Authors: Zara Chase
Drawn to Impulse, Florida, Chantal Lake struggles to acclimatize to the weird atmosphere. Her first sight of Rafe Landon and Vilas Tanner blows her mind, but she’s here looking for her lost brother, and romance isn’t on her agenda.
Impulse is a colony of shape-shifting felines. As alpha panthers, Rafe and Vilas are its leaders, but urgently need to mate with the right female to restore their dwindling powers. They immediately sense that Chantal is the mate they’ve waited decades to find, but how are they supposed to explain that to her without freaking her out?
Chantal’s brother is being manipulated by lion-shifters, desperate to get their paws on Impulse and its unique properties. Unwilling to be the cause of the guys risking their lives against the lions, Chantal flees Impulse, unwittingly drawing the men she’s fallen in love with into a fierce battle that could cost them their lives…
Ménage a Trois/Quatre, Paranormal, Shape-shifter
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IMPRINT: Ménage Everlasting
First E-book Publication: December 2012
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Copyright © 2012
Chantal consulted the map spread across her lap as she waited for the signal to change. A GPS in her ancient car would be nice, navigation not being her strong point. A better car wouldn’t go amiss, come to that.
“It should be right about here somewhere,” she said aloud, with more conviction than she felt.
She moved forward when the light turned green and felt mildly euphoric when she came to a waterside bar with a brightly painted sign swinging in the breeze.
“The Cat’s Whiskers,” she said, peering through the windshield to make sure she was at the right place and punching the air. “Yes!”
She pulled her ten-year-old Jeep Wrangler into the vacant lot and cut the engine. It was eleven in the morning and the place appeared deserted. That didn’t seem too hopeful. From what she’d seen of Impulse so far it was a quiet town, but surely waterside bars attracted the breakfast crowd? She ought to have known that a temporary job opening up just when and where she happened to need one was too good to be true. This place didn’t need help, it needed a complete makeover, or at the very least a crash course on how to attract local trade. And you didn’t do that by having the doors closed at eleven on a Friday morning.
Chantal climbed from her car and grabbed her purse from the back seat. She was here now so she might as well see if the place really did need bar staff. Accommodation was supposed to go with the job and that’s what had attracted her when she saw the ad on a corkboard at the gas station. Strange place to advertise. Why not use an agency, or at the very least, the “Help Wanted” column in the local paper? She had no way of knowing how old that corkboard ad actually was, but the cute guy behind the counter said it was recent. When she’d asked about it, he’d looked at her in an intense way that made Chantal feel as though he could see right inside her head. Then he nodded as though he liked what he saw and told her she’d suit the vacancy just fine.
Chantal paused as she walked across the lot, aware of a sudden tightness in her chest and difficulty getting enough air into her lungs. She paused, giving herself a moment to recover, wondering if she was coming down with something. The air felt thin, like she was at a high altitude, and yet she was right at sea level. Putting the anomaly down to a combination of tiredness, nerves, and stress, she carried on toward the bar and tried the front door.
It was unlocked so presumably they
open. It was hard to tell. She found herself in a gloomy, unlit walkway that led to a surprisingly large
-shaped bar. All the shutters were closed, but she guessed that when opened there would be spectacular views of the Intracoastal Waterway immediately beyond. There was a deserted restaurant to the left of the bar that could comfortably seat fifty diners. She poked her head around the door, just in case there was someone about and she’d not seen them.
Not having any luck, Chantal retraced her steps. She thought she’d seen a door further back that might have led to an office. She tapped on it but got no answer.
“Figures,” she said, rolling her eyes. “This place is a frigging ghost town.”
A noise behind her made her almost jump out of her skin. She spun on her heel and almost collided with a man—no, not a man, a god, she amended, taking quick stock of the hunk who she hadn’t heard approaching. No one walked without making any noise at all, did they? It wasn’t natural, but then nor was he, and as Chantal’s eyes adjusted to the gloom she was unable to suppress a gasp of approval. He was
most amazing-looking man she’d ever seen. At least six foot two, he had a lean, fit body and muscles that rippled like running water when he moved his arms. Dressed in tight-fitting black jeans and a black vest that sculpted his body, he attracted Chantal in a way that transcended his glamorous appearance. It was almost as though she was drawn toward him by a force greater than her own will and she found it was impossible to look away.
Her unnamed companion had hair the color of rich dark chocolate, long, smooth, and sleek. She was filled with the desire to reach up to run her fingers through it. What the hell had gotten into her? Chantal shook her head, striving to locate her common sense, which had chosen a most inconvenient time to take a vacation.
Unable to get a grip, she continued to gawp at the man like she’d never seen a hunk before. Well, in her own defense, she hadn’t, at least not one that came close to measuring up to this rare specimen of male beauty. She looked into eyes so intensely blue that they made her think of a fresh mountain stream on a summer’s day, tempting her to dive right on in. They didn’t blink and, as at the gas station, she felt as though the man had the ability to see inside her head and read her thoughts. It ought to have freaked her out. Instead she felt comfortable being held in the elusive warmth of an all-encompassing gaze that appeared to miss little.
Hell if Chantal knew what was going on. All she did know was that the atmosphere radiated with a tingling exhilaration that made it impossible for her to break eye contact with the man. Some ethereal influence outside of her understanding obligated her to lock gazes with him, even as her body reacted in an entirely predictable way. Chantal had been a self-imposed man-free zone for several months and her feminine needs were letting her know they were tired of being neglected.
Turbulent heat washed through her as she withstood the hunk’s scrutiny. Color invaded her face and she felt her nipples harden as time stood still and they continued to appraise one another in electrifying silence. Her pussy was leaking like a drain, damn it, simply because he looked at her as though he wanted to eat her alive. It was too humiliating for words to be so damned predictable. The thought that all women must react to the guy in the same manner gave her the strength to break a silence that felt as though it had gone on forever, even though it couldn’t have lasted for more than a few tension-filled seconds.
“I’m…er, looking for Rafe Landon,” she said, her voice sounding husky and most unlike her own.
“Come in, Chantal,” he said, opening the door to the office and standing aside to let her pass through it first. “I’m Rafe. We’ve been expecting you. Come on up.”
Chantal’s feet remained rooted to the spot. “How come you know my name?” she asked suspiciously.
This was beyond spooky. She didn’t care how good looking he was, or how well-mannered in opening the door for her, she wasn’t entering that room alone with him until she got an explanation.
“Zale at the gas station mentioned you’d seen our ad.”
“I didn’t tell Zale my name.”
“Presumably you gave him your credit card.” She nodded reluctantly. “Well, there you are then. And Zale gave you directions here—”
“And then phoned you to say to expect me?”
Rafe appeared to find that suggestion amusing, his lazy smile revealing very white, very even teeth. “Something like that.”