(Protect & Serve)
Paranormal Women’s Fiction, Shifters, Suspense
Date Published: August 18, 2023
Tundra's a polar bear shifter with a hankering for some Big Blue.
Alex’s buddies call him Big Blue, and they’re closer to the truth than most of them know, but he does his best to hide his true nature -- trolls have a nasty reputation in this brave new world.
The very first time Tundra sees Blue, she knows she had to have him. What she doesn’t realize is that she’ll never want to let him go. So when Alex goes to confront the head of a vicious cabal, Tundra follows to make sure he doesn’t get hurt. After all, even a troll’s hide isn’t as thick as a polar bear’s.
Copyright ©2023 Anne Kane
I stalked across the bar and hauled myself up onto one of the few empty barstools. It looked like the entire neighborhood had decided to drown their sorrows at the same time. At least that meant there was a good selection of men available. Good thing, because right now I was feeling hornier than a werewolf during the full moon, and pissed enough not to be too picky about whom I chose to spend the night with. Talks with my self-appointed guardian Tyrone always had this effect on me. Make that monologues. I don't think I'd managed to get in more than two words during the entire fiasco.
I waved my hand to catch Sam's attention, and motioned him to bring me a drink. Sam had been bartending at Joe's Bar long enough to know what I wanted. I swiveled the chair and surveyed the room, considering my options. The three guys at the pool table weren't bad looking, and there were a few likely candidates at a table in the far corner, but they all looked just a tad too civilized for my taste tonight. I was in the mood for something wild.
A gust of wind drew my attention to the door. The man who entered sent heat curling deep in my gut. Civilized was the last word that came to mind. Hard. Wild. Uncivilized. Yeah, those described him to a T.
A riot of dark hair curled all the way to the blue uniform stretched tight across his huge shoulders. He reminded me of the football players at the inner city stadiums, wide and covered with thick ropes of muscle. A tingle of anticipation raced through me. His dark eyes swept the room with cynical disinterest as he shouldered his way through the noisy crowd, and I found myself holding my breath as I waited for him to notice me.
"He's trouble, Tundra. Don't even think about it." Sam slapped the beer down in front of me, breaking the spell.
"You know him?" I ignored the bartender's frown. I was way past needing someone to vet my dates. "I don't remember seeing him in here before."
Sam nodded. "Alex is a loner, a beat cop down at the precinct. He doesn't come in here often. Last time he did, it took me two days to clean up the mess." He leaned forward, lowering his voice so I had to strain to hear his words. "I heard a rumor that there's a troll somewhere in his family tree, and I'm inclined to believe it."
"Really." I swept my tongue across my suddenly dry lips as I watched the slide of tight material over his ass. "That could make things very... interesting." Sam snorted and shook his head as I took a long pull on my drink. "That's one word for it. Don't say I didn't warn you!"
I laughed, throwing him a saucy grin as I slid off the barstool. "Warning duly noted. Wish me luck!" Turning my back on his disapproving frown, I wound my way through the dense crowd toward my target.
He'd taken a seat at a small table and was watching the trio at the pool table mangle a simple game of spots and stripes. One of the scantily clad waitresses swooped in to deposit a drink in front of him, bending forward so far that I fully expected her ample bosoms to fall out of the low-cut bodice of her dress. She had better not be under the impression that she stood a chance with him, because I was more than willing to get into a fight tonight. A little pre-coitus bloodshed would be just a bonus.
The man tossed some credits at her, and she flounced away to take orders from another table. I found myself feeling mildly disappointed. I hadn't been in a good fight in at least two moons. Wouldn't hurt to get in a little practice.
Reaching my destination, I pulled out the other chair at the table and sat down beside my target. I took my time assessing him close up, letting my gaze wander from the tips of his serviceable boots and up his muscular legs to the impressive bulge at his groin. Looked like I wouldn't have to work too hard to get what I wanted.
I took another gulp of my beer and considered the vast expanse of his chest, barely covered by the tight uniform. A unicorn tattoo on his biceps seemed incongruous with the rough attitude, and being my usual tactful self, I decided not to mention it.
Yeah, right. Me? Tactful? "So what's with the prissy little horse?" I nodded at the tattoo. "Lose a bet or something?"
I found myself staring into the darkest eyes I'd ever encountered; pools of liquid heat. For a moment, I thought I'd blown my chance of playing ride-em cowboy with him, but then the corners of his eyes crinkled and he let out a bellow of real, straight-from-the-gut laughter. It made him look even hotter, which I hadn't thought possible. My libido kicked into high gear, and I could feel the liquid heat gathering at the apex of my thighs. Idly, I wondered if he'd go for the direct approach and save us both some time. I decided not to risk it.
"The prissy little horse has a certain sentimental value that I only share with close friends." The man's eyes swept over me with obvious interest. "Do I know you?"
I decided to play it cool and mysterious. Who knows? It worked on those old video flicks they showed on public TV. "Not yet, but the night is young." Okay, that just sounded stupid. I smiled in what I hoped was a seductive manner. "My name is Tundra."
A slow, sexy smile turned his face into an open invitation -- one I had every intention of accepting. When he spoke, his voice had the smooth, deep inflection of a very old bottle of expensive whiskey. "That's a very unusual name. Nice to meet you, Tundra."
He held his hand out and I stared at it like an idiot. He wanted to shake hands? Not exactly what I'd envisioned, but hey, it was a start. I took his hand and shook it. It was big. Real big. Heat crawled up my spine as I imagined it caressing my breasts. Or sliding across my naked ass. "Nice to meet you too..." I arched my eyebrow as it occurred to me I had no idea what his name was.
The smile widened. "Alex. But most people just call me Big Blue."
I took a long drink, letting the silence stretch out. "Big Blue. How interesting. Referring to your uniform, I assume?"
He chuckled. "Well, that would be the Blue part."
"And the Big?" It took all my self-control to keep my gaze from straying to that thick bulge at his groin.
He kept eye contact, the grin on his face taking on a mischievous look as he reached for my hand and drew it slowly toward his lap. He didn't say anything else. He didn't have to. Under my questing fingers, that huge lump grew even bigger. Big Blue indeed! "Oh my."
About the Author
Anne Kane lives in the beautiful Okanagan Valley with a bouncy little rescue dog whose breed defies description, a cantankerous Himalayan cat, and too many fish to count. She spent many years trying to fit in and act normal, but finally gave up the effort. She started writing romance in 2008, and her fate was sealed when she won a publishing contract with Red Sage Publishing and just a month later Changeling Press accepted her first submission. Since then she has published more than thirty stories in a variety of sub-genres, all with a happily ever after.
She has two handsome sons and six adorable grandchildren and enjoys spending time with them whenever she can. Her hobbies, when she’s not playing with the characters in her head, include kayaking, hiking, swimming, playing guitar, singing and of course, reading.
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