Ack! Can you believe January is almost over?! On Thursday ALL THE WINNERS get posted. But let’s focus on today, which holds a fabulous excerpt from author Vivian Arend who is a total lifesaver rock star! Whee!
Cat got your tongue?
Tessa Williams is looking to make her mark outside the family business, and the unusual landlocked paddle wheeler she spots in Haines, Alaska, strikes her as the perfect location. Only the owner is being difficult, refusing to sell. Still, she’s sure that replacing her written queries with a little in-person charm is all she’ll need to shortly have her Eco-tour B&B on the road to success.
Local wolf-slash-owner of said vessel, Mark Weaver, isn’t hanging on to the landmark building out of spite. There are more reasons for holding back the sale than are easily explained on paper. A face-to-face meeting to resolve the matter only confounds it—when Mark recognizes Tessa as his mate.
But she’s a cat…and cats don’t do insta-mates.
The sexual attraction between them isn’t in question, just everything else. He wants her. She wants twue wuv. His wolf can’t figure out what the holdup is. Her cat thinks the entire situation, and the pack, are rather amusing.
Somewhere in here is the beginning of a beautiful relationship—if they don’t drive each other mad.
Warning: One hyper cat, one laid-back wolf. Inappropriate use of permanent markers, and a heaping side dish of cat/dog jokes. Shenanigans (read: nookie) in front of a roaring fire. Spiced liberally with sarcasm. Enjoy!
Soft, sweet-smelling woman in his lap, a plan in place for the future. While he hated that she’d said no to being mates right now, Mark couldn’t fault her for anything else.
Only if they didn’t move, he was going to have a tough time not acting on his wolf’s urgings and stripping her down and taking her right there in his office.
A loud bark rang from the doorway, and they both turned to face his Gramps, who had shifted to his wolf and now paced around the chair they occupied.
Tessa stiffened. “Oops?”
“Don’t worry. He’s a wolf. He knows what’s going on. Well, most of it.” Mark leaned over and waved. “You heading back to the lodge?”
His Gramps dipped his chin, yipped a couple times. His final howl echoed off the walls as he headed out the door and left them alone.
“He said it was great meeting you, and he hopes to see you soon.” Mark refrained from interpreting the rest of the old man’s comments to Tessa. She didn’t need to know what else his grandfather had suggested.
Then again, she was a shifter. She probably knew.
Tessa leaned away until her arms were fully stretched out. “So. Now what?”
“Now we get you settled.” Mark couldn’t wait to have her things in his place. Their scents mixing together, as well as a visible sign of them as a couple. “After that you can tell me what you’ve got in mind for the other floors, and I’ll do some preliminary drafts so we can get started on renovations.”
She tilted her head. “You are a most interesting person. Does nothing faze you? I mean, I tossed a lot at you today, and yet you seem so calm and relaxed. How do you do that?”
Tessa smiled. “I’d noticed that as well.”
She leaned in and brushed her lips against his cheek before crawling off his lap and tugging him upward. “I think your plan is awesome. And thank you. I’d far prefer to live here than at some hotel. We can have all kinds of fun together as we work on the project.”
Fun. Oh goody. “Sounds great.” He forced out the words. Really? Fun?
She took off down the stairs like she was jet propelled. Mark followed more leisurely. If she was happy running at high RPM, who was he to try to change her?
Although, when he opened the front door and discovered she’d already returned with an armload of luggage, he wondered. “How do you move so fast?”
She sparkled at him. “Good genes, I guess.”
Mark snorted. “You want everything inside?”
Tessa nodded. “You sure I should put my things in your bedroom? I could…clean up one of the rooms on—”
A snarl escaped without warning, and her cat eyes blinked rapidly as she stepped away.
Drat. “So much for my calm. Tessa, don’t push the wolf, okay? Not now. Yes, my bedroom. Even suggesting anything else pisses him off.”
“Sure. I can do that.”
Poof. She was gone again. Up the stairs with only the swirl of her scent lingering on the air to torment him.
Mark went for another load, wondering how long it would take for his dual personalities of shifter/human to have a major breakdown.
He unloaded everything, carrying it into the main entrance before locking up and taking the first stack all the way upstairs. Rounding the corner into his bedroom, his heart was already racing at the idea of finding her in there. His mate, part of his future…as soon as he discovered more about her.
She wasn’t there.
Neither was she in the bathroom or the living room or the kitchen. He’d just about given up when a flash of blonde hair drew his attention to the balcony.
She sat on the railing, happily kicking her feet as she stared over the ocean.
His heart rate tripled. Mark opened the outside door cautiously, making sure he didn’t spook her. It was a long, long way down if she fell.
“Tessa?” He spoke softly. “What are you doing?”
She twisted her head to flash him a brilliant smile. “Sunset colours are so pretty tonight. Come…” She patted the spot next to her. “Watch with me.”
He strolled over, leaned on the railing and casually slipped his arm around her waist to make sure he had her anchored. Only then did he start to breathe again. “Very pretty sunsets from here.”
“We’ll set up drinks and snacks in the evening for the B&B guests. They can sit here and talk about how wonderful their day was, and then new people will want to go on the same trips, and it’ll work in a circle. More happy visitors coming all the time.”
She leaned her head against his shoulder and sighed contentedly.
“I think this is the first time since we met you haven’t been moving at a breakneck pace,” Mark pointed out. The sensation of her in his arms was so right. He dragged in breath after breath of her scent in an attempt to satisfy his need.
A yawn escaped, and she stretched, teetering precariously toward the wrong side of the railing. “Sunsets do that to me. Soporific effect? Is that right?”
He stepped behind her and caught hold of her tighter. “If that means you’re ready to curl up in front of the fire, I’m good with it.”
“I like fires.” Her voice slipped into lower, sleepy tones that tickled along his spine and promised slumbering kitty within minutes.
Then she sent him into near panic mode as she twirled in his grasp, her arms around his neck the only thing stopping her from tumbling to the ground many feet below them.
So what’d you think? 😀 Have you read any of the previous books in the series? Are paranormal romances or shifters your thing? Incidentally, this book is out on February 12th! Double bonus awesome sneak peek!