Authors: Zenina Masters
Tags: #Adult, #Fantasy, #Fey, #Magic, #Paranormal, #Shapeshifter, #Erotic Romance
A Siberian tigress is given one last chance at a mate. The problem is he is fey, his people are jerks and the Crossroads etiquette is lost on him.
The Crossroads declared nova unmatchable. After three weeks, it had been decided that she wasn’t going to find anyone there, not even close. Now, with the fey coming in to try life with shifters, she is called back and faces mating with a man who isn’t even her magical species.
Reygaer is a fey architect who builds in ice and snow. The seers have picked him out as a good candidate for mating with a shifter. When he spots a tiger in the rafters of the arrival centre and she is ordered to take him on a tour, her reaction to his cooler body gets his attention.
Nova craves cold the way Reygaer craves heat, and together, they make sparks fly across the Crossroads.
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Snow Time for Love
Copyright © 2015 Zenina Masters
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.
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Snow Time for Love
Shifting Crossroads Book 24
Nova Spalding answered the phone with a frown.
“Yes, who is this?”
“Transporter Sampson. I have an offer from the Crossroads.”
“I washed out of the Crossroads. I am unmatchable.” She stared at the dirty dishes in the sink and thought about those desperate three weeks.
“There is a new option. May I come over and discuss it with you?”
Nova sighed. “Sure. You know my address?”
Transporter Sampson sounded amused. “I can find my way.”
“When will you be here?”
“I can be there in ten minutes.”
Nova hung up and pressed the phone to her lips. Her time at the Crossroads was the most painful of her life. It was bad enough to know that she couldn’t find a mate in the shifter society; it was another to know that the last-ditch effort had been for nothing. No match existed for her in the shifter world, so why was the transporter coming?
She washed the dishes and brushed her white blonde hair over her shoulders. When everything was clean and the dishes put away, she put the kettle on and waited for the new option to present itself.
The flash from her living room announced her visitor, so Nova got up and walked to greet her.
The transporter was sitting down, and the woman was completely naked. Used to shifters, Nova simply walked to a throw and handed it to Transporter Sampson.
The woman blushed and Nova was amused.
“I apologize. Since the Crossroads were broken, the pathways are a little more aggressive. I haven’t quite gotten the hang of moving my clothing with me.”
The kettle whistled.
Nova asked, “Coffee or tea?”
“Tea please. Anything herbal is good. I am wound a little too tight for caffeine.”
Nova returned to the kitchen, set up the tea and brought the tray out with all the accessories as well as cups. “Peach tranquility.”
“Oh good.” The transporter smiled and held her blanket around her.
“The tea will be ready in a moment. Now, what do you mean the Crossroads are broken?”
“They are fixed now, but the fey took the Crossroads hostage for a time in an effort to gain some help.”
“What did they want?”
“This is the option. They want the chance to find true mates at the Crossroads. This is the offer. You can have up to one month at the Crossroads at the fey council’s expense if you will consider the fey there as potential mates.”
Nova was pouring the tea and she nearly scalded her hand. “The elves are out where the humans acknowledge them. What will this mean?”
“If you choose a fey, you will simply be represented to the public as human. Nothing more. They are a dying species, and if the blending with the shifters can give them a boost, it might buy them a few centuries or stronger stock.”
“Where do I come in? I can’t find a match amongst shifters.”
Transporter Sampson took the cup she was handed. “And that is why your magic may find its match with the fey.”
“This is serious? This is actually being done?”
“Most shifters coming will still look for others of their kind, but you know that you don’t match. It will be a good chance for you to seek out the one your soul calls for. If the call is still there, the match is still out there, somewhere.”
There was silence between them for a moment.
Finally, Transporter Sampson said, “The first fey they are bringing are all shapeshifters. They know what it is to change their bodies and live as a beast for a time. That was one of the criteria.”
“There was a meeting and a contract that ensures a number of benefits for the shifters if they find a fey they wish to mate with. This includes, but is not limited to, a life-binding that links the two mates to the same lifespan.”
“The fey live a lot longer than shifters do. This splits the difference. They die earlier, but they do so with a mate.”
“What about the promiscuity that the fey are known for?”
“It is apparently just a single-fey thing. Once they mate, they lock in, just as you do.” Transporter Sampson looked at her hopefully.
It dawned on Nova. “You are having a problem finding takers for this.”
“Most just want to meet another shifter and live happily ever after.” The transporter’s shoulders slumped.
“Well, I will tell you now...I am not one of those shifters. I will take this on.”
“You will?” Transporter Sampson’s wrap slipped and she clutched it to her.
“I have nothing to lose. I have already been rejected in every way, shape and form. What is being ignored by an elf going to do to my ego?” Nova shrugged.
She glanced over at the family photo that her sister had sent her for the holidays. With her newborns on her lap and her other two sets of twins standing next to her, Stella was buried in children while her husband beamed behind her.
All around the room, her family smiled at her from their nests of family and friends. Nova felt the lack in her life and she wanted more.
“Wait. Can shifters and fey have children?”
“That is one of the questions that they are trying to answer. The dragon says it is not only possible, it has happened before, just not in Europe or the colonies. The fey breeds true, but it is possible.”
Transporter Sampson was chirping it by rote.
“This is all new to you as well.” Nova handed her a cup of tea.
“It is. Normally, we just wait for you folk to call us. Going out and contacting those who didn’t find a match the first time was not something I imagined when I specialized in transport.”
Nova grinned. “Nor was showing up naked.”
The woman blushed. “Or that.”
“Don’t worry about it. Shifters are used to nudity. Next time, just ask them to have a sheet or blanket standing by. They won’t think anything of it.”
Nova sipped at her tea. “Are there already fey there?”
“They are just waiting for volunteers to try to make a match. If you really are going to sign up, there will be no fees attached. The fey are picking up the tab.”
“Oh. Well, that is even better. Will you call me with a timeline?”
The transporter leaned forward and set her cup down on the coffee table. “I can and I will. This is exciting.”
The transporter disappeared in a flash of light and the strange scent of mint.
Nova looked around at all the pictures of family members who were enjoying the holiday with their cozy little gatherings. She had been to the family event on the previous weekend, but now, she was back to being alone.
She liked being solitary, but she preferred it to be a choice and not something forced upon her.
With a curl of hope in her chest, she watched the flashing of her Christmas tree and she wished as hard as she could that she found a man she couldn’t frighten into a corner.
* * * *
Isobel Sampson dropped in at the Guild centre and the folk around there were a lot less accepting of her nudity.
Isobel took the robe that one woman held out to her, and she ran to speak to the Transporter Guild Master.
Krisia looked up from her desk with a smile. “Iso. What is it? You look excited.”
“I’ve got one!” She tried not to hop up and down.
“I have gotten one of the previously rejected shifters to come back to the Crossroads!” Iso clapped her hands.
Krisia reached for her files. “Which one?”
“Nova Spalding. Siberian tiger shifter.”
In a few seconds, Krisia had the file. “Wow. Okay, let me cross check for candidates.”
Iso stood while her guild master called the fey seers to see if any of them had found a large cat in their readings.
It took twenty minutes, but the fey were going to send five candidates who were up for a challenge, two of which had tigers in their personal evaluations.
Krisia put her phone down and nodded. “Ask her if she can be ready by the end of the week. Everything will be in place for her and the men will arrive after she does, so she will have home court advantage.”
“Does that matter?”
Krisia smiled. “Ask me again in ten years. You are too young to appreciate it yet.”
Iso scowled. “You are only five years older than I am.”
Krisia winked. “Living with the guild master ages you.”
Iso giggled at the joke at her cousin’s expense. “Well, I had better return this robe and get home to make that call.”
“Still popping around naked?”
“Yes. I still can’t figure it out.”
“Hold still. I will send you home. Call Nova and give her the launch date, and let me know if anything goes squirrelly. Congratulations on getting the first volunteer.”
Iso was about to reply to the congratulations, but Krisia sent her home. It was time to get a new phase of magical meet and greets underway.
Nova braced herself for the transport but staggered a little as she stabilized. It had been more painful the first time. The transport process really had changed.
Teal rushed forward and hugged her. “Nova! I am so glad you have come back.”
Tony grinned and waited his turn for a hug. He met her eye to eye and embraced her warmly. “We are so glad you are willing to try again.”
“We will see. I have been wobbling on my eagerness to meet what I consider to be a new species. I am thinking of them as shifters. It might make it more palatable.” Nova smiled wryly.
Teal smiled. “They are physically very attractive. Don’t worry about that portion of it. You just have to see if any of them can raise your beast in anything but a defence position.”
“So, one of them has to get a rise out of me?” There was something funny about the idea that one of them had to give her an erection.
“That is the way it works with shifters. I know you didn’t feel it on your last visit, but that is what happens. Your beast starts making happy sounds in your soul and you can imagine taking your mate down like a gazelle in the woods.”
Nova covered her mouth as she laughed.
“Have you ever seen one of the fey up close, Nova?” Teal guided her to the paperwork and showed her where to sign.
The wristband went on, and she smiled at the small icon of a paw print. “Why is there a gemstone on it?”
“That marks you as a woman they can court. They wear matching bands that will identify them to you as well.”
The nervous thrill that went through her body surprised her. She had been through this before and the excitement had rapidly turned to depression. Other women, other predators had no problem finding their matches, but she would dance, chat and they would part unmatched.
Now, it was an entirely new batch of men, and she was hoping that one of them would spark something other than disappointment. It was a lot to ask of a fey, especially when they had not been at the Crossroads before.