Sarah is looking for love
under the covers…
of a good book!
As a small-town librarian, Sarah has her hands full with projects that range from running an in-library day care to planning her best friend’s wedding. Romance is a complication she doesn’t need…until he walks in.
Archivist Matthew is a big-city bear shifter looking forward to a quiet, short-term project in Virtue before heading to his dream job in New York. He didn’t count on Virtue’s vibrant, sexy librarian stealing his heart with a single glance….
Matthew never meant to stay; Sarah never meant to fall. But as they investigate a mystery from Virtue’s past together, neither wants to turn the page on a blossoming summer romance that just might last a lifetime.
Sarah Ekstrom is Virtue’s librarian, she’s instigated many programs to keep the library alive. No matter how hard she tries there doesn’t seem to be enough time to get the archives sorted and up to date. She’s obtained a grant and is now expecting a contract archivist to take up where she’s left off in the archives it’s only a month, but it should make a major dent in the backlog.
Matthew Rojas is a bear shifter and a contract archivist. He’s traveled around the world and has finally been offered his dream job. National Archivist in the big city. This contract in Virtue is his last one before starting that new job. He just doesn’t expect what he finds there.
Early for his first day, Matt finds Sarah closing up the library. It seems there is some sort of emergency that needs her attention. Not wanting to miss anything in this small town, Matt offers to go with her.
This is a favorite scene.
In almost twenty years of moving from job to job, traveling to different places, meeting new people, never once had the beast within him had an opinion like that. Matthew, who suspected his smile had gotten increasingly idiotic the longer he’d been looking at Sarah, felt it go weak. Virtue isn’t home. I’ve got a job in the city starting next month!
His bear, contentedly, said, And yet here we are.
We are not here! Matt felt his inside voice get almost panicky. I mean, we are, but we’re not! Not to stay! It’s a job at the National Archives in the city! It’s my dream job! We are not here!
The bear gave a surprisingly delicate sniff for such a large animal. Jobs are jobs. She is a dream.
That, Matt admitted, was hard to argue with.
Unfortunately, the dream in question was looking at him like he was some kind of nightmare. Honestly, Matthew had expected a more positive reaction. The phone interview for the job had gone well, and he’d shown up early for his first day at work, which usually went over well. Granted, he’d startled her into throwing her pen halfway across the checkout desk, which wasn’t a terrific first impression, but it was probably okay, unless she was the type to hold a grudge.
Her expression, at the moment, suggested she really held a grudge.
“I’m sorry,” Matt said, unsure of where he’d gone wrong, but very much wanting to put it right. He would have wanted to anyway, but it also felt like his bear was pressing itself against the inside of his forehead, as if it could see Sarah more clearly through Matt’s eyes that way. It didn’t work like that, not even a little. That didn’t stop the over-eager bear. “I’m sorry,” Matt said again, gathering his thoughts away from his intrusive animal self. “I like to come early on my first day. Usually someone asks me to shelve books, and I get to be useful for a little while. But I’ve obviously come at a bad time.”
He glanced at her half-written sign, which supported her statement about the library closing early. “Should I come back tomorrow?”
Matt startled at her vehemence. “This is Virtue, New York, right? You got an archivist’s grant for the summer to help sort out the town’s historical record?”
Sarah passed a hand over her eyes. “Yes, this is Virtue, and yes, we got the grant, and yes, I suppose you’d better come back tomorrow. I’m sorry. I forgot you were supposed to be here today.”
That had never happened before. Matthew’s eyebrows rose in astonishment, and Sarah the librarian sighed again. “Which is to say, obviously I know you were supposed to arrive today. I just got distracted because there’s an emergency I have to attend to.”
“A library emergency?” Matt asked, both mystified and intrigued.
“No, don’t be silly.” She smiled, though, which Matt thought was quite wonderful. If he could just keep her smiling, he’d be content with his entire life. Her smile even got a little bigger as she added, “The only library emergency around here is the archives. I have an entire room set up for you, and I was going to show you around tonight, but I don’t know how long this is going to last. I guess I could leave you here in the archival room. You’d probably figure out my system fast enough.”
Matt glanced around the library. Most of the lights were off, letting only natural light flood the carpeted floors and well-worn stacks that held innumerable books. If there were any patrons lingering, they were well-hidden.
There were certainly worse fates than being locked along in a library, but he could think of better ones, too. “Could I come with you?”
It sounded ridiculous as soon as he said it. Surely emergencies didn’t require tagalongs. Still, his bear said, Excellent thinking, and Matthew’s mother had always taught him that no one could say yes, if you didn’t ask.
A thoughtful light came into Sarah’s dark eyes. “We could use more people…”
“Have I just offered myself as a new member of the volunteer fire brigade?”
“No.” Sarah got her pen and finished her poster, then looked up with a fierce smile. “Although that can be arranged, if you want. We always need more firefighters.”
Matt, awed, said, “Are you one?”
“Only in a real emergency. All right, let’s go.” She marched out from behind the checkout counter and Matthew almost bit his knuckles. Her 1950s vibe didn’t end with the shirt. She wore high-waisted, high-water blue jeans with big cuffs and a double row of buttons on the flat panel face of them. The only thing missing from her pinup ensemble was a pair of red heels that matched the shirt. Instead she wore sturdy brown leather boots.
Actually, Matt thought, the boots still worked with the pinup vibe. It just made her a bit more Rosie the Riveter instead of Rita Hayworth.
It didn’t matter what kind of emergency she was taking him to. Any woman who made him think dreamily of pinups should be followed to the ends of the earth, if necessary.
His bear said, Yes, contentedly, and urged Matt to fall in behind Sarah as she left the library. He didn’t know if the jeans were custom made—he’d never seen anything like them in a department store, for sure—but they fit her hips and butt and thighs magnificently. He was so busy admiring her that he nearly tripped on the library steps when she stopped and turned to lock the door, and he was certain he was blushing when she looked back at him to ask, “Did you drive?”
“Yes?” Matthew wasn’t sure where the question had come from. Virtue was a small town without a local airport, and flying a summer’s worth of stuff into Syracuse seemed like more trouble than driving it up from Florida, where he’d been most recently working. “Should I not have? Are there hard limits on how many people get to own cars in Virtue?”
Sarah paused with a perplexed, amused look curving her mouth. “No, although I’m trying to get a more robust public transportation system in place. I was trying to ask if you had a car or if you wanted to ride with me.”
“Oh, I’ll ride with you!” Matthew cleared his throat, and, trying to sound less like an over-eager puppy, said, “If that’s all right. You can tell me something about Virtue, and the archival project?”
Over-eager cub. His bear sniffed disdainfully. Bears aren’t puppies.
Oso, Matthew asked, trying not to sound annoyed, would you know what I meant if I said ‘bear puppy’?
His bear sniffed again, as if insulted. It clearly didn’t want to answer, which meant it would, in fact, understand. Okay then, Matthew said. Don’t quibble over the details. Especially when I’m trying to talk to a beautiful woman!
The bear, with a long put-upon sigh, settled down, leaving Matt with the distinct impression that it thought he would do much worse talking to Sarah without its guidance.
Sarah had walked him over to a vintage pickup truck, as red as her shirt, while he’d been arguing with his bear. Matthew almost wanted to call it ‘rattletrap’, but it was in perfect, well-maintained condition. It was just from the 1950s. “I can talk your ear off,” she promised, “but the danger is you might get stuck out on the edge of nowhere with me and a bunch of other rabble-rousers until who-knows-when tonight, if you don’t drive yourself. If you’re okay with that, climb on in.”
Matthew could think of nothing in the world he’d be more okay with. “Sign me up.”
Chant, Zoe. Librarian Bear (Virtue Shifters Book 2). Kindle Locations (150-201). Kindle Edition.
Now the source of the emergency was a Real Estate Development company trying to get a bit ahead of the eminent domain to develop the land. This leads Sarah and Matt on a hunt for documents that have apparently disappeared.
Suspense, intrigue, laughter, romance, and sizzle surround this quest. With Matt’s Bear providing a fun side conversation the whole way.