Shift of Destiny Excerpt #1
Shift of Destiny is the second book in my new Ice Age Shifters paranormal romance series. As you might have guessed from the title, it's all about shifters, but it also has magic, elves, fairies, and ogres. Below is a short Shift of Destiny excerpt. (See another one here.)
Chance McKennie is a carpenter and handyman, but it's hard to find work in Kotoyeesinay, a magical town where it's just as easy to hire an elf or a wizard to build or fix things. He's also a shifter, whose inner beast is pushing him to move on and find his true mate, wherever she is. Before he leaves, his friend asks him one last favor, to escort a stranded woman to a place to sleep for the night.
“Ms. Graham, I found you a free room at a bed and breakfast called Tinsel’s.” Aurelio waved toward him. “This is Chance McKennie, my handyman buddy. He’ll show you where it is.”
The woman turned and pushed back her hood. “Please, call me Moira.”
Even with a streak of grease across her forehead and exhaustion etching dark circles under her eyes, she was striking, with coppery brown eyes so wide and warm that he wanted to drown in them. Her thick, dark hair, strong nose, and flawless light brown skin spoke of an ethnic heritage as mixed as his.
The beast inside him perked up immediately and pushed him to get closer, to find out what she smelled like under the grease and road dust. Lately, his beast wanted to smell every new female he met, regardless of species. Behave, he ordered, or I’ll eat nothing but salads and tofu for the next week. His beast retreated sulkily.
Aurelio handed Moira a piece of paper. “That’s Tinsel’s address, and the address of the business on Wizard Street I told you about that might have a job. Shepherd will move your car to his shop overnight, so don’t worry about that.”
Moira was already beautiful, but when she smiled, she was stunning. “You’ve been truly kind, and I appreciate it.” She turned to Chance. “I’m not inconveniencing you, am I?” Her voice was as warm and expressive as her eyes.
He shook his head. “No, it’s only a few blocks from here.” He opened the diner’s door for her, then followed her outside. The sun had only set half an hour ago, so the sidewalks still radiated warmth. “I’ll just put my toolbox in my truck, and we can go.” He hesitated. “Unless you’d rather ride?”
“No, I like walking,” she said. “I want to read more of the names of the businesses. It’s kind of like the aliens theme in Roswell, New Mexico, except it’s fantasy elves and fairies. Oh, and psychics. ‘I Knew You Were Coming Prognostication Services.’” She gave him another smile and a thumb’s up sign. “Best tourist gimmick ever!” She pointed to the top of one of the aspens that lined the downtown streets. “Besides, I love looking at the color waves of twinkling fairy lights in all the trees.” She shook her head. “It must have taken days and weeks to put these all up, but at least the weather is nice. I once had a job hanging outdoor Christmas lights in Chicago. Nearly froze my butt off.”
Chance shrugged one shoulder. “I think they pay a company to do it.” Actually, the town had traded a small plot of land to a troop of forest pixies in exchange for lighting up the trees for the summer tourists every year. The lights were conventionally solar-powered, but the color waves were pure pixie magic. Which she wouldn’t have been able to see, if she were an ordinary human.
He led her to his truck, where he put his toolbox in the locker box in back. “Do you need any luggage from your car? Where is it, by the way?”
She pointed to a mostly cream-colored, dusty four-door wagon across and down the street, under a street lamp. “I call it the Frankencar.”
He could see why. It looked like it had been assembled with spare parts from a salvage yard. The main chassis was from a Subaru, but the two doors he could see didn’t match the Subaru’s color or each other, and the front bumper looked like it came from an old Jeep. The hood had a jagged hole that looked like something had exploded from underneath.
She glanced down. “I have everything I need for tonight in my backpack. Besides, I gave my keys to the nice man from Knight’s Garage.” She deftly slipped its padded straps onto her shoulders and pulled her frayed braid out from under it. “How do you pronounce the name of the town, by the way? I don’t want to insult anyone.”
“It’s a mangled Native American place name, but it’s easier than it looks. The accent’s on the third syllable. Koto-yee-si-nay.”
He pointed toward the intersection as she repeated the town’s name. He purposefully shortened his steps to match her pace, because underneath her alert interest in the storefronts they passed, she was clearly running out of steam. Silence with her felt comfortable, but he found himself wanting to hear her voice again. “You’re looking for a job?”
“Yeah. I’m pretty sure that hole in the hood means old Frankie threw a rod, or maybe a carburetor, if that’s possible, which means a new engine. Which costs more money than I have. Hence, the job.” She sighed. “I have the worst luck sometimes.”
“I know what you mean.” He shook his head ruefully. “I think my name is a curse.”
She gave him a teasing smile. “As in, after all the good fairies blessed you with chivalry and a smoking-hot body that would make a fitness model jealous, the bad fairy twisted the meaning of your name so bad things happen to you?”
She thought he was hot? He chuckled, glad for the darkness that hid his blush. “Well, unusual things, at any rate.”
“Really? Like what?”
He ducked his head, not wanting to talk about himself any more. He was dismayed to find himself telling her things he hadn’t told anyone in Kotoyeesinay in the nine months he’d been there.
“No fair,” she complained with exaggerated outrage. “You can’t just say ‘unusual things’ and not explain.”
About Shift of Destiny
There's no such thing as magic, or sexy shifters… Or is there?
Moira Graham’s car breaks down in the tourist town of Kotoyeesinay, Wyoming. She’s on the run. Again. A crazy billionaire wants to possess her ability to predict the future, but it’s not a “gift.” It’s simple guesswork. Magic doesn’t exist. And this quirky town—which uses elves, fortune tellers, and fairy-tale gimmicks to draw tourists in—isn’t helping.
Roving carpenter Chance McKennie is a prehistoric shifter on the lookout for a mate. Unfortunately, people fear his lion, and don’t stick around long enough to get to know the man. He thought his luck would change in Kotoyeesinay, but his skills aren’t needed in this magical sanctuary town with creatures of myth and legend on every block.
When Moira bumps into him, she’s almost willing to believe in the magic of this place. But it’s going to take more than a red-hot handyman and some glowy lights to save her from ruthless hunters.
Chance is determined to protect his mate and help her find the magic in her blood. But even a top predator can’t guess the lengths to which a desperate billionaire will go to get what he wants.
Continue the magic and true mates in Shift of Destiny, the second book in USA TODAY bestselling author Carol Van Natta's fun, action-filled, steamy-hot Ice Age Shifters™ series.