The small town of Canyon Springs, Colorado, is filled with warm, welcoming people and breathtaking views. Is that why visitors often decide to stay for the rest of their lives? Or is it something else?
Elena isn’t worried about spending a week in Canyon Springs settling her aunt’s estate. She’s never bought into the notion that shifters can somehow lure people into their dens and brainwash them into staying in town. That’s got to be a myth.
She and her twin sister never met this estranged aunt, so they aren’t exactly in mourning. Elena intends to spend the week reconnecting with her sister. Hopefully, she’ll find the spine to tell her sister what a failure her career has been.
But what if the lore is true? In an unexpected twist, Elena finds herself instantly falling for Caleb, the sexy wolf shifter who approaches her on her first night in town. She can fight the pull. She can deny the illogical facts. But in the end, does it really matter why the heart chooses who to love?
Elena and Layla are twins, they both received letters from their great aunt’s attorneys requesting them to come to Canyon Springs to settle her estate. It seems that in spite of the fact she and their grandmother were estranged, the woman left everything to the two of them.
For Elena going to Canyon Springs would be a financial hardship, but if the house is worth anything it could relieve some of her problems for a while at least. Layla on the other hand appears to be doing much better than her twin, although neither of them talk much anymore. Layla is an aspiring actress and lives in LA. With Elena in Chicago they haven’t seen each other in a long time. A trip to Canyon Springs seems just the thing to reconnect and have some fun together.
Caleb and Hunter apparently have scented their mates, at different places and times. A photo that Caleb managed to get from the parking lot of the grocery store starts a throw down at the only bar in town. That is until they scent their mates and see the twins.
Layla had convinced Elena they should go out that first night to relax and get a feel for the town. She also might have mentioned getting lucky with a shifter.
This is a favorite scene.
“They’re on the dance floor,” Caleb told her, his mouth seemingly much closer to her ear than she’d expected.
She looked back at him, catching him exploring her features. Still above the neck however. His gaze traveled all over her face. Studying her. Memorizing her?
He smiled. “Sorry. I’m making you uncomfortable.”
She shook her head. “You don’t have to entertain me, you know. I’m a big girl. Layla dances with everyone. I’m used to it. I’m pretty sure she dragged me here tonight hoping to meet your friend. Apparently she saw him jogging. That doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to talk to me.” She was rambling, but she couldn’t stop herself. Thoughts were running rampant through her mind. “I’m not a very good conversationalist. I mean, I suck at it.”
He was grinning at her, not making fun of her but amused.
“Sorry. I’ll shut up now. I’m just saying… If you’d rather… I mean, my sister and I may look alike, but she’s the outgoing one. I’m the awkward one.”
Caleb reached up with his free hand and fingered a lock of her hair before tucking it behind her ear. “Maybe I’m the awkward one,” he suggested with the lift of a brow.
She flinched and then let out an unladylike snort. “You can’t even begin to out-awkward me. All I’ve done so far is ramble.”
“I find I like your rambling. Your voice is lyrical.”
My voice is lyrical? What the hell does that mean?
Elena narrowed her gaze at him. “Look, if you’re trying to hit on me, I’m not good at that either. Again, I may look like Layla—”
Caleb shook his head. “Stop comparing yourself to your sister. I’m not.”
“Wait… How did your friend know which one of us was the one he saw jogging?”
Caleb grinned. “You smell different.”
Her eyes went wide. “What?”
He shrugged. “You already ascertained we are shifters. How much do you know about shifters?”
Not enough apparently. She shook her head. “Nothing.”
He chuckled and then lowered her hand from his chest to the table as he pulled another stool from under the table and took a seat. He set his forearm on the table, squaring himself with her. “No seriously. Tell me what you think you know. I love hearing what the outside world thinks of us. Am I the first shifter you’ve met?”
“Yes.” She cringed, feeling as though she’d insulted him.
He chuckled again. “I’m not judging you. I’m just curious. What’s the latest gossip?”
She licked her lips. Should she tell this stranger all the probably incorrect misconceptions she had? What could it hurt? It wasn’t like she was ever going to see him again. Might as well humor him with her ignorance. “Let’s see… Well, you should know that most of my information came from my grandmother.”
He cocked his head to one side. “Your grandmother?”
“Yep. She died last year from a stroke, but she raised me and my sister, and she dedicated far more time than I would have liked grumbling about shifters.” Elena sat straighter and shook her head. “Not to imply she influenced us. She didn’t. Layla and I are not judgmental. Toward anyone. I just mean Grandma Mable tried to instill her bigotry in us.” Why was she telling this stranger her life story?
“Go on. This is interesting.” He wasn’t making fun of her. He genuinely wanted to know.
“Okay.” She eyed him suspiciously, making sure he wasn’t pulling her leg. “Did you know Marge Keller?”
His face changed to a mixture of shock and surprise and concern and humor and uncertainty. Good grief. That wasn’t even possible. She probably imagined it. “Of course,” he responded reverently. “Everyone knew Marge.”
“Well, she was my great aunt. My grandmother’s identical twin.”
He nodded. “She was a great woman. How have I never met you before?”
“I’ve never been here. My grandmother and her sister had a disagreement in 1964 and never spoke to each other again.”
Caleb nodded, his brow furrowed. “I knew that. They fought over shifters. Your grandmother didn’t approve.”
Elena was shocked. Did everyone in town know their story?
Caleb shrugged. “Sorry. It’s a small town. Most of us are all up in everyone else’s business. If I remember correctly, Marge came through Canyon Springs right after she finished college, met Josiah Keller, and never left.”
“Yep.” It was weird that this man in front of her knew her family’s story. Hell, he probably knew far more than she did. “My grandmother didn’t think regular humans— as she referred to us— should mix with shifters. She took that stubborn belief to the grave.”
“That’s so sad.”
“It is. Grandma was incensed. She never let Layla and I visit Canyon Springs because she believed shifters had some magical ability to lure human women into their lives and never let them go.” Elena smiled to lighten the conversation.
Caleb started laughing. He even tipped his head back, the room filling with the gorgeous sound of his voice.
Part of Elena wished he would never stop laughing. She loved the timber. On the other hand, she was also a little embarrassed. Of course her grandmother’s theory was preposterous, but was he making fun of her? She jerked her hand out from under his, breaking the contact for the first time. “I didn’t say it was logical,” she murmured. “I was just answering your question. You asked.”
He stopped laughing and wiped his eyes with one finger before sobering and meeting her gaze again. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to react so strongly. I’ve heard it all before. It just sounded so… serious coming from you.”
She tugged her open pink blouse over her black shell and crossed her arms. “I didn’t say I believed any of that.”
He shrugged, his expression returning to earlier. Softer. Caring. “Why not? Maybe it’s true?” Was he teasing her?
She didn’t ask. Of course he was teasing.
He set his hand on the table, palm up. “Please. Forgive me. I’ll remember not to be so callous in the future. You’re… a sensitive being.”
She glanced down at his open palm. He wanted her hand back? This entire thing was absurdly intimate, considering she’d never met him before. Nevertheless, she felt drawn to him, and she finally relaxed her stance, dropped her arms, and set her hand in his as if he’d commanded her to. He hadn’t said a single word, but he’d gotten what he wanted.
Maybe he wasn’t kidding. Maybe he did have the power to control her.
Becca Jameson. Caleb’s Mate: Canyon Springs, Book One (Kindle Locations 448-502). Becca Jameson Publishing.
Caleb wanting to get to know the woman he knows is his mate leaves out a few pertinent facts. Like He and Hunter are their grandmother’s attorneys. Although that puts a bit of a damper on things, it doesn’t last long.
The discovery of letters returned from their grandmother, unopened, gives some insight into their feud. The relationship with Caleb heats up quickly although he holds back. He knows the consequences and Elena must be sure of her feelings before they go too far.
So much fun, discovery and sizzle that doesn’t stop once it starts.
I can’t wait to read Hunter’s Mate which is Layla’s side of this tale.
5 Contented Purrs for Becca!
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Becca Jameson currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two kids, and the various pets that wander through.
After editing for about five years she recently started writing. She is loving the journey, dabbling in various genres.
When not writing or editing she can usually be found taxiing kids to and from their activities, scrapbooking, and reading!
Late at night she can usually be found sequestered in her office creating fantasy with a glass of red wine and a bar of dark chocolate.