A Bear's Protection(7)

By: Roxie Noir



As soon as she saw the back of it, Cora propped one elbow against the open window of her car, squeezing the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger again.

Ash frowned, and the low-level alarm that had been going off in his head all along got stronger. As both a sheriff’s deputy and a grizzly shifter, he had an excellent sense for danger.

And he was certain that Cora was in danger of some kind.

He straightened his tie and got out of the car.





Chapter Three





Cora





Cora sat in the car, feeling like an idiot. She tried to breathe deeply, her eyes closed, but the feeling of panic just wouldn’t subside.

She’d panicked when the cop pulled her over. The moment the lights went off behind her, she was completely and totally convinced that it was Neil, who’d somehow gotten a sheriff’s car.

Then, to make matters worse, as soon as she’d pulled over she’d jumped out of the car, determined that if she was going to die, she was at least going to try to do something about it.

Instead of Neil, her stalker, she’d been standing in front of the hottest man she’d ever seen in real life. He had dark brown hair, sideburns, and light blue eyes. Even at a distance, he towered over her, and his officer’s uniform didn’t hide his thick, sturdy muscles even a little bit.

Besides, Cora had always liked a man in uniform.

And then, just as she was chastising herself in the car, she’d seen that car. That car that she was absolutely, completely positive was Neil’s, closing in on her while she was a sitting duck on the side of the highway.

Of course it hadn’t been. Neil didn’t know that she’d moved and not left a forwarding address. There was no way he could follow her all the way to Cascadia, clear across the country, was there?

You’re safe now, she told herself. She could see the officer, sitting in his car, doing something or other — probably checking that she wasn’t on the run or something.

Safe and in the land of sexy police officers.

She smiled, just a little, and then something occurred to her.

I bet he’s a shifter, she thought, and a little thrill went through her.

She’d never really met a shifter before — at least, not that she’d known. When they first revealed themselves, about twenty years ago, Cora had only been five, but she remembered pointing at people on the street and asking her parents whether that man or that lady was a shifter.

After all, shifters tended to have certain physical characteristics, but it was still impossible to really tell. But Officer Sexy, as Cora had dubbed him, was tall, dark, and wide — textbook grizzly shifter.

I hope I didn’t offend him or something, she thought. He was taking kind of a long time back there, and she started to worry. What if he’d found all her restraining orders against Neil? They couldn’t prevent her from moving to Cascadia for being a nuisance, could they?

Then, finally, he got out of his car, adjusted his collar, and walked back toward her.

Cora started to sweat, just a little. Now that she was okay, the reality of getting a traffic ticket was sinking in. She hadn’t even been in the state for fifteen minutes, and she was already breaking the law.

Maybe this whole thing is off to a bad start, she thought, watching Officer Sexy come even with her trunk. I could move somewhere else, after all. Even though my job is here.

“You’re clean,” the officer said.

Cora looked up at him, and tried not to act weird. He was just so fucking handsome, and she always got nervous around really handsome men, and then she got weird.

“And here I thought I was pretty dirty,” she said.

Goddammit, she thought. Why can’t I just be normal?

The officer’s eyebrows went up, just slightly.

“Is there something else I should know?” he asked. He was still holding her license and registration in his hand, just outside her car.

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