Page 2 of Forbidden Stranger

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“Still, I bet that romance section gets even bigger.”She wiggles her eyebrows playfully at me.

“This is true.”I’ve already got a list of books I want to order.

Me:He’s not a bear shifter.

Snow:He growls a lot.I thought maybe he was.You like bear shifter romances.

Me:I enjoy fated mates.I just favor the bears.As in shifters.Not that football team.

I pause when I pass by Frostie’s bakery, wishing my mom hadn’t stuffed me full of breakfast this morning.When Frostie waves for me to come in, I do because it would be rude otherwise.I’m sure I can make a little room for something.

“Coffee is on me today,” she says when I enter her bakery.

“You always give me free coffee.”

“Is that true?”Tinsel jumps up from the little table she’s sitting at with Jack.Tinsel is the town sheriff, and Jack owns the resort.

Those two were dancing around each other for as long as I can remember.Or at least since Jack moved to Troping.He went to college with Major North, who is Tinsel’s brother.Now that they cracked and are together, I wonder what the sheriff will do all day if she doesn’t have Jack to harass with baseless crimes she makes up and blames him for.Troping is a town where you can leave your doors unlocked.It’s Christmas year round here, but right now with Christmasreallybeing around the corner, we’re in full swing.

“She introduced us to Laurann Dohner.You think that doesn’t get free coffee?”Frostie fires back at her best friend.

“This is true,” Tinsel agrees and drops back down in her seat.

“I think I introduced you to a lot of things,” I tease Frostie, who enjoys her romance with a sprinkle of darkness.Frostie’s cheeks turn pink as she gives me a knowing smile.

“One toasted white chocolate mocha coming up.”

When you host the town's book club and work at the library for as long as I have, you get to know what books some will like more than others.That’s one of my favorite parts of being a librarian—when I read a book and know exactly who will love it and then get to share it with them.There’s nothing like a book that hits all those sweet spots you crave.

Everyone has a favorite trope.Even me.



“You said the adoption was closed, right?”my father asks his wife.

“Anything can be broken with enough money,” I counter and watch the two of them for their reaction.

“But I don’t want to disrupt her life.”Kate looks down at her hands and sighs deeply.“I just want the opportunity to let her know I’m here.”She turns to my dad, and he nods at her encouragingly.

“She can’t contact you if the paperwork is marked as closed.But if anyone can find a way around a contract, it’s Gabriel,” he says, and I nod in agreement.

My dad and Kate have been together for a while, and this is the first time she’s ever come to me for anything.My mom passed away when I was ten, and for a while, it was only my dad and me.Eventually Kate came along, and by then I saw how happy she made my dad.

I didn’t know she had a child until last year when I walked in on her crying while my dad was holding her.Eventually she told me the whole story about how she got pregnant when she was sixteen and her family forced her to give up the baby before sending her to live with relatives states away.

What neither of them knows is that I’ve found her daughter.

My dad means the world to me, and although Kate has always been good to him, I couldn’t chance a long-lost daughter showing up and seeing dollar signs.My dad made all his money on investments, and I’ve got my own wealth to protect.It’s why I was a little nervous about my dad and Kate in the beginning, but she’s erased any doubt I ever had.She’s always been good to him, and that’s what matters to me.Our family is small, and I couldn’t take the risk of letting an unknown person into our circle of trust for it to be broken.Who knows what Kate would be willing to do if her daughter asks for a handout?

So the night after she confessed everything, I began to dig.Today is just a formality to make sure she still wants to go through with me “searching” even though I’ve already found her.

“I have to know.”Kate lets out a breath like she’s been holding it for years.Hell, maybe she has.

I see all kinds in my line of work as an attorney for high-profile clients.Husbands who cheat, wives who backstab, and business partners that put all the profits up their noses.Nothing surprises me anymore, but this request comes from the heart, and I have to admit that it gave me pause.

“I’ll get on it,” I say, and she gives me a soft smile before she squeezes my father’s hand.

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