Being cool as a cat
is harder than it looks
when unexpected love strikes!
Single dad and bobcat shifter Mason has moved to Virtue to raise his toddler in the safety of a shifter community. But minor catastrophe strikes when his daughter escapes to play in the woods, and the last thing Mason expects when she’s found is to meet his mate. His bobcat insists it’s meow or never, but Mason isn’t ready for the complication of a new relationship.
Veterinary student Chrissy has always known about Virtue’s shifters, and even dreamed of finding fated love of her own, but that didn’t prepare her for a lost bobcat kitten who turns into an adorable little girl. She can hardly believe it’s fur real, but Mason really does seem purrfect.
Mason needs to take it slow. Chrissy hasn’t yet wrapped up veterinary school. On the surface, it seems impawssible, but as they spend time kitten around, Chrissy and Mason realize they’re already building holiday traditions of their own, and that together, they’re going to have a very meowy Christmas.
Christy Sloan is on her way home to Virtue when she spots a baby bobcat frolicking in the snow. She stopped to watch because let’s face it babies are cute regardless of the species. It’s when she realizes there’s no adult bobcat around, she decides to take action. Letting the kitten make the choice she sets up a safe latch cage with part of a peanut butter sandwich as bait. She gets quite the surprise back at her father’s vet clinic when she takes the blanket off the cage.
Mason Rutlidge is a single parent who’s moved to Virtue because it’s a shifter safe zone. His daughter is quite feisty and excitable, which leads to her shifting at appropriate times. He definition of public are not quite what her dad means. This time however she’s just snuck away from her babysitter a non-shifter.
He’s relieved when he gets the call from Christy’s father that his daughter Sandy is safe, unharmed and at the clinic. He doesn’t however expect fate to spring a surprise on him that leaves him speechless.
This is a favorite scene.
There was a brief pause before her father said, “I’ll find out,” and hung up, leaving Chrissy to gaze down at the sleeping little girl with quiet astonishment.
She had always known about Virtue’s shifters, obviously. You couldn’t—in Chrissy’s opinion, anyway—be the veterinarian’s daughter and not know about them. Not if you wanted to be a vet yourself, at least. Chrissy wasn’t actually sure if her brothers did know about the local shifter population, because it wasn’t the kind of question you went around asking, not even of family. She’d understood that from a young age, when she’d still been so little that her ‘job’ at the clinic was sitting in the reception area, reassuring nervous animals, and, just as often, their nervous owners.
She still remembered the day that Donna Arnesen’s parents had come in with uncertain expressions and a small, fluffy owlet in their arms. The poor little creature had broken its wing, and Dr. Sloan had a reputation for working well with wild animals. Mr. & Mrs. Arnesen had let Chrissy draw a very careful picture of a healed-up, flying owl on the cast.
Two days later, six-year-old Donna herself had come to school with the exact same cast, with Chrissy’s drawing on it and all. From then on, Chrissy had understood Virtue wasn’t just a nice little town. Virtue was magic. Bit by bit she’d come to learn about its secret history, mostly from Donna, who was still her best friend. She’d learned about how Virtue’s shifters had settled there, making a safe haven for themselves and their fated mates.
That was the most magical thing of all, in Chrissy’s opinion. People who could shift into animals were obviously mind-bogglingly incredible, but instantly knowing they’d found their one true love? That sounded like a dream come true. Dating was hard and people were much less predictable than animals. Effortlessly finding the right person would be so much easier than struggling through awkward questions and terrible first dates, never mind the awful moments when it was clear chemistry just didn’t, couldn’t, and wouldn’t ever exist.
Getting a toddler out of a cage meant for a cat was not, as it turned out, particularly easy. Chrissy worked on squirming the little girl out without waking her up, which involved trying to gently lift an arm up so she could tug her free. The exit was large enough, but getting her own hands inside to rearrange the girl was harder, and the little girl woke up in giggles. “Tickwy!”
Chrissy wrinkled her nose, but smiled. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to tickle you. I don’t suppose you could turn into a kitty for a second and just walk out of there?”
The child had enormous hazel-gold eyes and a momentarily uncertain expression. “I not posed to do dat in fwont of peepw.”
A giggle of Chrissy’s own burst out. “I bet not, but do you remember me from the field? You were already a kitty then, so I already know you can shift. I won’t tell anybody.” She crossed her heart. “Promise.”
She received two contemplative blinks in response before the girl apparently decided that her logic was sound. She shifted into the bobcat kitten Chrissy had met in the field, walked out of the cage, jumped to the floor, and turned back into a little girl. “Whewe’s my dada?”
Chrissy smiled. “He’s on the way. I’m Chrissy. Do you want to tell me your name?”
“Well, it’s nice to meet you, Sandy. Are you hungry? I probably have some snacks around here.”
The apple and cheese Chrissy got from her bag was clearly not the kind of snack Sandy was hoping for, but she sat in the spinning receptionist’s chair and ate them with enthusiasm anyway. Chrissy guessed hunger made the best sauce.
A panicked knock at the door sent Chrissy to it, expecting to find a worried parent. Instead a tearful teenager fell through the door, cried, “Sandy!” in bone-shaking relief, and collapsed into Chrissy’s arms, sobbing. “I just went to the bathroom! She was in the house, I swear. We were all bundled up to go outside and play, and I had to pee and ran to the bathroom but I didn’t know she was tall enough to open the door and I couldn’t find any footprints and there were bobcat tracks and I was afraid she’d been eaten—!”
Sandy yelled, “It’s otay, I gots an appwe!” and, as Chrissy turned toward her, held the fruit up with triumph. Then she yelled, “Dada!” and fell out of her chair to rush toward the door. Chrissy, feeling like she was on some kind of fast-spinning carnival ride, turned back the other way, following Sandy with her gaze, then lifting her eyes to see the worried, relieved face of the most absurdly handsome man she’d ever laid eyes on.
He was tall, broad-shouldered, and lightly bearded in a woodsman kind of way, which up until this very moment had never been particularly Chrissy’s thing. It was suddenly very strongly, completely, and thoroughly her thing. He had the tanned look of a white guy who spent a lot of time outdoors, and who currently wore an unzipped winter jacket over a t-shirt and jeans that clung to his thighs in positively scandalous ways. His boots were big enough to make Chrissy decide very hastily that he must have big…feet, too….
She felt a blush—or something—start somewhere around her bellybutton, and heat rushed through her entire self before some tiny part of her brain that still functioned reminded her that if he had a two-year-old, there was probably another woman in the picture already.
She had never gone from so hopeful to so crushed so quickly. And that was ridiculous. Especially since the idea here was to return a lost child to her parents, not for Chrissy to suddenly lust over a hot young DILF. Sandy’s father bent to scoop her up and cradled her into a fierce but gentle hug, his head bent over hers a moment before he lifted his gaze to meet Chrissy’s.
His eyes, like Sandy’s, were an astonishing hazel gold, and his whole soul seemed to be in them as he said, “Thank you.”
Chant, Zoe. A Very Meowy Christmas (Virtue Shifters Book 6) Kindle Locations (95-146). Kindle Edition.
As fate continues to throw these two together, Mason needs to go slow. He’s not quite ready for a relationship and he has Sandy to think of as well.
This book is so much fun, as Sandy puts these adults into some crazy situations. I laughed so hard at her antics and the adults trying really hard to negate the aftereffects.
This is now another Christmas favorite.
5 Contented Purrs for Zoe!
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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!