Bad Bear: BBW Bear Shifter Paranormal Romance (BRIDES fur BEARS Book 1)

BOOK: Bad Bear: BBW Bear Shifter Paranormal Romance (BRIDES fur BEARS Book 1)
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BAD
BEAR

By

Natalie Kristen

BRIDES fur BEARS

Bad Bear (Book 1)

Copyright
© 201
6
by
Natalie Kristen

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.

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

Staci
Castillo is the new girl in town. She has just accepted a transfer
to the small town of Shadow Point and is having a girls' night out
with her new colleagues. She has never slipped out of a bar to make
out with a hot, handsome hunk in an alley before.

But
she didn't move to a new town to live the same unadventurous,
unexciting life. Why should she say no to some harmless
no-strings-attached fun? What could possibly go wrong?

But
of course in Shadow Point where paranormals outnumber humans, magic
and mayhem rule and it's Murphy's law that applies.

Marcus
Beck knows that one taste of that sexy, curvy human woman isn't going
to be enough. Staci is mortified when a whole conga line of
unapologetic, infuriating witches interrupts them in the alley. She
leaves in a fluster but his bear promises to track her down. Nothing
can keep a bear from its mate.

But
Marcus has skeletons in his closet, skeletons which aren't really
dead and done. Will Staci run from him when she learns of his past?

Or
is she brave and foolish enough to love him?

Either
way, Staci's life is about to change in a way she could never have
imagined...

*
* * * *

CHAPTER
ONE

Staci
Castillo
sat at the corner of
the bar and watched two elderly ladies belt out a catchy pop song
with gusto on the stage. If not for the large karaoke screen behind
them displaying the title and lyrics of the song, Staci would never
have recognized the song. The two silver-haired ladies
sang
with
enthusiasm and energy,
but
it was clear that
they were completely and hopelessly tone-deaf. But that didn't stop
them
from
giving
a
bawdy, boisterous
booty
-shaking performance.
Staci
hooted and clapped
supportively. She
suspected
that nothing stopped these two vivacious, bubbly
elderly
ladies
.


Those
two, um, musical grandmothers on the stage, t
hat's
Gramma and Ne-ma,” her colleag
u
e,
Melanie,
leaned over and told
her
with a grin
.

When
Staci
canted her head
quizzically, Melanie went on, “They're the grandmothers of the
Gray brothers, but everyone calls them Gramma and Ne-ma. The four
Gray brothers are bear shifters, but Gramma and Ne-ma are witches.
They run the Broomstick Inn
together
,
and...” Melanie lowered her voice to a dramatic whisper. “I
heard that they've been casting spells over quite a number of
our
townsfolk in Shadow Point.”

“S-spells?”
Staci's eyes widened
in
alarm
.

Melanie laughed. “Don't
worry. Their spells are benign. Their spells don't always work, but
they're good witches.”

Staci studied Melanie for a
beat and said, “You're a witch too, right?”

“Half witch,”
Melanie answered. “But Gareth doesn't really care.”


Who's
Gareth?” Staci looked around the crowded bar. The Round Table
was a really nice bar. The little bar was tucked away in a
small
side lane
and looked like
just a hole in the wall on the outside. B
ut
the inside of the bar was cleverly decorated to resemble a medieval
castle,
complete with
ornate
swords and daggers, flags, and even a full-sized knight's armor.

“Gareth Knight is the
owner of The Round Table,” Melanie said, pointing to the tall,
handsome bartender. “On Witchy Wednesdays, the first twenty
witches to sing in tune will get free beer the whole night.”

“Oh.” Staci
glanced at Gramma and Ne-ma who were twerking in time to the music on
stage. “That means Gramma and Ne-ma are out of the running...”

Melanie chuckled. “Nah.
Gramma and Ne-ma can get free drinks anytime! They helped Gareth
find his mate. That's Tara, his mate.”

Staci
turned and saw a pretty redhead serving drinks and chatting
animatedly with the regulars. She saw that even though Gareth and
Tara were busy the whole evening, serving their customers and
laughing and joking with almost everyone in the bar, they would
frequently
sneak up to each
other to
exchange a
meaningful
smile, a quick kiss or a whispered word. The
re
was just so much love in their eyes when they looked at each other.
It made Staci sigh
with both
resignation and longing
.

Once
upon a time, she too had believed in love. But...ah well. Staci
shook her head sharply and straightened up.

She was here in Shadow Point,
and so far, she seemed to be settling into her new life in this
small, quirky town pretty well.

In
fact,
Staci
was
glad
that she had taken up the offer to be transferred to the Shadow Point
branch.

She had worked at the same
bank for nearly eight years, and been with the same man for almost as
long. When their relationship went belly-up, Staci had seriously
considered resigning and getting a new job. She just couldn't paste
a smile on her face and pretend she was fine when her ex-fiance and
his new girlfriend flaunted their romance and acted all lovey-dovey
right under her nose in the same office.

But
when she walked into her bank manager's office with her resignation
letter in her hand, her manager had eyed the envelope in her fist and
asked her to sit down. Before she could say anything, her manager
asked if she would like to be transferred to a small town branch of
their bank. “Pamela, the Shadow Point branch manager,
had
just put in a request for a Financial Consultant,” her manager
said in her usual brisk, efficient manner. “Pamela said
that
many new businesses had
sprouted up and the town was expanding quite rapidly, so she wanted
someone trustworthy and experienced who could give the business
owners and town residents sound financial advice. I thought of you,
and...”

Without a second thought,
Staci had given her reply. “I'll go. I'll go to Shadow
Point.”

So here she was.

In
the small town of Shadow Point where humans were the minority and
paranormals ruled the night—
and
the karaoke mic.

C
HAPTER
TWO


Okay,
my turn,” Melanie said, clambering off her bar stool and
rushing to the side of the small, narrow stage.

Staci
whistled and c
heered
when
Melanie bounded onto the stage as soon as Gramma and Ne-ma finished
their song on a
surprisingly
pitch perfect
high note.

Taking the mic, Melanie
launched into a soulful ballad and appreciative applause broke out.
Staci gasped. Melanie had the voice of an angel. The crowd began to
sway and some couples even got to their feet and began to slow dance.

Staci
smiled. There were shifters, vampires, fae folk
and
humans crammed into the little bar, and everyone was having a good
time. She had made the right decision moving to Shadow Point. She
was going to like it here, she decided.

When
Melanie glanced her way, Staci grinned and flashed her friend two
thumbs-up. Melanie was one of the tellers in the bank. It was a
small branch, with just two tellers, a receptionist and the b
ranch
manager. Staci made five. Staci got on
well
with her new colleagues. Pamela, the b
ranch
manager, was a single mom while the other teller, Matthew, was a
newly-wed and was always eagerly rushing home to his love nest.
Claire, the receptionist, had come with them to The Round Table, but
after a few drinks, she had happily chatted up a well-dressed vampire
and headed out with him. She had winked to Melanie and Staci and
waggled her eyebrows.
I am so getting laid tonight
,
her eyebrows said.

Staci
whooped in delight as she
watched Gareth walk up to Melanie after her song and hand her a gold
star. Melanie squealed and pumped her fist in the air. She was
getting drinks on the house tonight.

Melanie came and threw one
arm around Staci's shoulder. “I did it,” she beamed,
admiring her glittering cardboard star. “Yay! Free beer!”

Staci laughed. “Don't
get too drunk. We all have to work tomorrow.”

Gareth sauntered over with
two frothing mugs of beer. He handed one to Melanie and smiled at
Staci. “Hi. Haven't seen you around. You new in town?”

“Yes. I'm the new
transfer at the bank,” Staci began. “I...”

“Oh. You're the new
Financial Consultant that Pamela promised us.” Gareth's eyes
twinkled as he held out his hand. “It's real nice to meet you.
I'm Gareth Knight.”

“Staci Castillo.”

Gareth pushed the other mug
of beer into her hand and said, “Since this is your first visit
to The Round Table, you get free drinks too.”

Melanie spluttered and cried,
“No fair! I didn't get free drinks on my first visit.”

Gareth was already walking
away but he turned to smirk over his shoulder. “My bar. My
rules.”

Melanie
raised her mug
and said
sincerely,

I
know
that this is just a
temporary transfer for you, but...
I
hope you'll
decide to
stay.
It's a good town.”

Staci nodded. “I know.
To Shadow Point!”

They drained their mugs and
thumped each other on the back. “Well done!”

The music started up and a
group of giggling women surged towards the stage. “I love this
song!” Melanie shrieked. “This is like the witches'
anthem! Come on, girls!” Melanie yelled to her fellow witches
and rushed to get on the stage with them.

Gramma and Ne-ma who had
planted themselves at the front of the stage pulled Melanie up and
made room for her between them.

Gramma and Ne-ma raised their
wands and yelled, “Altogether now!”

The witches didn't need to be
told twice. They all raised their voices and glasses to the ceiling,
and some sloshed beer all over themselves and whoever happened to be
standing beside them.

The
witches were heedless to the
guffaws and groans
around
the bar as the
y sang and
danced with wild abandon. Those witches really knew how to party.

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