Rebel Bear (Aloha Shifters:Pearls of Desire Book 2)

By: Anna Lowe

Up-and-coming supermodel Hailey Crewe can’t wait to escape the limelight and return to the anonymous lifestyle she once led. Escaping literally? That was never part of her plan. But when an unwanted suitor — and her scheming mother/manager — go a step too far with a surprise Hawaii wedding, Hailey becomes a bride on the run. Before she knows it, she’s not only being hunted by a greedy oil tycoon, but by his creepy security force too. A good thing she bumps into her very own Lancelot at exactly the right time.

Bear shifter Timber Hoving is just another Special Forces vet slowly adjusting to island time. That is, until an irresistible stranger rushes into his meticulously organized world. Before Tim knows it, his human side is wrestling with temptation, and his bear is head over heels in love. But Hailey’s first encounter with shifters is a terrifying one, and Tim can’t reveal the truth about himself without losing her forever. Worse, sinister shifter forces are closing in, following a ruthless agenda of their own. They’ll stop at nothing to capture Tim’s destined mate — dead or alive.

Chapter One

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Hailey smoothed her hands over the silky contours of her dress and frowned into the full-length mirror.

Her mother tapped her shoulder. “Don’t make faces, honey. It will give you wrinkles.”

Hailey’s frown deepened as she looked down. “I thought only the bride was supposed to wear white at a wedding.”

“It’s cream,” her mother insisted.

Hailey squinted into the mirror. Was that a trick of the bright overhead light? “It’s still too close.”

Her mother shrugged. “It’s Isabelle’s wedding, and if she wants her bridesmaids in cream, she can have them. Besides, it brings out the blue of your eyes.”

Hailey turned this way and that. The dress looked good. Almost too good, what with the way her long, golden hair flowed over the silky fabric. But she was just a bridesmaid, for goodness’ sake. A reluctant one, at that, because she barely knew the bride. On the other hand, Isabelle was known for having quirky tastes.

“I think she just made me a bridesmaid to be polite.”

“Nonsense, honey. She likes you. Her future sister-in-law.” Her mother winked.

Hailey just about stamped her foot. “Would you stop that? Just because I’ve seen Jonathan a few times doesn’t mean I’m marrying him.”

She nearly added, In fact, it’s been more about him wanting to see me. Their brief, long-distance relationship had barely given them time to talk in person, and it seemed impolite to break up on the eve of his sister’s wedding. She didn’t want to jinx Isabelle.

Her mother made a vague, mmm-hmm sound and tugged the shoulder strap of Hailey’s dress to one side.

Hailey tugged it right back. “Mom…”

Her mother huffed. “You know, you didn’t use to fuss so much.”

Hailey nearly blurted, That was when I was a kid and I had no choice. But that only would have gotten her mother started on her whole How can you be so ungrateful when I’ve done so much for you speech, so Hailey held her tongue and swung her jaw from side to side instead.

“Don’t do that. It’s not pretty.”

Her mother didn’t used to get on her nerves this badly. But lately…

“I’m not on the clock, Mom.”

“People will still be watching you.” Her mother smiled like that was a good thing.

Hailey made a face. People were always watching. Commenting. Sneaking pictures and whispering, It’s her! It’s her! Hailey Crewe! She’d had to live with that for the past three years, ever since her modeling career took off.

An accidental career she kept meaning to end, a lot like her relationship with Jonathan. She just had to find the right time to break the news. Hailey looked out the open window at surfers bobbing in the water off Waikiki, waiting for a perfect wave. They looked so relaxed, so free. So spontaneous. Everything she couldn’t be.

Not in her current life, anyway. She fingered her necklace and let her gaze drift to the craggy crown of Diamond Head. Hawaii might be just the place to make that break and start something new. She closed her eyes, picturing it.

It was getting to be a little fantasy with her — making her career-ending announcement, then kicking up her heels and turning her back on it all. Make that, running away from it all. The intense schedule. The constant dieting. Sexist producers. How superficial it all was.

Of course, if Hailey did that, her mother would have a heart attack — or fake one. Her agent would flip, and the media would whip themselves into a frenzy if she didn’t time it exactly right. Maybe when another top model hit the news with a record-breaking deal or shocking news, like a bombshell divorce or a drug arrest. Hailey didn’t wish any of that on anyone but, heck. If one of those things did happen, she’d grab the chance for a quiet exit, stage right.

She must have been smiling at the notion, because her mother chuckled. “Ah, I see you’re dreaming of your own wedding.”