How Not to Date a Bear
How Not to Date… Series
by Stephanie Burke
eBook ISBN: 05622-01801
Declan Batalova is a bear unlike any other. After brokering a deal that will keep his people safe in their new country, the Russian shifter goes for relaxation in a new club that caters to bears.
Cosmetologist Gillian Leekey is a woman on a mission. She loves big, muscular, hairy men, and Declan is perfect in every way.
But after one night of passion, the Bear Shifter Mafia is declaring war at her front door! When did life get so complicated? But that’s what happens when you decide to date a bear.
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“I’m a bear.”
“You most certainly are.” Gillian licked her lips as she stared at one of the most impossibly huge men she had ever seen. Imposing was too weak a word to describe this mountain of perfection. And the slight accent was just the icing on the cake. “But I have to see more to be sure.”
He quirked one eyebrow, but then smiled at her, showing off dazzlingly white smile teeth. Oh, yeah, this man was perfect. And he was a man, not a boy like so many of the posers — or should she call them cubs? — in this club. Either way, this man stood head and shoulders above the rest of them.
His hair was cropped short. Not military short, but short enough to be respectable and still show a little curl. He had a five o’clock shadow that was looking more like ten o’clock shadow, it was so heavy. But it definitely wasn’t a beard, just a thick growth of daily facial hair. His shoulders were broad to the point of straining the seams of his custom-made charcoal silk dress shirt. It had to be custom. Nothing she’d seen on the rack of any big and tall men’s shop was broad enough to fit his body so perfectly. Even his pleated black dress pants had to be tailored, his thighs were so thick and well developed.
He was visibly not as young as most of the other bears in the Bear With Me club. It was her first time here, and if there were more like him, she would go home and beat her head against a wall for missing out on this place’s delights for so long.
Gillian was an unabashed bear lover. There was no shame in her game. So long as her lover didn’t have an excess of back hair, she was so there.
Of course, personality had a lot to do with her selection of a partner, but the first thing she noticed was the build of the man and the amount and type of hair he sported.
God, she loved a hairy chest. And contrary to popular belief, it could be too curly or too long. Chest hair had to be soft and plentiful, not too thick and not too invasive. She loved hair, but she did not rejoice in picking it out of her teeth. A thick mat of pubic hair was a major no-no in her book. Ferreting through a curly forest of the stuff to find her tasty treats was not her idea of a good time.
The more mature the man, the better. She’d had her fill of young idiots wasting her time. She wanted a man — a real man, a hairy man — and the one standing before her with one dark eyebrow quirked more than fit the bill.
“The shirt, Doll-Face,” she all but purred, nearly dancing in anticipation.
“You want to see me without my shirt?” He looked more amused than offended, his bright green eyes sparkling.
“Yes, please.” She batted her eyelashes. “I really do.”
“And if I show you?” His voice had dropped to a husky growl that made her toes tingle. She could get off on that voice alone.
“If you have the right to call yourself a bear, I will know.”
“And then?” he asked, definitely amused now. His eyes, a beautiful green sparking with gold highlights, crinkled at the corners. “If I really am a bear like I claim?”
“Then I‘m going to take you home.” She moved closer to him, close enough to feel the heat wafting off his body, close enough to inhale the musky scent of him that smelled, oddly enough, of vanilla and sugar. “And then I am going to do unspeakable things to your body.” She had no idea what was wrong with her. She had never felt this hot for anyone before. There was something special about him.
“Unspeakable?” His voice sent rumbling vibrations from the bottom of her feet to the top of her head. She suddenly found it hard to breathe as he loomed over her.
“Oh, yeah.” She resisted the urge to rub her thighs together as her body reacted to his closeness in a gush of wet heat in her panties. “Unspeakable.”
“Then by all means.” He smirked as his large, rough-looking hands with their long fingers deftly unbuttoned his shirt and let the smooth silk slide down his arms, catching at his wrists.
“Oh, sweet mercy,” Gillian breathed, her eyes filling with heat she could not hide as she took in the broad expanse of hairy chest right before her eyes.
This man was perfect! The hair wasn’t too thick, and it looked soft. This man knew the meaning of the word groom. His skin was deeply tanned, and she knew it had to be natural, not from a bottle or unhealthy sun worship. His nipples were like chocolate drops just waiting for her to take a taste. His abdominals were marbled, cobblestoned, and any other word she could think of that described the muscled plane of flesh. His pecs were well defined, and he had a set of the largest biceps she had ever seen on a man. And that naturally led her eyes up to the rounded caps of his shoulders and to where his face and that perfect smile were grinning at her.
“So.” He shifted and his muscles did that crawling under all that perfect skin thing. “Do I pass muster?”
Gillian didn’t remember where her drink landed. All she knew was that she tossed it over her shoulder and dove into the arms of the most awesome man she had ever laid her eyes upon. One leap and her legs were around his trim waist, her arms around his neck, her breasts pleasantly squashed against that wall of muscle.
“My place is close,” she whimpered, nuzzling her nose in his neck and inhaling his scent.
God, he felt so good, smelled so good, and tasted… She ran her tongue over a tight tendon in his neck and, yeah. He tasted good too. All restraint went out the window, and she never even bothered to question why. She was in this man’s arms, and he was sheer perfection — she was perfection when she was with him. Life was good.
“What’s your name, beautiful?” he murmured against her lips, nudging her until she lifted her head to meet his amused eyes.
“Gillian,” she all but moaned as he nuzzled her neck, his rough, shadowy beard scratching her skin enticingly. “Gillian Leekey.”
“Well, Gillian, Gillian Leekey, my name is Declan, Declan Batalova,” he murmured, “and there are a few things you should know about me.”
“Like?” Her gaze dropped to his mouth, watching those full lips move to shape his words.
“Like this is a leather bar, Gillian.”
“Oh, I know.”
“And I am a severe top, Gillian. I am bordering on sadistic.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, that is so. And I plan on taking you to a quiet place and tying you to a flat surface to do deliciously nasty things to your body until you beg me for more.”
“Well, Mr. Batalova.” She rolled the name off of her tongue, her body already trembling at the thought of what he could do to her. It was a delicious fright that she would give anything to experience. But at the same time, for some unknown reason, she felt as safe as she had ever been in his arms. “There is a first time for everything.”
“Archer!” She jumped a little as he raised his voice, calling to the man behind the bar.
Declan turned with her still attached to his front like a baby koala, and motioned the tall man over.
This Archer character was almost as large as her catch, she mused, and definitely prettier. But she knew she had found the catch of the season, and she wasn’t going to let him go.
“Show the nice young lady your badge.”
Chuckling, Archer reached into the back pocket of his snug-fitting jeans and produced a leather wallet, which he flipped open to show a shield surrounded by a fall of trailing maple leaves topped off with a bright red crown.
“Hello, nice young lady. Inspector Archer Right, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, at your service.” He gave a short bow, his long, blond hair flowing over his shoulders to frame a body that was tight and firm, but not nearly large or hairy enough to suit. Though maybe, she thought, in a few years that would change.
“Now, Archer.” Declan chuckled. “This lady needs a safety check.”
“Oh!” Archer’s eyebrows rose as he stared, his eyes going back and forth between the two of them before pulling out a cell phone. “Okay, Miss…”
“Gillian Leekey,” she introduced herself. “I would shake but…” She rested her head on Declan’s shoulder. Mmm… padded with muscle.
“I understand. Catch and release?” he asked her, grinning.
“So long as there’s no time limit,” she returned, squeezing Declan with enveloping arms and legs, smiling wider as his hands settled on her ass to hold her in place. He was so effortlessly strong.
“Only ones that you set. Rules of the club,” he offered, hefting the curious cell phone he held in his hand. “I have your contact information here. How about I call you in an hour?”
When she nodded, he quickly typed a word onto his phone’s screen and tilted it in her direction so Declan couldn’t see.
“This is your safety. When I call, you use this word and I’ll know that everything’s fine. You say anything else, I’ll track you down in minutes and bring rolling fire and brimstone with me, and believe me, I can make it happen. Sound good?”
“Very good.” She nodded, memorizing the word and looking up into his earnest green eyes. “I got it, Inspector.”
“Good. After that time, if you need another safety check, you type it in the window and the amount of time you need. I’ll call back, and we do it all over again. If you are good for the night, you say this word –” He scrolled through the screen until another word blinked in the screen. “– and we’re good for the night. Of course, you’re responsible for returning the phone to me… or make the big guy do it. He’s in here often enough now. He’s new to the area and looking to make good friends.”
“That’s innovative, Inspector.” Gillian memorized the words and nodded at him. “And I’ll be a good friend to him.”
He chuckled at the title. “Call me Archer.” He took a step back. “And there’s a little red button on this phone. It’s a panic button. Press it and the law will be notified, and I’ll be en route before you can scream fire.”
“Don’t I get a word?” Declan asked.
“No.” Archer rolled his eyes and tried to hand Gillian the phone. But she refused to loosen so much as a finger to reach for it. So he shrugged and tucked it into the waistband of her skirt, visibly turning red trying to hold in a belly laugh. “You’re a big boy. If she hurts you too badly, I’m sure you can beg her for forgiveness or bargain your way out.”
“Some friend,” Declan muttered and Archer laughed.
“All part of the service, big guy. Now you and Miss Gillian go and have fun. I’ll check-in in about an hour, and we’ll set up the next check-in then.”
Shrugging, and jostling her a little in his arms, Declan turned to smile down at Gillian. “Shall we?” he asked, his voice turning husky again as he pressed her close enough for her to feel the large knot of his cock growing against her stomach.
“Yes, let’s,” she breathed, and with his shirt still open, with the eyes of all the hairy cubs on them, Gillian rode out of the club in style, in the arms of a real bear and a man dominant enough to make all others pale in comparison.
Life was damn good.
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