USA Today Bestselling Author
Panther-shifter, Kemnebi Davis, lives a normal life as an accountant until he’s called before the Shifter Council. Unknown to the shifter community, the Council needs help; and the only way for that to happen is for Kem to marry the daughter of one of the Nymph Council. Except there’s one problem; Lia. The woman who has been occupying Kem’s thoughts since a chance meeting a year ago…
Xylia Dentro has a secret. One that she’s managed to keep from her father and sister for nearly a year. But when she encounters the man who started it all, she can’t deny the pull she feels towards him; despite everything that’s standing in their way…
Ever since a one night stand a year ago, Kem has been looking for the woman he was with that fateful night. All he knows is her first name, Lia. He’s been called to appear before the Council and he’s nervous. He’s surprised he’s on their radar at all but when he discovers what they want from him, he’s angry. Marrying someone other than his true mate isn’t something he wants to do. The politics involved here make it impossible for him to refuse unless he finds his true mate, so he will think about it.
He’s also to attend a reception to meet Aella the leader of the Dryad’s daughter. Let’s just say that doesn’t go so well when he calls Aella, Lia. While her father didn’t hear it she did and now she’s angry and uninterested. Kem does however discover that Lia is here and is most likely the Dryad’s other daughter.
Lia knows she has to leave quickly, she finds herself getting angry and that’s not a good thing. She’s had a bit of a problem since her encounter with Kem a year ago, she can shift into a panther.
Kem is able to track her down the meeting is both joyful and sensuous. Now he has to explain it all to the council.
This is a favorite scene.
“How can we help you Kemnebi?” Arabella asked through a bemused smirk. He had a feeling that, despite first impressions, she was the most likely to be sympathetic.
“I can’t marry Aella,” he blurted out. He’d intended to make a much smoother argument, but the only thing he could focus on was the memory of being with Lia last night.
“What?” A hiss came from one of the other men on the council. He was sat over the left and, reluctantly, Kem turned to look at him. If his voice hadn’t conveyed his annoyance, then his appearance certainly did. His eyes were glowing a strange yellow colour, with black slits in the centre. Kem gulped nervously. Despite being an alpha male, this man had him on the back foot, and not just because of his position of power within shifter society. Until that moment, Kem had always thought that the fabled reptile shifters were just a myth, and yet, this man was clearly one of them. Though Kem wouldn’t want to take a guess at what the man became when he shifted.
“I can’t marry Aella Dentro,” he repeated, with more certainty this time. “At last night’s reception, I found my mate.” Kem was sure that he could have heard a pin drop as the five Council members let that sink in. Mates were growing rare, and many shifters went their entire lives without finding theirs. Instead, most shifters just married, sometimes for love and sometimes for power, but it all paled in comparison to the bond between mates.
“Who?” the large man who he’d walked in on with Arabella asked gruffly. Kem made a mental note to discover the rest of the Council’s names at some point, though they too were shrouded in secrecy; another archaic rule as far as Kem was concerned. He was surprised that Arabella’s name had been let slip so easily.
“I believe it’s Aella’s sister, Lia.” He swallowed nervously, a lot was riding on how this meeting went. To his surprise, the other woman left her seat and walked towards him. In the light, he could see just how pale she was, verging on completely white. Instead of making her look sickly, it gave her an ethereal look, almost like the one elves had. But that couldn’t be right, if she was sitting on the Shifter Council then she had to be at least a third-generation shifter. Yet another outdated rule, especially in an age where paranormals interacted with each other on a daily basis. The woman walked around Kem slowly, making him feel uncomfortable. He shifted from foot to foot, but otherwise held as still as possible.
“He smells different,” she said suddenly, causing the other Council members to nod, looking deep in thought as they did. “He doesn’t smell of dryad though. Shifter maybe.” She wrinkled her nose in a gesture that came across as surprisingly feminine.
“I doubt Aella’s sister is a shifter.” The final member of the Council spoke for the first time.
“They are different though,” Arabella mused. “The Nymph Council made their case that Aella, as the only storm nymph, should be the one offered in marriage. That means Aaron’s other daughter would be different.”
“Still a nymph though,” the man pointed out and got a withering look from Arabella for his trouble. There was little doubt in Kem’s mind that she was the one in control.
“Is this the first time you’ve met this woman?” She turned back to him and unable to speak, Kem just shook his head. A rustle came from behind Arabella, and she turned absentmindedly took a sheet of paper from one of the Council clerks. All eyes turned to her as she read, and her eyebrows raised in surprise. “Thank you.”
“What is it?” The large man looked at Arabella with a hint of softness in his eyes, but was quick to cover it up, and it was unlikely that anyone other than Kem had picked it up.
“It’s confirmation on the names of Aaron’s daughters; Aella and Xylia.” She gave Kem a slight smirk, which made him feel like she was actually on his side.
“Why can Nathalie smell shifter then?” the quiet man asked, more curious sounding than confrontational.
“I suspect that something has happened between them before, and it’s possible that they started the mating process already.”
“But I didn’t…” He was about to say bite her, and while that was true, she had bit him last night, maybe it meant more than he’d suspected it did.
“Maybe not, but you didn’t need to.” Arabella looked at him sympathetically. “A bite, from either party, seals the mating, but all that needs to happen for the process to start is for the two mates to meet.” She threw a quick glance at the large man, before looking back to Kem.
“So, what of voiding the marriage contract with Aella?” He aimed his question directly at Arabella this time, instead of at the room in general.
“In the eyes of the Council that was done from the moment it was confirmed you were mated. However, I believe that you will be required to explain the situation to Aaron Dentro.” That wasn’t a conversation that Kem relished the idea of, but then again, if it smoothed the way for him to be with Lia then it would be completely worth it.
“Thank you,” he injected as much sincerity into the word as he could, not wanting the Council to think that he was ungrateful for their decision.
“You’re welcome.” He turned to leave, but she called out to him again, “Kem, not a word of what’s happened here today.” He met her eyes and saw a brief plea that told him she wasn’t just talking about the Council meeting itself when she said that.
“Of course.” She nodded once, relief flooding her features. But Kem couldn’t bring himself to care. He had more important things to worry about, like how to tell Aaron that he’d already mated with his daughter, and that it wasn’t to the one he actually wanted married off.
Greenwood, Laura. The Dryad’s Pawprint (Paranormal Council Book 1). Kindle Locations (385-430). Drowlgon Press. Kindle Edition.
There’s a lot more to this than meets the eye and I loved every minute of this book. It’s a short satisfying read with plenty of fun, laughter, conflict and sizzle.
I will be continuing this series in the near future.
5 Contented Purrs for Laura!
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Laura is a USA Today Bestselling Author of paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary romance. When she’s not writing, she can be found drinking ridiculous amounts of tea, trying to resist French Macaroons, and watching the Pitch Perfect trilogy for the hundredth time (at least!)