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Authors: Zenina Masters

Tags: #Fantasy, #Shapeshifters, #Paranormal, #erotic romance

Deer Heart [Shifter Crossroads 3]

BOOK: Deer Heart [Shifter Crossroads 3]
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A reindeer out of season meets a lone wolf, and sparks and fur fly.

 

Venny can’t believe she missed mating season!

With her body in an uproar and no males free, this reindeer high tails it to the Crossroads in search of a male to quench her fire. With her own species out of the running she is willing to experiment, and while the wolf she meets knows she’s a dear, he has no idea she’s a deer. One lone wolf against a horny reindeer…what chance does he have?

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.

 

Deer Heart

Copyright © 2013 Zenina Masters

ISBN: 978-1-77111-516-2

Cover art by Martine Jardin

 

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

Deer Heart

 

Shifting Crossroads Three

 

By

Zenina Masters

Chapter One

V
enezia Raingo stood aside and watched as her twin-engine plane was fuelled for her trip home.

Tomas grinned at her as she paced restlessly.

“In a hurry to get home?”

She snorted and stomped her heel. “You have no idea. I missed my community gathering, and I am a little desperate to get back.”

“You have a boyfriend waiting?” She twisted her lips and thought of Kevin. He wasn’t her ideal mate, but he was the best of the males that had shown interest in her. He had also sworn to wait for her when she had been called to work during mating season.

“I hope I have someone waiting. I have been away from home for five months.” She scowled and ran her hands through her hair. The latest dye job was going to need a touch up soon.

“Well, you are good to go.” He finished the fuel fill and disconnected the hose with deliberate care.

“Excellent. I will be off for a few months, so Eigar will be doing the flights to the nursing stations. Behave.” She winked at him and checked to make sure that the shipment of blood and other samples were securely strapped down in their coolers.

Venny waved to Tomas as she settled in her seat and finished the pre-flight checks. One drop and she was finally going home.

 

Kevin answered the door in a towel and looked startled to see her. “Venny! You are home…that’s great.”

She smelled the other woman the moment the door finished opening. “You broke your oath, Kevin. That is going to cost you.” Venny turned and walked to the elevator and kept her self-control until she was in her car and six blocks away. Tears started to flow, and she pulled over near a park, walking into the wooded area before she dropped to her knees and sobbed.

One chance, she had one chance at a male, and she blew it. No one in her community wanted an albino. She was a beacon for hunters in the summer and invisible in the winter. Her red eyes were considered freaky, and her other form could not wear the contact lenses that she put in every morning.

Venny sobbed and wailed. It was early enough that she only disturbed a few joggers, one of which stopped to check on her.

The woman smelled of magic and had a decidedly friendly gleam in her eye. “Are you all right?”

“No. I don’t think I am.”

“Is there someone I can call to help you?” Venny sniffled and got to her feet. “No. I have to make a few calls, but it will be better to do it in the privacy of my car.”

The woman frowned. “You shouldn’t be driving in your condition.”

“I will be fine. I just needed to get into the wild for a few minutes.”

The woman touched her arm. “A deer?” Venny blinked in surprise. “Sort of.” The woman laughed. “How can you be sort of a deer?”

“I am a reindeer. I look like a goat crossed with a moose.” She twisted her lips.

“You are very rare in this part of the world.”

“That I am. It is why not having a mate is such a big deal. My promised mate is shacked up with my cousin.” She blurted her shame out to this stranger, and it felt so good to get it out.

The woman flicked her fingers and a business card appeared. “Here. Call this if you need a lift after you run out of options. My price is hair from you and two relatives. Give me a call.” Venny smiled and wiped at her face. “Thank you.” She read the card, “Krisia.” The woman winked. “Call me Kris.” Without another word, the jogger disappeared.

Venny walked back to her car with the card tucked into her bra. Inside her vehicle, she called the local Herd Master. “Hello, Master Pierce.”

“Venny, you are home. Congratulations. How can I help you?” His rich tones rolled over her ears.

“I need to speak to the shaman.”

“What is wrong?”

She was bluntly honest. “Kevin is no longer willing, and my time is coming. I need to find a mate fast.”

Silence fell on the other side of the line. “He was promised to you?”

“Of course. You knew that. We even went through the vow in front of witnesses.” She frowned.

“Come to my place. I will have the shaman meet us here. I will explain then.” The phone went dead, so she disconnected her end and buckled up.

Curious, she started her car and drove for an hour to meet with Herd Master Pierce.

He met her in the drive, and he bowed low. “I apologize. Kevin lied to me, and I gave him authorization to mate with your cousin, Tasia.” She reeled at that bit of information. “What did he say?”

From his bent position, he answered, “He said that you had released him from his vow, and he was free to mate Tasia.”

Venny twitched. “That sounds like something he would do.”

“He is out of the herd.”

“What?”

Pierce stood straight, his deep brown eyes angry. “He has lied to his Herd Master and disregarded vows given in front of witnesses. Would you have him back if he were free?” She shuddered. “No matter how bad it gets, I will say no. I don’t want a man who does not want me in return.”

“Good. Jane is waiting inside. She has prepared a ritual to cleanse you of all ties to Kevin, and she will talk to you about options to locate a mate for you. Of course, you know I am still willing.” She patted his arm. “Thank you, Pierce, but you know you are meant for someone else. Someone who doesn’t skate the far side of acceptability.” It was a bone of contention between them. The herd master was willing to take her on as a mate, but being an albino meant that she would never have dominant status in the herd, and it would create a situation where she could be manipulated.

He would be manipulated by association.

Their attraction was mutual, but it was Venny who put the brakes on it. He needed more than she could be. He needed normal.

She walked with him into the house and into the ritual room.

Jane was sitting with her horns on, smiling welcome. “We are doing a cleansing then?” Venny sat in the spot Jane indicated and let her do her thing. Three hours of feathers, horns and magic cleansing later, the shaman asked, “So, have you ever heard of the Crossroads?” Venny pulled out the card the jogger had given her, and she stared at it.
Transport to the Crossroads

– Kris
.

The phone number was long distance, but it ended with a smiley face. “Funny you should mention it…”

Chapter Two

V
enny was nervous. She didn’t have samples from her parents, she only had the Herd Master’s and her own.

The doorway opened and Kris arrived looking much more formally dressed. She was wearing a crimson gown and a lot of jewellery that gave off its own aura of power.

“Transporter, I beg your pardon, but I don’t have family to call upon. The Herd Master has offered a sample of his fur, and I have provided a sample of mine as well as a chip of horn. Is that acceptable?”

Kris smiled at her. “Of course. I only have to demand the payment. Nothing says I have to take it. Reindeer horn is fairly rare. You do not often need guild intervention.”

Pierce stepped forward. “Venezia is an unusual case. She is an albino and that makes things difficult when it comes to fitting in with the herd.”

The transporter inclined her head and quickly ran through the methods for feeding and clothing herself at the Crossroads. “Do you wish to live at the hostels or a bed and breakfast?” Venny answered immediately. “The B&B please. I have just spent the last few months in a cockpit. I need some personal space.” Kris made a note on a small scroll and smiled.

“Give this to the swan when you go through the portal. She will make all the arrangements.”

“I am going
now?
” The suddenness took Venny by surprise.

“No time like the present. Now, are you fussy about mating with a predator or prey species specifically?” Kris stood with her pen poised above the scroll.

Venny looked at Pierce and blushed. “Um, no. I just want a guy I can put up with who will put up with me in turn.”

“Excellent. Grab your gear and put on the charm.” Kris looked at her watch and moved her hand in a hurrying motion.

Venny grabbed her carry-on and duffel. They contained everything she needed, including her laptop. She returned to the Herd Master’s backyard and nodded her head. “Ready.” Kris handed her the small scroll, tied the charm on and smiled brightly. “Off you go.”

Venny looked and a doorway opened at the edge of the patio. “Thank you for this, Krisia.” Kris smiled slyly, “Just go before my husband finds me. He tries to squelch my attempts to leave our home. Good luck and think happy thoughts.” Venny shot her a nervous smile, nodded to the Herd Master and walked through the gateway that had been opened to the Crossroads. With her heat approaching in a matter of days, she was on the clock.

If this worked, she would find a way to send Krisia a fruit basket or something.

 

She paused as she walked out of the gateway and looked around. A surprised couple was looking at her, and she inclined her head in greeting. “Um, I am looking for the swan?” The woman walked forward and smiled. “My name is Teal.”

Venny looked down and stuck out the hand holding the scroll. “I am Venny. Uh, Venezia Raingo.”

Teal took the scroll and read the instructions.

She walked to the dark-haired male and spoke quietly to him. He nodded and took Venny’s bags before he headed out the door of the building that the gateway had appeared in.

“He will make the arrangements at the Open Heart Bed and Breakfast, so all will be ready when we finish our tour.”

“Are my bags okay?”

“As long as you don’t have a collection of shiny things, they are perfectly safe. Just kidding, he won’t unpack anything. Come and let’s take a look around. It’s still afternoon, so we have plenty of time.”

Bemused, Venny allowed Teal to take her hand and lead her out into the light of the Crossroads.

There were far more males than Venny had anticipated. She saw them in the café, the general store and the more formal restaurant. The bar had several groups of males packing together, and they all turned to look her over the moment she and Teal entered.

“Why aren’t they staring at you?”

“Everyone knows me here. I am the first face they see. The other females and males here who have partnered up wear cuffs that shift with them. So that it is glaringly obvious that they are taken.” Venny grew restless when she noticed that the men were scenting the air.

BOOK: Deer Heart [Shifter Crossroads 3]
4.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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