A Mate for the Christmas Dragon – A Mate for Christmas Book 1 by Zoe Chant

A Mate for the Christmas Dragon
A Mate For Christmas Book 1
By
Zoe Chant

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A Christmas-loving dragon + an overworked retail assistant who hates the holidays + five days to win his mate’s heart before a curse destroys his life = a Christmas clash with a heart-warming happy ever after.

Jasper Heartwell needs to find
a mate before Christmas.

Jasper is a dragon on a mission. If he doesn’t find his mate by his twenty-fifth birthday, he’ll lose his ability to shift, and be stuck as either a human or a dragon forever. Luckily, his birthday is on Christmas Day. What woman could resist the spark of romance during the most wonderful time of the year?

Abigail George hates Christmas.

Most wonderful time of the year? Curvy Abigail learned long ago what a lie that is. She hates the fake snow, the cheesy carols, the hordes of shoppers that save their Christmas cheer for everyone except shop workers—and most of all, she hates going home to her empty apartment on Christmas Eve.

Jasper knows Abigail’s the one for him the moment he sees her. But can the Christmas dragon win his mate’s heart, when Christmas is the one thing she hates the most?

Because of a curse, Jasper has until his 25th Birthday to find his mate. He arrives home on a bus, he didn’t drive because he didn’t see the point. Without his mate, by the end of the week, he would be either human or a dragon not both as he is now.

Things would change quickly for him, he just has to win his mate before the deadline.

Abigail hates Christmas, working at the toy store for a boss who doesn’t appreciate everything his staff does, hardly inspires loyalty. It’s as she’s retrieving a stuffed kitten from the rooftop Christmas display that we see not only Mr. Bell’s nature but also the way she meets Jasper.

This is a favorite scene.

Standing on tip-toe on the top rung of the ladder, Abigail could almost reach the pathetic stuffed animal. If she leaned— ugh— her breasts brushed up against the cold, wet tiles, but she could just wrap one finger around the toy’s outstretched little paw.

“Come on, you little— aha!”

Abigail slithered back until her feet were flat on the ladder again, the kitten toy safely in her grasp. The wet, freezing cold kitten toy. She gave it a half-hearted shake and a flurry of icy droplets merrily soaked into her chest.

Merry Christmas, Abigail, she groaned silently. Out loud, she called, “Got it! I’m coming down, boss!”

Mr. Bell didn’t reply. Trying to ignore the cold water dripping onto her from the kitten toy, she peered down at the street. Mr. Bell was still there, and so was the little kid who’d been so concerned about kitty’s welfare… and so was the kid’s mom. Who had a waterfall of gold-blonde hair, and a laugh like jingle bells, and a figure that filled out her puffy winter coat in a way that Abigail was sure should be illegal. Not that Abigail was jealous, or anything.

Mr Bell was staring at her transfixed, leaning absent-mindedly against the ladder.

Oh, come on. Seriously?

“Uh, Mr. Bell?” He didn’t look up— but he did lean more of his weight on the ladder. “Mr. Bell!”

Abigail held on tight to the ladder and clambered down as fast as she could, but it wasn’t fast enough. Everything seemed to go into slow motion.

Mr. Bell puffed out his chest at the blonde woman. The ladder’s feet skidded sideways on the slick pavement. Abigail was suddenly, sickeningly, airborne.

But not, she knew, for long.

She fell backwards, the sky swooping overhead. Cold wind whipped at her legs. The kitten toy stared glumly at her from her right hand. She noted absently that one of its eyes had fallen out.

Somewhere below her and to her left, the ladder crashed down on the ground. She could only be a split-second from impact herself. Abigail squeezed her eyes shut. Some stupid, ridiculous part of her wanted to cover the kitten’s remaining eye, as well. As though that would help.

“Oof!”

Abigail cracked one eye open. Christmas lights spun above her, looping down from the shop’s eaves.

She wasn’t dead. She opened her other eye cautiously. The lights kept spinning, but they slowed down. Stopped.

What just happened?

Maybe she’d landed on her boss? But she could feel strong arms holding her, and the face staring down into hers wasn’t the squashed ghost of Henry Bell. It was a man she’d never seen before. A gorgeous man.

He had his arms around her. He was holding her. Carrying her like she weighed as little as the poor wet kitten toy, and hadn’t just hurtled out of the sky like a mad, red-and-green meteor.

“Hi,” the man said, and Abigail’s heart turned over. This guy wasn’t Mr. Bell. He wasn’t squashed. What he was, was the most breath-stoppingly handsome man she’d ever laid eyes on.

He had dark hair that swooped over his forehead, and eyes that looked a rich, warm brown— but she must have been in shock, because they looked different colors as well, red and gold spinning in their depths like sparks flying out of a roaring fire.

His cheeks were flushed with exertion, his cheeks were dusted with a day’s dark stubble and his lips were red and looked temptingly soft.

Temptingly soft— and only a few inches away from her own. Abigail was suddenly intensely, painfully aware of the man’s arms around her. He was holding her to his chest, which meant she could feel his chest through the thin fabric of her work costume, and oh God, it was a really nice chest. Just like his face was a really nice face, and his arms felt like really nice arms, and—

“Hi,” she said at last, her cheeks blazing.

“Are you all right?” His voice was warm and mellow, like molten chocolate drizzled over butterscotch ice cream. Abigail licked her lips.

“I—” Cold water dripped down her arm, and she looked down to see the kitten toy’s single eye staring woefully at her. “I got the thing!”

“You got the— ?”

Abigail wriggled upright and the man let her go, setting her safely on her feet. Adrenaline, or maybe just the joy of not being splatted on the ground, filled Abigail’s body until her skin felt like it was about to start fizzing. She turned to Mr. Bell, the kid, and the kid’s mom, all of whom were staring at her wide-eyed.

“Here,” she said, grinning at the kid and holding out the toy. “I brought kitty down, just like you wanted. Do you want to take her with you? I could dry her off out back, if you like—”

The kid grabbed at the toy and then recoiled. “Ewww! It’s all gross! Mom, I don’t want it, it’s yucky!”

“Well, yeah, it’s been up on the roof for about a month now…” Abigail began, and then bit her tongue as Mr. Bell shot her a warning glare. He turned back to the customers, a buttery smile melting across his face.

“Now, now, I’m sure we can get this all sorted out—”

“It’s yucky! I want a nice kitty!”

“Yes, sweetie, let’s go and get you a nice kitty somewhere else.” A familiar expression passed over the blonde woman’s face: part exhaustion, part irritation at the incompetency of retail workers, part fear that her daughter was about to make a scene. She tugged at her daughter’s mittened hand. “Maybe at that shop back across the road?”

Mr. Bell’s greasy smile melted off completely as the blonde woman sashayed away. Abigail wasn’t sure exactly how she managed to sashay in a winter coat and snow boots, but she did it somehow.

Abigail sighed. “So much for the poor, lonely kitten— hey!”

She jumped back as Mr. Bell shook his finger under her nose.

“What do you think you’re doing? First you almost flatten this poor gentleman, and now you’re just going to stand there like a stunned fish? Go inside and get changed! I don’t want you losing me any more sales!” His eyes narrowed to angry, sweaty slits under his Santa hat and stick-on eyebrows.

Abigail opened her mouth to ask whether he’d really been intending to charge the woman and her daughter for the sodden soft toy, and then closed it again. What was the point? It was Christmas; he’d only find something else to complain about.

“Sorry, boss,” she muttered, and Mr. Bell stomped back into the shop, gesturing angrily for Abigail to follow him..

All her adrenaline-fueled exhilaration drained away. Abigail’s shoulders slumped. She wasn’t sure what she’d expected; praise for going above and beyond? An apology for almost making her fall to her death? Hell, had Mr. Bell even noticed the danger she had been in— or just the possible risk to his sales margin?

Didn’t I learn this lesson years ago? Never put yourself out there. Not for anyone, and definitely not at Christmas.

She looked down at the soaking-wet cat toy in her hand and grimaced. Now she had to deal with this, as well. And—

“Is he meant to be Santa, or the Grinch?” said a warm, deep voice behind her. Abigail’s heart jumped into her throat.

He was still there. Her rescuer.

She turned around, trying to look casual, and realized too late that she was still holding the plush toy out in front of her. The wet bundle of faux fur slapped into her rescuer’s jacket.

“Oh, God, I’m so sorry,” she blurted out, snatching her hand back. “I didn’t mean to— um, I didn’t…” The man’s eyes creased with amusement, and she forced herself to relax. She stuck out her hand— the one without the toy in it. “Thanks, uh, for saving me from becoming a festive splat on the ground.”

He pulled off his glove before shaking her hand. His fingers closed around hers gently, and her shoulders tingled with the memory of his arm wrapped around them.

His other arm— and hand— had been wrapped around her legs. As soon as she remembered that, her thighs started tingling, tingling, too. She bit her lip, forcing herself not to look away from his strangely multicolored eyes.

Don’t blush, she ordered herself. Don’t blush. Wow, his eyes really are beautiful…

“I’m Jasper,” the man said.

Like his eyes, Abigail thought, feeling dizzy.

“Are you all right?” Jasper stepped closer, concern darkening his eyes. “That was some fall. I’m—” He swallowed. “I’m glad I was passing by.”

Me too. Abigail’s head buzzed, and the words stuck in her throat. What was wrong with her? Just talk to him like a normal person. Not like he’s the most handsome man who’s ever… touched you. Oh, God.

Her skin tingled as she remembered how it had felt to have his arms around her. He’d appeared out of nowhere, and saved her life. Like a miracle.

Really? A Christmas miracle? You’re really going to go there?
Chant, Zoe. A Mate for Christmas: Collection 1 Kindle Locations(184-257). Kindle Edition.

Finding his mate was one thing, but there’s another issue, Jasper is the Christmas Dragon. He’s all about Christmas the giving and the joy. With Abigail not liking Christmas at all he has his work cut out for him.

Abigail isn’t sure what it is about Jasper that has her all in knots, but she’s definitely falling for him.

The dates are perfect as he slowly knocks down the walls around Abigail’s heart.

I loved this story, the Christmas spirit, the laughter, the love, the romance and of course the sizzle.

5 Contented Purrs for Zoe!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!
Collection 1 Books 1-3

Individually

Zoe Chant loves writing paranormal romance. Over a cup of tea (or something stronger) she whips up sexy tales of hunky heroes and adventurous heroines to tantalize and satisfy her readers. Sizzling hot romance, no cliffhangers!

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