Hollywood Bear: BBW Bear Shifter Paranormal Romance (2 page)

BOOK: Hollywood Bear: BBW Bear Shifter Paranormal Romance
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“Yadda yadda yadda . . .yadda?”

Mick broke his gaze away—it was like having his eyeballs ripped out of his head, like some cartoon character—to find his first AD looking expectantly at him. He’d probably asked a question.

Mick had no idea what the question was.

There was only one thing to do. “Again,” he said.

The order relayed down the chain of command, and the Harleys and Hondas obediently did an about-face in a roar of engines. By the time they’d come back a second time, he already had a mad plan in mind.

 

***

 

For some typically impenetrable reason, they had to do the rehearsal twice before the cameras were pronounced ready.

Shelley didn’t care. Riding a fantastic bike at five miles an hour was still riding a fantastic bike. She had a smokin’ hot costume for once. And she hadn’t spoiled her day by so much as a glance at at Bearzilla, sitting there like a king surrounded by a moat of minions, cables, and equipment. If he’d been glaring at her, she didn’t see it after that first look.

But she was intensely aware of him. No matter where her group was at any particular moment, she sensed his presence.
Well, of course
, she thought. It was simply self defense. So she could avoid another stab from those icicle eyes.

When the sun dipped down low enough to cast long, sinister shadows, they did three takes. Shelley enjoyed the growl of the Harley gripped between her thighs, the thrum like slow, skilled foreplay. Oh, if only she could ride him—ride
it.

Get a grip
, she scolded herself. Trying not to think about Bearzilla was obviously having the opposite effect.

After the day’s wrap was called and the biker gang had shed their tats, piercings, and frightmare hair, she ate with the rest of the extras. Shelley went to bed early. They were all on call at five a.m. to go through the barroom brawl with the fight choreographer. The movie stars would come in later to play their parts.

She was surprised when a production assistant knocked on the door of her motel room while she was brushing her teeth. She rinsed hastily, threw on her bathrobe, and went to answer the door.

“There’s some script changes,” the PA said.

Shelley was surprised at her flash of disappointment. Bearzilla hated her. “I’m out of the picture?”

“Other way around,” the PA said. “They’re talking about adding a bike chase in the canyon.” She waved behind her at the San Jacinto mountains looming over the town. “We’ll know more tomorrow, when the writers finish their pages. But they want you on call.”

She left, and Shelley phoned her agent to pass on the news. Then she called Jan.

“They’re expanding your part?” Jan asked, the phone crackling as if its little speakers couldn’t contain her excitement.

Shelley stepped to the door of her motel room to improve the connection. “If you can call growth from atom to amoeba ‘expansion.’”

In the distance someone laughed, and in the other direction engines revved. Transportation guys playing with the motorcycles, no doubt. Maybe one of those would be hers!

“Have you seen the Russian Bear?” Jan asked.

“Only from a distance. A long distance, the longer the better.” Though Shelley knew she was lying like a lying thing. Once glance at that big, muscular body had revved
her
engine before the Harley was even shifted into first. But she wasn’t telling anyone that.

“Shell. You know he’s hot,” Jan said—as usual, practically reading her mind.

“And married.”

“Actually, if you ever bothered to read
Variety
, you’d know that it’s been over for ages. The divorce is even final, after a long court battle.”

“He dumped the beautiful Oona? So attractive. Not.”

“Shell, you don’t know that.
She
could have dumped
him
—”

“Anybody who could dump him would have to be crazy. . .” That was not coming out right. “If she dumped him, he must be a big blond monster. Anyway, he’s always stared at me like I’m a cockroach at the bottom of his glass of Coke. He
hates
me. I’m sure he feels the same way our beloved roomie Taylor feels: that no woman should step outside if she’s larger than a size two.”

Jan sighed so loudly Shelley had to hold the phone away from her ear. “Taylor’s crazy obsession with weight has nothing to do with Mick Volkov. He keeps you on the callback list because he hates you? In a town where he can throw a rock and hit a thousand size twos who would love to take your place? Just keep an open mind, will you?”

Shelley turned away as headlights approached, to keep them from flashing in her eyes. She caught sight of her own reflection in the darkened window, briefly illuminated—all her big curves painted against the glass. She knew what his ex-wife looked like—had seen every one of the beautiful Oona’s pictures—and imagined an endless stream of sylph-thin blondes parading in and out of the Russian Bear’s fancy Hollywood palace, then snorted.

“I’m not the one who has to keep an open mind. See ya.” She hung up and shut the door.

Two long days followed. The first involved endless rehearsals of the fight choreography. The second day was taken up with a dozen takes without the main stars, then a dozen more with them. At the very end of the day, a new PA appeared as Shelley followed the extras off the set to turn in their costumes and get a well-earned dinner.

“Shelley Willis?”

“That’s me.”

“They want to scout locations for the bike chase tomorrow, dawn,” he said. “They’d like you and the other stunt rider to go along.”

“They want
me
to vet possible sites?” Shelley asked.

The PA nodded.

She told him she’d be ready, inwardly exulting. She was going to get to ride after all! For that, she’d take any number of “you’re a cockroach” glares from His Majesty.

 

***

 

All day, Mick had tried not to be distracted by Shelley’s leather-hugging curves. She even made the spiked hair and black lipstick look dynamite as she socked, kicked, flipped, tucked and rolled through the takes.

Later that night, when he watched the dailies, everyone else in the room commented about the great angles, the terrific energy, and how the stars looked. But Mick’s eyes stayed on the woman in black leather.

Lust, that’s all it was, he tried telling his human mind. Lust was the cheapest commodity in Hollywood. Enjoy the view, move on. But his bear knew different.

The truth he would never share with anyone?

From the first time he had laid eyes on her, his bear had growled,
Mate.

Mike didn’t really believe in mates. During his dad’s rare, brief visits, he had taken his son aside to tell him that shifting, mates, and the old stories were stupid legends from the ignorant olden days. Modern people paid no attention to such things.

Mick was ambivalent about a lot of it, but one thing he was convinced of was that relationships were much easier when they were kept short and light. Two hideous marriages—the first as a kid fresh out of the service, and the second following a drunken weekend after his first wrap party when he’d woken up next to a wife he didn’t remember marrying—had underscored that conviction.

He hadn’t been drunk or inexperienced when Oona came along, but he’d been overseas on a grueling schedule. She had been so sweet, so lost, he couldn’t find any way to say no. Then came the big wedding, her big movie premiere, and her first big success. By the time he suspected that she had been playing a role all along, she was already looking for her next storybook romance with someone who’d won more Oscars.

So now short and light was his guiding principle, and he intended to keep it that way. He was simply going to spend a beautiful spring morning in the hills watching a fine-looking professional handle a professional bike. Pure art appreciation.

Nothing could be simpler.

The next morning his mood was good when he strode toward the parking lot where the bikes waited. The sound of voices rose easily on the still morning air.

“ . . . really going to wear those boots on a scouting run?”

“Hey, these are the only boots I brought. I’d thought this was a two day gig.” It was
her
voice—he knew it before he saw her.

As voices go, it was ordinary, not too high or too low, not the clear tones of a singer, but the sound wired straight to his brain.

Mine
, said his bear, rousing inside him.
Mate.

Oh, shit. Usually Mick had never had any problems keeping his bear locked firmly inside him. He stopped and leaned against a trailer, fists clenched as he fought his bear down.

His grandfather had said when he turned sixteen, “You’ll know her when you find her. There won’t be anyone else.”

But that was fairy tale talk. Love at first sight—utter nonsense. Lust at first sight, sure. He’d never exchanged a word with Shelley Willis. For all he knew she could be worse than his first two mistakes put together.

Shut up, bear. Hibernate. I’ll let you out for a long woodsy ramble when the picture is over.

“ . . . so they gave them to me. First time I was ever thrilled to wear size elevens,” she was saying cheerfully.

Everybody else laughed.

Mick slowed his breathing. He forced his locked muscles to relax.

‘The Russian Bear’ was just a nickname, given him during his stint in the U.S. Army Signal Corps because of his size. No one would ever know how true it was. He could handle his bear—keep the bear locked down tight.

But to make certain, though the dawn light had barely lifted, he slipped on his sunglasses. Then he took in a slow breath, pushed himself away from the aluminum trailer wall, and rounded the last corner.

Madison, his location manager, a spare woman in her late forties, and Jorge, the stunt double for his male star, had been talking to Shelley. The three broke off their conversation to look his way.

There she was, in normal clothes, her shoulder-length brown hair ruffled around her face, a smile fading on her gorgeous mouth.

Mick hated directors who kept everyone waiting around as if they were more important than God. “Ready to roll?”

Madison stepped up to Mick and murmured, “The weather report says a fifty percent chance of a thunderstorm.”

Mick shrugged. “You know what that means in Southern California.”

“Half-empty glass,” she said, chuckling. “Just checking if you were okay with it.”

“And even if it does come, we’re more likely to see it break over the other side of the valley.”

“True.” Madison shrugged and headed for her jeep, camera slung over her shoulder.

Jorge followed her, and Mick found himself walking next to Shelley. His heart drummed like a teenager on his first date as he breathed in her clean scent, catching a hint of tea tree shampoo. From behind the safety of his sunglasses he let his eyes roam over the extravagant curves inside her snug cotton hoodie jacket, and those tight jeans covering shapely legs as long as sin.

He cleared his throat. “I’ve got a KTM 400 I can loan you, instead of those old bikes we keep for the crew to beat up. Can you handle one?”

Far from looking intimidated, she grinned, the corners of her delightfully curved mouth deepening.

“My oldest brother has a couple of KTM bikes,” she said. God, she had a sexy voice. “I’ve ridden them. We’re doing endurance riding for this gig?”

“That’s the idea. There’s some scenic possibilities off the usual trails.” Mick stopped by his personal trail bike, a Husky 610.

He couldn’t help taking a fast glance to see her reaction. She stared in obvious delight at the big bike, her lips puckered softly as if she were about to whistle. He wondered how those lips would feel closing around his . . . He turned away quickly, heat shooting straight to points south. Maybe this wasn’t such a hot idea.

Yeah, like he was going to call it off.

An hour later, the three bikes rode up the dusty trail of a canyon, scrub pine rising on either side. On the paved road above them, Madison followed in the jeep, pausing now and then to shoot quick videos of them circling around in possible locations.

The weather was warmish, in the low eighties. The ground was firm, muddy only at the bottom of gulches and arroyos. It had rained last month. This was when Southern California was at its best, green and fresh, with wildflowers dotting the hillsides.

Mick was content to hang back, letting the other two lead the way. He gave no indication that he knew every slope and valley in these mountains; his attention was solely on the incredibly hot sight of Shelley expertly handling a badass motocross bike.

They started in rocky hills, dotted by scrubby black oak and low shrubs. Then they rode higher. The temperature lowered to the perfect low seventies as they entered hidden valleys thick with aromatic cedar and several types of pine.

Twice they stopped at forks on the trail. Both times Mick influenced Madison’s choice of direction by gazing off in the direction he wanted. The others picked up the cues. Soon they reached his goal, a cliff with a magnificent view of the Coachella Valley.

BOOK: Hollywood Bear: BBW Bear Shifter Paranormal Romance
7.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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