Today is the release day launch of Alpha Bear by Bianca D'Arc! Check out the book and the exclusive excerpt and enter the giveaway, and grab your copy today!!
It had been hard to leave home—and especially Nonna—but she’d practically forced them to go. Nonna had a bit of foresight and had been known to make the odd prophecy now and again. The girls had learned to listen when she gave them advice, and this time, she’d been adamant. She’d told them that their futures were waiting for them in Grizzly Cove and that they shouldn’t be afraid to embrace their destinies. The fact that she’d been so vague, while at the same time being so forceful, meant that she knew a lot more than she was saying. But that was her burden as a clairvoyant, she’d always claimed. She had to balance how much to reveal of the future with what she called la forza del destino, or in English, the power of fate. Luckily, that particular gift hadn’t manifested in either of the girls. Personally, Urse thought it would be a real pain in the ass to know what was going to happen and have to decide how much to say in order to arrange the best outcome. That was a little too much like playing the Almighty for her comfort. She didn’t trust herself not to mess it all up by saying too much or too little to the wrong person. Better such things were left to Nonna. She had years of experience and the purest heart Urse knew. Nonna could handle that kind of pressure way better than either of her granddaughters. Which was probably why that gift hadn’t passed to either of them, though Nonna claimed it could manifest later in life. That was something Urse was definitely not looking forward to—if it should ever come to pass. Thankfully, her thoughts were interrupted by the tinkling bell that hung over the door that led to Main Street. Since they weren’t open for business yet, it had to be Mellie returning from her sugar run to the bakery down the street. “Thank the Goddess! I’m about to starve over here, Mel. Gimme one of those honey buns, right now!” she yelled toward the front of the store. Urse had been stacking books all day, taking them from the back storeroom to the shelves out front, where she was working on their displays. Mellie was supposed to be helping, but she’d gone AWOL about twenty minutes ago, claiming she was just going to make a quick run to the bakery to get snacks. “I would if I could, but I’m afraid I don’t have any on me,” a deep voice said from the open doorway that led to the front of the store. Urse jumped to her feet, dusting herself off. She was a mess. Dammit. And in front of the hunky mayor of all people. “Oh, sorry, Mayor Marshall. I thought you were my sister, finally returning from the bakery.” She smiled, hoping he didn’t notice how messy her hair was, or the fact that she was wearing zero makeup. Great. Just great. “Call me John. We don’t stand on ceremony around here all that much.” Except for maybe full moon ceremonies, she thought privately. She and Mel were still arguing over whether or not to come clean to the shifters about who they were and what they knew. Urse thought they should tell someone—probably the sexy mayor—before they went any further. If the shifters in town didn’t want two strega in their midst, that was their right, and Urse certainly didn’t want to stay where they weren’t welcome. She might be doing all this backbreaking work setting up the store for nothing. But Mellie didn’t agree. She wanted to keep their secret a little longer. She was enjoying ogling the handsome shifters a little too much, if you asked Urse. Of course, nobody was asking her, and Urse didn’t want to go against her sister’s wishes. Urse was trying to talk her around, and for the moment, they were at a stalemate. Continuing with her work, in order to hide the real direction of her thoughts, Urse bent to pick up a heavy box of books. She was just getting her hands under the edge of the box, when two much bigger hands appeared beside her, shooing her away. John lifted up the cardboard box that felt like it was stuffed with anvils—Urse had tried to lift it before—like it was loaded with feathers. “Where do you want this?” he asked casually. “Just up on the workbench, please,” she said, unable to keep herself from admiring the way his muscles stretched out the fabric of his shirt sleeves. Hoo-boy. The man was built! And those sexy brown eyes that flashed with intelligence just made her heart go pitter-pat. His lustrous golden brown hair made her want to run her fingers through it too. She and Mellie had drooled over the mayor when they’d first met him, and the reaction hadn’t faded. The man certainly made an impact on Urse every time she saw him. One she tried hard to tamp down. The rumor mill around town—aka the Baker sisters who owned the shop down the street—said that the mayor was single, but Urse feared the Alpha shifter wouldn’t want to get involved with a witch. Plus, there was the fact that he didn’t seem to realize that she and her sisters weren’t entirely human. That would have to come out, eventually, but… Oh, it was just so complicated. John tossed the box easily to the workbench and stood back, just looking at her. She didn’t know what to say, which was unusual for her. Urse was usually the more glib-tongued of the two sisters. But there was something about the way he was looking at her. Their eyes met…and held. Time seemed to stand still. The earth seemed to stop spinning. Just for a moment. And then, the bell out in the front of the store rang cheerfully, and the world started turning again. “Hey, Urse!” Mellie yelled on her way into the store. “I got the honey buns. Damn, those Baker sisters got lucky with their shifter mates. I can’t decide which one is hotter—or cuter when they’re running to keep up with their gals. I’ve never seen so many shifters in lurve before—” Mellie’s explosion of words ceased the moment she stepped into the back room and realized they weren’t alone. “Oh, crap,” she blurted out, coming to an abrupt halt in the doorway. “Hi, Mayor Marshall.” The last came out on a squeak. John looked from Urse to Mellie and back again. “And just what would you two know about shifters?”