Home>>read Bear Meets Girl (Pride #7) free online

Bear Meets Girl (Pride #7)(67)

By:Shelly Laurenston

“Very well,” she told her. “I find myself quite entertaining.”
It wasn’t nearly as painful as Crush thought it would be. He’d never been to a Jewish wedding ceremony held by cats before, so it was new and interesting for him. And now he was back at one of the Kingston Arms’ ballrooms for the reception. Although the ceremony was a little more serious, the couple wanted the reception to be a lot lighter and considering the dancing and laughing he walked in on, he could see they’d already achieved their goal.
“Hey, kid!”
Crush jumped a little, trying not to panic when Nice Guy Malone wrapped his arms around him in a big hug. “Hi, Mr. Malone.”
“Butch, kid. Butch.” He stepped back, grinned. “Did you hear about my girl? What the Carnivores offered her?”
“I heard.” And he’d been bragging about it at the office so much that all his coworkers roared anytime it came up again. Including Dez.
Butch grinned. “My girl.”
Meghan and Josie ran up, both looking beautiful in their bridesmaids’ gowns.
“You came,” Meghan said, going up on her toes to kiss Crush’s cheek, Josie kissing the other one.
“Did you really think your mother was going to let me out of this?”
Meghan laughed. “Nope.” She tugged at her grandfather’s tux. “Grams is looking for you.”
“As my wife or as—”
“Wedding planner.”
“Crap. She wants me to move something.”
“I can do it for you,” Crush offered.
“Nah. She just makes me do it ’cause she likes to see my muscles ripple.” Grinning, Butch walked off.Meghan shuddered. “Ew.” She jerked her thumb toward one of the doorways. “We better go, too. The bride and groom will be making their entrance soon.”
“See you guys when you’re done.”
Meghan and Josie waved and rushed off. Crush looked around at the tables, debating whether he should go ahead and get seated now or wait a little longer when he realized Novikov stood beside him. Breathing.
He really liked the guy ... but he hated when he did that.
Novikov nodded.
“Why are you here?” Crush had to ask.
“Blayne finagled an invite because she wanted to see how Barb runs her weddings.”
“Is she happy?”
“Ecstatic. She really likes the cake.”
“The cake?”
“It’s Blayne.”
“How have you liked the wedding?”
“Everything has been on time ... so I love it.”
Crush laughed, stopping when a woman in a full-length dress stopped in front of him and stared at him like she knew him. She seemed out of place because she was one of the few canines in attendance.
“What?” she finally asked.
Crush blinked, recognizing the voice. “Dee-Ann?”
“Who the hell did you think it was?”
“Not you,” Novikov muttered.
“You look great,” Crush told her honestly.
But her eyes narrowed and Crush held his hands up. “Forget I said anything.”
Ric Van Holtz stepped in beside his mate, slipping his arm around her waist and kissing her cheek.
He smiled. “Crushek ...” His smile faded and gave a barely there nod. “Novikov.”
The She-wolf snarled in warning.
“Gentlemen and She-wolf,” Crush warned, “it’s a wedding. Let’s all be nice.”
“Is that your cop tone?” Novikov asked.
“That’s my cop tone. Don’t make me bring out my cop fist.”
“So—” Van Holtz began.
“I don’t know anything,” Crush cut in, knowing Van Holtz was about to ask him—again—about whether Cella would take his offer of becoming the Carnivores’ assistant coach.
The wolf bared a fang. “What is taking her so long?”
“I don’t know.”
“Want me to talk to her?” Novikov asked.
“No,” both Crush and Van Holtz immediately replied.
But Smith grinned. “Oh, Lord, please do.”
Cella helped her mother adjust Rivka’s gown. The bride and groom would be making their big entrance in a few minutes and everything had to perfect. At least, as far as Cella’s mother was concerned, it had to be perfect. Personally, Cella could give a shit. She was hungry. 
“Your stomach is growling again,” Barb sang at her. But it was her trying-to-keep-the-bride-calm-while-telling-the-person-she’s-singing-to-she’s-annoyed voice.
“That’s because I’m hungry,” Cella sang back in the same tone.
“Where’s Bri?” Rivka asked.
“He made a desperate run for it?” Cella teased, only to get a paw to the back of her head. An actual paw!
“Go find out where Bri is,” Barb ordered.
“Fine.” Anything to get away from the dictator her mother became whenever she handled a damn wedding.
Cella went down the hall, her steps slowing when she saw Bri hugging Meghan. She smiled, her heart warming at the sight.
Bri caught sight of her over his daughter’s shoulder and winked.
“Why don’t you go make sure Rivka’s doing okay. I’ll be right there.”
“Okay.” Meghan kissed her father’s cheek. “I love you, Daddy.”
“You, too, baby.”
Meg walked past Cella, stopping briefly to also kiss her cheek. “I love you, too, Ma.”
“Tossing me a bone.”
“I had to. I didn’t want to hear the whining later.” Grinning, Meghan walked off.
Smart. Ass.
“Where’s Josie?” Cella asked her daughter’s back.
“Getting Aunt J. for the entrance.”
“Good. We’ll be right there.”
“How good did we do?” Bri asked Cella, taking her hand in his own.
“We did amazing.”
“You okay about Hofstra?”
“I’m fine with Hofstra. I’m fine with her staying with the family. God knows they need someone to manage their craziness.”
Bri kissed the back of her hand. “Thanks, Cella.”
“For what?”
“Giving me an amazing daughter and being you about it. You always worked with me about visitation, always made me feel part of the family.”
“Because my kid is the most important thing and you are a great dad. I would never keep you away from her. Now go to your mate. Be happy.” She hugged him.
“You be happy, too.”
“I’m always happy,” she told him honestly. “It annoys people.”
Bri released her with a laugh, giving her one last kiss on her cheek before he headed back to Rivka.
Cella took a moment to adjust her dress, pausing when she saw her Aunt Deirdre heading from the bathroom back to the ballroom. Deirdre glanced at Cella, sneering a little at her without saying a word. Cella let her get a few feet before she said loudly, “I saw you sobbing at my bedside, old woman!”
“Shut up, heifer!”
Chuckling—okay, maybe it was a cackle—Cella adjusted her gown one more time and headed back to the rest of the wedding party.
Everyone was starting to line up and Cella walked toward her place at the head of the line.
“Everything all right outside?” she asked Jai, taking her bouquet from her mother.
“If you’re really asking me if Crush showed up for the reception as he promised, the answer is yes.”
“But he’s trapped between a bickering Van Holtz and Novikov.”
Cella waved that off. “That doesn’t bother him.”
“He does seem to be enjoying himself. Oh. And that pit bull that hangs around you is in a designer dress.”
“Yeah. I helped Smith pick it out, but Van Holtz paid because she refused. But the dress is great, though,” Cella explained, “because she’s got an arsenal under that skirt. Two nines, four full clips, and her bowie knife.” She grinned. “Cool, huh?”Disgusted, Jai shook her head and focused on the bride.
“What’s the look for? For Smith that’s like the equivalent of her being naked.”
Crush looked up from the piece of red velvet wedding cake he’d been about to devour. “I don’t understand. Why won’t you just say yes? Why are you fighting this?”
“Isn’t that my right?” Cella shot back.
“No! It isn’t. Just say yes already.”
“What I told him was that I had to take some time and talk to Meghan and Daddy ...” Cella rolled her eyes and finally spit out, “... and you.”
Crush dropped his head a bit. “You don’t have to sound so angry.”
“The fact that I care at all what you think irritates me.”
“Okay, take out the fact that I’m a Carnivore fan on an astronomical scale and let’s just look at this from a ‘your best interest’ point of view.”
“Chance to coach a championship team with one of the best players since your dad—”
“Which, I guess, is still not me?”
“Do you want me to lie?”
“No, no. Go ahead and rhapsodize over your girl crush on Novikov.”
“Thank you. As a matter of fact, I will.” She let out a little laugh and Crush went on, “How about this? You’ve seen how Van Holtz works with Reynolds. You’ve seen how he works with you. Do you think he’ll be one of those micromanaging bosses or big picture bosses?”
“Big picture.”
“Which would you rather work for?”
“Big picture.”