Brave Bear: BBW Bear Shifter Paranormal Romance (BRIDES fur BEARS Book 2)

BOOK: Brave Bear: BBW Bear Shifter Paranormal Romance (BRIDES fur BEARS Book 2)
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BRAVE
BEAR

By

Natalie Kristen

For more books set in
Shadow Point

BRIDES fur BEARS

Bad Bear (Book 1)

Brave Bear (Book 2)

GRAY
BEARS

Marrying
the Bear (Book 1)

Loving
the Bear (Book 2)

Mating
the Bear (Book 3)

Tempting
the Bear (Book 4)

Taming
the Lion (Book 5)

Embracing
the Lion (Book 6)

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

Struggling
single mom Serena Locke just wants to give her daughter a rare treat
on her birthday. She wants Ashley to have a happy birthday like any
other five-year-old.

But
when a simple trip to the ice-cream parlor turns into a nightmare,
Serena is forced to run to keep her little girl safe.

Jax
Carlan is returning to Shadow Point from a business trip in the city
when he is flagged down by a frantic young mother.

There
is something about her little girl, and even his brothers, who are
powerful bear shifters, can't identify what the child is.

Things
take an unexpected turn when Jax enlists the help of two good-hearted
but highly effervescent grandmotherly witches whose specialty seem to
be magic and mayhem.

But
amid the danger and chaos, his bear is sure of one thing. It has
found its beautiful mate and feisty, badass cub.

Jax
is determined to protect Serena and Ashley, and show them that
happiness isn't that elusive after all.

*
* * * *

CHAPTER
ONE

As
S
erena
Locke
trudged
up the stairs to her neighbor's
apartment,
she hurriedly erased the deep frown on her face. She had little to
smile about today. She had known all along that this wasn't a
permanent position, but still, she worked hard and she always
volunteered for extra shifts. She was paid hourly as a cashier at
the supermarket, and her contract did state that a day's notice was
all that was required to terminate her services. But still. She
couldn't possibly find another job in just one day.

With a deep sigh, Serena
squared her shoulders and focused on the positive. Today was her
daughter’s birthday. Ashley was five years old today. That
was reason enough to smile. She'd lost her job, but she still had
her beautiful little girl. As long as they had each other,
everything would be fine. She would find a way to make ends meet.
Things would be okay.

Serena
rang the doorbell and fidgeted a little while she waited. She'd
promised Ashley that she would take her out for ice-cream once she
got off work. It was a rare treat, but it was her little girl's
special day
.
She could afford to spend a little more tonight. She wasn't going
to disappoint
her little girl
again.

Mrs Huang opened the door and
Ashley came bounding into her arms. “Mummy! You're here!
Look what Mrs Huang gave me for my birthday!” Ashley squealed
in excitement.

Serena
stared at the lovely doll that Ashley was holding up to her. “Oh!
It's...beautiful!” she sp
l
uttered
and looked up at Mrs Huang. “Mrs Huang, you shouldn't
have...this doll, it's very...”
Expensive.

Serena
had promised Ashley that she would get this Donna Doll for her when
it went on sale. Once a new, improved model came out, the old Donna
Doll would be sold at a discount. She
'd
promised Ashley she would get her the doll then.

Mrs Huang merely waved her
hand. “It's her birthday. I'm glad she likes her present.”

“I
love it, I love it!” Ashley jumped up and down, and hugged Mrs
Huang's legs. “
Thank
you!”

Serena
blinked hard. Her eyes filled with tears suddenly and she threw her
arms around her neighbor. Mrs Huang was a
sweet,
kindly lady
with two grown-up
daughters.
She was a
sprightly, fiercely independent woman and she had stubbornly
insisted
on staying in her old apartment
even
though her daughters had urged her to move in with them. She'd
assured them that she was fine living on her own and told them not to
nag.

Mrs
Huang had been babysitting Ashley since she was born. She had
knocked on Serena's door with a big pot of nourishing soup and a box
of diapers when Ashley was just a few days' old. Ashley had been
screaming the place down, but once
Mrs
Huang took her into her arms and cuddled her, A
shley
had quietened down immediately.

“You are...alone? You
don't have anyone to help you with the baby?” Mrs Huang had
asked.

When Serena shook her head,
the older woman simply clucked her tongue and said firmly, “Then
I will help you.”

Mrs Huang babysat Ashley
while Serena was at work. She refused to accept any money from
Serena, saying, “My daughters give me enough to spend. No, no,
don't thank me. I should thank you. Ashley keeps me alert and
occupied. My two daughters are both career-minded women. I don't
know how long I have to wait for grandchildren. I might be six feet
under by then!”

As Ashley ran to get her bag,
Mrs Huang took Serena aside and said quietly, “When I picked
Ashley up from kindergarten today, she was rather...sad. I think
something happened in school today. She refused to tell me what was
bothering her. She cheered right up after I gave her the doll,
but...”

Serena nodded. “I'll
talk to her. Thank you for telling me.”

Ashley came running out. She
gave Mrs Huang a big hug and took her mother's hand. “Bye, Mrs
Huang!”

“You girls have fun
now. Don't stay out too late though. It's not safe,” Mrs
Huang said.

“Come with us,”
Serena said earnestly. “You like ice-cream, don't you, Mrs
Huang?”

“Ice-cream sounds
lovely, but I have to stay home. I promised my elder daughter to
call her tonight. She says she's got something very important to
tell me. I think...she's met someone, and she's going to bring her
young man home to meet me next weekend!” Mrs Huang rubbed her
hands with obvious delight and anticipation. “She told her
sister, and of course, my younger daughter called to tell me even
though she was supposed to keep it a secret.”

“That's exciting news!”
Serena grinned. “All right, we'd better get going now,”
she said as Ashley tugged impatiently at her hand. “You have a
lovely evening, Mrs Huang. And thank you very, very much. I...”

“Go! Go have your
birthday treat. Happy birthday, Ashley!” Mrs Huang shooed
them away with a laugh and closed the door.

CHAPTER
TWO

Serena
held her daughter's hand as Ashley bounced down the stairs beside
her.
As they walked to the
ice-cream parlor, Ashley clutched her Donna Doll tightly and kept her
eyes down.

“What did you do in
school today, sweetheart?” Serena began gently. “Did you
play with your friends?”

Ashley just walked on
silently, her eyes still downcast. Finally the little girl shook her
head slowly.

“You didn't play with
your friends? Why not?”

“They don't want to
play with me,” Ashley said in a small voice.

Serena's heart ached for her
daughter. “Do you know why they don't want to play with you?”
she asked after a pause.

Ashley nodded once.

“Can you tell me why…?”

“They
said they're scared of me.
They
said there's something different about me today
and they don't like me any more.”

“Why
would they be scared of you, Ashley?
Why
don't they like you any more?

Serena took a steadying breath. Surely Ashley hadn't been bullying
the other kids. “Darling, just tell Mummy the truth. Did you
say or do anything to the other kids…?”

“Yes.”

“What did you say to
them, Ashley?” Serena asked slowly.

“I told them I could
see their animals. And I told them what they were.”


What
do you mean?”

Ashley
squirmed and looked up.
She
looked confused and frightened. “I saw the animals in the
shifter kids. I couldn't see them before, but today, I could see
their animals clearly. I told Tommy that I could see his wolf, and I
told Jessica that her bear has the prettiest golden fur. The
children all kept away from me today. They said I wasn't the same
and I was scary. But I'm not! I'm not scary, Mummy!”

“Of
course you're not,” Serena said. “
You're
a very good girl, Ashley. It's not your fault at all and you did
nothing wrong.”
She
made up her mind to speak to Ashley's kindergarten teacher about this
on Monday. It sounded like the other kids were just being mean.
But…

Ashley
had never displayed any paranormal powers before. There were
paranormals living in the city, and the kindergarten Ashley attended
had a fair number of shifter children and a handful
of
young witches. She had put Ashley down as “human” in the
enrollment form even though she suspected that her daughter was
really half-paranormal.

But the trouble was, she
didn't know what her daughter really was.

Serena
stroked her little girl's inky black hair tenderly.
Ashley looked nothing like
her. Ashley had dark, black hair and eyes, and was tall for her age.
The girl had lean, long limbs and her kindergarten teachers had
commented that Ashley was very agile and athletic for a
five-year-old. She could outrun the other kids, and she was fast and
strong.

Serena
had never been good at sports, and she wasn't tall and lean. She was
short and curvy, with light blond hair and hazel eyes.

Serena
tried to remember Ashley's father, but honestly, she couldn't even
remember his face.

It
sounded clichéd but it was a one-night stand with a tall,
dark, handsome stranger.

Serena
couldn't
even
remember the details of that night, the night that Ashley was
conceived.

What she could remember was
her dream when she fell asleep that night. She had dreamed of fire,
and in the midst of those dancing, writhing flames, she had seen a
little girl.

And that girl—was
Ashley.

C
HAPTER
THREE

Serena burped loudly as she
walked out of the ice-cream parlor with Ashley. “Mummy!”
Ashley giggled.

Ashley was in much better
spirits after polishing off a large ice-cream sundae. She seemed to
have forgotten all about her unhappiness at school. Serena was glad
to see her little girl smiling happily again and enjoying her
birthday treat.

BOOK: Brave Bear: BBW Bear Shifter Paranormal Romance (BRIDES fur BEARS Book 2)
12.09Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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