* * * Unedited Sneak Peek! * * *
Finn lifted his boot from Beau’s foot and ignored his narrow-eyed stare. So what if he didn’t officially do tours? No one knew Aurora Falls better than he did, and most certainly, no one knew more about polar bears—assuming, of course, that was one of the reasons she’d chosen to come to Aurora Falls as opposed to literally anywhere else.
The woman—Lainey—was even more beautiful up close than she’d been lounging in the hot tub the night before. And her scent? Without the chlorinated water and fragrance oils of the hot tub, it was twice as potent, wrapping around him like a warm blanket. Finn had to hold back the sudden and powerful urge to pull her into his arms, nuzzle her, and coat himself with it.
Beau had called her Doc, though, which could be a problem. “You’re a doctor?”
“A veterinarian,” she clarified, adding cream and sugar to her coffee.
A vet. Finn exchanged a quick glance with Beau. The surprise in Beau’s eyes suggested he hadn’t known. “Do you specialize in anything particular?”
“Not really. I work for an animal hospital that partners with the regional wildlife rescue organization, so I see it all, goldfish to big game.”
Big game. He definitely fit into that category. “Polar bears?”
“No, we don’t have a lot of those in Vermont,” she replied. Her smile was enchanting. “But black bears, definitely.”
Beau exchanged a look with Finn. “Aurora Falls is a popular destination among biologists and scientists. There’s a research center farther north. Are you interested in checking it out?”
She shook her head. “I read about that, but I don’t think so.”
Finn was encouraged by her answer. If she was the dissect-first-and-ask-questions-later type, it didn’t matter how attractive she was or how much his bear wanted to nuzzle her, he needed to keep his distance and make sure everyone else did, too.
He lifted his chin toward the tri-fold tourist pamphlet beside her plate. “Is there anything in you are interested in?”
Deep within, his bear stirred. “Like polar bears, do you?”
Her lips quirked. “Is there a better reason to come to Aurora Falls?”
He felt his grin widen. “Not really.”
“The brochure lists several different tours. Walking, tundra buggy, helicopter. Which do you recommend?”
“All of them,” he answered honestly. And he wanted to accompany her and each and every one. “The walking tour is good for familiarizing yourself with the town and includes local history, if you’re into that sort of thing. The buggy tour goes a bit farther out and hits some of the local bear hotspots. The chopper tour gives you a unique bird’s eye view and allows you to see places you couldn’t get to any other way.”
“Except Finn doesn’t do helicopter tours,” Beau smirked.
Finn shrugged. “I prefer to keep my feet on the ground, but I could be persuaded, with the right incentive.”
He looked right into Lainey’s eyes, delighted by the rosy blush that painted her cheeks. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d flirted with a woman, or more importantly, when he’d wanted to, but there was something about her that called to him and his bear. He’d just have to tread carefully until he got it all sorted out.
“So what do you say, Doc? Are you feeling courageous today?”