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So I Claimed a Polar Bear

So I Claimed a Polar Bear

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I made a massive mistake in the heat of the moment with bear shifter Bjorn. Not only is he my coworker, but I can’t stand the big, gorgeous beast. I haven’t been able to stop thinking of him since that night—okay, since we discovered an ancient mating relic on the last episode of The Mating Game.
After confiding my predicament to host and fairy dragmother Bibi le Bonnet, she convinces me to become a contestant on the show. Problem is, my last job in the public eye crashed and burned—thanks to Bjorn. I expect the paparazzi to have a field day, but they’re not the ones I need to worry about.
My mother sees my latest shot at fame as the perfect vehicle to revive the reality show that canceled us both.
I’ll get three questions.
Can I play by the rules this time? Will I ever be able to look at Bjorn without experiencing white-hot rage? Or thinking about our time together?
Three potential suitors.
When Bibi puts Bjorn on stage with me, I swear I won’t pick him. But I think the bear might actually want me. And worse, I might want him just as much.
And three dates to find my forever.
Bjorn’s a completely different bear when he’s not behind the camera. I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure these feelings are for real, even if it puts me at odds with every shifter in Sunset Springs. And Mom will use every cheap reality show trick in the book to keep me away from him. But when the bear delivers a plot twist that none of us saw coming, our lives will never be the same.

Main Tropes

  • Growly, bear shifter
  • Enemies to lovers
  • Coworker romance
  • Fabulous fairy dragmother
  • Ancient Artifacts in Play
  • Heroine who doesn't know she's got a secret

Read Chapter One

“The Hudaknocker made me do it.”

If anyone else had uttered those
words, I would’ve turned that statement into a hashtag faster than The Mating Game’s forums could get their hands on it. I’d built my career on exactly
this flavor of unexpected, shocking, juicy gossip.

I would go as far as to say it was
my specialty.

But now that I’d just thrust myself
into the spotlight, I needed to come up with a better scapegoat than an ancient shifter artifact that humans were never supposed to know about when I explained to my boss why sleeping with Bjorn Bernard was the biggest mistake I could’ve
possibly made.

Bibi le Bonnet curled those pink
lips up into a smile. Still in her pale pink suit she wore to officiate Wendy and Gabe’s mating ceremony, she looked a little like a ringleader for the
world’s most fashionable circus. That’s what reality TV was, right?

“What did the Hudaknocker make you do?”

I’d already confessed my sins on
camera, no less, but having to say it again made it real. “It’s been making me want Bjorn. Bjorn! I hate him. He’s the whole reason…anyway since Wendy found
that blasted thing, all I’ve been able to think about is kissing the big, gorgeous lug.”

Bibi raised a brow. “All you did
was kiss him?”

“I wish.” But the problem was, I
didn’t regret going allllll the way. The only reason I regretted what
I’d just done was because it was Bjorn. Ugh! Of all people.

On paper, it looked like a good
decision. Bjorn was tall, with long blond hair which sometimes he liked to braid to make him look like a Viking, gorgeous, and built like a tank. All bear.

In reality, every time I looked at
him, all I saw was white-hot rage for what he did to my family.

Okay, I had to amend that.

Since the Hudaknocker came into our lives, I only saw that beautiful, muscular body when I closed my eyes. Those green eyes that sparkled when he thought something was amusing. Not to mention that smile.

Truth be told, I didn’t really miss
working on The Scoop. But I wouldn’t send the bear a thank you card for putting my family’s franchise out of business any time soon.

“Am I fired?” I asked when Bibi
didn’t say anything. Bjorn couldn’t have cost me a second job on the reality show circuit, could he?

“No, you’re not. Your timing could have been better, but I can’t say that I’m surprised.” Bibi shook her head. Surprised, no. Disappointed? Definitely. “The tension between the two of you
has been thicker than one of Bjorn’s biceps.”

I groaned.

“That probably wasn’t the most professional thing to say, but there’s no denying the bear’s muscles have muscles.” Damnit,
Bibi. Now I was thinking about his muscles again. And how good they looked without a shirt. Or anything else, for that matter.

“Tell me why you hate him so much,” she asked.

If I hadn’t been fired already, I
would probably be able to check that off my list after I answered her question.

“So you know I worked with my mom and stepdad on The Scoop with Suzanne.” The show was known for the kind of celebrity gossip that made followers sip tea and pop popcorn. We broke the news first. Everyone else could only hope to keep up.

“Of course. I was so shocked when the show was canceled. But that meant that we could scoop you up. Pardon the
pun. But your expertise in making stories go viral has been integral to The Mating Game’s success.”

Okay, maybe I could hang onto the job by a thread. “Bjorn is the reason we got canceled.”

Bibi gasped. “He’s the one who
broke the story about your mother planting false information?”

I nodded. “He was the one. I begged him not to go public when he found the info. We had a good gig. We got to
travel the world, meet A-listers, and attend all the hot parties. But no, the bear had to be lawful good and blow the whole thing open.”

“He wasn’t exactly lawful good
tonight.” Bibi pursed her lips. “I was aware that you had worked together before and very surprised to learn you were like a match and gasoline. But
there’s no denying there was a spark between you.”

I sat on the bench behind the food truck and covered my face with my hands. Darkness had fallen over Wolf Rock,
and the crowd enjoyed one of Wendy’s favorite campy horror movies. There were opportunities to eat my feelings all around me, but all I could think about was
a certain drop-dead gorgeous, downright infuriating bear.

And how good it felt to let go and do something wild. How his rough hands felt against my skin, how he kissed me like I was the air he needed to breathe, and how his body….

Nope.

I needed to put this behind me as
soon as humanly possible. I could not be held responsible for what I’d done under the influence of ancient spirits.

“So all along, you had a feeling
I’d hate fuck our camera guy?” I still smelled like sex. How mortifying.

Bibi took a seat beside me. “Maybe the Hudaknocker is trying to tell you something.”

Leave it to her to see the silver
lining in this mess. “Don’t have sex with your coworkers?”

“Yes, that’s probably a part of it,
but maybe it’s telling you it’s time to find your mate.”

In Bibi’s defense, she’d probably
fallen under the influence of the blasted artifact too. But she always saw the best in people and wanted them to be happy. It made her a joy to work for. But
I had no plans of going in front of the camera.

Until about two hours ago, I’d had
no plans of going under the cameraman either, so plans needed to be flexible
around here.

“Bibi, the parking lot is full of
paparazzi waiting on a story, and their mouths are probably watering just because you suggested I find a mate. Of course, they have no idea why yet.” I chuckled. That used to be me, doing whatever it took to be first with the story. “They’ll have a field day. I’m Suzanne Marlowe’s daughter.”

“Maybe this would be a chance to
set the record straight.”

Okay, that was tempting. Even
though I knew what kind of mud I could be dragged through if I said yes to this. “But my parents are the ones who are accused of wrongdoing.”

“You took the fall with them,” she
said.

I nodded.

Bibi squeezed my hand. “Listen, as much I would like The Mating Game to go on forever, eventually, it will come to an end. If you star in an episode, you can show the world who you
really are. You’re not your parents. You’re passionate, funny, hardworking, and a damn good producer who is doing great work here. In the meantime, you deserve to fall head-over-heels madly in love with a gorgeous shifter if that’s what you choose.”

“That’s why I love working with you so much, and I’m terrified that things won’t be the same after tonight. How am I gonna face him?” There was no possibility of ghosting Bjorn. Whether I went in front of the camera or not, there was no getting away from him.

“The same way you always have. With integrity and confidence.”

“That’s easy for you to say.” I
tipped my head back. It was such a perfect night. Stars were twinkling, and the red rocks were glowing in the low light from the movie screen. Love was
definitely in the air.

“Everything going okay?” A gorgeous dark-skinned woman came up to us. She’d been sitting with Bibi when I drama-bombed them, and had walked away for a moment to give us some privacy. Deep in my pity party, I hadn’t recognized her right away, but it was Tina, who’d been a producer on the last season of The Real Werewives…who’d starred
in her own episode of the show because a gorgeous wolf shifter simply couldn’t live without her.

Well played, Universe. Well.
Freaking. Played.

“Everything is great.” Bibi beamed
at her. “Marissa, you’ve met Tina, right? Now that those beautiful babies are here, she’s ready to return to work, so she’ll collaborate with us on the new
episodes.”

Great, Bibi already had my
replacement lined up if this whole thing totally imploded.

I sighed. “How much choice do I
have in this proposition?”

Tina quirked a brow, and Bibi
mouthed that they would talk later. Great. But Tina played it cool and gave me a nod before she walked away.

“You have all the choice. Hannah’s ready, willing, and able to start her episode right now.”

Poor Hannah. She was so eager to go in front of the cameras, and here I was, looking at it like a punishment. She’d already been asked to wait once when Wendy had a change of heart about
quitting.

“I could go after Hannah,” I
offered.

Wait. What did I just say?

“I’d like to see you do it sooner
rather than later. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to strike while the iron was hot.”

I scoffed. “You sound just like my
mother.”

“Your mother is a trailblazer,
which I hope to be also.” Bibi tipped her head and smiled. “If you say yes, I’d like to ask Bjorn to go on stage, too.”

“What? No.” I was up off the
bench, pacing. “What we did…was a one-time thing. A mistake in the heat of the moment. I’m sure he’s as ready to forget about this whole thing as I am.”

“If you really wanted to forget
about it, you wouldn’t have told me.” Bibi might not have had the years of experience in reality TV that I did, but damn, what she lacked in resume experience, she made up for with her sharp instincts. Nothing got past her.

Why did I tell her? That stupid
Hudaknocker energy overcame Bjorn and me, and we hadn’t done much talking when things were happening. He did a lot of that rumbling that every contestant on the show thought was the sexiest thing ever—oh, hell—now I had to add myself to
that list. It was hot. A couple of wows, a rake of his big hand through his long, blond hair, and then a we better get back to work.

All business, that bear.

My insides were still fluttering at
the thought of him. Bjorn wasn’t just good at his job. He was good at a whole bunch of things I needed to stop thinking about immediately.

But did I really want to stick it
to him? He destroyed The Scoop with Suzanne. My poor mom had been canceled. Now, if anyone dared mention her in the media, it was always prefaced with “the embattled” before her name. No, she wasn’t lawful good anything, but she was my mom. Family. Bjorn never talked about his family. Not that we engaged in much small talk.

Would it break his heart if I
brought him on stage and chose another contestant? That was a bold assumption. He had no problem ruining my life once. Maybe he wouldn’t say yes if Bibi asked him.

Or would that break my heart?

Ugh. Why did the big, gorgeous
beast have to be so damn infuriating? And why couldn’t I stop thinking about him?

The Hudaknocker. That was why. And I would forever blame that damn artifact for the next words out of my mouth.

“I’ll do it.”

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