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A sinfully steamy twist on three classic fairy tales.
Beauty's beast is a dragon, the big bad wolf is big indeed, and there's only one bear for Goldi...
~ EXCERPT ~
~ Goldilocks and the Bear ~
Ramsay snorted, unable to blame his guest for bypassing the other two bowls. After wolfing down his portion and Heldreth’s serving, he made his way into the bedroom. It wasn’t until he reached for his blankets that he noticed the golden head peeking out from beneath the covers.
Had they sent him entertainment instead, deciding the best way to coerce their new Father Bear into a vacation would be for him to take his comfort in a soft woman? The plan seemed devious enough for Little Bear, with a hint of Heldreth’s busybody nature. Hadn’t she been the one to suggest for him to claim a mate and do it soon?
Ramsay grunted. Had the others not preferred their beds to be unsuitable polar opposites, he would have crawled into one of them instead. For a moment, he didn’t know what to do, confused by the girl’s presence. She didn’t smell like bear or have the broad shoulders and muscular physique of a shifter woman.
Peeling back the blankets for a look at her confirmed his suspicions. Her slight frame, fragile and fine-boned, would have broken beneath a bear woman’s fists. Her blonde hair spilled as gold as the sun over his pillows, and freckles stood out against her fair cheeks.
Not knowing what to make of it, he admired her longer. The fact that she’d chosen his bed couldn’t be a coincidence, so he threw caution to the wind and crawled in beneath the blankets.
Her hair smelled like lilacs, and when he curled his arms around her, she snuggled in closer against him. While she’d gone to bed in too much clothing—her simple nightshift interrupting the skin-to-skin contact he would have preferred—she was still an improvement over sleeping alone. He nuzzled her once or twice but found her sound asleep, unresponsive aside from a content, indiscernible murmur.
The peaceful rhythm of her breathing lulled him to sleep. With his arms around her, he held her safe and secure.
An explosion of pain in the abdomen jerked Ramsay awake. He tumbled back and out of the large bed, landing on the wooden floor.
Ramsay’s mind jumped to a dozen possibilities, the worst of them being that they were under attack. He got his bearings and prepared to shift, leaping to his feet before he realized the girl was crouched above him on the bed with a dagger in her hand and fire in her eyes.
“What in the stars was that about?” he roared. The pain rapidly faded, but the bewilderment only worsened with each passing second.
“Who are you?” his assailant questioned in his language, her Oclander flawed but understandable. “How dare you welcome yourself to my bed as if I were some strumpet to be fondled in sleep?”
“Your bed?” he growled low, the noise rumbling through his chest. “You invade my lodge and my bed, then have the sheer cheek to pull a knife on me?”
“Do you often crawl into bed with strangers?”
“When I’m tired and want my bed, yes,” he snapped back. When he moved closer, the girl feinted with the blade and warned him back again. It made him want her even more. For a human, she had nerve. A spine of steel, something he wouldn’t have expected of a fragile non-shifter. “Come back to bed with me.”
“No. In fact, I think I’ll be leaving.”
Thunder cracked overhead and shook the cabin, making them both glance toward the nearest window. Another booming roll soon followed.
“You won’t be going anywhere in this weather. Now, who sent you, girl? Was it Talbot?”
Her brow creased. “No one sent me here at all.”
Studying her long enough to take in her state of partial undress, his eyes swept the dimmed room until he located travel leathers and a cloak. “So you’re an intruder who chose to help herself to my lodge.”
“I didn’t mean to,” she said in a more apologetic tone. “In fact, I’d planned to beg your kindness to escape the storm.”
“But I wasn’t here.”
The knife wavered and lowered an inch as indecision furrowed her brow again. “I will leave if I must. Putting you out wasn’t my intention.”
Ramsay ran his fingers through his short blond hair. A beautiful woman had landed in his lap by chance, and she couldn’t wait to be away from him. “You haven’t put me out. If you must know, I’d expected the company of my fellow clansmen, who won’t be joining me after all. I’d say help yourself to my lodgings, but you’ve already done that.”
Hot color spread across her cheeks. “I planned to leave some coins if no one showed up before I left, and I did clean up my mess.” Her gaze drifted lower and passed over his chest, only to jerk upward again to his face.
“Coin isn’t necessary. I’ve plenty of my own. Ah… listen. Stay the night then, and we’ll call this a misunderstanding. The storm is raging out there, and your poor horse doesn’t deserve the punishment.” He gestured to the bed. “Go on then.”