Excerpt (His Patient Bear)

Why couldn’t people do their jobs correctly? I’d done mine but here we were. I sighed as I made a U-turn and searched for an open spot close enough to the town hall. It was bad enough that I had to come down here and make a fuss but there wasn’t even a damn parking spot anywhere in the vicinity. 

I could park a street over and walk down but the thought of walking that far made me groan. Today was definitely shaping up to being one of those days. Although maybe it was this whole week. 

Please let one thing go right, I begged whoever was listening. And maybe they could get rid of this stomach bug I seemed to have picked up. 

The last thing I needed was to fall ill at the start of this project. No one would chalk it up to simple delays or bad luck here and there. Or the fact that shit happened when you had a project of this size. Nope it would be because the omega was in charge. I refused to give them that satisfaction. 

Which was why whoever had messed up the permits for the water lines was going to get a piece of my mind. I had proof that I’d filed it on time. There were supposed to begin laying the pipe that would get the water in for the subdivision. Unfortunately they would have to cut off water to one of the existing line for this to happen, which meant that some people would be without for a day or two. We planned to get that section in first.

“At least this time it’s not residential.” Home owners could get really up in arms about that stuff. 

I finally came across one free spot right in front of city hall. Okay so there was a loading only sign, but I wouldn’t be in there long. I just needed whoever had messed up to fix it and I would be out. 

I pulled my car into the spot and put it in park, then leaned my forehead against the wheel and closed my eyes drawing in a deep breath. 

“If you manage not to make me puke in the next hour, I’ll feed you something other than a microwave meal,” I bargained with my stomach. Maybe that was the issue. I really needed to check the best before dates on those things. Not that I had much energy to do that most days when I got back to my trailer, my goals were simple shower then food. Most times I managed only one. Usually it was the former.

The chicken curry I had last night had smelled a little funny. But I’d been too hungry. Although the nauseous feeling hadn’t started the night before. Whatever if it got worse I’d go to a pharmacy right now it managed to be something I could add to my never ending get to it at some point list. 

A knock on the passenger side window startled me into sitting up. I looked over and shot the person a narrowed look and sighed when I saw it was a sheriff or a deputy or whatever. 

“I so don’t need this,” I muttered. 

I didn’t even bother lowering my window, instead I opened my door and got out. I locked my door before turning to face the sheriff, I plastered a smile on my face not that it was by any means genuine then asked, “How may I help you Sheriff.” 

The alpha, was tall, with very broad shoulders and you could tell from the fit of his uniform how very muscular he was but it wasn’t bulky, nope it was all lean muscles. With eye’s that felt familiar even though I was certain we’d never met he studied me like a puzzle he was trying to figure out. But I didn’t give an inch. 

Finally both hands went to his waist and he nodded towards the sign, “I do believe this is a loading zone only. No parking.” 

I looked at where he gestured and sighed, making sure to put on my best clueless omega look. “Oh my, I must have missed that. I just have a quick meeting in there by any chance would you mind if I just nipped in quickly. I’ll be right out.” I made sure to smile widely. 

The sheriff lips pursed and he shook his head, “Unfortunately that’s not how this works. So you have to move your car or it will be towed.” 

I definitely did not need this crap today! Honestly.

“I’m just going to be ten minutes tops.” I moved towards the entrance but the man stepped in my path.

“Ten minutes. Ten seconds, it doesn’t matter, this is strictly a loading zone.” His voice was firm and insistent. “Sir you have to move your vehicle.” 

“There’s absolutely no parking around here right now, and I’m running late.” I made a move to side step him. I hated being tardy and add that to the whole puking before I left and wasting time not being able to find a place to park, all of this had already eaten into my time. Now if I didn’t get in there in the next two minutes I would be late. 

I hated my time being wasted and I did my best never to waste anyone’s time in return. 

“Sir.” The alpha’s tone was firm but I kept walking I knew if I turned with the way I was feeling and everything that had gone wrong I would be very rude. 

I closed my eyes and blew out a breath and turned around slowly. “Look it doesn’t seem like there will be any deliveries in the next little while, all I need to do is nip in—”

The sheriff put his hand up. “Doesn’t work like that. Now either you move your car or I’ll have it removed, with a fine. Up to you.” He folded his arms and shot me a stern look. 

I snorted internally. Was that suppose to scare me. My job was spent dealing with alphas way more growly than he was. 

“It’s literally not bothering anyone and if I get blocked in by a delivery van it’s my problem isn’t it?” I pointed out. 

“Move the car sir.” He lifted his phone out of his pocket. “Or I’ll call the tow truck.”

I clenched my fist and gritted my teeth. Bloody alphahole flexing his muscles. Obviously it wouldn’t even bother anyone where I was parked he was just being difficult. Probably had nothing to do in this tiny town. He laid in wait for innocent people to harass. 

“Fine write the ticket whatever.” I hissed and spun around. I immediately felt dizzy and nearly toppled over but then a firm hand grabbed me. “Easy there.” 

I breathe in slowly and stayed perfectly still waiting for the nausea and dizziness to pass and the alpha held on to me. When I was finally sure I wouldn’t fall on my face I straightened and looked over to the alpha who hadn’t move then down to where his hand held on to me then back to his face. 

His hand immediately fell and he took a step back, “You okay?” 

I nodded, “Thank you.” I really hated that he’d seen me like that. I didn’t want him to think I was trying to gain sympathy… or as some weak omega. I would rather get the damn ticket. 

“You still have to move your car,” he said although his voice wasn’t as stern. 

Still it made me smile not that I let him see it. I didn’t expect special treatment. I turned slowly this time so I was looking at him. “I’m late. I’ll take that ticket.” 

I straightened my spine and climbed up the steps slowly, and cursed myself for not eating, then again the thought of eating earlier had made me gag. I sighed. Whatever this bug was it needed to be over with now. I didn’t have the time to deal with it.

***

Okay this had to be a joke. Someone up there was messing with me. 

I tapped my foot loudly and made sure I was looking right at the assistant, just like I had been for the last hour and forty-three minutes.

“Seriously!” I muttered. And I didn’t have to yell because more than likely she could hear me, we weren’t that far from each other. Besides I hadn’t exactly whispered, since I wanted her to feel my ire. 

Our gazes met and she shut me an apologetic look. But I didn’t need another one. I needed the damn mayor to show up. Who did he think he was! His time wasn’t more important than mine. 

“Is this what he does?” I snapped. Looking at the time on my phone once more. “Keeps people waiting. Waste their time. I shouldn’t even be here.” I snapped. “I filed my papers in time but no, apparently nothing is done correctly in this town.” I snorted. “I shouldn’t be surprised, when the mayor clearly can’t even tell time.”

The woman growled and her gaze narrowed. She didn’t like me talking badly about the mayor. Well tough shit. 

I got up when it felt like I would have to make a mad dash for the bathroom, and all feeling sick served to do was make me even more annoyed that I was still here. 

“Time is money you know. I’ve had to come down here, taking time out of my day that I shouldn’t have had to. And there isn’t even a damn vending machine in this place.” My stomach was making growly sound and I fought the urge to yawn. Stupid bug sapping my energy. “If you’re going to make people wait indefinitely the least you can do is feed them.” I huffed. 

I closed my eyes and leaned against her desk trying to get rid of the pesky sickly feeling. “Rude is what it is.” I said before breathing in slowly. I was just about to let it out so I could tell her even more what I thought of her mayor, when a voice said, “I would really appreciate if you stopped harassing my assistant. My being late is not her fault, and I do believe she told you that I was out of the office when you called.” The voice was deep, for some reason it made the hairs on my arms stand on end. There was something familiar about it too. I spun around ready to tell him about himself ignoring my rolling stomach. But my eyes widened and jaw dropped when I came face to face with him.

Holy balls on a bicycle.

The height, the breadth of those shoulder, the sculpted cheekbones, strong jaw, eyes that couldn’t seem to decide what shade of brown they were, and a mouth that was to die for. In one word unforgettable. 

Images of fingernails digging into a broad back, while being pinned beneath that muscled body, the sound heavy breathing and frantic thrusting flashed into my mind. 

Everything inside me froze for a second. My brain screamed, nooooo. He couldn’t be the mayor. I tried to think back, had he mentioned he was the mayor? That seemed like a detail I would remember. 

Yeah right. I’d come out here to survey the land and get some permits stuff sorted out, although most of it had been handled by the subdivider that sold the project, there had still been things left to do, and when I was done I’d decided to celebrate. 

Which had consisted of drinking alone at the bar and okay so maybe I’d also been looking to get laid. I’d gotten hit on a lot, except for him. He’d seemed to be doing his absolute best to get wasted and go unnoticed. But he’d only succeeded on one count. Because there was no way you wouldn’t notice an alpha like him. 

Even though I’d had the thought to get laid when I went down to the bar, I hadn’t really thought I’d find anyone that interested me. I rarely did. I could literally count on one hand, and the hunky mayor—hunky really Nash?—made three.  And he was the first that went past mutual handjobs, or a blowjob if I was in the mood. Usually I returned to my room and my oh so trusty dildo.

No dildo could compare to him… yup so not going there Nash.

“Mr—” he looked at me but I could tell there was no recognition there and why the fuck did that irk me? Hard. 

Yeah we’d both been drunk at the time but… still. You remember a pesky voice reminded me. 

I shook it off what did I care about an alpha that took what he wanted without caring about the aftermath. It was typical.

That annoying voice reminded me I was the one that left. I’d left him in my bedroom and snuck out like a thief in the night… I chose to ignore the part where I’d actually slept with him. Not the sex part, the sleep part. 

I never did that. That’s two things you don’t do that you did with him. 

Sure I’d had the odd blowjob in a bar… but taking someone back to my room, having sex with them… sleeping with them. I didn’t do that. 

Hadn’t in a long time. 

I shut that line of thought down. Rehashing the past wasn’t the point of today. You’re here for one thing and one thing alone. This project was the only thing that was important not the fact that apparently I wasn’t memorable. 

“I have been very courteous.” I ground out, “I have been sitting here for almost two hours and there’s not even vending machine in sight.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. But how may I help you exactly?” He held my gaze and for some reason I found it was quite disconcerting. 

I looked away and that annoyed me, I learned early on to hold eye contacts with alphas. So they took you seriously. Whatever not like I care what he thinks. They messed up not me. I folded my arms, “Look I need the water turned off to one section of the lines so we can get the next phase of the building on the way.” 

Austin shook his head, “Unfortunately for that to happen the request has to be made at a month out.” 

I stomped my feet. I knew it wasn’t professional but something about his cool detachment, the clusterfuck that was today and just feeling a step above death warmed up. “I did. I shouldn’t even be here.” I huffed. “This should already be sorted out. Maybe if the mayor was actually doing work in the office instead of hitting up bars and playing hookie from work you would manage to get to the things that are on your desk.” 

His eyes narrowed, then widened and his mouth made an O shape. He glanced at the assistant who seemed to be following our conversation intently while doing her best to pretend like she wasn’t. 

He took a step towards me but I backed away. He licked his lips and I refused to acknowledge what that did to me. 

It didn’t help with the flashing images in my head of that night. Of the way he filled me so good. His kisses, the fact that even though he was drunk he hadn’t been rough. The first time had been quick both of us in a hurry to get off. The next time I was pretty sure he was asleep but his cock had slid into my hole, and we’d fucked slow and gentle until I came. And even then he hadn’t pulled out. I’d woken up to him inside me. 

I could see it in his eyes, he was remembering too.“How about we move this meeting into my office?” He gestured towards the door a couple of steps away. 

I didn’t wait for him to say more I simply walked towards were he’d pointed. But my brain was trying to get around the fact that prim and proper Mr. Mayor was literally the best I ever had. 

Not that those words would ever come out of my mouth. Like I’d give any alpha the satisfaction. 

I tried opening the door to the office but it was locked. Before I could step back, he was there behind me. All big and muscular. His body trapping mine between the door and him. 

“I’ll just get that.” He murmured and it was right by my ear. His warm breath had shivers running through me. 

Why did this man affect me so? Why did he have to be the mayor? Damn it we were never suppose to meet again. 

Liar. There was a part of you hoping you’d run into him. 

Not that I knew how since we’d hadn’t actually met in Ashville but in a town just under an hour away. Because apparently in this town all the B&B’s were always fully booked. 

I knew that wasn’t true of course. But it was standard for shifter towns unless someone in town personally took you to check in. They didn’t want strangers lurking. Even though I knew from working with several shifters over the years that they never changed in public spaces. Still they were a cautious lot. 

Shit. It hit me. He was a shifter. He had to be. What were the odds of a non-shifter being the mayor in a shifter town. 

None of this matters Nash. I reminded myself sternly. Work that’s all you’re here for. 

By the time he finally opened the door I hurried in needing to put some space between us. 

I looked around the office barely taking it in before rounding on him. “Look I just want to make sure the water will be turned off so work can keep going on schedule.” 

“Don’t you think we should talk about the other thing?” He asked. 

“Nope.” I shook my head, “No, that’s not why I’m here.” 

He raised a brow and took a step forward, and instinctively I backed away. There was something about him that made me feel on edge.

Ugh. I did not like this feeling one bit. 

He took another step towards me and this time I made sure to stay put. I didn’t need him thinking he could intimidate me. No sir-ee. 

“Seeing as you’re the one that brought up our… extra-curricular activities, I would say it needs some addressing.” Our gaze held until finally I inclined my head. 

“I simply brought it up because—” I shook my head, “You know what never mind. I’m sorry I shouldn’t have said anything. Can we move on now?” 

Austin studied me, and I told myself not to squirm. 

Still for some reason I blurted, “We were drunk, we had a fun night, and that’s it. Nothing to talk about.”

He held my gaze for a moment longer before breaking the connection. Then he walked around me forcing me to turn so my back wasn’t to him. Fuck when was the last time I met an alpha that made me feel so off kilter? But he did. And it wasn’t just because he’d given me the best orgasm I’d ever had. I guess I should say orgasms.

He lowered himself into the brown leather seat behind the sturdy wooden desk and folded his arms on the table. “Please sit.” His voice was soft and that more than his words had me doing as he asked. 

When I finally did, he held my gaze as he spoke, “Now not that it should matter, but what I do off the clock is nobody’s business… neither is who I do it with.” 

The thought of him getting with someone else had a hot rush of irritation flowing through me. I clenched my fist and told myself to stop being dramatic. He wasn’t mine. I wasn’t his. It was one night. And I was the one that walked away. 

“And I wasn’t playing hookie as you so eloquently put it, I was at school judging a civics fair. I gave my word, and even after Carly called I couldn’t run out on them till the winners were announced.” 

Damn it that was a good reason. 

“I hear what you’re saying but like I said earlier. I shouldn’t even be here, I sent in all the request the last time I was in town.” Why did it feel like I’d said I sent all the request in last time I was here when we had sex. I cleared my throat and kept speaking, “So this is not my fault and if we have to postpone it will mess everything up.” What I didn’t add was I would take the blame. And there were people just watching waiting to see if I would fail. I hadn’t yet… and I wasn’t about to start. 

He didn’t speak immediately and when he did it wasn’t what I was expecting. 

“You know I don’t think I know your name.”

“Wha—” I stopped myself from completing the sentence… What has that got to do with anything would just be me being rude. And the alpha was being nice? Was that the right word. Gentle…

I hadn’t been very nice… Heck I’d been rude earlier taking the fact I didn’t feel good out on Carly. And she did say that the mayor was out of the office, and I had badgered to see him today. 

But unlike some alpha’s I’d met this one wasn’t throwing his weight around. There was no trying to put me in my place. Or talking down at me. He was… he wasn’t what I expected. 

“Nash. My name is Nash, and I really need the water turned off on the buildings to the west of the subdivision. Now. ASAP.” I emphasized. “We were meant to start with the pipes today but we couldn’t.” 

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Nash. I’m Austin.” 

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. 

Why did that sound like a filthy invitation to carry on from where we’d left off. Why couldn’t I look away from the honey brown eyes that seemed to see more than I wanted it to?

“Nice to meet you.” I got out through a suddenly dry throat. I broke eye contact and looked around the office and it was surprisingly non-douchey. 

He’d used varying shades and textures of brown and cream. And there was something quite welcoming about it. 

Behind him was a large image of Asheville circa 1842, blanketed on both sides were shelves that sat a little back. One filled with so many frames that had me wanting to see what this man thought was worth displaying in his domain. Because that was what it was. 

Who did he consider important enough to show off?

Why do you care?

The silence went on for what felt like an age but was likely a minute or less when he said, “I’ll see what I can do.”

“Today?” I asked happy to be back on a topic I was comfortable with. 

He shook his head, “Can’t be. The brewery is the only structure west of you and I can’t cut them off without ample notice. Two maybe three days.” He said. 

I was going to argue but I figured I should quit while I was ahead. My belly lurched and I swallowed. Dammit I really needed to eat something before I passed out. It wouldn’t do to do that here. 

“Fine. Two days.” I said and got up moving in direction of the door. I needed to be away from him. He made me feel off balance. I didn’t like it. 

“I don’t even get a thank you?” A silken voice that was too close for comfort asked. 

I turned around slowly and saw that he was only a couple of feet away from me. How had he moved so fast? For a muscled… broad…tall— yes that was the word— tall man he’d moved so silently. 

“Well seeing as you’re only doing your job, and I’m doing mine… which might I add will solve a problem I know you’re having.” 

That dark arched brows lifted. Dammit why were they so perfectly shaped? Did he wax them? I bet he didn’t and it was just all perfect. Ugh what an ass. 

That was my stance and I was sticking to it. 

“What problem might that be?” he asked. His eyes went down to my lips before returning to my eyes. The promise of a repeat of our night shared was written all over his face. And my body screamed yes which was my cue to back away. 

“Your housing problem. If I’m not mistaken you have more people wanting to live here than you have houses. Which sure has boosted house prices here, but from what I know about towns like these that doesn’t matter. It’s all about home isn’t it.” 

“Mmm.” He nodded, “I suppose you are fixing one of my problems. Thank you Nash.”

Fuck on a biscuit. My name on his lips. It should be illegal it sounded so good. It was like that deep slightly gravelly voice was made to say it. 

And I couldn’t help wondering what it would sound like when he said it sliding to my body. 

Nope. Back away Nash. Back away. 

“Oh and just so you know whoever agreed to the former building on the site, needs to be fined. All it did was make our lives harder.” 

Something flashed in the alpha’s eyes at my words but it was gone to quick for me to pin it down. 

“Duly noted.” He murmured taking a step back. 

I felt the loss which was weird since we hadn’t even been that close to begin with. But his eyes had shuttered locking me out. I realized then I would never like to see him angry at me. And I didn’t like the closed off look at all. 

Knowing I was responsible for putting that look on his face made my belly feel funny, and not like before, this one reeked of guilt for taking out my frustrations on the alpha. 

“Well anyway, uh, thanks, bye.” I opened the door and left at a pace just below a run. Because I wouldn’t give him that satisfaction.

When I finally got outside, I let the fresh air wash over me. It helped a little with the nausea, but not much. Still I drew in a deep breath while trying to figure out if I wanted food or if sleeping it off was the way to go. 

I walked slowly to my car, and thankfully it was still there but of course it had been ticketed. I growled. Ugh… Now that was an asshole alpha. I ripped the stupid ticket in half and tossed it on the ground. 

“That was dumb.” I sighed as I squatted and picked it all up, it was no ones fault that this day was conniving to drive me crazy. I got in my car and drove off. 

First on my to do list was Cubs grocery store for some crackers and ginger ale. 

Second, stop thinking about the damn Mayor.