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Dragons and Cupcakes – Shifters and Sweets Book 2 by Zoe Chant


Dragons and Cupcakes
Shifters and Sweets Book 2
By
Zoe Chant

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

Dragon shifter Caleb’s only hope of breaking his family’s devastating bad luck curse is an ancient, badly burned parchment. The incredibly useful surviving directions are as follows:

1. Find —– ome of the Aurum Lacu———
2. Prep——— caref———-
3. BEWARE! If not —————- DEATH ————— HORROR BEYOND IMAGINING

That, and a clue leading him to a small town called Girdwood Springs, are all he has to go on.

What he hadn’t counted on finding in his search was a beautiful, determined woman… who just happens to be his fated mate. And who has just busted him committing what might technically be considered trespassing.

What else could possibly go wrong?

With a property developer seeking to raze her beloved forest to the ground, ranger Kira has enough on her plate already. And now, to top it all off, some smoking hot guy with zero camping knowledge and an inability to read signs saying DO NOT ENTER has apparently decided to go on a strange scavenger hunt in her forest.

Obviously, it’s in her best interest that she personally escorts this oddly charming weirdo around the area. Helps him pitch a tent. Shares a cup of coffee with him. Confides her fears about the forest’s future to him. Falls head over heels, in more ways than one.

Together, with a little skill and a lot of courage and some fated mate destiny, maybe they can turn their luck around.

Caleb is traveling to Girdwood Springs to search for the cure for his cursed family. Someone each generation has manifested the curse and he is the one in his. Cursed centuries ago, with bad luck and now no one knows why or has the ability to reverse it. All he has is a burned parchment that he needs to interpret correctly. There’s a huge warning sort of spelled out on the parchment.

He figures he’s looking for some sort of golden artifact in the Girdwood Springs Forest, since Aurum means gold in Latin. Of course, his car breaks down and with no cell phone service he walks up the mountain to the town.

Girdwood Springs Forest has its own issues with the protective trust expiring and Kira Dearborn, who is a ranger there, is feeling the pressure with Tongle & Heit Property Developments’ people tromping through like they already own it. The thing is the trust was supposed to be for perpetuity but somehow the will and paperwork stating that has gone missing.

Kira starts her workday thinking about everything that is happening, and her run ins with the head honcho of Tongle & Heit she starts checking trails, beginning with one already closed. It’s here she runs into Caleb, and she thinks he’s working for Tongle & Heit.

This is a favorite scene.

The forest here truly was beautiful – the deep green cedars and the fall leaves of the smaller trees, the bright, clear blue sky, the mountains rising in the distance. Caleb had been a city dragon all his life, but he was starting to see why so many dragons still chose to stay in their ancestral homes in the mountains, refusing to join the modern world. The natural beauty of places like this simply couldn’t be denied.

I’d love to shift and unfurl my wings in a place like this, Caleb thought. He’d been tempted to do something like that this morning, even though he knew it wasn’t really possible so close to a human town. One hiker he hadn’t noticed, and bam – he’d be all over every conspiracy theory website in the country. Which wasn’t a huge problem, as such, since most humans would just assume it was a hoax. But it was so embarrassing – having to go back home and look like the latest idiot who hadn’t been careful enough while shifting. It had happened to his cousin Roland once, and he hadn’t lived it down for years.

Interestingly enough, as he spoke of the beauty of the place, Caleb noticed the woman’s face softening. He could tell by her uniform that she was a park ranger, so he supposed it made sense that she’d love this place – and he really couldn’t fault her for yelling at him, she’d only been doing her job.

“It is beautiful,” she said, her voice softer, before she bit her lip, residual suspicion crossing her face. “And… you’re really not from Tongle & Heit Developments?”

“Huh. No, I can definitely say I’m not,” Caleb said, shaking his head. Hearing those names was something he definitely hadn’t expected. Tongle & Heit were one of the largest dragon-owned corporations in the world, created when two already powerful dragon clans had merged.

They were known to be rapacious and ruthless – but then, that was simply their dragon natures. Getting between a dragon and something it wanted for its hoard was always a bad idea, and not all dragons had seen a reason to temper those instincts, even if they otherwise had joined the modern world of humans.

But why on earth have Tongle & Heit Developments been sniffing around here, of all places? Caleb wondered.

“But you know that name,” the woman said. “So you know what they’re up to.”

Caleb shook his head. “I’m sorry, I really don’t – I’m familiar with the company name, though. Who isn’t?”

“Well, that’s true,” the woman said, a little grudgingly. “They’re a big company.”

Ask her for her name, Caleb’s dragon hissed suddenly. She is our mate, and we are standing here making small talk! This is not the dragon way!

Caleb shushed it, but, he realized, he really did want to know her name. The tag on her uniform shirt read Dearborn – and Caleb quickly had to dart his eyes away, in case he got caught looking at the full, luscious swell of her breast beneath it.

“Uh, sorry, my name’s Caleb Tanner,” he blurted out. “What’s yours?”

Well, now Ms. Dearborn was looking at him a little strangely again. But he supposed it wasn’t strictly necessary for him to know her given name – not to mention it was a kind of abrupt change of topic.

“It’s Kira Dearborn,” she said, a little slowly, still looking at him with narrowed eyes. “Or Ranger Dearborn, since I’m at work. And look, as much as I appreciate your apology, you really shouldn’t be here right now. It’s not safe, between the rains and the… the increased foot traffic recently. So I’ll have to ask you to come back with me now, and I’ll try to recommend a different track so you can still enjoy your hike.”

Kira – or Ranger Dearborn, if she preferred – began to turn away, leading him back up the trail. Caleb wondered if he should try to chat to her a bit to make up for his earlier bad impression – perhaps if he made himself agreeable now, she’d change his opinion of him as a gatecrashing boor.

Plus, I’m really not in either the Tongle or the Heit clans. Perhaps she’s had some trouble with them? Does she know about dragons and other shifters after all?

Her having heard of Tongle & Heit Developments didn’t tell him much, though – it operated in the open, and its only secret was that it was dragon-owned. But the powerful Dragon Council had set down rules for dragons who wanted to run businesses in the human world, and Rule Number One was that they had to abide by human laws. Some dragons didn’t like that – but if they didn’t respect the laws that humans had set down, then the Dragon Council was always willing to make sure its own laws were enforced. Harshly, if necessary.

“Have you had some issue with that development company?” Caleb asked, as together they made their way back up the twisting trail. Kira seemed very sure-footed as she walked – perhaps her slip had just been a little bad luck. The kind of thing he’d usually be afflicted by. Perhaps he should have been thanking his lucky stars he hadn’t slipped over in front of her, and ended up in her arms. Not that he would have been complaining about that exactly, but it probably would have only compounded her first impression that he was… well, kind of an idiot.

Kira glanced over her shoulder at him. “Yeah, you could say that – they want to buy up all this forested land and bulldoze it, and turn it into a mall complex and holiday resort. They’ve been tramping up and down the mountain for weeks, ruining the trails and stomping all over the place as if they already own it. As you can imagine, I’m not a huge fan of theirs.”

“No, I can see why you might not be,” Caleb agreed, looking around the forest again. The thought of so much beauty being lost made his heart ache.

There is nothing those villains will not seek to spoil, his dragon said, smoke rising from its nostrils. You know it’s true. We should seek them out, and challenge them on our mate’s behalf. Show her how a dragon defends what belongs to its mate.

Caleb shook his head, pushing the dragon’s thoughts down. Fighting a dragon duel was out of the question for any number of reasons – not least because with his luck, he’d end up crashing into a mountainside and losing the fight before it even began.

“But I can tell you now, I definitely don’t have anything to do with them. I didn’t even know they had plans out here,” Caleb continued, once he’d shushed his dragon into submission. “Let’s just say I’m not that surprised, though.”

“The land is protected – for now,” Kira said, as they crested a small rise, and the cabin Caleb had seen on his way in came into view. “But at the end of the month that’ll all be over. The land is supposed to be willed to the township in trust for at least ninety-nine years, but the will that places it in trust has gone missing. And without that, the land is up for grabs.”

Caleb could hear the pain throbbing in her voice, and he heard an answering pain growing in his own chest. But then, that was part and parcel of the bond – her pain was his pain.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” he said, meaning it. “Is there any chance anyone can do anything? The will might not be able to be found, but if someone else buys the land –”

“Who has deeper pockets than a massive property development company?” Kira asked, turning back to him with a shrug. Despite her defeated words, Caleb could see burning anger in her beautiful hazel eyes. “That’s what decides things, right? Whoever has the most money. And I don’t think anyone’s going to come along who’d be willing to try to outbid Tongle & Heit, even if they could.”

Caleb grimaced. As much as he wanted to argue with Kira, he knew there was truth in what she was saying. Anything he could say would just sound like a platitude – well, it would be a platitude.

We must not give up when our mate requires our services. If we do not even attempt to help her, then we have no right to think ourselves worthy of her, his dragon snarled. There must be a way.

Swallowing, Caleb wanted to believe it was right. But while his family wasn’t exactly poor, there was no way he could ask them for that kind of money. They simply didn’t have it. And with his luck… well, he was more likely to accidentally burn the forest down than save it.

“Anyway, I’m sorry about all that – we do have a fundraiser for a legal effort to challenge the sale of the land, if you’re interested in donating,” Kira continued. “So we’re not completely powerless. We can at least tie them up for a little while longer.”

“That sounds like a great idea,” Caleb said. “Any time you can keep them at bay is useful, right? If it gives you more time to find that will.”

Kira nodded. “Yeah. But it might be just wishful thinking. The last place anyone saw that will was in a small archive building by the town hall. Which burned down a couple of years ago.”

Burned down…?

Caleb blinked. That… sounded just a little suspicious to him. And to his dragon as well, if the way it suddenly raised its head and narrowed its glowing eyes was anything to go by.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Caleb asked it, as he followed Kira to the cabin.

It sounds to me as if those scoundrels have had their eye on this land for some time, his dragon replied.

The more Caleb heard, the more determined he became to help Kira out. But before he did that, he knew he had to get his curse lifted. He’d just be more hindrance than help right now.
Chant, Zoe. Dragons and Cupcakes. Kindle Locations (281-349). Kindle Edition.

So now instead of just one goal, Caleb has two. First break the curse then find the proof to stop Tongle & Heit.

A few incidents in and Caleb knows he has to divulge everything to Kira including the fact he’s a dragon. When he shows her what’s left of the directions to reverse the curse, she knows exactly what he’s looking for and where to find it. He will also have to enlist the help of Silvie and Gale.

Fun, adventurous, intriguing and a dragon with a one track mind, Mate!

5 Contented Purrs for Zoe!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

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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Unicorns and Honey Cakes – Shifters and Sweets Book 1 by Zoe Chant


Unicorns and Honey Cakes
Shifters and Sweets Book 1
By
Zoe Chant

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

Everything is coming up roses.
Way too many roses.

Gale has a problem. A really thorny problem.

He can’t touch anything made of wood without it bursting into bloom… which is inconvenient, to say the least. Clearly, his unicorn is cranky about something – Gale just wishes he knew what.

In the meantime, being cursed with the world’s most annoying green thumb is making it pretty much impossible to continue working as a sous chef. Maybe a relaxing trip into the mountains will be enough to soothe his sullen unicorn.

After years of hard work, Sylvie’s dream has finally come true: she’s opened her own bakery in her sleepy little hometown, and her signature dishes are selling like… well, hotcakes. That is, until the flashy new bakery down the road opens up – and they’re not only stealing her customers, but her recipes as well.

When the hottest guy she’s ever seen walks through her door, Sylvie knows there’s something special about him… but a gorgeous guy coming in to buy her cakes is hardly going help her save her business. Right?

Gale MacEwan’s unicorn has become extremely ornery. If Gale touches anything natural flowers grow, lots of flowers.

He’s decided to go to the mountains to spend some time with nature all around. Hoping this would calm his unicorn. Right now, he’s hungry and looking for a place to eat that won’t out his out-of-control gift of growth.

The one he finds, serves him the best chili dog and fries he’s had in a long time and for some reason the woman who served him seems to know he’s a chef. Not questioning it, he also makes note of her recommendation to check out Sylvie’s Sweets and Bakery and not the ‘other’ bakery.

Sylvie Taylor has a problem. The new bakery in town Johnson’s Pies and Bakery seems to get her newly created recipes before she can launch them. No one seems to know anything about the owner and all the workers are out of towners, easy to spot in a small town like Girdwood Springs.

Sylvie needs to figure out how they are getting the jump on her ideas. She’s sure it isn’t Emily, her apprentice, she’s been here from the start.

Gale does stop at Sylvie’s bakery and is pleasantly surprised in more ways than one.

This is a favorite scene.

“Well, it looks and smells delicious,” Gale said honestly. He wondered why Sylvie was so nervous – and why, with goods like these, her bakery was empty of customers besides him. This place should be bustling! Maybe it was busier in the mornings? The display case seemed to be a little too full for that, though – he’d had his pick of cakes and tarts. But perhaps it had just been restocked, in the expectation of more customers looking for something sweet after lunch?

Either way, it was clear Sylvie was giving him her full attention. She hovered at the table a moment, before she flapped her hands a little, shaking her head.

“Sorry! I don’t mean to stare at you while you eat! I’ll – I’ll just leave you to it and go heat up the apple rose.”

Gale watched her go as she made her way back behind the counter, picking out an apple rose before taking it out the back to heat up. She was hard not to look at.

Sighing, Gale turned his attention back to his tart – which was also tempting, though in a very different way. He was so eager to taste it that he didn’t notice that the handle of the little fork Sylvie had given him to eat with was made of carved wood until he’d almost touched it, and he jerked his hand back as if he’d touched a burning hot pan.

He wondered if he should just ask Sylvie for another one, but she still hadn’t reappeared from out the back of the bakery yet.

Oh, well, he thought, picking up the tart with his fingers. It was pretty small, and he’d been told he had big hands. He shouldn’t make too much of a mess eating it like this.

He closed his eyes as he lifted the tart to his mouth, taking a bite.

Oh. Oh my God. I think I might have died and gone to Heaven.

The baked tart was just that good.

Gale chewed, letting the flavors roll through his mouth. The pine nuts gave the tart a soft, mellow taste that was balanced by the sweetness of the honey and richness of the butter. Gale had tasted a lot of desserts in his time, but this had to be one of the most delicious. It wasn’t just the combination of the butter, pine nuts and honey that made this so good, though – there was something else there too, something he couldn’t quite put his finger on –

“Is it good?”

His eyes sprang open at the sound of Sylvie’s voice. She was standing behind the counter again, blinking, her teeth worrying at her lower lip.

Gale nodded, still chewing, the tart soft and gooey in his mouth.

“It’s amazing,” he said once he’d swallowed. “You said you’d added your own twist – what is it? There’s something in there I can’t quite pin down.”

A pink flush suffused Sylvie’s face as she broke out into a grin. Gale was utterly charmed as he watched it spreading across her cheeks and down her throat. Clearly, Sylvie was someone who wore her heart on her sleeve, every emotion she felt plain to see on her face.

“Well, some recipes have lemon zest in them, just for an extra bit of zing,” she said, her words coming out in a rush. “But I use lemon and orange zest, so it has a little bit of a different feel to it. Plus I use orange blossom honey, so it gives it that kind of floral taste. I think it works well, don’t you? I mean, not that I’d tell you what to think or anything like that…”

Sylvie trailed off, blinking, looking as if she’d said something she thought she shouldn’t have, though Gale couldn’t see anything wrong with it.

“Well, whatever you do, it’s clearly working,” he said, looking appreciatively down at the tart in his hand. “Because I could eat one – or ten – of these every day for the rest of my life.”

He took another bite, savoring the taste all over again. It was really amazing, and now that Sylvie had pointed it out, he could taste the orange and lemon zest beneath the sweetness of the honey.

The tart was small enough that it was gone in another two bites – it was rich enough in taste that its petite size was just right. Gale shook his head, still slightly amazed by just how good it had been.

Order another one, his unicorn suggested, with a flick of its tail. You should make sure she knows how much you enjoyed it.

Gale thought he might do just that – though, now that he thought about it, maybe he’d just come back tomorrow. His cabin was only a short drive farther up the mountain, after all, and it’d be a good excuse to come back and see Sylvie again –

“Your apple rose,” Sylvie said, placing it in front of him. The smell that rose up from it was heavenly. Sylvie glanced down at the unused fork by his hand. “Um. Is it dirty? I can get you a new one if there’s something wrong –”

“No, there’s nothing wrong,” Gale said quickly. “I just… like to get in touch with my food. You know. Really get a feel for it.”

What the hell am I saying?! he berated himself, as Sylvie simply blinked at him.

“Oh – well, I’ll get you a spoon anyway. For the ice cream,” she said, reaching behind her for the cutlery tray on the counter. “Here you go.”

The spoon, thankfully, was metal-handled, so Gale had nothing to worry about as he tucked into his apple rose.

It was just as delicious as the pine nut and honey tart had been – the apple was tender and sweet, and again, there was a little something extra beneath the expected nutmeg and cinnamon spice…

“Is that cardamom I taste in there?” Gale asked, looking up at Sylvie.

Sylvie looked surprised. “Yes, it is. Not many people pick it, though.”

“It definitely adds an extra something,” Gale said – and it did. “But then, I love cardamom. I used to put it in my coffee, before I quit drinking it.”

Because it made my unicorn hyperactive, he did not add.

“Oh, well done you for managing to quit,” Sylvie said, laughing. “I can’t get through a morning without it – but then, that’s what four thirty a.m. starts will do for you. The joys of being a baker.”

“Believe me, I get you. Though it was the opposite for me – you work a lot of late nights as a chef.”

“Oh – you’re a chef?” Sylvie blinked, a look of confusion crossing her face. “I thought – ” She shook her head. “But then, that makes total sense. I did think you must have been a chef, before – well, before.”

Gale frowned a little, not sure he understood what she meant. But how had she known he was a chef? Surely not just because he knew what cardamom was. It wasn’t the most common of spices, but it wasn’t exactly unknown, either.

But then, Eula back at the diner somehow knew as well. Maybe somehow it’s just obvious?

“You’re the second person today to guess that,” Gale said, shaking his head. “Did someone stick a sign to my back or something?”

Sylvie’s eyebrows drew together. “Well, Eula from the diner did call me,” she said slowly. “But… I didn’t really think she was… I mean, not until I saw you and I realized…” She trailed off, biting her lip. “I mean, we are talking about the same thing, aren’t we?”

“That… I’m a chef?” Gale said, feeling mystified.

“Oh – yes,” Sylvie said. “But… your other job…”

Gale shook his head. “I’m sorry – I don’t have another job. Not right now, anyway, though in the past I’ve worked at a few different things – handyman, a bit of time on some building sites, and – don’t laugh – I was a night watchman at a cemetery for a little while, but that’s all in the past.”

To his surprise, Sylvie looked a little crestfallen. Maybe it was the cemetery part – mention of cemeteries usually didn’t make people smile.

“Oh,” she said after a moment. “No, I – sorry, I wasn’t really talking about you being a chef. I’m sorry – Eula at the diner said some things to me and I didn’t believe her, but then I saw you, and I guess I let my imagination run away with me…” Sylvie trailed off, shaking her head. “Sorry! Now I’m running my mouth and not making any sense! I’ll just leave you in peace to eat your apple rose. Please just let me know if there’s anything else I can get for you – we do tea and coffee here, too.”

Gale swallowed, his heart pounding. He wasn’t sure why, except that Sylvie was clearly disappointed about something. Plus, he didn’t understand what she meant – what had Eula at the diner said that could have upset her?

Comfort her, his unicorn ordered him imperiously. A lady is perturbed – will you allow her to go without offering her aid?

Of course not, Gale told it, glad Sylvie had turned away and wouldn’t see the scowl that crossed his face. As if he wouldn’t try to find out what had upset her, and help her if he could!

“Sylvie?” he said, standing and reaching out to her, his hand brushing against her shoulder. “Is there something wrong? Did I say something?”

“No, no,” Sylvie said, shaking her head as she turned back to him. “Like I said – I just let my imagination run wild for a second, and got my hopes up.” She hesitated, then laughed lightly. “Well, I may as well tell you, so you can have a little giggle with me. There’s been a rumor going around that a famous food critic is going to pass through town. Have you ever heard of Aubrey Z.?”

“Of course,” Gale said instantly. Everyone in the restaurant business had heard of Aubrey Z. Their reviews were legendary.

“Of course,” Sylvie echoed, nodding. “Well… Eula got it into her head – and, I swear, you’ll laugh – she decided that you must be Aubrey Z., and so when you came in here and seemed to like my stuff so much, I thought, well, maybe a little luck had finally come my way…”

Sylvie sounded so dispirited that there was no way Gale could have laughed at her story. Instead, his heart went out to her.

“I’m sorry, but no, I’m not Aubrey Z.,” he said, as gently as he could. “Though if I could, I’d definitely start a website just to sing the praises of these tarts – they’re seriously the best I’ve ever tasted, and I mean it.”

“Thank you,” Sylvie said softly. “That does actually mean a lot to me. And, uh, thank you for not laughing at me.”

“I would never,” Gale said seriously. Obviously, he’d never laugh at someone who’d just been disappointed, even if the idea of him being Aubrey Z. was kind of weird. He swallowed. He wished there was something he could do to make Sylvie smile again – and he wanted to ask her what bad luck she’d had recently that had made her so hopeful things might be turning around for her.

He wasn’t usually the type to want to pry into someone’s personal business, but there was just something about Sylvie that wasn’t making him act like his usual self, in any respect. He didn’t usually stare at women in helpless awe of their beauty either, but that’s what he’d been doing with Sylvie from the moment he’d arrived!

“Sylvie,” Gale said, not really sure what he was going to say, only that it was something, “I know we only just met, but if there’s anything I can do to help you –”

As he spoke, Gale reached out without really meaning to – and his hand came down on hers where it rested on the table next to the vase of flowers.

Immediately, Gale felt a ripple of electricity flowing right through him – through his fingers, up his arm, and settling in his chest.

As his eyes widened in shock, his unicorn reared up within him, plowing the air with its hooves, its mane shimmering as it flowed out behind it, mouth opening in a forceful cry.

Mine! Mine! Mine! My mate!
Chant, Zoe . Unicorns and Honey Cakes Kindle Locations (350-411). Kindle Edition.

With his unicorn’s declaration that Sylvie is his mate, Gale touches the wooden fork, and it starts to bloom. Fortunately, under the menu where it wouldn’t be seen.

He gets it together as they discuss her treats and the use of unusual spices to create them. When she acknowledges she has a ‘black’ thumb, he confesses to be a gardener of sorts, having much luck creating gardens where nothing would previously thrive.

Now he has an in, but he still has to court her and tell her not only about his unicorn but also that she’s his mate.

Let’s not forget the mystery of the new bakery getting her recipes needs to be solved as well.

This is a fun read, with laughter and a unique solution.

5 Contented Purrs for Zoe!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

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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Dane – Westerly Cove Book 3 by Zoe Chant


Dane
Westerly Cove Book 3
By
Zoe Chant

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

This mysterious island hermit
managed to avoid entanglements …
until she walked into his cabin

With a major storm rolling in, Dane secures his cabin on the island and takes to the ocean in his shifted form of an Orca.

Mira is in trouble, she made a delivery and thought she had time to get safely back home. Now she’s in the middle of it and trying to contact someone, anyone for help. She also knows that even the Coast Guard wouldn’t attempt a rescue in these waters. She’s sure she’s going to die as her boat capsizes.

Dane’s Orca isn’t sure at first what has gotten his attention, he does know that it’s unwise to ignore its senses though. His Orca pushes Mira to a rock that is somewhat scalable and is relieved when she’s able to pull herself up, while he shifts. She does however pass out right after and is unconscious as Dane gets her to his cabin and settled.

Mira wakes before him and sees him asleep on the floor next to the bed. She’s startled and her she tries to remember how she got there. Dane wakes from the scrutiny and immediately introduces himself. It’s a bit awkward at first but they manage to get to the point of him showing her to his facilities to get cleaned up.

When she returns to the cabin, Dane has opened it up and was clearing some of the storm’s debris, outside.

This is a favorite scene.

She found Dane out in the yard. To her regret, he had put a shirt on, red and blue plaid, identical to her borrowed one. He had left it unbuttoned with the sleeves rolled up, so it served more to accentuate the flat planes of his chest and stomach than to hide them. He had washed the salt out of the rest of her clothes in a bucket of water and draped them over some branches to dry in the sun. When she arrived, he was dragging the pine tree out of the way of the door.

Mira stopped and stared. She had guessed that he was strong, but she hadn’t expected he was that strong. It wasn’t a huge tree, none of the trees on the island grew very tall, but it was definitely a full-grown tree and he was dragging it like it weighed nothing.

Seeing her, he stopped in mid-drag and just stood there for a moment, looking at her. She had the same feeling she’d had back in the cabin, as if he was absolutely captivated with her. Mira had no idea what he could possibly be looking at, since she was wearing borrowed clothes with straggling wet hair that hadn’t seen a touch of shampoo or conditioner.

“Hi there!” she said brightly. “Your shower is great. I love it.”

Dane let the tree fall with a crash at the edge of the yard. “It’s not much.”

“No, but it’s incredibly charming.” She ran her fingers through her hair in lieu of a comb. “I feel much better.”

“Do you want lunch?”

Her stomach immediately decided that it was a hollow cave that had never been fed ever in its entire life. “Yes,” she said enthusiastically.

Dane rinsed pine sap off his hands in the laundry bucket and led the way inside.

He had been busy, she discovered. The bed was neatly fixed, and he had uncovered a window over the table, which she hadn’t even noticed before, flooding the cabin with bright sunlight that brought out the warm golden glow of the natural wood colors. The table was fixed up with a chair on one side, a crate to sit on at the other, and two plates and cups. The cabin smelled wonderfully of coffee, perking in an old-fashioned coffeepot on the stove, and of hot bread.

“It’s just stovetop biscuits and camp food,” Dane said.

“That sounds amazing.”

It actually was. Dane dished up the two plates with beef macaroni, probably cooked up from a freeze-dried mix, but in her current state of hunger she would have been ready to eat pine needle soup, and this was full of rich salty flavor. The biscuits were perfect, crumbly and hot and fresh, with butter that Dane said he kept cool in the spring water.

Mira wolfed down two helpings and licked her spoon clean. Two cups of strong black coffee helped clear the remaining cobwebs from her mind.

Dane hadn’t spoken while they ate, just got up to get her more of anything she wanted as if he was reading her mind. There were a couple of moments when she wondered nervously if he could read her mind, but then she realized that it was simply because he was extremely attuned to the tiniest changes in the environment around him. She could see it in his constant vigilance, the way that his intelligent gaze took in everything, his face registering tiny changes of expression as he catalogued everything that he saw.

It was a quality she had seen before in people who worked closely with their environments: soldiers, pilots, hunters, fishermen. People like that became intimately aware of their surroundings for survival’s sake. It was a quality Mira had always found very appealing.

“Are you a veteran?” she asked as he collected the plates.

His reaction was a subtle flinch and freeze, so low-key that she wouldn’t have noticed it if she hadn’t, she realized, started to become as attuned to his tiny tells as he was to hers. The plates in his hands gave a brief clatter.

“There’s no need to tell me if it’s too personal,” she said quickly. “I am, you see. I was a pilot for the U.S. Army, flying helicopters. I came north to Canada after my discharge to stay with a cousin in Labrador and fell in love with the coast up here. All of this was years ago now, but I wondered if we had that in common, that’s all.”

Dane hesitated, not quite looking at her. Then he said, very briefly, “Yes. I am.” The way he clipped off the words seemed to close off the topic like snipping a piece of thread.

“Can I help you with the dishes?” Mira offered as a deliberate change of subject.

The tension in his shoulders relaxed a little. “Yes,” he said. “Thank you. After that, I need to check storm damage on the rest of the island.”

“May I come with you? I’d like to see more of your island and perhaps look for some of my things as well.”

“Your things?” he asked.

“Yes, from my boat.” It was disconcerting to talk about it in this bright, sunlit cabin, with the storm seeming to belong to some past country that she no longer visited. She tried not to let the thought of the sunken Merrylegs dampen her mood. All her things, dragged to the bottom of the sea … “I’m hoping some of my stuff might have floated ashore.”

“We don’t have much shore,” Dane said. “But I’ll show you.”

They went out into the sunshine. Mira guessed it was early afternoon, the air warm and balmy despite the brisk sea breeze. The sky was flecked with small, fluffy clouds, as pure white as the fleece of a flock of windborne sheep. It was even more difficult to think about the storm’s towering waves and ice-cold wind in this mild weather, with the sun warming her shoulders and drying her hair.

Dane carried the dishes with him as they walked down a winding forest path toward where Mira could hear waves pounding on rocks. “I wash the dishes in the sea,” he explained. “Salt is a good sterilizer. And then I rinse it off at the spring. That way there are no scraps up at the springhead to attract gulls or other scavengers.”

“That seems very sensible. Do you have animals on the island other than sea birds?”

“A few,” Dane said. “There are some mice and squirrels, and hawks and other small predators that prey on them. Nothing big. The island really isn’t big enough for deer and things.”

They reached the water’s edge, and she saw what he meant about the lack of a shore. It was all rocks here, without anything that could properly be called a beach. Dane crouched on a rock with graceful balance and leaned over to dip the plates in the water, rinsing them.

It looked like a one-person job after all, so Mira walked out to the end of the rocks, picking her way with care since some of them were covered in treacherous, foot-trapping seaweed. She shaded her eyes with her hands and looked for any floating debris that might have come from her boat.

She could see immediately how hopeless it was. The ocean stretched glittering and sunstruck for miles in every direction, a brilliant wind-ruffled plain fading into the blue sky at the horizon. She could see a couple of other rocky islands far off, but nothing else, no sign of the mainland or any large body of land.

It was starting to strike her how close she had come to death. There was no way that she could have survived long enough to float all the way to land in the wind and the waves, and no way that a rescue vessel could have navigated those seas to pick her up.

So how did Dane get to me, anyway?

She turned to look at him. Crouching on the rocks in his bright red-and-blue shirt, with his hair loose and unbound, he looked like he was modeling for a photo. She found herself wishing she had a camera, although that, like everything else, had gone to the bottom of the sea with Merrylegs.

Her memories of the storm were jumbled, but she didn’t think they were completely false. The first clear memory she had of Dane was of him catching her as she fainted on the shore. He had been absolutely naked, unless her dazed mind had made that part up.
Chant, Zoe. Dane (Westerly Cove Book 3) Kindle Locations (348-409). Kindle Edition.

This is only the beginning and Dane finds he has to open up to her, she’s his mate after all. He just doesn’t realize how much danger they both were in until it’s too late.

I love the way this tale unfolds, with plenty of angst, secrets revealed, and of course the romance within all the turmoil.

I really hope Zoe writes more of Westerly Cove I’d love for Tor and Eren’s sister Inga to find her mate as well.

5 Contented Purrs for Zoe!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

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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Eren – Westerly Cove Book 2 by Zoe Chant


Eren
Westerly Cove Book 2
By
Zoe Chant

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A beautiful stowaway pursued by trouble, and a protective bear shifter who would do anything to keep her safe!

We meet Lucy Copeland as she’s in the process of getting away from her uncle. Apparently, he wants her to sign some papers and she’s refused. Now he’s having her taken somewhere, she just has no clue where that might be. As they’re about to land she does her ‘thing’ where she blends in with her surroundings, in the lavatory. She manages to escape through the emergency exit and just starts running. The road leads to a dock and she jumps on one with large crates that is leaving.

The men after her weren’t just men they’re shifters, two tigers a wolf and a bear and she was lucky to get away from them as quickly as she did.

Eren in the meantime is fighting with the trash griffins. They are cat sized with a seagull front and a raccoon back that is attacking his lunch. He has errands to run in St John’s and no time for these creatures. As he finishes the shopping list, he runs into his sister Inga and sister-in-law Bernie. Inga starts snooping and he gets out of her inquisition with a bit of a lie. The story of who the supplies are for is not his story to tell.

Lucy finds getting off the boat she was on easier than expected. She comes to the realization that she has no money and no clothes other than what she’s wearing. As she wanders around, she sees a tourist shop, the hats and t-shirts proclaimed St John’s, Newfoundland. She does run into the kindness of a woman who gives her donuts, a bottle of water and the location of a shelter. When she sees one of her uncle’s men she knows she has to get away again. She makes her way back to the docks and makes the wise choice of hiding on board the Codfather, Eren’s family boat.

As Eren leaves St. John’s behind, he senses he’s not alone on the boat. When he hears a noise below, he investigates and what he finds is a big surprise in more ways than one.

This is a favorite scene.

“Let me go!” she yelled, struggling. In his attempt to contain her, Eren stumbled into the wall and bashed his head on the ceiling, which was low enough that he generally had to duck.

“Whoa, hey, I’m not going to hurt you! I’m just trying to stop you from hurting yourself—or me. There’s nowhere to go out there, just water.” She was starting to relax in his arms, though it was the tense kind of relaxation that suggested she might be gearing up for another fight. “If I put you down, will you relax a little? This is my family’s fishing boat. I just want to talk.”

“Okay,” she said after a moment.

Eren carefully set her down. He was prepared to stop her if she tried to make another break for it—he didn’t want to have to fish her out of the sea—but she stayed where she was, and as the light coming down the stairs from the pilothouse fell across her face, he got a look at her for the first time.

She was beautiful.

She was a slim, gorgeous Black woman looking up at him with wide dark eyes. In the shaft of sunlight from the stairway, they were shot with subtle hints of gray and green. Agate eyes, full of hidden depths.

There was a smudge of dirt beside her mouth that he had a sudden urge to wipe away.

She looked about his age, somewhere in her mid-twenties. She also looked way, way out of his league. She was the kind of classy that he not only wouldn’t expect to find on a fishing boat, but in Newfoundland, period. She looked like she ought to be on TV. Her hair was done up in some kind of fancy style he didn’t know the name of. She wore a low-cut pink blouse with ruffles that was kind of rumpled and dirty, like she’d been wearing it for a while, but also looked extremely stylish and expensive. Her artistically ripped tights and strappy shoes were the same way. Underneath it all, she was lush and female and gorgeous, and she smelled amazing.

His bear was suddenly fascinated and still in a way that it never was.

She was looking at him like he was something wild—and like she was as fascinated with him as he was with her.

“Hi,” he said, and tried to get some breath back. “Hi, uh, I’m Eren. Eren Nilsson. This is my boat. I mean, my family’s boat. Who are you?”

The vision of lush, curvy female beauty frowned a little. “I don’t think I should tell you that.”

“Just your first name, maybe? I need something to call you.”

She worried at her lower lip nervously before she said, “Lucy.”

The name fell on his ears like bells and birdsong. “That’s a beautiful name,” he said before he could stop himself.

Lucy took a step back. “Okay, buddy, don’t make this weird.”

“Right,” Eren muttered. “Yeah, so—I guess you’re not going to tell me why you’re here?”

She didn’t answer for a moment, then she said, “I don’t want trouble. I can just leave.”

“There’s nowhere to go. We’re in the middle of the ocean.”

“Oh.”

He made a decision. She might not have been invited, but she was definitely a guest, and probably the most stunning guest this boat had ever seen. “You want a drink? I was just coming down to get myself something.”

“You found me stowing away on your boat and you’re going to offer me a drink?”

“You look like you could use one.”

She honestly looked like she had been through Hell, but he didn’t want to ask quite yet. Not until he gained her trust a little more.

He couldn’t risk messing this up. He had a hard time telling for sure, because his bear was being weird and cagy as usual, but he thought this gorgeous woman might be his mate.

He had always thought you’d be sure. That was what it sounded like from the way everyone talked about it. Tor had said he knew the minute he laid eyes on Bernadette, although he hadn’t told the family for a while because of the whole stoic big brother thing he had going on.

Maybe the uncertainty was just because of Eren and his fucked-up bear.

But one thing he could do was give her a drink. His bear seemed to like that idea, probably the first thing it had liked in years. Eren went down to one knee in front of the fridge.

“So it looks like we have bottled water and—well, bottled water, mostly, except for the fizzy shit my brother likes to put in here.”

“What fizzy ‘shit’?” she asked, leaning over his shoulder. She said it very carefully, as if she wasn’t used to swearing. Her hand was almost brushing his arm. He was acutely aware of her warmth; it made the skin tingle all down his arm.

“Oh, it’s this orange cream soda my brother likes.”

“I’ll take one of those, please,” she said, brightening.

As soon as he popped the top off the soda and handed it to her, she downed half the bottle.

“Whoa, slow down there.”

“Sorry,” she gasped out, and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. She took a deep breath. “Thank you. That’s very good. I was thirsty.”

That was evident. He was abruptly flooded with adrenaline as his bear had a sudden, overwhelming urge to find whoever had scared her this much and tear them apart. He wanted to take her gorgeous body in his arms and never let anything hurt her ever again.

“Is something wrong?” she asked.

Eren had frozen with the need to wrestle his bear back under control. It didn’t want to hurt her; he could tell already that his bear would never harm a hair on her head, or allow her to come to harm. But there was no way he could explain that to her. He just had to be as nonthreatening as possible, to the extent that he could manage it when he was twice her size and they were on his boat.

“Sorry, just thinking about things,” he said. “If it’s been a while since you ate anything substantial, I have some sandwiches. You want one?”

Her eyes lit up.

Soon he had her sitting up top in the pilothouse on one of the benches along the wall, wrapped in a spare flannel shirt because that pretty pink blouse definitely didn’t look warm enough for the open sea, with a sandwich in one hand and the creme soda in the other. Eren throttled the boat back up to speed, although not too fast because he didn’t want to rattle her around while she was eating.

“So I guess it’s obvious someone scared you,” he said after a little while, when she didn’t volunteer any information.

TEAR THEM LIMB FROM LIMB!

Thanks, bear, that is disgusting and also not helpful.

“I can’t talk about it,” she said so softly he could barely hear her.

“Do you need help?”

“I don’t think you can help me,” she said, huddling in on herself.

TEAR THEM APART AND EAT THEIR—

Thank you, bear, that’ll be enough.

“If someone’s after you, I can take you back to my hometown,” he said. “You’ll be safe there.”

“No offense, but—” She paused, and then said, “I appreciate the offer very much, but I don’t think anywhere is safe.”

“I’m serious. No one will hurt you in Westerly Cove. No one can hurt you there.”

Lucy frowned, her agate eyes clouding. “What in the world is that supposed to mean?”

How much to tell her? How much could he tell her? Eren wasn’t even sure if he himself believed the stories that Westerly Cove was protected with defensive magic in its gargoyle statues; no one who posed a threat to any of its residents could cross the town’s borders. Big brother Tor swore up and down that it was true, and also said that there was more to it than Eren or anyone else in town knew—but he refused to say more, claiming it wasn’t his secret to tell.

Eren understood about having secrets.

“Look,” he said, backing off from giving her the full explanation. The entire “our town is protected by lucky gargoyles” story was just going to make him sound like a lunatic. “I’m going to keep you safe, no matter what. If someone comes looking for you, I’ll make sure they don’t hurt you.”

Lucy crossed her legs at the ankles and leaned back against the wall, looking at him with the wary, defensive expression of someone who had been hurt in the past. “Why would you help me?”

Another thing he couldn’t explain; he wasn’t going to drop the true-mates explanation on her without warning either. “Because you need help,” he tried. “And it’s how I was raised. If people need help, here on the island, we help them.”

She let out a huffing breath and leaned her head against the wall.

“You’re not being followed right now, are you? I mean, they don’t have some way of tracking you?”

Lucy made a show of looking around at the bright ocean all around them. “How would they?”

“Just checking.” He could think of ways. The seagulls overhead could be shifters spying on them.

But it was possible to get too paranoid. And he had a very important errand to run. He wasn’t planning to go all the way back to Westerly Cove with all these groceries.

“Look, Lucy, I have to go somewhere before I go home, all right? And I need to swear you to absolute secrecy. No one else knows about this. You can’t tell anyone. It’s a huge secret.”

“You’d trust me with your secrets?” she asked, puzzled. “We’ve only just met. And, I mean, you found me stowed away on your boat.”

“I know. But yes, I trust you. And also,” he added, “I don’t have a choice. I mean, I could put you off on the shore—”

“No!”

“So you have to come along. Just don’t tell anyone what you’re about to see. It’s important.”

“Okay,” she said after a moment, looking at him. “I promise.”

Eren turned back to the boat’s controls before he could fall into her eyes. He had a feeling that he was likely to keep falling forever.
Chant, Zoe. Eren (Westerly Cove Book 2) Kindle Locations (466-546). Kindle Edition.

Eren finds himself with his mate and no way to tell her that without her losing trust.

It’s in this book we meet Dane. He lives on Dead Man’s Island in what is referred to as a fisherman’s shack but is really a well-built log cabin. Lucy and Dane immediately trust each other, they both have secrets and that’s a relief to Eren who was nervous about revealing Dane’s presence on the island.

Once back in Westerly Cove Lucy meets Eren’s family and Inga takes her under her wing. The ‘Trash Griffins’ in town love Lucy. especially the ‘Trash Griffins’.

Lucy really fits in here, she just doesn’t know how much. We find out what she actually is, and we learn Eren’s story and Dane’s as well since they are intertwined.

I loved this book, it made laugh, cry, sigh and there’s plenty of sizzle too.

5 Contented Purrs for Zoe!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

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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Tor – Westerly Cove Book 1 by Zoe Chant


Tor
Westerly Cove Book 1
By
Zoe Chant

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

Grieving artist Bernie has one thing left to love: her awful cat Pennywise. Everything else was left behind when she ran across an entire continent to escape the tragedy that destroyed her life. In this beautiful fishing town, she hopes to rebuild her shattered heart surrounded by the solitude and splendor of the wild Canadian coast.

By her second day in Westerly Cove, someone is trying to kill her, the lighthouse she just moved into appears to be haunted, and if the killer and the ghosts don’t get her, then her demon cat is going to wreck her social life (not to mention her backseat, and the curtains, and the groceries).

And the most gorgeous man she’s ever seen just walked into her lighthouse.

Big, burly, gruff bear shifter Tor is a born protector who has spent his life taking care of his rowdy, unruly family. But what he truly craves is a den and a mate of his own.

Then a beautiful, wounded woman moves into the lighthouse on the point.

The moment Tor lays eyes on her, he knows that she’s his fated mate.

And he would do anything to keep her safe—whether that’s unmasking a killer, solving a ghostly mystery, or even learning to love her truly unbearable cat.

Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Grady has purchased a decommissioned lighthouse and the surrounding property. The town of Westerly Cove was very relieved when she purchased it, there had been a very aggressive realty company want to buy it and turn it into a tourist attraction. Something they definitely didn’t want with all the shifters residing here.

It was the perfect place for her and her demon cat Pennywise. I have to admit I chuckled the whole way through the description of said cat. The fact he destroyed a few carriers on the way to Newfoundland regardless of the touts of being indestructible was in itself hilarious. The isolation of the lighthouse is just what Bernie wanted and there was sure to be a perfect room for her to set up as a studio for her artwork. She was hoping to live in the lighthouse itself but discovered she’d need to do some renovation first.

Torvald and his family are polar bear shifters, they actually have their house situated on the pier with a hatch inside the house so they can shift and slip into the water unnoticed. His father Steig and his brother Eren always seem to be fighting over one thing or another and as we meet them that’s exactly what’s going on, in their shifted forms. Torvald and his sister Inga break it up and while their father shifted back to human, their brother just jumped into the water. After that excitement and during the clean-up Tor suggests bringing some groceries for their new resident at the lighthouse.

Bernie has just taken a good look at the inside of the lighthouse and is hearing all sorts of noises, topped off with boxes falling over, she comes to the conclusion that there is someone in there and runs out locking the door behind her.

It’s as she’s heading to the caretaker’s house to call for assistance, she hears a call of ‘Hello the Lighthouse’ and then saw the man associated with the call at the top of the cliff.

This is a favorite scene.

After tying up the boat at the old dock at the base of the lighthouse steps and climbing up, Tor found a goddess waiting for him at the lighthouse.

Mate! his bear cried, a low vibrato of delight.

But he would have known without being told.

She was perfect; she was everything a bear’s mate should be, luscious and curvy in a cream-colored sweater, with a tousled head of short dark curls that fluttered in the wind off the sea. She had pink cheeks and a heart-shaped face.

“Oh, thank goodness,” his goddess said, and while he was still processing her evident delight at seeing him, she ran over to him.

She was even shorter than he had realized, small enough that he could have picked her up, and in fact he would have been very tempted if not for the fact that he had a bag of groceries in each hand. Also, if he told his sister that he had greeted his mate by snatching her up like a parcel, Inga would have smacked him into next week.

But his lighthouse goddess clearly recognized the mate bond too. Why else the wild joy on her face?

“I am so glad you’re here,” she said, looking up at him. Her eyes were the darkest blue he’d ever seen, so deep they were almost violet. “There’s an intruder in the lighthouse.”

Tor, who had just been trying to muster the words to say “I’m so glad I’ve found you,” was completely thrown off. “What?”

“An intruder! In the lighthouse,” she said, pointing at it, as if there was some other lighthouse around that she could have meant. “I didn’t know what to do, and then you arrived. I’m so glad. Uh—if you don’t mind my asking, where did you come from?”

“Boat,” Tor said. He was starting to realize that she hadn’t actually recognized him as her mate. She was human; there was no animal in her eyes. He tried to pull himself together before his mate decided he was a blithering idiot. “There’s a, uh, a dock. Down there. From before the road was here. It used to be the only way to get to the lighthouse unless you walked from town.”

“Oh,” his goddess said. She peered dubiously over the cliff, seeming to notice the rickety stairs bolted to the cliffside for the first time. Far below, the Codfather bobbed gently at its mooring rope beside the old dock. “Oh, that is … that is a lot of stairs.”

“Never mind that.” Tor set down the bags in the grass. “Where is this intruder?” His entire body was thrumming with energy, filled with the urge to drive off anyone who had frightened or threatened her.

“Over here.” She beckoned, and he followed her. “I’m feeling pretty silly now. I bet it was just a stray shadow. I got jumpy in there.”

“I believe you,” Tor said.

She looked up at him quickly, her cheeks pink. “Who are you, anyway?”

Your mate. The person who is meant for you. I am the man who plans to spend the rest of his life filling you with every kind of joy and pleasure that a person can experience—

Tor cleared his throat. “I’m Tor. Torvald Nilsson, that is. I live in town.”

His goddess broke into a smile, staggeringly gorgeous. “I’m Bernie, short for Bernadette.”

She thrust out a hand. Tor shook it. Her hand all but vanished into his.

“Let’s go see about this intruder,” he said, reclaiming his hand with a great deal of reluctance. He could still feel the warm tingle of her fingers in his. “What happened, exactly?”

“I was exploring the lighthouse. I just got here yesterday and hadn’t looked around yet.” She pointed at the white pillar of the lighthouse again. “I climbed up to the top, and then when I was coming back down, I thought I heard something—oh, what on Earth?”

She was staring up at the catwalk circling the top of the lighthouse.

“What’s wrong?” Tor asked, following her gaze.

“The balcony door is open! I know for sure I latched it behind me. There is definitely someone in there.”

“Stay behind me,” Tor told her. “In fact, you should probably stay out here.”

But instead, she followed him closely as he opened the gate.

“Did you actually see this person?” Tor asked.

Bernie shook her head. “No, I closed a window on the second floor—that one right there, the one that’s open now—and then on my way down, I looked back and saw what I thought was a human shadow. You probably think I’m a coward,” she added, downcast.

Tor was honestly shocked that she would think that. “Not at all. It was sensible of you not to confront an intruder on your own. They could have been armed or meant you harm.”

The very idea of someone meaning Bernie harm filled him with rage that he tried not to show.

“I don’t want them to hurt you, either!” Bernie protested.

Our mate wants us protected from harm, his bear enthused. What a fine, strong mate.

Tor opened the door and peered inside.
Chant, Zoe. Tor (Westerly Cove Book 1) Kindle Locations (441-480). Kindle Edition.

On investigating Tor found nothing and shared with Bernie the rumors of the lighthouse being haunted. He also checked the caretaker’s house to be sure no one was in there.

Bernie invites Tor to stay for a picnic, she likes him, and he did bring the groceries. She also wants to hear more about Westerly Cove.

Feeling better about things, including the lighthouse being haunted, Bernie settled in for the night. Only to be woken by said ghost who disappeared as soon as she woke. Pennywise’s yowling sends her to the kitchen where she finds a life threating circumstance and a threatening message.

I love the way this story unfolds. Lighthouses are a favorite of mine, and with this story centering there it’s just so much fun combined with the mystery and romance. I also find myself wanting to know all the inhabitants of Westerly Cove. There are so many different shifters here.

I’m already reading the next book in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Zoe!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

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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Hold My Bear – Virtue Shifters Book 5 By Zoe Chant


Hold My Bear
Virtue Shifters Book 5
By
Zoe Chant

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

If you can’t stand the heat,
stay out of the kitchen…

Chef Charlee has spent a lifetime trying to outrun her difficult past. A head chef job in a small town might be the start of something new—but she never expected the boss to be more sizzling hot than anything she’s ever cooked! But Charlee has been burned before, so keeping her mind on the job is the only safe choice.

If only she would stop imagining the kitchen counter as a great place for a steamy rendezvous… (No, Charlee! No! You prepare food on that! Stop thinking that way! But he’s so handsome…!)

His new restaurant is his fresh start. But the head chef is the tastiest thing on the menu…

Bear shifter Steven has big plans to break away from his family’s brewhouse tradition. All he needs is a new town, a new restaurant, and a new…incredibly sexy, curvy chef who just happens to be his fated mate?! Now it’s not ambitions for the bistro that get him all fired up—it’s Charlee, and finding a way to coax her out of her shell.

Charlee doesn’t know about shifters, and Steven doesn’t know if this restaurant is really what he wants after all—but the more they work together, the more they become certain that above all else, what they want is…each other.

Bear Shifter Steven Torbin’s family has many successful brewery pubs. He wants a new start here in Virtue and part of that is to create more of a bistro instead of a pub.

When he first meets Chef Charlee Lind, he knows she’s his mate but she’s also human. It also almost leads to an accident with a large sink on the way to a dumpster. Charlee sets out to impress him with her kitchen skills, which she does in spades.

This is a favorite scene.

Steve was doing something terrifying with a circular saw when Charlee got back to the restaurant. He lifted his voice to call, “Go on and take over the kitchen! Just call me when you’re done!”

For an instant, Charlee was tempted to forget about going to work herself, and just stay to watch him work. All those muscles straining against the white t-shirt and the sweat beading along his nape and the snug fit of his jeans were certainly worth watching. Furthermore, he looked like he knew exactly what he was doing with the circular saw, and Charlee had always thought watching someone be good at something was really appealing.

But standing in the yard goggling at him wouldn’t get her a job, so she went into the kitchen and smiled around at the clean chrome and stainless steel. “You’ll be all mine, baby,” she told the space. “I’m not gonna let anybody else take you over.”

A few minutes later she had the oven going, and chicken breasts butterflied so she could stuff them with spinach and mozzarella, and was whistling merrily as she chopped tomatoes. The chicken got wrapped in very thinly sliced prosciutto and went into the oven to bake gently while she decided to fire up the fryer after all, cut up the potatoes, and threw them in to the sounds of satisfying sizzling. The sauce and fresh cauliflower came last, and just under an hour after she started, she plated up what she knew to be a wonderful meal, and called Steve in.

He apparently dropped everything to come in and wash up, because he wasn’t more than two minutes, and even his hair was damp like he’d run his hands through it to tidy it up. Water dripped along his collarbones, and Charlee, standing proudly beside her presentation plate, forgot she was supposed to be showing off and just gazed at him with pure admiration.

His smile was bright with excitement as he sat down. “This smells incredible. Tell me about it?”

“Mozzarella and spinach stuffed chicken breast, wrapped in prosciutto, steak fries—” which were tidily stacked in a crosshatch pattern, for the visual appeal— “and cauliflower florets. The star of the meal is—”

Steve moaned, “That sauce,” as he took a small bite. His eyes closed gently with obvious bliss, and he sat silently for a moment, savoring the mouthful before he gazed up at Charlee with pure adoration. “My God. What is it?”

“Tomato, sun-dried tomato, garlic, pine nuts, and cream.”

“That is unbelievable,” Steve whispered reverently. “Oh my God. Sit down, sit down, tell me more about this. Wait, don’t you have some? You have to have some! This is incredible!”

“Oh, I—” Charlee faltered, but Steve waved his hands as if an emergency was occurring right in front of him.

“Please, make yourself up a plate? It’s magnificent when I’m eating by myself, obviously, but it’s so good I want to share it with someone.”

Far be it from her to deny sharing anything with this guy. Charlee smiled shyly and went to make up her own plate, although she didn’t take quite as much care with its presentation as she had with Steve’s.

He hadn’t taken even so much as a second bite by the time she returned, although he was looking at his plate like polite society was the only thing between himself and eternal happiness. But then he lifted his eyes, which were shining. “Go on. Take a bite. I want to see if the chef is as happy as I am.”

“The chef tasted it in the kitchen,” Charlee promised, but sat down with him and cut a bite of the chicken, making sure to get plenty of sauce on it as she brought it to her mouth. Tangy, sweet, rich tomato cream sauce hit her tongue, and she closed her eyes happily, enjoying the bite. “Honestly, you know it’s good when you’ve spent an hour cooking it and it still tastes wonderful. Try a fry.”

Steve took a bite, obligingly, then sighed with contentment. “Home fries are always best. Why are they better hand-cut?”

“It’s the love,” Charlee said without embarrassment, which surprised her. Usually she wouldn’t say something like that at all, even if she felt it. Usually she would expect somebody to roll their eyes at her, at best. But Steve Torben smiled encouragingly, and she went on. “I have a theory that food tastes best when it’s made with love, and hand-cutting fries so they’re perfect is an act of love, see. Dip it in the sauce.”

“But it’s so good the way it is.” Steve did what he was told, though, then began laughing helplessly around his mouthful. “It’s so good,” he said when he’d finished. “It’s so, so good.”

Charlee beamed. “I like cauliflower on its own, myself, but the reason to serve it with this meal is that it’s another perfect carrier for the sauce. It’s mild enough that it really showcases the sauce.”

“You’re telling me to dip my cauliflower in the sauce, too?” Steve asked eagerly, and did so before she’d even nodded. Then he actually wiggled in his seat. That was a lot of man to be wiggling, and Charlee loved every bit of it. “Oh, you’re hired,” Steve said. “You are very very hired. If you want the job. Did you want to look at the apartment upstairs? It’s kind of basic, but it would mean you didn’t have to look for a place.”

“After lunch?” Charlee suggested. “Unless you’re just a taster-menu kind of eater, of course.”

Steve laughed out loud and gestured at himself. “Do I look like I limit myself to the taster menu? It takes a lot of food to keep this much body going.”

“Yeah, but I bet it goes all night lo—” Charlee dropped her fork and clapped both hands over her mouth, feeling herself turn scarlet. She parted her fingers enough to squeak, “I am so sorry,” through them.

Steve’s eyes had widened, but his laugh had turned to a huge grin, which stayed put. “No, no, don’t worry about it, I kind of walked into that.”

Charlee, still squeakily, said, “Did you, though?” and Steve’s wonderful laugh rolled over her again. It almost made her feel better. It would have, in fact, if she would just let it, but she was too busy making sure she felt mortified and awful, to remind herself never ever ever to do something like that again.

“I kind of think so, yeah. I’ve been out there being all manly and stuff, doing the whole sweat of my brow Paul Bunyan thing and drawing attention to my—” He paused and somehow struck a model’s pose, even though he was still sitting. “My powerful and handsome physique.” Then he snorted, almost another laugh. “So, yeah, I kind of think I walked into it. But I can tell you’re uncomfortable, so we shall never speak of it again.”

His eyes sparkled, but Charlee was momentarily dumbstruck.
Chant, Zoe. Hold My Bear (Virtue Shifters Book 5) Kindle Locations (227-256). Kindle Edition.

Steve and Charlee work very hard to get everything ready to open on schedule. Then when they do although it’s a success, people ready were expecting the pub atmosphere.

The shocking thing for both of them is that they weren’t happy either. They proved what they set out to do, but deep down they both want what the town does.

Lots of fun, craziness, romance and sizzle.

5 Contented Purrs for Zoe!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

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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SEALed with a Kiss – Virtue Shifters Book 3 by Zoe Chant


SEALed with a Kiss
Virtue Shifters Book 3
By
Zoe Chant

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

Can he get her seal of approval?

Missy has 99 problems, and her funnel-cake booth at the Virtue town fair is 98 of them. Looks like this is another year she’s going to spend with a spatula in hand, splattered in hot grease, watching other people have fun.

Her 99th problem is that the hot guy manning the dunk tank across from her booth just turned into a seal.

Maybe this fair won’t be like all the others after all.

Ryan has just one problem, but it may have sealed his fate.

Overwhelmed at meeting his fated mate, Ryan instinctively dived into his tank and shifted into his seal. Now his seal thinks he’s an idiot (valid), his mate found out about shifters in the worst possible way (oops) and while he’s trying to figure out how to fix things, his perky cousin Becky has started matchmaking him and the brand new mate he’s barely even talked to yet.

But he’s got an entire fair to take advantage of, and maybe he can seal the deal with Missy if he can win her that big stuffed animal or take her on the Ferris wheel. If he can just get her away from the funnel cake booth and their meddling relatives for five minutes…

Is there anything more fun than a fair? Missy Clarks family’s Fried dough funnel cake is a big favorite with everyone. She’s helped with the booth since she was 11 years old but now is running it alone. Her best friend Becky runs the dunking tank and this year it’s right next to hers.

Becky has a surprise up her sleeve for Missy, she’s invited her cousin to help her this year. In fact, he’s already in position on the ‘hot’ seat and Becky invites Missy to test it out for her.

This is one of my favorite scenes.

She was halfway across the fairgrounds from the farming competitions like that one, and from the quilters and the jam-makers whose wares she didn’t even want to try competing with. Her food cart was between the dunking booth and the shooting range, and not far from the racing field where everything from bumper cars to egg tosses took place. She liked it, as a space: people were always hungry after they got dunked, and after they ran a bunch of silly races.

Besides, her best friend Becky ran the dunking booth, which was an annual fundraiser for a seal sanctuary in the southern part of the state. Being close to each other meant they could chat back and forth to each other at the top of their lungs while things were busy, and take turns watching each other’s booths during the quieter parts of the day. That way they each got to spend at least a little time seeing the fair itself in full swing. Those were Missy’s favorite things about working near friends.

She hurried around the last corner and came to a complete stop. The dunk tank was nearly ready, six feet of clear water with cameras on all sides to get pictures of people going in the drink. A bulls-eye target sat safely to one side, where it would be almost impossible to hit the guy on the seat, even with the worst throw in the world.

And there was a guy on the seat right now, about six feet above the dunk tank, leaning on one of the seat’s ropes and kicking his feet rather gleefully.

Except he was not a guy, to slightly misquote Drax. This…was a man. A handsome, muscular man, with incredible shoulders and a long swimmer’s build. His black hair fell around his face in shoulders in unkempt waves that should have looked messy and instead looked like she needed to sink her hands into them right now. He had a bit of a chin-scruff beard, and if he didn’t look like a pirate and an angel had had a baby, it was only because he wasn’t sporting an eyepatch.

And every glorious inch of him was on display.

Well. Almost every glorious inch. A pair of red Speedos did very little to hide the inches that weren’t on display, but technically, he met the expectations of modern modesty.

Despite that, Missy actually blushed, looking at him. He was almost unbearably handsome. He had a silver ring in one nipple, and a leather cord necklace with something or other as the pendant. His mouth was gorgeous, and he was laughing with Becky, who stood beside the tank in a swimsuit and shorts of her own.

In fact, at a glance, Becky and The Man had a very personable relationship. Missy considered the possibility that Becky was not her best friend at all, because how very dare she be hiding a guy like that from Missy. If The Man and Becky were dating, Missy just flat-out didn’t know what she’d do.

Be happy for her friend, obviously, but also oooooh myyyyyy goooood soooo jealous because holy moly. Missy actually said that out loud, “Holy moly,” and although she thought it had been pretty quiet, Becky looked her way, then waved frantically.

“Missy! Hey! We’re testing the dunk tank! You wanna give it a try?”

The Man looked toward Missy, looked her up and down, and clearly came to a conclusion he liked. Missy bet that conclusion was ‘oh, she’s tiny, I’m in no danger,’ and smiled as The Man said, “Please, be my guest.”

Missy made a quick show of looking at her phone to check the time, then said, “Sure, I can spare a minute,” even though she was already late. Becky lobbed a softball at her, and Missy caught it easily.

“Be gentle with me,” The Man said with a sparkle in his eyes. “It’s my first time.”

“Oh, sweetheart, that’s too damn bad for you, because I promise, this is not my first rodeo.” Missy wound up a pitch, and just before she let it go, said, “Or didn’t Becky mention that I’m the all-star pitcher for the softball league?”

The Man’s eyes widened, and Missy’s softball slammed into the center of the target with a reverberating clang!

To her surprise and delight, he screamed like a little boy as he fell, and then to her astonishment, he turned into a seal when he hit the water.
Chant, Zoe. Sealed With A Kiss (Virtue Shifters Book 3) Kindle Locations (27-54). Kindle Edition.

Everyone knows you’re not supposed to shift in public, EVER, and Ryan is shocked that he did. There is a reason it happened though. Missy is his mate and finding your mate is something every shifter wants but it doesn’t always happen.

I love this story, there’s so much fun and just a touch of jealousy from both of them. The commentary from Ryan’s seal is also a lot of fun, as is Becky trying to explain things before Ryan can.

5 Contented Purrs for Zoe!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

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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Amazon Author Page

Librarian Bear – Virtue Shifters Book 2 by Zoe Chant


Librarian Bear
Virtue Shifters Book 2
By
Zoe Chant

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

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?”

“No!”

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.

5 Contented Purrs for Zoe!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

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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Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Amazon Author Page

Timber Wolf – Virtue Shifters Book 1 by Zoe Chant


Timber Wolf
Virtue Shifters Book 1
By
Zoe Chant

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

Wolf shifter and carpenter Jake Rowly left his home town of Virtue straight out of high school and never planned to return. But a broken heart sends him back into the fold, because if there’s one thing Virtue doesn’t have, it’s any chance of romantic complications. Then he meets newcomer Mabs Brannigan, and realizes fate has brought him home again….

All single mother Mabs Brannigan wants is a safe, friendly place to raise her young son. When a distant relative leaves her a falling-down farmhouse in upstate New York, it seems like the chance of a lifetime to start over…until an unethical contractor runs off with her money and she’s left with the devastating truth that she may have to sell the farm that she and her son have already come to love.

Jake needs a place to stay. Mabs needs a carpenter. It seems like a match made in Heaven, but Jake doesn’t want to move too fast with a single mom trying to build a new life…and Mabs can’t imagine a gorgeous, sexy guy like Jake would be interested in anything more than her amazing old house.

But when Mabs’s past comes back to haunt her, and winter traps them together, Jake and Mabs find they’re ready for whatever romance may bring…and that the house holds more secrets than they know!

Mabs Brannigan is a single mom, who by a stroke of good fortune has inherited a home in upstate NY. Well in terms of a place to stay it’s good, however it requires much renovation. Her great aunt Doris seems to have only lived in a couple of rooms in the house and the rest was truly in sad shape. She had planned out everything and now the contractor took off with her money, leaving her little hope of getting things done. Her son Noah is a whirlwind of energy and in order to do the few things she knows she can handle alone; her friend and town librarian Sarah Ekstrom is coming over.

Sarah calls to say she’s bringing an old friend with her and really nothing else.

Jake Rowley left Virtue, never intending to come back. A romance gone bad has him returning where he’s sure he won’t have any romantic complications. He’s going to need a place to stay and Sarah has an idea about that.

Then there’s the realtor that calls offering a lot of money for the property. Mabs isn’t interested, she wants this home for her and Noah and will restore it to its former glory following rules for historic landmarks.

Jake needs a place to stay, and Mabs needs someone to help her renovate. One would say it’s a match made in heaven, but Jake’s wolf is sure Mags is his mate.

This is a favorite scene.

Sarah, though, picked up the thread of conversation as if it hadn’t been interrupted, thanks to a lot of practice at the library-daycare. “The thing is, though, Mabs, Jake’s just back in town and he doesn’t have anywhere to stay, so I was thinking, like, your barn’s pretty solid, right? You could snug up a corner of that and Jake could stay there and work on the house.”

“He can’t stay in my barn. It’s a barn! You can’t stay in my barn!” Mabs’s gaze flickered between Sarah and Jake, finally landing accusingly on Sarah. “Have you been planning this?!”

“I don’t see how I could have been,” Sarah said in the cheerful tone of someone who had been planning this. “I only found out about Chad this morning and then Jake only dropped by the library about half an hour ago to say he was back in town. Who has time to plan?”

“You!” Both Mabs and Jake spoke, then exchanged little grins that made Mabs want to giggle like a schoolgirl. Jake Rowly had a sly, charming grin that could seduce a woman at five paces. Or maybe seven, since that’s about how far away from she was.

“I have not been planning anything,” Sarah said loftily. “I do, however, see an opportunity when it presents itself. You two talk it out. I have a date with a car race.” She exited with less fanfare than Noah had, leaving Mabs and Jake and a whole lot of uncomfortable space between them.

Jake broke it. “I had no idea she was going to do that. Sorry.”

“No, not at all. I didn’t either, obviously. And it’s not that you can’t stay in my barn, it’s just—” Mabs gestured broadly, as if it would explain everything she meant. “It’s just, who goes around inviting people to stay in barns?”

“Apparently Sarah,” Jake said dryly. They both laughed, and suddenly the tension evaporated, leaving Mabs smiling easily at…at the strange man in her house. Maybe she shouldn’t dwell on that.

“Sarah’s always been a fixer-upper,” Jake added. “Even in high school she was always trying to make things work better. She ran our student body single-handedly. I guess I kind of thought she’d be mayor of Virtue by now.”

“I don’t think she has time, with running the library and the not-officially-a-daycare and helping out with Meals-On-Wheels and overseeing the allotment gardens and…” Mabs trailed off. “I see what you mean.” She fell silent a moment, then cleared her throat. “What you said…would you want to?”

“What, fix up this place?” Jake’s blue gaze rose to the kitchen ceiling, which Mabs bet he could touch easily. She needed a chair to get to the top shelf of the dang cupboards, and they were only two shelves high. “Yeah,” Jake said with a touch of longing that Mabs frankly wished was directed at her. “I could do wonders with this old house. Somebody should, anyway. Do you know anything about its construction?”

His gaze returned to Mabs with the power of a static shock. Her breath caught and she straightened a little, like electricity really had run through her. “Um. No? Not really? I know it’s from about the mid-1800s, but that’s about it?”

Jake shook his head and actually offered her his hand, like they’d known each other forever. What was even stranger was that she took it like it was natural. His grip was comfortable, his hand strong and calloused from work. Mabs had never liked super soft hands anyway. There were so many places on her body where the roughness of a callous could add a little extra…hrrr.

God, what was she thinking? Well obviously she knew exactly what she was thinking, but it was, as she liked to tell Noah about some of his more outlandish ideas, wildly inappropriate.

Jake smiled and drew her out of her own house, leading her past Noah and Sarah on the porch, and down the steps. Mabs had to look at her feet to make sure they were still on the ground, because somehow, holding Jake Rowly’s work-strong hand made her feel like she was floating.

When they got out to the yard, he turned her to face the house, and then, as if he’d suddenly realized what he was doing, let go of her hand. “Sorry, that was…”

“No, it’s fine, I could have kicked you instead of taking your hand.” It took all of Mabs’s attention to not put a hand over her face. She sounded like an eight year old. “What did you want to show me?”

His smile appeared again, no longer sly, but genuine and sweet as he lifted his hands toward the house and began pointing. “So from the door over to the left, basically your kitchen, the room behind it, and the rooms above? That was probably the original house. They called it a double-cell, double-pile.”

“Catchy,” Mabs muttered, and Jake grinned.

“Isn’t it, though? So back then, where your hallway is, that was the front.”

Mabs said, “But this is the front,” and winced. Now she sounded like an idiot. She was a waitress, for heaven’s sake. She was good at talking to people, even about things she didn’t care about, and she did care about the house.

But Jake was still grinning like she wasn’t an idiot, so maybe it was okay. “Right, this is the front now. But when it started, back probably around 1790—you could look it up in the local records—it was the side.”

“Oh. Wow. I never thought of looking it up in the records. I’ve never lived anywhere old enough to have local records, I don’t think.”

“Most of us haven’t, but this place, everybody knows it.”

“‘The Old Brannigan Place,’ yeah. People in Virtue are always excited to hear there’s someone living here again.” Mabs smiled at the truth of that. It was one of the reasons she simply didn’t want to give the place up.
Chant, Zoe. Timber Wolf (Virtue Shifters Book 1) Kindle Locations (267-310). Kindle Edition.

There are plenty of ups and downs in this book as Jake and Mabs explore a relationship and renovate.

More annoyance from the realtor and to top it off Noah’s father shows up with threats even though he has had nothing to do with Mabs or Noah from the beginning.

I love the way this story plays out. The town of Virtue is welcoming in a very different way than most small towns.

I am already reading the next book in the series.

5 Contented Purrs for Zoe!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

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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A Very Meowy Christmas – Virtue Shifters Book 6 by Zoe Chant


A Very Meowy Christmas
Virtue Shifters Book 6
By
Zoe Chant

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

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?”

“Sandy.”

“Well, it’s nice to meet you, Sandy. Are you hungry? I probably have some snacks around here.”

“Yes pease!”

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!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

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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