The sight of a white, furry, polar bear backside poking out from behind a Christmas tree would have been enough to send any woman, human or otherwise, running in the opposite direction.
But not this elf.
Not when she knew the bear had to be a shifter.
Paige Alston shook her head. Dumb shifter. Does he really think he can hide that huge butt of his? “Oi! What the fu—” she stopped short of swearing; there were children on the other side of the grotto’s makeshift walls, “—fudge cakes do you think you are doing back here?”
As she placed her hands on her hips, she ignored the jingle from the bells around her wrists. She reminded herself this was only a job, an ironic one at that, seeing as how she was a real elf dressed as a pretend elf in a Santa’s grotto. Not the most flattering of outfits either. She had to wear the fake pointy ears the shopping centre had provided over her real elf ears since they were hidden from the humans by the magic veil, and she’d ordered the red and green costume a size too small—wishful thinking on her part—so the buttons down the front were fighting a constant battle with her ample girlies. Not to mention the horizontal green-and-white striped tights did nothing but emphasise her shapely, but not exactly skinny, legs.
The huge bear stilled behind the tree.
Seriously? Granted, the grotto’s walls were painted to look like a winter wonderland with snow-covered hills, but did he think by not moving he would blend into the background? Yep, dumb shifter all right.
“Who let you in here?” she continued. “Children will be coming into this area soon.”
A low growl came from behind the tree.
“Don’t you growl at me, you overgrown furball,” Paige scolded, being careful to keep her voice down. “I suggest you shift back right this minute or I’ll report you to Santa—if he ever shows up.” Odd though, since a Santa suit, jeans and a shirt were strewn across the floor. Boxer shorts too, printed with cute puppies.
He growled again, which she could have sworn sounded like a chuckle.
“Keep the noise down, would you? There are children and their parents right outside. If even one child hears you, or someone sees you… What sane person would shift right where they could risk exposing themselves to the humans?”
The bear made another sound, this time more of a snort.
To her surprise, he shifted into his human form.
Right in front of her.
She was no stranger to supernatural beings; vamps, angels, werewolves… She’d even dated a handsome Fae once—which hadn’t gone well since the sex-obsessed leech couldn’t keep his hands to himself—but she’d never actually seen a shifter… er, shift.
Her jaw dropped.
In less than three seconds, the polar bear butt morphed into a human backside with the roundest, finest globes she had ever seen.