Friday, January 4, 2019

Bear Essentials (The Shifter Town Series) by Novalee Swan

Bear Essentials

CONNOR REID is complex. An alpha, taller and stronger than anyone else, who has never lost a fight. But the truth is, this grizzly bear shifter is as sweet as a summer breeze and shy as a prairie dog. He never planned to stay in Shifter Town. Then something happened that rocked his world. Her name is LILY AMARETTO.

Lily hasn't known much kindness in her life, and never from a man. When she accepts a job working for the scariest male she's ever seen, it's about survival and redemption. She doesn't want to spend her life afraid of shadows, but did she really have to start with the most lethal man in existence? That's exactly what Connor Reid seems like to her. But there are other new and indefinable feelings that he stirs. And the things he does to her in her dreams.

What do two shy souls do when they want each other badly, but aren't quite sure how to make it happen?

Shifter Town is about to find out...

Bear Essentials is the fourth book in bestselling author Novalee Swan's Shifter Town series. It features her trademark heat and emotional intensity and is perfect for fans of Nalini Singh, Lora Leigh and Shelley Laurenston.

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Read an excerpt:

Chapter One
Rosewood, Tennessee.
Lily Amaretto’s breath whooshed out from between her lips as she froze.
Don’t panic!
That single thought filtered through the terrified stillness of her mind, the way sunlight filtered through the trees, dappling the tall green grass. Wind rustled the long blades, brushing them against the pale skin of her legs, left bare by denim cut-offs. The kind she wore only in the deep forests outside town, where no one would ever see.
The wind twisted strands of brown hair across her face but she couldn’t move, even to brush them back.
If I move, I die.
Fear was no stranger to Lily.
Not even intense, crippling terror. They were old friends.
But back then, she’d never been afraid of dying. There were even times when death had seemed like a subject worthy of prayer.
She closed her eyes—an old habit—although Lord knows it had never done her a lick of good. But this time, she prayed to live.
She prayed that the biggest damn grizzly in the world, not ten feet away, wouldn’t rip her to shreds once it turned and saw her.
She didn’t want to die.
Not when she’d just begun wanting to live.
Now she had to decide whether to try and silently back away or drop and play dead.
Too late.
The bear lifted its nose, scenting the air.
Then it turned.
Lily would have gasped, but she’d forgotten how to breathe. If the grizzly didn’t rip her apart, she may well die of asphyxiation. As its muzzle came into view she finally managed to inhale jerkily, air filling her starving lungs. Some part of her expected the grizzly to roar, then rush towards her all claws and teeth and bloody death.
But that didn’t happen.
They just stood there, staring into each other’s eyes. Arctic blue meeting shadowed whiskey.
Wrens and swallows flitted about, filling the air with birdsong. Hundreds of tiny white moths rested atop wildflowers until disturbed by the wind, rising in a swarm then gently alighting once more. Time spun invisible ribbons around Lily and the grizzly.
Then it took a single step forward.
Lily, correspondingly, tried to take a single step back. But her foot found a rock and she lost her balance and began to fall.
The grizzly responded instantly, charging towards her. Lily whimpered and turned her face away. But that one small sound had the effect of a sawn-off shotgun.
Death stopped short.
It took Lily a moment to register this, and a moment more while she gathered her courage. When she looked back the grizzly slowly rose on its hind legs, standing over ten feet tall. Then the air shimmered, cocooning the massive bear in sparks of golden sunlight, its shape shifting until what stood before her was a man.
Naked as the day he was born.
Connor Reid considered Lily Amaretto sprawled in the grass before him and cursed his poor fucking luck. Big blue eyes looked up at him, terrified, and he didn’t have the first clue how to make it better.
How to take away that fear.
He never knew what to do or say around this woman, who tied him in such tight knots he could hardly function. He could barely form a lucid sentence around her. Not that Lily ever spoke to him, but that was for an entirely different reason. She never looked him in the eye and never let him get close, because Lily Amaretto was afraid of him.
Connor tried not to take it personally. Seemed like she was afraid of all men. Him, his brother Ryan, Sheriff Cage Delgado, and Lucas LeBray, the local mechanic. They were all aware of it. Their women had taken Lily underwing, and whenever the shifters were around her their wildings sensed her fear. The problem was, no one else in Rosewood was crazy stuck on her and unable to do a damned thing about it. But that was good, else he would have had a hell of a time restraining his grizzly from ripping them apart.
Lily’s terror had been so intense when she saw his wilding that his own adrenaline had spiked. He hadn’t known what to do. The grizzly terrified her, but more or less than him in all his glory?
In retrospect, he should have just walked away. He’d only been able to think: She’s afraid. Fix it. And fixing it meant getting to her, and yeah . . . not the smartest thing he’d ever done.
Connor had meant to approach her slow—like she was the wild animal—but when she fell, slow went out the window. He’d needed to reach her and make sure she was okay. Until she’d whimpered and his heart had stopped. He’d felt it stutter, right there in his chest. Like the first time he saw her, through the window at Sofia’s deli, sitting with Kelly, his brother’s mate, and Kelly’s friends.
Lily Amaretto was the reason Connor Reid moved to Rosewood, Tennessee.
Not that she knew it.
Not that he’d done a damn thing about it—except offer her a job. A job she was due to start tomorrow, if he hadn’t scared her away.
He looked down at those mile-long legs and swallowed. Lily’s cut-offs were so short he could almost see heaven. She was a beguiling contradiction of Amazon and waif. Coltish limbs on a body that stood a smidge under six feet. He loved her height. She was only a head shorter than him. He’d hardly have to bend at all to kiss her.
Connor thought about kissing Lily a lot.
But that’s not all he thought about. There wasn’t a single damned night that he didn’t imagine those world-class legs locked around his waist. At the memory of those dreams, his cock stirred.
Ah, fuck no. Not now.
Lily’s eyes were drawn to dirty blonde hair razored short at the sides, long and messy on top, falling down his nape. They tracked down a face that was all tan angles and hard jawline.
She knew that face.
Those extraordinary whiskey eyes.
She saw them in her dreams.
“Connor?” As the whispered word slowly left Lily’s lips, her gaze dropped. No force on Earth could have stopped it. She drank in his strong neck, following a tendon down to his collarbone. To shoulders so wide, they could shelter a body from even the fiercest storm.
Resilient. Unbreakable. Connor.
She looked lower.
His chest was a work of art. Sharply defined muscles and patterns of black ink.
Looked lower still, past his abdominals.
Her heart was thudding so loudly she could hear it. Residual adrenaline from thinking she was about to die? Or something else?
Narrow hips and a defined V, arrowing downwards. Downwards . . .
Holy Mary Mother of God. Lily tore her eyes away.
Connor Reid was proportionate. Some might even say blessed. What’s more, he was . . . he was . . .
Fuck,” Connor muttered grittily. This was the reason he hadn’t shifted the instant he’d seen her. He refused to stand bare-ass naked in the woods, trying to cover his dick. Any other woman and he’d be able to control it.
But not this one.
All she’d had to do was whisper his name and he wanted to kneel at her feet. And the way her eyes trailed down him, he’d swear it was sexual if he didn’t know better.
But he did.
He knew it was entirely one-sided. That to Lily Amaretto, he may as well be the devil.

About Novalee Swan

Novalee Swan writes paranormal and contemporary romance and is the author of the Shifter Town series. She loves creating alpha heroes who know how to scorch the sheets. Her books are fun, sweet, sexy and satisfying.

Novalee has a creative writing degree that she puts to all kinds of use, including editing and blogging. She lives down under where she writes with a fur baby called Emma for a foot warmer. She reads too much — is that possible? — likes pretty things, and jumps at any chance to travel.

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