Furever: BBW Paranormal Shapeshifter Romance

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Copyright © 2015 by Kate Kent

All Rights Reserved: No part of this publication may be replicated, redistributed, or given away in any form without the prior written consent of the author/publisher or the terms relayed to you herein.

This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination, or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to organizations, actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.

No part of this work may be used or reproduced in any manner, except as allowable under “fair use,” without the express written permission of the author.

Published by: Lil Black Dress Press

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CHAPTER ONE

 

Tall, dark, and handsome didn’t come close to describing Franco’s beefcake deliciousness. He’d driven his grandmother, Mrs. Marnie Greenwood, to Morgan’s Treasures, my auction reseller shop. The minute I’d laid eyes on him I had trouble focusing on what his grandma had to say. Though she’d mentioned him before in passing conversation, I’d never really paid attention. But meeting him in person had me on full alert—mmm, he was hot!

Even with his t-shirt on I could see he was chiseled, boasting a muscular torso with buff shoulders, biceps, and abs that looked like he’d spent hours in the gym. His ripped physique combined with his dark hair and easy going grin was stunning. I guessed he was in his mid-thirties, and from the bragging Mrs. Greenwood did when she introduced us I learned he was visiting town, had an MBA, and was starting a business with a relative. He was also a wolf shifter like me! Damn, he was sexy and smart—a delicious, dangerous combination.

  I looked down at the vintage flask in my hand. “Pay attention Alicia,” I told myself. You can’t be eyeing up the grandsons of customers like they are candy—even if they did look finger lickin’ good.

“So, how much did you want me to try and get for the flask?”

“Twenty-five,” Mrs. Greenwood said firmly.

“Oh, you can get more than twenty five dollars for this.”

“No, dear, not twenty-five dollars,” she put her hand tightly on my arm, “twenty-five thousand dollars.”

“Twenty-five thousand dollars!” I gasped. It never ceased to amaze me how much people thought I could resell their stuff for. Then again, with news reports of a partially eaten grilled cheese sandwich resembling the Virgin Mary going for almost thirty thousand dollars, a few sips of water left in a cup by Elvis selling for hundreds, and a Brussels sprout cooked on Christmas day raking in more than a hundred bucks at auction, it was no wonder people got confused.

Those auctions were freak exceptions that got media attention. I’d been buying and flipping goods for profit for years and I knew what people could realistically expect to get for most of their things. Running my hand lightly over the flask, I tried to break the news gently. “This is a beautiful, antique flask Mrs. Greenwood, but I am sorry to say you won’t get anywhere near that much for it.”

I glanced over at Mrs. Greenwood’s grandson, Franco. He flicked back an inky black tendril of hair that had fallen near his eye. “I told Grandma that she probably wouldn’t get that for it, but she…well…” Giving me a delicious, toothpaste perfect grin he added, “she’s very determined.”

God he was hot. I felt butterflies dancing in my stomach. I mentally jerked myself to attention. Ignore that sexy grin, Alicia. It’s just trouble.

I looked over at Mrs. Greenwood, anticipating her reaction of disbelief. The older woman looked very proper in a powder pink suit paired with support hose and what Nana, the woman who had raised my brother and me, liked to call sensible shoes—low heeled, sturdy black pumps. Nobody ever liked to be told their stuff wasn’t worth what they thought, especially prim, elderly women who had a strong emotional attachment to their goods.

“Are you sure about that?” Mrs. Greenwood snapped. “Why, that flask is sterling silver and it is very old.” Suddenly, her wrinkled face crumbled and tears welled up in her pale blue eyes. “Alicia, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be rude. It’s just that with my tiny pension there is not a lot of extra cash. I don’t want to sell the flask. It belonged to my late husband and he carried it during the war. But with Angel Sue’s accident I have to sell it and help her. I thought it was worth something since it is old and sterling silver.”

I glanced back at Franco. Like his grandma, he had blue eyes, only instead of being pale and faded, they were intense with glints of gold. Right now, they were boring into me. Those were definitely the kind of eyes I could get lost in. I looked away quickly.

“I gave her some money, Alicia,” Franco said quietly, “but since I’m starting a new business, I don’t have a lot to spare.”

Franco seemed like a nice guy, but I could see by looking at him he was way out of my league. While he had that ripped bodybuilder thing going on, my body hadn’t seen a gym in years. I tried to stay fit by walking a few times a week, but I was naturally a big girl. Though I liked my curves, I had put on quite a few extra, unwanted pounds in the past few weeks. I was not petite and cute like the type he’d go after. Plus, he was from out of town, which didn’t bode well for a long-term relationship…and it didn’t help that I’d already been marked. Many weremen ran in the opposite direction when they sniffed a marked werewoman. Ugh. Just another nasty thing Steve Carlson, my ex-boyfriend, had done to me.

I rubbed my forehead as I looked back at Mrs. Greenwood. I really wished I could help her. She was a friend of Emma Morgan, my nana, and she lived in an apartment in the same shifter retirement community, Werewolf Haven.

Mrs. Greenwood’s voice interrupted my thoughts. “Do you know who Angel Sue is?”

“Angel Sue?” I asked, raising an eyebrow. The name didn’t ring a bell.

Mrs. Greenwood frowned, reached over and patted my hand. “Angel Sue is Mr. Carlson’s new girlfriend. I’m sorry dear…”

I shook my head. Mrs. Greenwood knew that Steve Carlson and I had dated for several months and split up just a few weeks ago. She probably thought I still wanted him. Of course she never realized how badly things had turned out between us.

Just thinking about that wereman made me feel sick to my stomach. Steve Carlson, the handsome wolf shifter and director of Werewolf Haven, had been hired by the board of directors of the retirement home to manage the place a few months ago. When I met with him to discuss my grandmother’s care he’d asked me out to dinner.

I’d been burned badly by former lovers and I was weary of dating again, but Steve laid the charm on thick and I decided I would give love another chance. I fell hard—and fast. I guess I wanted a relationship so badly I’d ignored all the warning signs firing off in my head.

At thirty-two, I was ready to settle down. I wanted a home filled with love, a caring, sexy husband, and kids—lots of them. I wanted the kind of ‘forever’ love my parents shared with one another, my stepbrother, and me. Tears welled in my eyes. Even though my mom and dad had been killed in a car crash over twenty years ago when I was only twelve, it still hurt thinking of them. I loved them so much and they had loved each other, and us kids with a passion.

Dad was on business in Frederick, Maryland when he met my mother at a bookstore. It was love at first sight for the pair. They married within a week of meeting each other, and a year later they had me.

We were a happy little family, but my parents wanted more children. Mom kept trying to get pregnant again but couldn’t. Ten years later, they adopted a baby, my stepbrother, Chad.  My parents were told little about my brother’s birth parents and they were surprised when at the tender age of six months Chad shifted into a grizzly.  Neither of them were shapeshifters—and I didn’t become a wolf shifter till recently!

I smiled thinking of Chad, my precocious, crazy bro. He may have been my stepbrother, but I thought of him as my own flesh and blood, and I called him brother. My parents died two years after Chad was adopted and Grandma Nana raised us. Even though Chad and I were ten years apart in age, we were very close.

I glanced at Mrs. Greenwood and saw the concerned look on her face.

“I didn’t mean to upset you by mentioning Mr. Carlson, dear,” she pursed her lips.

“No worries,” I said, clasping the older woman’s hand for a moment. “Steve was not the right one for me. I hope things work out for him and Angel Sue.”

He sure wasn’t right for me. At first, things seemed to go really well. Steve aimed to impress and he succeeded. Handsome with boyish good looks, he led a lavish lifestyle. He had a luxury car, owned a fancy condo, and wore expensive clothes. He spared no expense treating me to pricey dinners, buying me gifts like a pretty watch, and more. At first, I mistook his generosity for caring.

But it wasn’t long before I realized it was all just a materialistic façade. He wasn’t treating me well because he cared about me, he was just trying to get attention from others and show off.

I wanted a love connection so much that I ignored the warning signs in my head. But even as more of his true self came out, I just kept trying to make it work. I could not handle another failed relationship.

I made excuses for him. And I overlooked a lot—too much. His ego, his little jabs about my size, the way he appeared to be listening—but not really hearing what I had to say…and the sex—well it wasn’t the greatest. The sex alone should have been reason enough for me to know it wasn’t going to work. He always wanted me to pleasure him—suck his dick, get on top and fuck him, massage his back and balls… It was all about him getting off. He never cared if I had an orgasm or not.

I’d known he was under a lot of pressure at work, and I wanted love so desperately… I kept hoping with time that things would improve, but they never did. It got worse—much worse. A shudder ran through my body.

“Are you alright?” Franco asked.

“Oh, yes, I’m fine.” I tried to sound breezy, but inside, my stomach was in knots. Yikes, I had really started to lose focus. Just thinking about Steve Carlson upset me. Maybe I needed a vacation. I tried to imagine myself relaxing on a tropical island with a very hot guy rubbing lotion all over my body, tenderly massaging my loins—someone like Franco. I licked my lips as I imagined his large, smooth hands roaming all over me, rubbing oil into every crevice. I stole another look at him. Damn, he was smoking!

Get a grip, I told myself. Hot looking guys like Franco and Steve were used to getting whatever they wanted. Franco was probably a jerk just like Steve. There was no way I would let myself get hurt again, so why even imagine what it would be like to be with him? Besides, with my size and after what Steve had done to me—he wouldn’t want me anyway.

“Alicia?”

I turned my attention to the woman in front of me. “Sorry, Mrs. Greenwood. Umm…you said Steve’s new girlfriend, Angel Sue was in an accident? What happened?”

Mrs. Greenwood frowned but continued. “Well, a couple of weeks ago most of us were in the dining room eating our noon meal when Mr. Carlson walked through with a woman. He had his arm around her and told us she was his new girlfriend, Angel Sue. She’s a big curvy woman with dark brown hair. She has a lot of those ink things on her body,” Mrs. Greenwood added.

“You mean, tattoos?”

“Yes, that’s right. She even has one of wings on her shoulder—right here,” Mrs. Greenwood tapped the upper part of her arm.

A tattoo of wings on her shoulder and her name was Angel Sue? That was cute.

“She spent time talking to us and she seemed really nice. Mr. Carlson seemed to like her. He was cuddling her the whole time. Anyway, a week or so later, he announced that she had been in a terrible accident and needed help to pay her medical bills. He asked for donations.”

“What happened?”

“He told us she was in a car crash. A tractor trailer ran into her car in Thurmont. Thurmont is about twenty minutes from here.”

“Yes, I know Thurmont. It’s a pretty little town. I’ve been to yard sales there and I go to the Color Festival they have when the leaves change in the fall. I hadn’t heard of any accidents there. When did it happen?”

“It was on May 1
st
,” Mrs. Greenwood said, “I remember the date because it’s the same day as my birthday. Poor thing—it wasn’t even her fault and now she has all these bills.”

“That’s awful.”

Franco pursed his lips. “That’s very sad.”

I couldn’t help but notice how lush and full his lips were before Mrs. Greenwood interrupted my thoughts.

“Mr. Carlson said Angel Sue will be in the hospital for a very long time and have a lot of expenses. He is trying to raise as much money as possible for her.”

I nodded. I knew the residents of Werewolf Haven often held fundraisers for different causes. Residents were asked for donations in the dining hall, and those that wanted to give did and no one felt bad if they couldn’t.

“I know you sell things for people and I thought you might be able to sell something of mine to raise money to help her,” Mrs. Greenwood looked at the flask, shaking her head. “I hate to sell it, but it’s one of the few things I have worth anything.”

“I am so sorry about Angel Sue, Mrs. Greenwood, and I understand you want to help. But I am afraid this piece won’t bring in a lot of money.”

Mrs. Greenwood furrowed her brow.

“Yes, certainly this is a piece to treasure,” I added softly.  “Judging by its size it is a two gill flask, which means it holds about a half pint of alcohol. The etching is exquisite. I would probably date it back to the 1940’s. But it does have a few hairline scratches. As you can see, it has been well used and loved, which unfortunately lowers the value. I would have to examine it more closely and do some searching to give you a good estimate of its worth. Taking a quick guess I would say a few hundred dollars. Even in perfect condition, it would be under five hundred dollars. That is not even close to twenty-five thousand dollars, I’m so sorry to say.”

Marnie Greenwood’s body stiffened as she got up from the chair, and her face was resolved. “That is not even near what Mr. Carlson told us Angel Sue will need to pay her medical bills. Let me think about what I should do. Franco, I am ready for you to drive me home now.”

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