His past is a nightmare.
And the woman of his dreams just walked into it…
Hellhound shifter Fleance thought he’d escaped his evil former alpha for good – and the life of crime and misery he was forced to live. But when he loses control of his hellhound, Fleance realizes the past isn’t as far behind him as he’d hoped. If he wants to protect his new pack, he needs to track down Angus Parker and make him pay for what he did to Fleance and the others. Even if he needs to travel to the other side of the world to do it.
The last thing he thought he’d find there was his fated mate. Suddenly, his pack isn’t the only thing he needs to protect.
New Zealand sheep shifter Sheena can’t wait to escape her rural life and overbearing shifter family. She’s sick of being treated like she can’t take care of herself just because her inner sheep is so tiny and adorable. Except… it’s kind of… true? Her sheep isn’t just tiny, it also has a major habit of wandering into danger. Even when she’s in human form.
So it’s almost a relief when her fated mate turns up to save her from the fiery death she accidentally ran straight into (whoops) and the terrifying hellhound shifter who wanted to make her its new chew toy. Fleance is a dream come true.
Except for the little matter of his previous alpha biting her.
Sheep shifters can’t be turned into hellhounds… right?
Fleance aka Flea, has been losing control over his hellhound. He feels he needs to end what began with his Alpha Caine dominating over Angus Parker his former one. Since his former Alpha isn’t dead, Fleance makes the determination to correct that error.
It wasn’t too hard to find Angus, he’s doing the same thing he tried in Pine Valley. The takeover of an area with threats and destruction. What Fleance didn’t expect was to find his mate, and what a mate she is!
Sheena McKay is looking forward to traveling and getting away from the influence of her family. She was heading to the US after paying a visit to relatives on the North Island of New Zealand. Her aunts would then be bringing her to the airport in Auckland.
Her aunts weren’t at the stop when she arrived, and she walks to the town to find it on fire. She is even more surprised to find a man in the middle of it all, a man that is her mate.
Unfortunately, before they could get to Fleance’s car they have an encounter with Angus Parker that doesn’t go very well, and Sheena gets bitten.
This is a favorite scene.
The mate bond hummed with wordless need. Sheena tipped her head back and pushed herself onto her tiptoes, losing her balance just enough that she had to press against him to stay upright. Her eyelids fluttered against his cheek; her lips were so close to his he couldn’t think of anything else—
“Ow,” Sheena burst out, wincing. She dropped heavily back only her heels as her whole body hunched over with pain.
“Fucking—ow. Please tell me that prick didn’t literally bite my whole leg off, because that’s what it feels like.”
Fleance’s voice clawed up through his throat. “He bit you?” He shrugged off his jacket and wrapped it around her shoulders. She leaned into his touch, shivering.
“Yeah, when he tossed me around like a freaking chew toy—” She gasped and swore again. “Seriously, you’d tell me if I was hopping around on one leg, right? I don’t want to look.”
He didn’t want to look, either. His body felt hollowed out with fear. Inside him, his hellhound froze in place, eyes wide and staring. If Parker had bitten Sheena—if he turned her—
His fear crackled along the mate bond. No! He couldn’t let her know how scared he was. His hellhound burst into action, snaring the emotion before it reached his mate’s heart.
Sheena trembled. He helped her sit down. His jacket skimmed the tops of her thighs. It wasn’t enough to keep her warm, and it did nothing to hide the wound just above her knee.
He forced himself to look.
His breath stopped. He didn’t swear, or cry out, but only because of the many years he’d spent controlling his reactions in front of Parker. He breathed out, gently. Normally.
“It’s not that bad,” he lied, and couldn’t stop his voice from choking up.
“Bullshit.” Sheena leaned over, balancing one elbow on his shoulder. She hissed in a breath. “That looks…”
There were three deep gashes in her leg, trailing blood. Tooth marks. They had to be. The scars on Fleance’s neck tingled and the edges of his vision went dark.
“…not as bad as I expected.” Sheena’s voice seemed to come from a long way away. Fleance’s vision narrowed as fear rose bitter at the back of his throat. He held it back, determined not to let Sheena feel it before he’d figured out what he was going to say to her.
The future he’d seen so shining and clear in front of him fell away. What replaced it was just as clear, and more horrifying than anything he’d imagined. If Parker turned Sheena…
Sheena was still talking. His hellhound whined, urging him to listen. “My leg’s still attached, right? And it’s stopped bleeding. Could be better, sure, but could be—” She winced. “—a whole lot worse. Teach me to go running into a fight with some arsehole ten times my size.”
She looked up and her eyes widened. Too late, he tried to control his expression the same way he’d controlled his internal emotions. Her lips parted in a question, and he could almost taste her words, as cold and bitter as the dread coiling at the back of his throat: Why did you let me do it? Why didn’t you protect me?
His heart ached.
But instead of accusing him, she closed her mouth in a tight line and hunched her shoulders. “I’m sorry,” she muttered. “Shit, we haven’t even known each other for ten minutes and I’m already a fucking dead weight. I… This can’t be what you were hoping for in a mate.”
Her expression, which until then had shimmered and glowed with every emotion Fleance had felt reflected in the mate bond, closed over. She looked suddenly much smaller than he remembered, wrapped in his jacket, her bare feet turning white on the frozen ground.
Something snapped inside him. Or, more accurately, snapped into place.
She was his mate. And he was hers. Parker had hurt her, and he needed to protect her, not malinger over his own fears.
“I never thought I’d have a mate,” he said roughly. “I didn’t let myself hope for anything. Let alone someone like you.”
Her face twisted. “Someone totally hopeless?”
“Someone who would stand up to a man like Angus Parker.” He tipped her head back. “You’re strong, and beautiful. I’m the one who has failed you.”
Her eyebrows drew together. “What are you talking about? You haven’t—”
“I let you get hurt.” He ghosted his fingertips along her jaw, guilt twisting inside him as his need to touch her warred with the ugly truth he had to reveal. His hard calluses rasped against her soft skin, another reminder that although fate might have decided they were meant for one another, he was so far beneath her he’d spend his whole life catching up.
“It’s just a bite. I’ve had worse.”
“Not worse than this.” He wrapped his jacket more closely around her shoulders, then gritted his teeth. Delaying tactics. “A hellhound’s bite won’t just hurt you. It turns you into a hellhound shifter. Like an infection in your soul.” He reached for the ugly marks on her leg, holding his hand a scarce inch above her broken skin.
She didn’t shrink away. He didn’t realize, until she leaned closer to him, that he’d expected her to.
“But I’m already a shifter.” She made a sudden, jerky movement. “I’m already a shifter! He can’t—he can’t take my sheep away. Can he?”
Fleance looked into her eyes. The mate bond fluttered as her emotions caught it. He felt as though his brain was half-frozen, each thought sodden and heavy.
Parker had never targeted shifters before. That had been part of the threat: to keep his pack in line, as much as anything. If they didn’t do a good enough job carrying out his instructions to terrify his latest target, Parker would turn them, and finish the job that way. But only humans. Never shifters.
What had Parker said before, when he was talking about Sheena’s aunts? They’re both shifters, of course, which limited my options.
Relief washed through him, a cool, tidal wave that left him feeling light-headed.
“He can’t.” He pulled his hand away from Sheena’s leg and held her close. Her heartbeat thundered against his chest. “It’s okay. You’re safe. He won’t turn you into a monster like we are.”
“You’re not a monster.” Sheena’s expression darkened.
Fleance laughed. The noise surprised him. “You don’t need to say that. You’ve seen Parker. You’ve seen what hellhounds can do. The fire, the terror…” He smoothed her hair, willing her to understand. “You don’t need to pretend. I saw the way you looked at me when you thought I was the one who burned this place down.”
“Only for a second!” The mate bond twisted, echoing the guilt that flashed through her eyes. Fleance took her hands and hoped she could feel the reassurance he was trying to send back to her.
“It’s okay. I get it. You thought I was a monster.” She shook her head, but he went on, a wry smile pulling at his lips: “I am. I know that. I’ve had long enough to come around to that fact. But I’m your monster, now. I’ll keep you safe.”
A monster who’d been so weak, he hadn’t even been able to keep his mate from harm. That changed, now.
The next time Parker tried to hurt Sheena or her family, Fleance wouldn’t fail.
Chant, Zoe. The Hellhound’s Un-Christmas Miracle (A Mate for Christmas Book 4) Kindle Locations (960-1020). Kindle Edition.
Far more happens because of the bite, and Fleance is determined to stop his uncle from ever hurting anyone again.
There are many tense moments in this book, as Sheena and Fleance work to outsmart Angus. Sheena is fierce before the bite but after, let me just say she’s awesome!
This book is certainly not your typical Christmas tale, but I am enjoying this series immensely. I am already reading the next one.
5 Contented Purrs for Zoe!
Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!
Collection 1 Books 1-3
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!