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a fake Fiancé on snow ridge (ebook)

a fake Fiancé on snow ridge (ebook)

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Snow Ridge Shifters Book 2

A Fake Fiancé on Snow Ridge is grumpy/sunshine, fake relationship, small town shifter paranormal romance novella with a secretive hero who grudgingly gets sucked into a forbidden romance while playing the knight in shining armor to a woman who shines brighter than the sun and melts the armor around his heart.

 


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Main Tropes

  • Fake Relationship
  • Grumpy/Sunshine
  • There's a dog
  • Think's he's not good enough for her
  • Forbidden romance

Synopsis

A werewolf, a stalker, and a woman who shines like the sun walk into a bar. No, seriously…

Adam Baston screwed up. One minute, he was watching his pack leader embarrass himself on the dance floor, and the next, he’s playing hero to a damsel in distress. And while it was her idea to tell everyone they’re engaged, he’ll have to be the one to end it. Because being with her endangers every shifter in their small town.

So, why can’t he just let her go?

Faye Sterling wasn’t looking for a fiancé, fake or otherwise. But she wasn’t going to reject Adam’s help, either—even though he’s grumpy, growly, and unreasonably sexy. If pretending to be with him keeps her creepiest fan away, she’s game. Besides, Adam’s growing on her a little. Ok, a lot.

So, why does she feel like he’s keeping dark, dangerous secrets from her?

 

Click here for a chapter 1 sneak peek

Chapter One

Adam

Adam tipped his beer up to his mouth and took a long drink as he watched Riko and Addison on the dance floor—if you could call a hastily cleared space in this run-down bar a “dance floor.”

Addison was a natural, her body swaying effortlessly to the music. His friend, Riko, on the other hand, well…

Let’s just say, dancing was never his forte.

However, as the new alpha of the Central Colorado Pack, Riko would excel. Adam had no doubts about that, and that’s why he came with him without a second thought when Riko asked him and Lex to come back to Colorado to help him get this unruly bunch of wolves under control. Neither of them had held a very high position in their former pack, and so Keegan—the Oklahoma alpha—agreed to let them go, with the invitation to return if they ever wanted to. It made sense that Riko would want a couple of familiar faces around him. His old pack here in Colorado that he grew up with was practically all strangers to him now.

Adam had known Riko since he was just a kid and Riko was straight out of high school. That was when he’d shown up in Oklahoma and fought his way into the new pack. He was a good guy. Liked to stir the pot sometimes. But he had a good heart and he meant well. As alpha, he was always open to conversation and hearing what the rest of the pack had to say, but he also didn’t take any shit. 

Adam’s eyes continued to wander around the old bar. If he had to guess, he’d say it was still the original structure that had been built when the town was first founded, and tonight it was packed full. He glanced down at the floor with concern as the old wood gave a bit with the weight of so many people walking over it. The entire fucking town must’ve squeezed in there to celebrate New Year’s. Humans and wolves alike were drinking and carrying on like this was the first chance they’d gotten to leave their homes in a year. And maybe for some, it was. There wasn’t a whole lot to do in this place. As a matter of fact, Greg’s was the only bar in town.

A woman’s voice cut through the general noise. That wouldn’t normally catch his attention. Lots of ladies were letting their hair down and having a good ‘ol time. But there was something that was a little too close to fear in her tone that had Adam searching for the owner of this particular voice. It only took him a second.

“Hell, Jeff. Let me get a drink first before you try to drag me out there.”

His eyes landed on a young woman with loose, dark blonde curls beneath a red beanie, making her way toward the bar. Though she smiled at the folks she knew, her wide blue eyes, when they met his, screamed for help, and as she got closer, he could smell the acrid scent of fear on her. Adam shifted his glance to the much larger guy behind her, who was practically shoving people out of his way in an effort to keep up with her.

She rushed up beside Adam and threw her purse on the bar, then started shrugging out of her heavy coat, laying it over the back of the stool beside her. Beneath the fear, her scent hit him hard, catching him off guard for a second. It wasn’t any kind of perfume. He didn’t think she was wearing any. All he could smell was soap and shampoo and the natural earthy scent of her. But holy fuck, she smelled good. Like a summer day in the middle of winter. “Help me,” she whispered with a smile that was clearly all for show.

A human man maybe wouldn’t have heard her plea with all of the music and activity, but Adam heard her just fine, and he didn’t hesitate. “Hey, babydoll,” he greeted her. “’Bout time you got here.” Throwing his arm over her shoulders, he turned his back on the dark-haired guy following her and flagged down his friend behind the bar. “Hey, Greg! A drink for…” he trailed off.

“Faye,” she whispered.

“Faye,” he finished. 

“Thanks,” she told him when Greg put a bottle of Bud Light down in front of her. 

“Put it on my tab.” Greg gave him a strange look but didn’t say anything. They’d gotten to be friends of sorts these last few weeks—Adam spent a lot of his free time at the bar, as did Lex—and Greg probably knew he’d never seen this girl before in his life.

Grabbing the bottle, she chugged down half of it before glancing up at him. “Thank you,” she mouthed.

Even as he cursed himself for getting involved in human problems, he left his arm around her shoulders, effectively body-blocking the human male who was still lurking behind them. But Adam knew he was still there because he could feel his eyes burning into the back of his head. 

“Who the fuck is this, Faye?”

The accusation, shouted right behind her, nearly made her choke on her beer. Putting on a show, because maybe he liked to stir the pot a bit himself, Adam rubbed her back as she set the bottle on the bar and grabbed the napkins he handed her. Why couldn’t the guy just take the hint and find someone else to harass? Adam really didn’t want to get blood on his Ralph Lauren cardigan sweater. Glancing down at it, he sighed. He knew he should’ve worn the dark blue one and not the cream and tan.

Since the lady’s pursuer obviously wasn’t willing to be ignored, Adam turned to face him. The guy’s dark eyes were lit with a rage that didn’t seem appropriate for the situation. Or, hell, maybe it was. Maybe he was her ex and didn’t appreciate some new guy treading on his property. It didn’t really matter. She didn’t want his company. And he needed to take the hint. Adam didn’t smile, but he did hold out his hand. “Hey. I’m Adam, Faye’s boyfriend.”

The douche didn’t even look at his offer of a civilized meeting. “Faye doesn’t have a boyfriend.” He practically spit the word in Adam’s face.

Adam dropped his hand, cocked his head, and gave him a puzzled expression. “That’s funny you say that. Because I’m sitting right fucking here beside her.”

The woman—Faye—finally turned around. “Jeff, this is Adam. My b-boyfriend.” Her stutter was barely noticeable. “Adam, this is Jeff. An old friend from school.”

Tearing his eyes from Adam, Jeff stared at her for a hard minute. He clearly didn’t believe her. Adam was about resigned to the fact that he was, in fact, going to get blood all over his sweater when Jeff told her, “We’ll talk later.” Then he turned on his heel and walked back to the table where he’d left his drink, shouldering through the people on the dance floor who didn’t see him coming in time to get out of his way.

Faye watched him go, then turned to face the bar again, her hands on her cheeks for a moment before she finished off her beer. “I knew I shouldn’t have come tonight,” she said quietly as she climbed up on the empty stool beside her.

“So why did you?” Adam asked as he joined her back at the bar, shutting out the crowd behind them.

She stilled, turning her head to look at him with little frown wrinkles between her eyebrows. “Excuse me?”

“Why’d you come if you knew that asshole was just going to harass you? Who is he?” Normally, he wouldn’t get into her business like that. But being that he’d put himself between this douchebag and the woman he obviously was willing to bully into being with him, Adam thought he should probably know what he’d just gotten himself into. “Is he your ex or something?”

She shook her head, still frowning at him. “No.”

“He seems to think he has some kind of claim on you.” Adam’s wolf prowled beneath his ribcage at the thought. He didn’t like hearing that any more than Adam liked saying it. He forced him down. This woman wasn’t either of their concern.

She silently studied his face for a minute longer, then she slid off her stool and got her coat, folding it over her arm before she picked up her purse. “Thanks for the beer.” She paused. “And the interference. But I can take it from here.”

Adam grabbed her arm as she started to walk away. “Where are you going?”

“Look,” she told him. “I can take a hint. You obviously don’t want any company.” She tried to soften her words with a smile. “And I don’t want to intrude on whatever you’ve got going on here, so thanks again for helping me. But you’re right. I’m just gonna go home.”

He still didn’t let go of her arm. “What about your admirer?”

She glanced over in the direction he went. “Looks like Lucy has him distracted for the moment, so I’m just gonna sneak out.”

Adam had no idea if what she said was true or not because he couldn’t take his eyes off her face. “Stay,” he found himself saying. “Don’t let him chase you off.”

“He’s not.” She looked at Adam pointedly.

Ah. So it was him. He was the asshole now. He let go of her arm. “Okay, don’t let me chase you off. Stay. Enjoy the party.”

She glanced in the direction of the front door again and, this time, he followed her gaze. Her admirer had noticed their conversation and was now blocking her path to the door, his eyes glued to Faye.

“Come on,” Adam told her. “Stay. I promise I’ll be nice.” Well, as much as he could be after being dragged there against his will by his well-meaning friends.

“I didn’t lead him on or anything, you know,” she said. “I’m just nice to him when he comes in to get a coffee. Like I am to all of the customers. Or when a group of us hangs out. Jeff just thinks it’s more than it is, and once he gets his mind set on something, it’s hard to shake him off.”

“Okay,” Adam told her. 

She hesitated, but after another quick glance toward the front door and the man waiting for her, she hung her coat back over the stool and set her purse back on the bar. He waited until she was back up on her seat, and then flagged Greg down for two more beers. 

“Bud Light?” Adam asked her when she picked up her bottle. “Really?”

“Babydoll?” she countered.

He shrugged. “It was all I could come up with at the time.”

Adam took in her delicate features as she smiled and waved at another girl on the other side of the bar, her knee bouncing up and down with the music. Seemed her natural good humor had been restored. And it was natural. He could practically feel the positive vibrations emanating from her. 

“So, you work at the coffee shop?”

She set down her beer and nodded. “Yeah, at The Java House.” She eyed his face and shoulders. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you there.”

“I don’t drink coffee.”

“We’ve got other stuff there, too. Tea. Smoothies. Sandwiches.”

“How long have you worked there?”

He could see her adding the time up in her head. “About eight years. Ever since I got out of high school.”

That made her about twenty-six. She looked younger. “You never wanted to do anything else?”

Those little wrinkles appeared again, and then she nodded as if everything just suddenly clicked. “So, you’re one of those guys.”

“What guys?” 

Her eyes traveled over his clean-shaven face and neck, down to his designer cardigan sweater. “The kind that think they’re too good to date a girl who works at a coffee shop. Even if it is a fake relationship.”

His thumb rubbed the label of his expensive beer, still full. “I think you took my question the wrong way,” he started, knowing damn well she hadn’t. 

“No,” she said. “I didn’t. But it’s okay. You can’t help who you are.”

It was said in such an accepting manner that there was no way he should take offense to what she’d said. And yet, somehow, he did. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

She’d just opened her mouth to answer, when they were suddenly overwhelmed by the scent of cheap, flowery perfume. 

“Hey, Faye!”

It was only because he was watching her so closely that he noticed the way she braced herself before she turned to smile at the woman she’d waved at earlier. Jumping off her stool, Faye accidentally elbowed him in the stomach as she reached up to hug the taller woman. “Sorry,” she mumbled to him as she wrapped her arms around her friend and gave her a warm hug.

Watching her, he tried to imagine what it felt like to be wrapped up in all of that warmth and sunshine, and he was suddenly jealous. 

“Margo,” Faye said over the music when they were done. “This is Adam. Adam, this is my friend, Margo.”

He shook off the unfamiliar feeling. Margo’s brown eyes shone with devilish delight as she eyed him up and down. “Nice to meet you.”

Adam nodded at her, but didn’t return her enthusiasm. “You, too.”

With the smile still on her face and without taking her eyes from him, she said to Faye, “He’s a grumbly one, isn’t he?”

Faye’s laughing blue eyes met Adam’s. “He’s not so bad.”

Margo didn’t look so sure. “I’ll take your word for it.” Abruptly, she turned her attention to Faye. “You’re still coming to the movies with us next weekend, right?”

“Oh…uh…sure,” Faye told her.

Margo’s sharp brown eyes shot back over to him. “Bring Adam.”

Immediately, he threw up his hands. “Oh, no. Sorry, I can’t.”

She cocked her head and gave him a way too innocent look. “You’re going to let your girlfriend go by herself?”

Faye stared at him with pleading blue eyes that tugged at something in his chest.

Goddamnit.

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