Authors: Ruby Shae
Tags: #BBW, #Paranormal, #Polar Bear Shifter, #Contemporary, #Fiction, #Romance, #Forever Love, #Adult, #Erotic, #Mate, #Supernatural, #Protection, #Bachelor, #Single Woman, #Bury Step-Father, #Returns Home, #Hometown, #Holland Family, #Seven Years, #Corrupt Male, #Abandoned Family, #Charade, #Reconcile, #Notorious, #Exposed Reasons, #Emotional, #Hiatus
(Polar Bliss, Book 1)
(Polar Bliss, Book 1)
Copyright 2016 by Ruby Shae
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
About This Book
After seven long years, curvy girl, Jillian Masters, returns to home to bury her late mother’s husband, and catch up with the Holland siblings, including her ex-boyfriend Reid. Though she hadn’t turned out to be his mate, he was the best man she’d ever known, and he’d set the standard for all of her future love interests. Unfortunately, no other man had ever come close to measuring up to her first love.
Polar bear shifter, Reid Holland, is a corrupt man. When his mate left him seven years ago, everything good and decent inside him died, leaving behind an angry and bitter shell. Instead of going after her, he abandoned his family, and his bear, and built his success on endless drinking, fighting and random sexual encounters.
A few glimpses into Reid’s life is all it takes to convince Jillian she made the right choice in leaving all those years ago. Reid had turned into a man she didn’t know, and worse, one she didn’t like. When the truth behind Jillian’s reason for leaving is exposed, Reid is devastated until clarity comes in the form of his bear. Now all he has to do is convince his mate that the man she once loved is back, and he’s here to stay.
(Polar Bliss, Book 1)
By Ruby Shae
Jillian Masters took a deep breath and studied the coffee shop across the street from the driver’s seat of her rental car.
The secret play on words had always made her smile, as did the year-around snowflakes and white twinkling lights in the windows, but the owners had warmed her heart.
Her smile fell as she thought about how long it had been since she’d seen her friends. Seven years was too long, and yet it didn’t seem long enough when she thought about Reid.
Tall, muscular, gorgeous.
All of the Holland siblings had the same dark, blue-black hair, and the same dark brown, almost black eyes, but to her, that’s where their similarities ended. Sure, the men were all tall and muscular, and their sister had a beauty that could only be defined as magical, but Reid would always hold a special place in her heart.
The third Holland sibling was her best friend’s older brother, her high school boyfriend, a polar bear shifter…and the only man she’d ever loved.
Unfortunately, that hadn’t been enough.
When a shifter found their mate, they mated for life, but she hadn’t been mate material. She’d left town seven years ago with a broken heart, and she hadn’t been back since.
Luckily, she knew her friends would understand.
Ten years ago, she’d moved to Longmeadow when her mother remarried a wealthy man from a small town in northern Pennsylvania. She’d been fifteen years old, curvier than most teens, and forced to start a new life in a small town a million miles away from the big city, the only home she’d ever known.
Her first friend was the girl with the boy’s name, Riley Holland, and her second was Riley’s brother Reid. When she met the other two older Holland brothers a few days later, she’d found her home away from home, and her love for the little town grew, even after her mother got sick.
Though living in Longmeadow was out of the question—she couldn’t be that close to Reid—she knew she would never live in a big city again.
After graduating from college, she’d taken up residence in the quaint little town of Charity, nearly three hundred miles south of the place that would always hold her heart, and made it her home. She had a good job teaching first grade at the elementary school, a spacious apartment, and though Charity only snowed three months out of the year instead of six, and it had more sun than Longmeadow, she liked her life despite the fact that she would always be alone.
If the past seven years had taught her anything about love, it was the fact that she would never find another man like Reid. He’d only been twenty when she’d left, two years older than her eighteen-year-old self, but he’d been decent and good. His innate inner strength, kindness and integrity, combined with his muscular form and the fierce protective and dominating instincts of his bear, had made him the perfect man. His love, and the way he made her feel, had made him the perfect man for her.
Leaving Reid had been one of the hardest things she’d ever done, but she’d done it anyway. She couldn’t risk forcing him into a relationship he didn’t want, and worse, if he did find his true mate, she couldn’t bear to see him with anyone else on a daily basis. Even now, the thought of seeing him with another woman kept her legs immobile as she stared at the shop and thought back to the day she’d left.
Although she and her mother’s husband, Fred, had never been anything more than cordial, he’d fulfilled his obligation as her guardian. When the pair had married, the man had wanted a wife, and merely tolerated her teenage daughter. A year later, he’d had a daughter, but no wife.
Though he hadn’t replaced her mother’s love, Fred had given her food and shelter until she’d graduated high school, and then he’d provided her with a full education, a brand-new used car, and the means to support herself until she finished her degree. What she did after that was her choice, but the man had done more than his duty.
Despite his lack of emotion, and his desperate desire to return to single status, his generosity hadn’t been lost on her. Still, she would have given it all back if Reid had asked her to stay.
She’d left town seven years ago and never looked back.
A week ago, Fred passed away and she’d been called home by his estate manager to carry out his final wishes. She’d taken off an entire week from work, but the process had been easier than expected. She’d already signed the necessary papers, and she’d sorted through her mother’s things years ago. The only thing left was the viewing.
In five days, she would say a final goodbye to the man who had put up with her for two years—even though it would have been easier to send her away—and then return to her normal life.
The man had done his best, and luckily, she’d had Riley, Reid and their brothers to fill some of the void.
The siblings had lost their parents in a hunting accident when the oldest was only eighteen, but Ryker had fought to keep his family together. In an effort to prove his stability, he’d opened
with his inheritance, and the four of them had been together ever since.
She’d spent many afternoons doing homework in the corner with Riley while watching Reid and his brothers behind the counter, and when Riley started working there at sixteen, Ryker had put her to work, too. He hadn’t paid her, but he’d given her a place to belong when she’d felt like she didn’t have one.
Another smile crossed her face when she remembered Ryker’s insane “no coffee” rule. They could smell the beans, there was no way around that, but she and Riley weren’t allowed to drink the brew until they were eighteen.
Unexpectedly, Reid wouldn’t break the rules, not even for her, but she expected that had more to do with kissing, and less to do with following his brother’s impractical mandate. They’d shared many kisses after he’d sipped the liquid heaven, and she’d loved the taste of his coffee flavored lips.
The memory gave her courage, and she opened the door and got out of the car. Flurries fell from the sky, and landed on her coat and hair, but they melted on contact. The salt from the road crunched under her shoes as her feet moved her toward the busy building, and her heart raced in excitement.
She was going to see Reid again, and though he would never belong to her, she couldn’t hide her elation. Her feet carried her faster, and before she could prepare to see him again, her hand was on the door.
Reid Holland sucked in a deep breath, cracked open one eye, and winced at the bright light heating his face. The room was dark except for a single ray of sunlight peeking through the closed blinds, and the pain in his head went from a dull ache to an explosive throbbing in a matter of seconds.
He closed his eyes, and tried to remember the night before as he smoothed his hand over the other half of the bed.
Empty was always good, but that didn’t mean he was alone. He covered his eyes with his forearm, took a deep breath and listened. The scent of a woman’s perfume lingered on the sheets, but other than his own breathing, no other scents or sounds filled the room.
He slowly rose, escaping the sun’s path, and sat on the edge of the bed. His clothes sat in a neat pile on the floor, and the night before slowly came back to him.
Another woman, another night of nameless, emotionless sex, and another failed attempt to fill the vast abyss left after losing his mate.
His bear growled beneath the surface, but he silenced the animal. Even now, seven years later, the primal part of him wanted to hunt her down and force her to accept him. Luckily, his human side had control.
For the most part.
He trudged to the bathroom, opened the medicine cabinet and found the bottle of aspirin that seemed to be a regular part of his morning ritual. He uncapped the bottle and shook five or six pills in his hand, then threw them in his mouth, turned on the faucet and washed them down with water from his cupped hand.
A triple dose of the medication wouldn’t make his headache disappear, but it would reduce the skull-splitting pain back to a dull ache. A shower would also help, and he turned on the water as he waited for the meds to take effect.
As the cold water cooled his heated skin, and washed away the remnants of the night before, he thought about the first night he’d worked someplace other than
A lot had changed in five years, and the difference made him frown.
The Dirty Bear
, his bar, was a far cry from the wholesome, family owned coffee house he grew up in, and not in a good way.
He could blame the atmosphere on the flux of patrons that weren’t locals, the amount of liquor that poured from the bar, or the fact that his response to a fight was usually to join in, but those were excuses.
The facts were simple.
He was to blame for all of it.
Though there was a jukebox and a tiny dance floor in the corner, people came to
The Dirty Bear
for liquor, fights and sex, and he engaged in those activities just as much, if not more than, his patrons.
He couldn’t remember the last time he’d endured a whole night without at least one drink, and it was usually much more than one. When a fight broke out, he only stopped it long enough to send the fists outside, and then he usually joined the crowd to see the outcome.
The sign in the back parking lot ordered customers to park at their own risk, and the asphalt looked like the floor of a boxing ring.
Inevitably, after watching a fight fizzle out, someone with too much ego would challenge him to put on a better show, and he never declined. His shifter blood allowed him to accept every punch with minimal damage, and he welcomed the sting of the fists. He had more stamina than the biggest, baddest humans, and it didn’t take long for them to accept defeat and return to the bar for more alcohol.
Every show of strength resulted in a throng of women hanging on his every word, hoping for a chance to spread their legs, and he only had to pick his favorite.
Images of the girl from the night before came back to him, and he winced. She’d had long, black, hair that weighed heavy from several styling products, and it felt abrasive against his skin. Her long, manicured nails were painted black, and resembled claws even though she wasn’t a shifter. She’d constantly scraped his skin as if she were the star of a porno movie, and he was grateful he healed fast from most things and the marks were all gone. Her voice had been worse than the nails, and he’d fucked her hard and fast so she’d shut up sooner than later.
Luckily it had worked.
As soon as they were done, she’d rolled over and fallen asleep, and though he wasn’t sure when she’d taken off, he was glad she was gone. All of the women he fucked knew they were getting nothing but sex, and he hated getting rid of stragglers the following day. Aside from being the complete opposite of what he’d call his type, they never stifled his need for his mate.
If he were being completely honest, no other woman would ever satisfy him the way his mate had, but some offered more comfort than others. It was the only reason he tried at all, even though he rarely woke up fulfilled.
He shook his head. Drinking, fighting and sex with strangers kept his demons at bay, but only one thing would get rid of them completely, and it was the only thing he could never have.
Seven years ago, his mate, Jillian Masters had left him in favor of a new life. Unlike his still single siblings, he’d been lucky enough to find his mate when he was only seventeen years old. Unfortunately, he hadn’t been able to keep her.
After a year of friendship, they’d dated for two years, and then she’d left town—with his heart, and all of the good inside him—and never looked back.