Flawless River (Grizzly Bear Lake #2) - Ruby Shae


Anastasia “Stacey” Rourke took another sip of her coffee, and turned the page of the newspaper she’d picked up at the gas station the night before. Looking for a job in the paper seemed archaic when almost everything was online now, but for now, it was her only choice until the library opened for the day.

She glanced at her watch, and continued skimming over the “want-ads.” Although, she used that term loosely. There were a lot of words printed on the pages, but most of the entries either didn’t give enough information, or the listing was so ridiculous that she couldn’t take it seriously.

The waitress arrived with her breakfast, and she quickly folded the paper and moved it to the side of the table so it would be out of the way. She wasn’t done with it yet, but eating without distractions, even though she was alone, was one of her new personal goals, and she enjoyed the act of savoring her food while observing her surroundings.

She smiled at the waitress, and when she looked down at the plate of food in front of her, the smile grew into a huge grin. The “Special” seemed like it contained a little bit of everything on the menu, and even though she was free to eat whatever she wanted, there was no way in the world she could finish everything on the large, nearly platter-sized dish.

That didn’t stop her from trying—or at least trying everything—before she gave up and asked for a box to take the leftovers back to the hotel. She planned on dropping off the box before going to the library, but when she glanced across the street, she noticed two homeless men sitting in the shade provided by two buildings that formed a small, walkable path leading off of the main sidewalk.

The disgusting words her father aimed at anyone who he felt was below him in stature—which was almost everyone—floated through her brain, but she quickly dismissed them. She’d never agreed with her parent’s ways of thinking, but now she didn’t have to follow their actions either.

When the waitress arrived with more coffee, she ordered another “Special,” and had it boxed up to go with the first. Money had never been an issue for her, and though she was anxious to get back to work, that had more to do with settling down and finding some sort of structure again than anything else.

She’d been traveling around the country for nearly two months, and though she’d enjoyed the freedom at first, she was already tired of not having a place to call home. The urge to stay in one place for longer than a few days nearly consumed her, and she was ready to find a permanent place to live.

At least that was the plan. If she settled somewhere and didn’t like it, then nothing would stop her from packing up her things and trying someplace else, but at least she would have things again, and she had to start somewhere.

Living in hotels and out of suitcases was getting old.

She took another drink of her coffee, and glanced at the newspaper again. It still lay folded haphazardly on the side of the table, but something caught her attention. She grabbed the folded mess, and zeroed in on the one ad that actually seemed legit.

Waitress wanted for small, tourist heavy, store/cafe.

Part-time. Mornings only. Onsite lodging possible.

Apply in person at Bear Lake.

Stacey read the ad again, and then just stared at the words. Of course, she needed more information, but on the surface, the job was perfect for her.

Part-time…mornings only…and lodging!

The lodging alone was enough to make her jump in her car and find Bear Lake, but everything else just made her new life easier. She would have the structure she craved, a place to live, and the time to focus on herself. She didn’t have any waitressing experience, but she was willing to try anything, and being on her feet all day, instead of being stuck behind a desk, would give her a little bit of exercise, which probably was a good thing.

She didn’t really care about working out—in fact, she hated exercising—but she liked walking and moving around to get chores or tasks done, and she needed something to help combat all of the cookies she planned to eat over the next year.

A huge smile lit her face, and she remembered the giant cookies she saw near the cash register when she came in to eat. They were packaged in clear