The Playboy Bear's Baby: BBW Paranormal Shape Shifter Romance

BOOK: The Playboy Bear's Baby: BBW Paranormal Shape Shifter Romance
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The Playboy

Bear’s Baby

 

 

Marlie Monroe

About The Story

 

One playboy werebear, a
human woman, and a surprise pregnancy… what could possibly go wrong?

 

Mara knew hooking up with a
player like Grayson Wells was a mistake. He epitomized everything she hated
about the opposite sex—from the testosterone raging through his veins to his
reputation as a rich playboy. However, those qualities also made him the
perfect person to distract her after the loss of her grandmother and a
disastrous break up with her fiancé. Their time together was supposed to be a
one time thing, until fate stepped in and thrust them back together.

 

After losing his family in
a vicious attack by hunters when he was a teenager, grizzly shifter Grayson
Wells had learned to live his life to the fullest. He doesn’t think beyond his
immediate wants and needs. Hooking up with Mara was spontaneous, hotter than
fire, and the end of his footloose and fancy free lifestyle. From the moment
they touched, he knew Mara was the one for him—the mate he never expected to
find. Convincing her to give him a shot is easier said than done, but he’s
willing to fight for what he wants when it matters. Discovering Mara’s pregnant
only makes him even more determined to claim her as his mate.

 

As the heat between them
builds, a new threat arrives and endangers Mara and their unborn child. If Gray
doesn’t act fast, his new family could be snatched away from him before he ever
gets the chance to claim them.

 

The Playboy Bear’s Baby
is a standalone romance with a happy ending. There is NO cliffhanger.

License
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All
rights reserved. No part of this e-book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed
in any printed or electronic form without prior written permission from the
author. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted
materials in violation of the author’s rights.

 

Copyright
© 2016 by Marlie Monroe

Cover design by Melody Simmons

 

This
e-book is a work of fiction. While reference might be made to actual historical
events or existing locations, the names, characters, places and incidents are
either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and
any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments,
events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

This book contains sexually explicit content which is suitable only
for mature adults.

 

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Chapter One

 

The sun beat down on Mara Adamsen’s shoulders as she
made the long walk from the funeral home to her car. Every step carried her a
fraction closer to an empty house and a depressing lack of the one person who’d
always had her back. Life wasn’t going to be the same without Grandma.

Cradling the box containing her grandma’s ashes
against her chest, she unlocked the car and climbed inside. The interior felt
like a sauna. She leaned across the console and carefully placed the ashes on
the passenger seat. Giving the box a long look, she decided it wasn’t safe enough
there for the ride home and reached over to wrap the seatbelt around the
container. Confident the package was safe, she started the car and began the
drive home.

As she navigated the quiet side streets of Marion,
she thought back over the last few months with bittersweet emotions. Although
she understood her grandma’s motives for hiding the cancer diagnosis from her
until after her college graduation, she couldn’t help but resent all the time
she’d missed with the woman who’d raised her. If she’d known sooner, she would
have dropped everything and come running to provide support and help care for
her grandma in her time of need. It was the least she could have done for the
one person who’d always been there for her. By the time she came home and discovered
the truth, the strong, confident woman she’d always looked up to was a shadow
of her former self. She’d gladly put her life on hold to stay by her grandma’s
side. Despite knowing the end was near, she still hadn’t been ready to say
goodbye when the time came less than two months later.

The only thing that kept her moving forward through
the heartbreak was the thought of Richard and the life waiting for her in
Charleston. She wished he was there now, lending her a strong shoulder to lean
on, but the start date of his new job hadn’t allowed him any time to spare.
He’d been forced to go ahead with the move across the country to start the life
they’d planned without her. Knowing he was there now, waiting for her to join
him in the apartment they’d leased together, gave her something to look forward
to after she settled her grandma’s affairs and was ready to move forward.

That time had not yet arrived.

She pulled up in front of her childhood home and
killed the engine. She sat staring through the windshield at the two story
farmhouse, and realized that her time there was limited. Even if she decided
not to sell the house, it would never be the home she remembered.

The inside of her nose lit up like a firecracker, a
sure sign of the tears to come. She couldn’t stand the thought of another
crying jag, so she closed her eyes, took one long deep breath after another
until the urge to cry passed, and then reopened them. She heaved a sigh, picked
her grandma’s remains up off the passenger seat, and carried them inside. After
a short internal debate, she placed the urn on the mantle above the fireplace
until the time came to spread them. Grandma had never said where she wanted
them released and Mara had no clue. There would be time to figure it out later,
after she’d had a bit more time to come to grips with the situation.

Following one last glance at the box, she left the
room to change out of her dress clothes. She redressed in a baggy T-shirt and
stretchy yoga pants and padded barefoot into the kitchen, where she fixed
herself a tall glass of sweet iced tea. She pulled out a chair and took a seat
at the kitchen table. No sooner than her butt hit the cushion, her cell phone
rang. She hopped up to fetch it from her purse and was pleased to see her
boyfriends name flash across the screen of her smartphone. With a smile, she
hit the green button and lifted the phone to her ear. "Hey stranger. You
have no idea how glad I am to hear your voice right now."

"Why? Did something else happen?"

"No." She frowned. "I just had to pick
up Grandma's ashes, like we talked about last night."

"Oh. Well, that's good. You're one step closer
to closure and coming home to me."

"I guess." As much as she wanted to be
with Richard right now, she wasn't even close to being finished. There was still
a lot to be done before she could pack up her bags for good and move.

"Speaking of you coming here, the rumor
around the water cooler is that the partners are impressed by my moxie on the
Donnelly case and may be thinking of throwing a celebratory dinner in my honor.
I don’t know any details yet, but it will be the perfect occasion for you to
meet my coworkers. I think some of them actually believe you’re imaginary since
they’ve never seen you.”

"About that..." Mara grimaced, knowing
what she was about to say wasn’t going to be well received. “I’m not quite
ready to leave here yet. There’s still a lot to do. The house needs to be
emptied, closed up, and listed with a realtor. All of Grandma’s accounts need
to be settled and closed. I could go on and on for days.”

“Can’t you just hire someone to take care of the
minor details?”

Minor details? Like the remnants of her grandma’s
life were an inconvenience she should pawn off on someone else? “Listen, the
house and the contents are all I have left. I probably could hire movers to
come in and box things up
,
but Grandma wouldn’t want some stranger in
her home, going through her things. I need to do this, for her and for me.”

“No. What you need to do is accept that your
grandma is gone and come back to me, where you belong, so we can start our life
together. Frankly, if you valued our relationship, you’d already be here. You
know how important it is that I make a good impression on the partners to jump
start my career.”

Mara’s sinus cavity burned like she’d inhaled fire.
Why couldn’t he understand how important this was to her? Taking care of the
house was the least she could do after everything her grandma had done for her.
Her grandma had given up so much to take Mara in after her mom flaked out and
left her to chase after a man and the dream of being a professional singer.
That was a debt she’d never be able to repay now that her grandma was gone.
Blinking away the moisture filling her eyes, she blew out a frustrated breath.
“What would you have me do, Richard? Go back in time and stick Grandma in a
nursing home for the last months of her life just so you aren’t inconvenienced?
I was looking forward to starting our life together too, but I have
responsibilities here that I have to take care of before I can do anything
else.”

“I’m sorry, Mara, but I don’t know how much longer
I can sit around and wait on you to decide to put us first. I tried to be
sympathetic when you found out your grandma was ill and took it upon yourself
to play nursemaid, but that understanding only stretches so far. If you’d
rather fuss with inanimate objects than commit to me, then maybe it’s time to
just cut our losses and move on.”

He couldn’t possibly mean what that sounded like.
“What exactly are you saying?”

“If you can’t make our relationship a priority then
maybe it’s time to rethink our relationship.”

“Fine,” she blurted out, feeling hurt and let down.
“I’m not sure I want to be with someone who values his career more than family
anyway.”

“If that’s the way you want it,” he replied. “Just
for the record, you’ll never do better than me.”

Mara opened her mouth to reply and was greeted by
the silence of the call being dropped. She pulled the phone away from her ear
and stared down at it. The bastard hung up on her.

She tightened her fingers around the phone and
lifted it up over her head, prepared to fling it against the wall. At the last
moment, she lowered her arm and dropped the phone onto the table. As good as it
would feel to smash the phone against the wall, she couldn’t afford to buy a
new one.

She crossed her arms and rested her forehead on
them. Her life was spiraling down the drain and there didn’t seem to be a damn
thing she could do about it

* * * *

Two weeks later, she wasn’t any closer to closing
up the old house than she had been on the day she’d picked up her grandma’s
ashes. With nothing and no one waiting on her out in the big, wild world, she’d
decided to stay and start over where she’d always felt safe and loved.
Something about her decision felt right—like it was meant to be.

As expected, her grandma had left her the house and
all the contents. To Mara’s surprise, she’d also inherited a rather large
savings account and was the beneficiary of a substantial life insurance policy.
If she was careful, that money would last her for years. Longer, if she
invested well.

Not that she planned to sit on her rapidly growing
bottom and do nothing. She had every intention of finding a job and putting her
degree to use. It was just nice to know that she wouldn’t starve in the mean time.
She could take her nice sweet time and find something she really liked, rather
than settling for the first job offer that came her way.

Even from beyond the grave, Grandma was still
taking care of her.

Richard had called her once and left a long, rambling
apology, but she didn’t bother to call him back. While she could forgive him
for being an unsympathetic jerk, she didn’t want to be with someone who
couldn’t understand the simple concept of family loyalty. Her heart ached at
the abrupt end of a relationship she’d cherished for the last two years, but
she was better off on her own than with someone who’d turn their back on her
the second things got complicated. The last thing she needed was to set her
heart on a man like her father, who’d taken off the moment he’d found out her
mom was pregnant—or her mother, who’d chosen a life of hedonism over settling
down and raising Mara.

Other than her grandma, everyone in her life had
disappointed her in one way or another. However, it didn’t do any good to dwell
on the past. She couldn’t change a damn thing about yesterday. All she could do
was concentrate on the immediate future—which included a delicious bag of spicy
tortilla chips with cheese dip and an uplifting docudrama on TV. For the next
two hours she planned to stuff her face with fattening junk food and wallow in
someone else’s struggles.

She curled up in her grandma’s favorite recliner
and tore into her snack with abandon. Halfway through the show, there was
sudden rat-a-tat-tat on the door. She sat down the chips and stared at the
front door in confusion, wondering who would be knocking at nearly nine
o’clock—or at all, for that matter. She stood, brushed the chip residue off her
shirt, and crossed the room to pull open the door.

It took her a minute to realize who was standing
right in front of her. “Oh my God. Sara?” She gaped at the woman in front of
her. Although they’d been the best of friends all through school, they barely
kept in touch after leaving for college. The last she’d heard, Sara had planned
to backpack through Europe with her latest boyfriend. “What are you doing
here?”

“Well, to make a long story short, Conrad fell and
broke his ankle, so we cut our trip short and flew home. It’s so good to see
you.” She rushed forward and threw her arms around Mara. “I’m so sorry about
your grandma. I didn’t hear about her passing until I got home this afternoon.”
She pulled back and gazed at Mara. “How are you holding up?”

“I’m doing okay.” Mara tried for a smile, but knew it
fell short of genuine. She backed up a few paces. “It’s really good to see you
again. Why don’t you come on in and tell me more about your trip? I could use
the distraction.”

Sara waltzed into the room, took one look at the
television, and did a double take. “Tell me you are not watching public
broadcast.”

Mara shrugged. “There’s an interesting docudrama on
tonight.”

“Mm hmm.” Sara glanced around and quirked one wine
red brow. “The situation up in here is much more dire than I expected.”

“What do you mean?” Mara looked over the room and
didn’t see anything amiss.

“You need more than a distraction if you’re holed
up in here, living off junk food, and watching boring documentaries on a Friday
night. You need a full fledged intervention.”

“I’m fine. I just don’t much feel like going out
and being social.” Mara sat down in the recliner.

Sara sat on the edge of the sofa closest to the
recliner. “That’s understandable, but I’d be willing to bet you haven’t left
this house for anything other than your grandma’s memorial service.”

“You’d lose. I didn’t have a service. There didn’t
seem to be much point since most of her close friends passed away years ago.
Plus, it’s not like we have any real family to invite.”

“Shit.” Sara pushed her long, luxurious hair out of
her face. “I’m sorry. I always liked your grandma.”

“Everybody did. She was a good woman.” Mara looked
away and breathed deeply, shoving down the urge to cry.

“The best.” Sara cleared her throat. “I wish I’d
known sooner. I would have come back to help.”

“I wouldn’t have asked you to cut your trip short.
I know how much you’ve always wanted to travel.” She’d be willing to bet that
it took years of saving up for Sara to swing a summer in Europe. Her family
wasn’t exactly poor, but they weren’t anywhere close to having the money to
send all five of their kids overseas as a graduation present either.

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