An ancient evil has come back to Shifter Falls…
Living in a town called Shifter Falls isn’t always easy. Alaska Ceridwen has lusted after Harley Ogden for years, even though she learned the hard way that you can’t trust bears. But when Alaska becomes the target of a dangerous stalker, Harley may be the only one who can save her.
Harley thought that rescuing a terrified, bound woman on the street would be the most excitement he’d see all day. Then he found out she was his mate. Now he’s fighting to hold on to what’s his. He knows that keeping Alaska safe and teaching her to let go of her fears won’t be easy, but for Harley, nothing less than forever will do.
There were a lot of things that Harley would have preferred to be doing at that ungodly hour of the day. Sleeping in was top of the list, followed closely by reading the paper while enjoying the first cup of coffee from a fresh pot. He would even have accepted a leisurely breakfast at the diner.
Standing outside the sheriff’s office waiting on the tardy fucker was not on the list. Despite the man’s strange and short call, Harley was tempted to blow it off. But his curiosity had been tweaked and that meant he was standing there at the ass crack of dawn twiddling his damn thumbs.
“I should’ve stopped for coffee,” he grumbled under his breath.
Across the way, watching him pace, was an old-timer. The older man was sweeping off his section of the sidewalk in preparation to roll the signs out advertising the barber shop. Jerking his chin up in greeting, Harley turned to pace back up the sidewalk he currently occupied. The old man gave him an odd look before continuing on. If he didn’t know better, Harley would think he had something on his face. Besides his neatly groomed beard, that was.
It was better to ignore the human element in town when they acted weird, much like they ignored the shifters when they got weird. Not that Harley was strange, or he didn’t believe he was. He was a Kodiak and pretty mellow, for the most part. He’d had his moments but really those were in the past and best left there.
He made another turn to stalk back toward and past the sheriff’s station, taking a look at his watch at the same time. Coming to a stop, he curled his lip up in a low snarl no one would hear. The sheriff had called him two hours ago and still wasn’t there. “Ten more minutes, Sheriff, and then I don’t give two fucks who you are. I’m going to go get some damn coffee.”
Many would worry about talking to themselves, but Harley didn’t have that problem. He firmly believed that one should always hold a conversation with the most intelligent individual around. Since that was usually him, he talked to himself. And everyone knew that until you started to answer yourself, you were still perfectly sane.
Pacing back and forth, Harley counted off the seconds. He glanced down at his watch, checked the doors and back lot once more to be sure he hadn’t missed the man, then headed for the diner. The place was open twenty-four hours a day, year round, except for Independence Day and Christmas. They also had the best damn coffee around. Some other items on their menu were less stellar, but the black gold was pure heaven.
Double checking the street was clear before stepping off the curb, he made his way quickly across. Not that he thought anyone would actually be out there to run him over. What he didn’t expect was to crash into someone when he turned to head down a side street to the diner.
Stumbling back, he barely caught himself from landing on his ass on the street. A quick shake of his head to clear his mind, and he found the barber smirking his way. Harley gave the man a scowl that did absolutely nothing except amuse him. Rolling his eyes while the old human laughed hysterically, Harley looked around for what, or rather who, he’d run into.
A woman, no less. Lush curves, a mouth like a sailor, and her hands bound behind her back. O-kay. That he hadn’t seen coming. He moved to help her up. And she fucking kicked him in the shins.
“For fuck’s sake, woman, be still. I’m only trying to help you up since you are currently doing a fantastic impression of a turtle stuck on his back. But you kick me again and I’ll damn well leave you here.”
When she stilled, he blew out a breath and moved around behind her to hook his hands under her armpits. He lifted her easily to her feet. Then he came back around to get her hair off her face, at which point he recognized her. Well, hell, if it wasn’t the bear-hating baker extraordinaire, Alaska Ceridwen. Like his fucking day could get any worse.