Bear Mine for Christmas(Christmas Bear Shifter Romance Book 2)

By: Ariana Hawkes

BBW Holiday Paranormal Bear Shifter Romance

Chapter One

Madison Armstrong spun around the living room of her brand new house, her arms stretched out to the sides.

“You used to do that when you were five years old,” her mother Elsbeth called from the sofa, her voice full of laughter.

“And I’ve never stopped,” Madison replied, grinning as she stood still and waited for her head to catch up. “This is so much more than I’d get in Chicago for the money.”

“It’s not a bad place, is it? Living in Misty Hollow does have some benefits.”

“I know it does, and I am happy to be back here, mom. It’ll just take me a little while to adjust to life outside of a big city.”

“Of course, honey. And I’m really grateful to have you here, but I just feel so guilty at dragging you away from your life.” Madison strode across the big living room and sat down next to her mom, taking her hand in hers.

“Mom, my main priority is taking care of you. And it was high time I left Chicago. It’s a great place to have a high-powered career, but not such a good place to have a life. And now that I’m no longer married to another hotshot lawyer, my priorities have changed.” Elsbeth caught a strand of Madison’s rich brown hair in her fingers, and twisted it back into a perfect corkscrew curl.

“I’m just worried that you’ll get bored here, and damage your career prospects by working as a small-town lawyer.”

“No, not at all. I was so over office politics when I left Harbert & Brown. If I ever work in Chicago again, it’ll be a continuation of the law office I’m starting up here. I still have two of my largest clients, who’ve been loyal to me for a long time now, and that’s enough to build on. But to be honest I’m looking forward to working for the community here, and helping to make people’s lives better. And I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon.”

Elsbeth’s eyes were full of pride as she gazed at her daughter.

“You always were a sweetheart, even when you were bursting with ambition. I knew you’d be tough enough for the law, although I was a little worried that it would crush your sensitivity. I’ve been so happy to see that hasn’t happened.”

“Aw, it’ll take more than a cutthroat legal career and a bitter divorce to turn me into a big old meanie!” Madison said, putting her arm around Elsbeth’s shoulders.

“That’s my girl. Now, tell me – you are going to take the holiday season off, before you start working at your new business, right?”

“I’m not going to work until you’re fully recovered from your operation, mom,” Madison said, glancing at her mother’s leg, which was in a cast after her recent knee operation. “I feel like we haven’t seen enough of each other in the past few years, and I want to make up for that.”

Just then, the front door crashed open and a girl with wild chestnut hair and rosy cheeks hurtled in, carrying a large cardboard box.

“Hey, Abbey!” Madison called to her 11-year-old niece. “What have you got there?”

“Hi Auntie Madison, grandma,” Abbey said, depositing the box in the middle of the room. “Mom asked me to bring some Christmas decorations over for you. And she’s asking if you want to go get a tree tonight?”

“Thanks, honey. And yeah, that’d be great! Can you ask her to let me know what time?”

“Yeah, she said about 6. She’ll pick you up in the truck.”

“Perfect. Have you created your costume for the parade yet?” Abbey rolled her eyes.

“Yeah, but it’s dumb.”

“Why are you saying that, sweetie?” Elsbeth said, holding her arms out to indicate she wanted a hug. Abbey ran over and squeezed her tight, a smile lighting up her sweet, mischievous face. Madison looked at her fondly, glad that she was such a good-natured kid and hadn’t developed any attitude. After Elsbeth released her, Abbey sighed dramatically.

“It’s the Santa’s helper costume I always wear. It’s way too small for me, but I don’t want to get a new costume because next year I’ll be too big to go in the parade.”

“Says who?” Elsbeth said.

“Melinda at school. She says it’s not cool to go in it when you’re a teen.”

“Uh, by my reckoning, you won’t be a teen next year. And being cool is about doing what you want, not what somebody else tells you you should do.” Abbey sighed again.

“I know, I guess,” she said. “Sometimes Melinda can be mean.”

“You love being in the parade, don’t you? It used to be your favorite part of Christmas.” Abbey’s eyes brightened.

“Yeah, I do,” she admitted.

“Well, how about we all make your costume together this year? Then if it is your last year in the parade, it’ll be something to remember, and if it’s not, then it’ll last you for next year too,” Madison said.

“Yeah!” Abbey yelled, raising her small fist in the air. “I’d love that. Thank you Auntie Madison.”