Boarlander Boss BearBy: T.S. Joyce
Audrey Foster blew out a trembling breath and gripped the steering wheel of her old Jeep in a choke hold. She was panicking, sure, but she was about to meet the man she’d been talking to online for the last two months, and she really liked him.
There was a hundred percent chance she was going to screw this up.
A long snarl rattled her throat, and she gritted her teeth against the shameful sound. She couldn’t mess this up because she was out of options. Her last opportunity for happiness rested with the alpha of the Boarlander crew.
Shaking her leg in quick succession, Audrey withdrew the printed picture from her sun visor and clutched it in both hands. He was so handsome. Too handsome, which was why it didn’t make any sense for a badass, brawler bear shifter like Harrison Lang to ask her to come to Saratoga to meet him in person.
She couldn’t breathe. Desperately, she rolled down the window and pressed herself back against the seat. Eyes tightly closed, she blew out a puff of air and wished she was braver. She’d been given the wrong animal, and now she was going into a crew of growly grizzlies who had much more control over their inner monsters than she did.
He was going to be so disappointed.
No. She could do this. Little by little, her lungs relaxed enough to let her drag in a full breath. He’d been talking to her almost every day and seemed to genuinely like her. He’d asked her to come here, wanted her closer, wanted to see her face in person, wanted to hug her, and shifters weren’t supposed to lie. Or something.
Before she could change her mind, she yanked the handle of her Jeep and shoved the door open, then slid out. Her mini dress rode up her thighs, and she had to rush to smooth the tight material back down over her butt cheeks. At least no one in the long line that stretched around the corner of Sammy’s Bar seemed to have noticed her bout of public indecency.
For a small town, Saratoga’s only bar sure was busy. She was from a town so tiny it was practically deemed a village, and the bar in Buffalo Gap only hosted a maximum of three people at once. She knew because when the bartender wanted to take vacations, she’d filled in for him. But as a man stumbled out of the front door of Sammy’s, the inside of the Saratoga bar looked filled to the brim.
“’Scuse me,” she said softly to a nice looking lady with bouffant hair and smoky eye make-up who stood in the middle of the line. “Are they not letting people in?” Harrison was waiting for her inside, and she was going to be late meeting him.
“Oh, honey, are you a tourist, too? Girl, you should’ve Googled Sammy’s before you showed up. You have to get in line early on Shifter Night.”
The woman adjusted her oversized purse to her other arm and smacked her gum. “Yeah, every Thursday night is Shifter Night. The single bear shifters get to drink free, so if you want to meet one of their fine asses, this is the best shot you’ll get. And the bears are drinking tonight,” she said with a wink. “Sometimes they don’t show up, and the tourists go without ever catching a glimpse of a real shifter, but tonight is your lucky night. Well, if you can get in, that is.”
“Oh,” Audrey said, frowning at the line that snaked around the corner. “Thank you.”
“Sure, sugar. Good luck,” she called as Audrey stepped carefully across the gravel toward the front of the line.
“No cuts!” a tall woman yelled as she passed.
Audrey hunched under the harshness of her voice but ignored her. There was a bouncer holding the pheromone-riddled, perfume-spritzed mob of women at bay.
“Good evening,” she said politely. Her dad had always said she could catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
The bouncer was a tall fellow with a chest so muscular his tits were probably bigger than hers. He dragged his gaze down her, pausing on her curves before he looked her in the eye. Gross. “You look fuckable enough, but back of the line.”
“I’m supposed to meet Harrison Lang here tonight.”
The bouncer, Ray, his nametag read, pointed to the long line of women. “So are they.”
“But Harrison and I are…dating. Online.” Geez, that sounded weird.
He turned his attention to a tall man who approached with a dark-haired pregnant woman on his arm. “Hey, go on in.”
The tall stranger turned an inhumanly bright green gaze on her. He definitely smelled dominant, and unable to help herself, Audrey took a healthy step backward.
“What are you?” Green Eyes asked.
“Beaston,” his woman admonished. “You can’t ask people that.”
Beaston angled his head and narrowed his eyes. “Don’t all that perfume shit give you a headache?”