A Bear's Protection(8)

By: Roxie Noir

“No, no, not at all,” she said, wishing she hadn’t made that idiotic joke. “Sorry.”

He handed her paperwork back, and watched disapprovingly as she shoved it all into her glovebox, then crammed her glovebox closed.

She waited for him to hand her a ticket for a couple hundred dollars, squinting up at his backlit figure.

Instead, he leaned his hands against her open window, peering into her car.

“I’m just going to give you a warning this time,” he told her.

Cora’s eyes went wide.

“Really?” she said, excitedly.

He smiled, and she melted a little bit inside. Not only was he devastatingly sexy, he had one of those warm, sincere smiles. Somehow, he made Cora feel like she was exactly at home, even here, in this strange place.

“Really,” he said, seeming amused at her. “You were going at least twenty-five over, so I really shouldn’t, but a ticket seems like a terrible way to welcome you to our fair state.”

He said “our” fair state, Cora thought. He’s definitely a shifter, right?

“Thank you so much,” she said. “I promise I’ll never speed again.”

“I don’t believe you,” he said, grinning that same grin. “But next time you get pulled over, just don’t tell them I let you off, all right?”

Then he winked at her.

Cora’s mouth went dry.

“Of course not,” she said, struggling to keep her composure.

Then he paused, looking at her for a moment, like he had something else to say but wasn’t sure how to get it out.

“What part of Cascadia are you moving to?” he asked.

“Granite Valley,” she said. “I just got a job there.”

He nodded. Then, his face went serious.

“Are you sure that you’re not in any trouble?” he asked, his blue eyes piercing straight through her.

Cora had the wild, unbidden urge to leap from her car and bury herself in his thick, burly arms. She was totally certain that someone like Officer Sexy could protect her from a scumbag like Neil with one arm tied behind his back.

It wasn’t his problem, though, and she could hardly make herself the problem of someone she’d just met.

“Not at all,” she said, forcing a smile.

His eyes narrowed for just a moment, and then he reached into his pocket.

“Just in case,” he said, slowly, “I’m going to give you my card.”

He wrote something on the back.

“My cell number,” he said. “Call me. Any time. Day or night. It doesn’t matter.”

He handed her the card, and Cora looked up into his eyes.

For a moment, she was struck by the intensity of his gaze — he wasn’t kidding when he said any time, day or night. She didn’t know how she knew, but she did: if she called him, he’d come, no questions asked.

“Thanks,” she said, feeling a little breathless.

Then, he was all professionalism again, tipping his hat at her and nodded.

“Have a safe drive, Miss,” he said. “And welcome to Cascadia.”

As he walked back to his police cruiser, she looked at his card.

Ash Spencer, Granite County Deputy, the card said.

The drive north was stunningly beautiful as the nearly-deserted highway wound around tall mountains and between big, thick pine trees. The towns were small and quaint, exactly the sort of mountain villages that she had pictured.

Cora turned off the air conditioning, set the cruise control at seventy-three miles per hour, and wound down her windows. Her hair was going to be a nightmare when she got to her motel, but she didn’t care.

She’d made it to Cascadia. Here, she was free.

Still, doubts began to creep in.

What if Neil found her, somehow? Would he really want to travel all the way across the country just to creep her out, or would he just move onto someone else in the DC area?

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