Mine to Bear: Icy Cap Den #2 (Alaskan Den Men)

BOOK: Mine to Bear: Icy Cap Den #2 (Alaskan Den Men)
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Mine to Bear
Icy Cap Den #2
Jennifer Hilt
Edited by
Christy Karras
Mister Rochester Press

C
opyright
© 2016 by Jennifer Hilt

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

T
his is
a work of fiction unless you live above the Arctic Circle.

ISBN: 978-0-9968800-9-1

Foreword

I
ntroduction
to the Alaskan Den Men World

Six Alaskan Werebear Dens, Eighteen Shifter Happily Ever Afters…

The Alaskan Den Men are some of the hottest werebears you’ve ever encountered. These gruff and growling shifters live and hunt in six different dens throughout the backwoods of Alaska.

And the Alaskan outback has never been so wild! Because these rugged alpha males are about to meet their mates—some seriously sexy and sassy heroines who live to bring out the beast in their men.

Get ready for six best selling, award winning, and rising star authors to bring you eighteen brand-new, sizzling paranormal romances that are sure to keep you up all night!

Introduction

M
ine to Bear
, Icy Cap Den #2

As CEO of a tech company, ice bear shifter Dane Barlow deals in numbers and cold, hard facts. But that's before he's appointed acting sheriff of Icy Cap, Alaska and tasked with stopping the murderous succubus who shares his darkest secret. Throw in a scorching fling with the foxy shifter he's always regretted giving up and suddenly the facts just don't add up.

A
rctic fox shifter
Trudy has her own reasons for wanting to catch the succubus. Not the least of which is getting to work side-by-side with her sexy ex. But just when she thinks she might get a second chance at love with her possessive shifter with benefits, Dane's past catches up with them.

W
ill
Dane be able to gain back Trudy's trust before the succubus takes away everything he's ever wanted?

S
ign
up for Alaskan Den Men’s newsletter
here
.

B
ook
1 His to Bear (Icy Cap #1)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GBU2XJ8

Book 3 Theirs to Bear (Icy Cap #3)
My Book

1
Dane

M
y workday began
with a vampire and a drooling ghoul staring at my ex-girlfriend’s ass. It was a fitting way to end my first month back in Icy Cap. I’d returned here from California to find the typical cold and dark February. At least that I’d been expecting.

I hadn’t planned on my twin brother’s mate being a seriously ill vamp requiring emergency medical treatment in Fairbanks. On Ash’s way out of town to be with Meg, I’d been appointed acting sheriff. I had no idea when my brother would be back. I’d planned on being in Icy Cap for twelve hours—maybe twenty-four, tops. My objective was to end the silent partnership I had formed with my brother to finance the inn we were rebuilding. That plan was shot to hell.

The sheriff gig turned out to be in more than name only when I learned my ex-girlfriend had been one of the latest victims of glamoured bear traps set by an unidentified assailant. Now I was starting my thirtieth day in Icy Cap with these two paranorms lusting after Trudy.

Before I even got to the work site, I’d been counting the hours until I had my “ex with benefits” back in my bed. And this was after a night of enthusiastic sex.

We’d been lovers back in high school, fifteen years ago, but Trudy was impossible to forget. One minute I was sitting next to a slender redhead; the next, an arctic fox considered me through silver eyes. She’d never succeeded in taming her fox spirit enough that she could leave the Arctic even briefly.

Unlike my brother and Trudy, who regularly frolicked around in their shifter forms, I denied my ice bear spirit. I had an MBA from Stanford. I wouldn’t allow myself to be chained to Icy Cap. This place was at the end of the world.

But back to this vamp ogling Trudy’s delectable ass. First, I’m not a fan of vampires. California is full of them. They’re the used-car salesmen of the supernatural set. Considering what she recently went through with escaping the glamoured bear trap, and that she still walks with a limp, I didn’t like this vamp near her. I didn’t care for the ghoul’s presence either, but he was manageable.

These paranorms stared while Trudy perched on a ladder, busy with computer wiring. The entire inn would have Wi-Fi thanks to Trudy’s expertise. She was intent on her work in the control box, and the vamp and ghoul ignored my entrance.

I cleared my throat. “Morning.”

Three heads swiveled toward the door. Being paranorms with enhanced senses, we all were aware of one another before we were standing in a room together. How soon to address one another is always a bit touchy.

“Hi, Dane.” Trudy called over her shoulder. “Sleep well?” Her head turned back to her work, but she grinned. I could hear it in her voice.

“Not particularly.”

“That’s too bad,” she said cheerfully.

Trudy would be a terrible secret agent.

“I’m Dane Barlow.” I extended my hand first to the vamp and then the ghoul. Paranorms aren’t big on physical contact between species, but I’d be damned if I’d stand here while they ogled her.

The ghoul and I had known each other back in high school. Gary had been the puny guy with bad skin. His lot in life hadn’t improved. Even compared to other paranorms, ghouls aged slowly. He’d had a crush on Trudy every since I’d known him. He eyed my outstretched hand but kept his own hands pushed deep in his pockets.

Gary still smelled rank. That came with being a ghoul and his diet of the dead. He wore cheap aftershave to cover the smell, but that only made it worse.

Ghouls have a slow metabolism, which meant he didn’t eat often. His taxidermy shop was the first stop when someone’s pet went missing. It wasn’t fair when sharp-eyed eagles were the culprits but everyone still suspected him. As a result he whined and thrived on self-pity.

Trudy had a big heart for her small frame. She’d been Gary’s friend ever since high school. After the fire that destroyed the town years earlier, most of Icy Cap had left. Gary remained. To be honest, he was an excellent taxidermist. His smell and remote location weren’t much of an issue. He worked alone, and express shipping facilitated his work.

Gary shifted his weight. He didn’t think I was good enough for Trudy. He was right. “Do you need anything from your toolbox, Trudy?”

“Hand me the needle-nose pliers, please,” she said.

The vamp bowed his head slightly. “Maxim Gorsky, at your service. Call me Max.” The bow was a bit much for the twenty-first century. Max was a ringer for a Russian prince. Hell, he probably was one back in the day. The Russians were quick to stake first and ask questions later.

The cold pouring off Max had nothing to do with the room’s temperature. Vamps are cold-blooded creatures, so he needed the space heater. Unfortunately, it made the rest of us sweat.

The vamp wasn’t bothered by my outstretched hand. I doubted he would take it, but I was more than a little curious as to his strength. Vamps get stronger as they get older. I bet he wasn’t much more than a hundred years old. Still, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wonder whether I could take him in a fight. My instinct to fight a predator like the vampire was strong. And his interest in Trudy only made that instinct stronger.

“My brother hired Fly By Night Contracting Services based on your excellent record,” I said.

“He was right.”

“I’m not my brother.” I lowered my voice although I didn’t care if Trudy heard me. “Stick to the job you’re being paid for, bloodsucker.”

Small crinkles at the corners of his eyes appeared—the equivalent of vamp amusement. He smiled, giving me some fang. “Or what? Everyone knows your bear spirit slumbers inside you. Maybe you don’t even have a bear spirit at all. Maybe you are just a human.” He spat the last part.

Max viewed humans the way I viewed office temps. The comparison wasn’t flattering to either of us.

“I don’t care what you and that freaky ghoul get up to in your free time, but stay away from Trudy.”

“Or what?” He handed me his clipboard and pen. It was a requisition for more wiring.

Vamps are excellent at subtext. They’ll calmly discuss the most mundane things while plotting your doom.

“Do not threaten a vamp,” he said. “Sunlight is the only threat we know. Shifters come and go. She’s not your mate. She’s better off without you sniffing around her.”

I wanted to separate his head from his body. Instead my growl surprised us both. “Stick to the job you were hired to do.”

With one more look at Trudy’s shapely backside, I headed to my office.

“We were doing just fine before you Barlows showed up.” Gary hurried to catch up with me. He stunk like rotten fish.

“What’s the matter with you?” I flicked the light on in the office without asking him in. He followed me anyway. Ghouls are such drama nerds.

“Do you know how long Trudy pined for you after you left the last time? Keep in mind that’s coming from a ghoul. She built a life here. Now you show back up and expect everything to be like before. What’s going to happen when you leave again? How can you just keep hurting her?”

On a good day I didn’t like my faults pointed out. On a day when I’d seen a vamp eyeing my lover and now was being lectured by a ghoul, I was not in the mood.

“Trudy said the vamp is your friend. Make sure he stays away from her.”

Gary wiped his nose on his sleeve. His chronic sinusitis wasn’t endearing either. His watery eyes didn’t meet mine.

I rummaged around in my desk drawer. “Why is he sizing her up?” I didn’t need anything in particular, but Gary grossed me out.

“Maxim doesn’t . . . He wouldn’t.”

“He’s a vamp. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do.”

Gary shuffled out.

I’m sure that in his mind, his hanging around Icy Cap meant Trudy would eventually fall in love with him. She might someday. But not while I could do anything about it. That little shifter was a hard habit to break.

With Gary gone, I paced the floor before dropping into my office chair. This project was a mess financially. Ash was skilled in carpentry, not the handling of the project as a whole. And now the vamp was making me edgy. I hated his predatory stares at Trudy. It could be him setting these bear traps.

But I knew it wasn’t.

I tugged on my hair in frustration. How to keep Trudy safe?

She was never far from my thoughts when I was in Icy Cap. In California, I’d blocked her out with a steady diet of work and buxom models. Even then her sweet face had haunted my dreams more than I wanted to admit.

Before he left, Ash told me of the dark-magic traps. Trudy was still recovering from the bear-trap injury. Every time she winced from standing up too quickly, I wanted to kill the source of her pain.

I didn’t need an ice bear to protect her. I’d take care of this my own way. Luckily, she’d welcomed me back to Icy Cap—and her bed. Now keeping an eye on her was easy. I’d be lying if I said she didn’t thrill and excite me like no other woman.

Was she better than Icy Cap? Absolutely. But she was happy here. Happier than I’d ever been, certainly. Back in high school, she’d begun shifting without warning. Unlike most other shifters, she’d never completely gained control of her form.

Once Trudy understood that her pre-shifting life was gone, she accepted her fox spirit. She’d be out on the Arctic tundra in her fox form for days. When I left for college in California, Trudy stayed in Icy Cap to study online. Her argument to my failed attempts at persuasion: “No matter how cool college is, no one is going to allow a fox in their classes.”

Trudy was wasted in Icy Cap. She would’ve made an excellent lawyer.

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