she'd dated and sucked in a
breath. They were all lawyers as well. She had met them through
work, at a conference, a seminar and an inter-firm party. She had
dated a fellow lawyer in Morgann Hill a few months back, but he'd
left for greener pastures.

Nicole took a big gulp of her
gin and tonic and winced. She really had no life. It was just all
work and no play for her. Not that she was complaining. She had now
a junior partner in the firm. She had been promoted on her birthday.
What a birthday present, eh? She had spent her thirty-first
birthday working till midnight. With the promotion came a bigger
workload, and she was determined to hit the ground running as a
junior partner.

Catching her reflection in
the mirror behind the bar, she studied herself critically. Her brown
hair was pulled back in a low, sleek ponytail and her cream-colored
jacket still looked smart, spotless and sharp after a long day. At a
glance, she looked professional and...pretty, she supposed. But on
closer inspection, she could see those pesky dark circles and eye
bags that she tried to cover up with thick concealer.

Nicole blew out a breath.
Boy, she really needed to catch up on her beauty sleep. There was
only so much that makeup could do. She should head on home, ignore
her laptop and phone and just crawl into bed. That sounded like a
plan.

Finishing the rest of her
drink in one gulp, she put the dollar bills on the bar counter. Ed
wasn't behind the counter. He'd probably gone to the back of the bar
to grab some supplies.

Nicole was about to pick up
her briefcase when a tall, burly man slid into the stool beside her.
She half turned to him and saw that he was smiling at her.

But it wasn't a nice smile.
It was smarmy, sleazy and predatory.

Nicole knew what he was going
to say and she cringed.

“What's a nice girl
like you doing...”

“Leaving,” she
said promptly, not waiting for him to finish his cheesy and
predictable pickup line. “Excuse me.”

“No.” The word
came out in a growl. The man angled his broad body to block her.
“You're not excused. And—you are not leaving.”

CHAPTER
TWO

Luke Keller strode into the
bar with a pizza box tucked under his arm. It had been a long day
and he was planning to relax in front of the TV with a pizza tonight.
On a whim, he decided to just check out the small bar that he'd
passed many times but never really noticed. The shops and eateries
along the street had loud, flashing signboards to announce their
presence and latest promotions but The Sandpit only had a rusty sign
above its dark-tinted door. It seemed that its intention was to stay
hidden in plain sight.

“A secret waiting to be
discovered,” Luke murmured, charmed and delighted as he entered
the cozy little bar. He had discovered a new favorite watering hole.
He would bring the guys here tomorrow night. Those Black Bears
would love this place.

Luke pulled out his phone to
call Dylan. Dylan Hart was his brother-in-law, his boss and his best
friend. It was Dylan who had guided Luke through his Change and
helped him find his footing, his confidence, his sense of self. And
the best thing was that Dylan was now mated to Luke's big sister,
Jade. If only they would hurry up and produce some adorable nieces
and nephews for him to play with.

Luke was just about to stab
at his phone when he heard raised voices from the corner of the bar.

A petite brunette was toe to
toe with a big, snarling shifter. Luke scented the man's animal
straight away. And he could see the faint stripes appearing on the
man's neck as he prowled towards the woman. But the woman wasn't
intimidated. She stood her ground and stared up at him with a calm
but determined expression. Her jaw was set and her lips were
slightly parted to bare her teeth. Her pert nose wrinkled and her
large, intelligent eyes sparked with controlled anger.

Luke recognized that
expression instantly. He had seen this look on his childhood friend
when she was gearing up for a fight. Luke jerked at the sudden
memory and gave himself a quick shake. God, he hadn't seen Nicole
Forrest since...forever. The last time he saw her, they were both
eight years old.

Luke thought that the gutsy,
hot-headed woman who was fearlessly preparing to take on a burly,
angry shifter looked a lot like his childhood friend. She had the
same bright, brown eyes and chestnut hair, and the obstinate set of
her jaw just looked so familiar.

Luke's eyes widened when he
saw the woman's hand reach out and inch towards the frothing mug of
beer on the counter.

She was going to make the guy
wear his own drink.

Luke swore under his breath.
He knew that if the woman threw the beer in the man's face, she might
get out of the bar in one piece tonight but she would probably be
found in pieces the following night.

The rumor that these feline
shifters had nine lives and they remembered every grudge and slight
all through their nine lives was half true. They might not have nine
lives, but from Luke's experience, the rest of the rumor was totally
true.

Luke hurried forward and
called out, “Hi honey! Sorry I'm late!” He went to put
his arm around the woman's shoulder and smoothly eased her hand away
from the seething mug of beer. To make the act more convincing, he
gave her a quick kiss on her head. “I miss my little wife. I
had a long day at the office today,” he improvised quickly.

The woman glared at him and
blinked. “Hmph,” was all she said. It was convincing
enough. She did look like a miffed spouse who wasn't placated with
an apology and a kiss.

Luke turned and gave the
tiger shifter a cursory, quizzical glance. Luke was a few inches
taller than the man. He wasn't as muscular as the thuggish tiger but
he was broad and lean. “Hi, are you a friend of my wife?”
Luke asked. Luke smiled easily at the man, but he let his beast
ripple just below the surface of his skin.

The tiger shifter growled as
he scented Luke's beast. Cursing and snarling, he snatched up his
beer and stalked to the other end of the bar.

Slipping his arm around the
woman's waist, he steered her towards the door and said cheerfully as
he held up his pizza box, “Let's get home, honey. I got us a
pizza for supper!”

The woman glared at him and
muttered, “Okay mister. But you're still sleeping on the couch
tonight.”

CHAPTER
THREE

Nicole gripped the handle of
her briefcase and walked stiffly to the door with the handsome
stranger. With his arm around her waist, he tucked her securely to
his side and pressed his lips to her temple.

“Smile,” he
whispered. “And breathe.”

She did. Breathe, not smile.

This guy was smooth, suave
and confident, and he was definitely quick-thinking and humorous.
And...there was something oddly familiar about him.

It almost felt as though this
towering, blond hunk, who looked like a movie star with his rugged
good looks and winsome smile, was...an old friend.

BOOK: Bear's Match (Bear Heat Book 6)
4.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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