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Authors: Zenina Masters

Tags: #Science Fiction, #erotic Romance, #Paranormal, #Shapeshifter

Getting Wet

BOOK: Getting Wet
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A shy otter meets a stripper, and when their souls collide, convention keeps them apart until he finds her again.

 

 

Augusta wants to go to the Crossroads. At a bachelorette party for a cousin, she saw the man of her dreams, but he was on his way to wrap himself around a pole.

 

She gets herself off to the one place she can meet a man and find out if there is another man who sends her heart pounding.

 

Randal was filling in for one of the entertainers, and the moment he finished his set, he went in search of the woman with th
e sad eyes and the lush smile. He had no idea it would take him weeks, cost him every favour he was owed and take him into the lair of a very cranky cheetah, only to find out that his target had already flown the coop.

 

One way or another, he is getting his otter and taking her home.

 

 

The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

 

Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

Getting Wet

Copyright © 2013 Zenina Masters

ISBN: 978-1-77111-729-6

Cover art by Carmen Waters

 

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.

 

Published by eXtasy Books

Look for us online at:

www.extasybooks.com

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Wet

Shifting Crossroads Book Ten

 

 

By

 

 

Zenina Masters

 

Chapter One

 

 

Augusta sat in the back of the strip club and tried to think of the nine million places she would rather be. Bekka was enjoying her bachelorette to the hilt, and Augusta was caught in the awkward position of staring and trying not to look at the same time.

A scantily clad human came by with her drink, and Augusta sipped at it, focusing in on the bubbles that rose and burst on the surface.

“Are you enjoying yourself?”

A low voice spoke next to her, and she jerked upright as she saw a man who was completely dressed in a white button-down shirt and low-slung jeans, crouching next to her. He had a bright grin, and it told her that he had spied her discomfort. The leather mask he was wearing made him more charming and slightly dangerous.

“I am having fun supporting my friend. She is enjoying the event.” She tried to make light of it, but she was squirming in her seat. She waved at the stage with one hand.

Bekka was up on stage riding one of the dancers and stuffing bills down the waistband of another.

“I see. She does look like she is having a good time.”

Augusta smiled at the wariness in his tone. “Yes, she does.”

With Leyline’s baby shower, Rayna’s reception and now Bekka’s bachelorette, Augusta was feeling very much the odd man out. The worst part seemed to be that her family expected her to live life alone.

Even Rayna was pressured to find a mate of her own, but no one asked Augusta what she wanted. It was a little disheartening to say the least.

“You seem like you would rather be elsewhere.” He cocked his head as if listening to the world around him.

His motion made her blink. She opened up her senses, and under the heavy perfume was the distinct scent of male shifter. He was gorgeous to start off with, but now, he was highly desirable.

“Sliding into a nice pond would be good.”

He jerked, and his head turned around just as the announcer called out for the ladies to applaud for the Handiest Man Alive.

He met her gaze for a moment before his music picked up, and he was forced to strut to the stage to the hoots and cries of dozens of women cheering for him to take it off.

Augusta had met a man she could actually fall for and he was peeling his clothing off one piece at a time. She stared into her soda with intense focus and wished for this night to be over.

 

* * * *

 

Randal finished his set, cleared up the money and headed backstage. He was in no mood for lap dances tonight, and his cousin had only asked him to fill in the set, not to circulate with the ladies.

Once he was back where he couldn’t be seen, he looked for the woman who had stared at him with such loneliness that his heart had ached. She hadn’t stared at him like he was a piece of meat, but rather, she had seen him. The real him. She had known that he was a shifter and tipped her hand that she was one, too.

From behind the curtain, he looked out over the crowd for that woman, but she was gone. For one moment, his soul had clicked with a stranger and she was gone. Randal knew only one thing in that moment. He was going to find her.

 

The
Hard Wood Lounge
was a popular place and there had been over two hundred women through the door that night. Once his cousin knew what he was looking for, she assisted with reservation and booking information but that only took care of half the women. The others were all impulse visits by parties who made a quick stop before they continued on their way. He had his work cut out for him, but being a beaver, work was what he did best.

His woman with sad, dark eyes would be his. He knew it in every follicle of fur on his back.

“Any progress on your hunt?” Tisha, the owner of the Hard Wood Lounge, sat across from him in the spare seat at her desk.

“No. I know she was a shifter and she was here with friends, not family. That makes it exponentially harder, Cuz.” Randal sat back and steepled his fingers together.

“If it has struck you like this, you will solve it, I know you, Randy. You are not going to give up without a fight.” Tisha smiled. “I wish you luck when you find her.”

“I am going to need luck
to
find her.” He ran his hands through his hair. “I need to finish that job in town as well. This is all hitting at the exact wrong time.”

Tisha sat back with her thick braid over one shoulder. “I will continue the search. I will say I found a bag or something. How will I know if I find the right dark-haired girl with deep, dark eyes?”

“Her voice sounds like a brook over rocks. Mid-range and very calm.” He smiled at the memory; blood pooled in his groin and set up a pulse all its own.

“Wow. She really got to you. That’s a first.” Tisha grinned.

“When you meet the mate you were destined for, you know it. If I hadn’t been on duty, I would have hauled her away and gotten to know her better that very night.”

“Oh. When you meet her again, will you start with her name?”

He wadded up a piece of paper and threw it at her forehead.

She batted it away and flapped her hands at him. “Shoo. You finish building that town house; I will work on finding your mystery woman. Race you to see who finishes first.”

Randal Forester got to his feet and pressed a kiss on his cousin’s forehead. “Thanks, Tisha. If you find her, we will name our first child after you.”

“I dunno, a boy named Patricia will be a little peculiar. I mean, if he takes after you, he will be able to take all comers, but it will be a rough toddlerhood.” She grinned and settled behind her desk.

“I thought Patrick might be a suitable substitute if the gender card swings that way.” He shrugged and watched as Tisha started to work her magic on the phone, every inch the concerned business owner. She was good, but she was going to have to be to find a shifter in a cloud of humans.

Randal straightened, knowing that his project was in good hands. He had a house to finish, and since naming a son Patricia was out of the question, he had better get going.

His fate was in trusted hands.

Chapter Two

 

 

Augusta sat across from Rayna, and she wrinkled her nose. “I want to go to the Crossroads. Can you contact the transporter for me?”

Rayna blinked. “Gusty, this is kinda sudden. Are you sure?”

“Am I sure? Every family member for the last five years has been pushing you to find a mate. All our sisters are married or engaged, and yet, no one once has suggested that I find a man of my own. Why is that? What am I lacking that makes people look past me when they think of hearth and home?”

Augusta saw it sink in to Rayna and remorse cover her face. “Rayna, I wasn’t trying to make you feel guilty. It is time for me to go and find a man of my own. I need a mate, and I want to enjoy my life with someone at my side. It’s time.”

Rayna nodded, “Right. You are absolutely right. I think it was a bit of greed on our parts. We all wanted one part of our life to be unaltered and a fixed mark. We put that on you, and it wasn’t fair.”

Augusta blinked. “Wow. I hadn’t thought of it like that. I guess, I am the least volatile and changing of the batch.”

Her sister laughed. “You could say that. You can always be trusted to be there when you are needed.”

Rayna handed her a cookie. “What brought this on?”

Augusta sighed and sat back. “Do you remember Bekka’s bachelorette?”

“Yeah. It took me a week to get all the glitter out of my hair.”

“Well, that night, I met a stripper.” Augusta sipped at her coffee while Rayna finished grappling with her mental images.

“And? You can’t just leave me hanging like that.” Rayna waved her hand.

“And then, I drove everyone to the next bar and tried to forget about him.” She sighed. “It has been difficult.”

She had planned to call the strip club three times, but each time, she flinched away from the idea of being another pining woman chasing a bored and over-tended male. Her own memories would have to haunt her, and she would have to look for a man who stirred her half as much as the mysterious man in the mask. If she found anyone who ratcheted her systems higher, she might just burst into flame.

Rayna reached into her purse and pulled out a business card. “If you are sure of this, here you go.”

Augusta took the card between two fingers and nodded. “Thank you. It might take my savings, but this is a chance I have to take. If there is a man out there for me, I have to put myself somewhere where he can find me.”

Rayna grinned, “Well, in that case, since you are exhibiting such excellent common sense, I am only too happy to pay for your trip to your future.”

Augusta protested, “I can’t.”

“You can. You can pay it forward. I do this for you now and once you find your guy, you can help someone else get to the Crossroads.” Rayna smiled. “I can afford it. The shop is doing well, as you no doubt know.”

Augusta nodded, “And I am delighted for your success, but I am not a parasite.”

Rayna scowled. “Of course not. I leaned on your during our entire lives. This once, you can lean on me. Project Spotted Horse is doing well, and I want a little otter cross for my child to play with.”

Laughing, Augusta sighed, “As long as it is within your own interests to send me, I will go. And, congratulations.”

Rayna held her hand up. “It isn’t certain yet. It is just a feeling, but I don’t want you too far behind, Gusty.”

“This isn’t the race of the ovaries.” Augusta flicked the card in her fingers.

“No, but if you want motivation and a reason to accept my help, this is it.” Rayna sat back and grinned.

Augusta fished in her purse until she found her phone. “I will accept that rationale. Now, does she prefer to be addressed as Kris or Krisia?”

 

Three days, a flurry of explanations and a quick overhaul of her wardrobe later and Augusta was stepping through the portal to the Crossroads.

Rayna had briefed her on the guardians of the portal. Augusta smiled, “Hello, Teal.”

“Welcome to the Crossroads, Augusta Samuels.” The woman with the cascade of pale hair smiled brightly.

“Thank you. I think I am ready for whatever the Crossroads can throw at me.” She stepped off the arrival area and moved to follow Teal.

“I will give you a quick tour, and then, you will be on your own until you find someone. Rayna was most enthusiastic about your arrangements. You will be situated at the Open Heart Bed and Breakfast. Have you ever met a djinn before?” Teal chattered on as she took Augusta’s arm to lead her out into the evening air.

“Oh, somehow, I thought it would be perpetual daylight.”

“That might drive us insane and many of the staff here are fairly near to it. We keep a regular day and night schedule with pseudo moon and stars watching over us.” Teal walked easily through the streets.

BOOK: Getting Wet
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