Authors: Becca Jameson
Tags: #Paranormal Romance
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Published by The Hartwood Publishing Group, LLC,
Hartwood Publishing, Phoenix, Arizona
Copyright © 2015 by Becca Jameson
Digital Release: November 2015
All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination, or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales, or organizations is entirely coincidental.
When Laurie Hamilton agrees to skiing lessons from the third-born Masters son, she is more than aware the odds of him being her mate are great. She is equally aware another man will make them a threesome.
Zachary Masters is also not shocked as he approaches Laurie that gorgeous sunny morning at the ski lodge. Considering both of his older brothers mated with both of her older siblings, chances were tremendous.
Corbin Archers, however, is blindsided. A Native American shifter from the reservation, he didn’t see this claiming coming. When he inadvertently agrees to deliver a few supplies to the cabin where Laurie and Zach are stranded, he gets the shock of a lifetime.
None of the three of them are stunned by the strange developments in and around the mountains where they live. Unexplained spirit sightings create renewed unrest. And bigotry raises its head among both the Native American and Caucasian communities.
When Laurie becomes convinced her presence is the root cause of their problems, she takes matters into her own hands and leaves town. The trouble is—mates cannot separate. Their souls are fated to unite.
Nature makes Her statement—as She always does. What does She want? And when will She be satisfied?
To my fabulous editor Lisa Dugan, who deals with special made-up words without a complaint! And to my wonderful husband who listens to me work out plot issues tirelessly—also without complaint!
“I can’t believe how comfortable we all are together. It’s like we’ve always known each other.” Laurie turned from the sink where she was washing dishes and handed a large platter to her half-sister, Melinda. Their fingers grazed as they passed off the dish, an electricity connecting them in a way most sisters never felt in a lifetime.
Melinda smiled, her eyes twinkling. “You’re right. And I was worried. After twenty-eight years of just me and Miles with no knowledge we had three half-siblings, the five of us meld together amazingly.”
“It’s Fate, I suppose. And Mom looks so happy.” Laurie twisted around farther and leaned against the counter next to Melinda. She watched her mother, Joyce, laughing over something Miles said in the great room. The woman hadn’t seen her twins at all during twenty-seven years in hiding.
They were all staying in Miles’s house for this reunion. He’d only finished construction six months ago so he and his other two mates, Griffen Masters and Rebecca Larson, could get moved in before the birth of their first child. Now Rebecca sat on the floor between her mates, round again with their second child. She looked radiant and comfortable, even though she was the only person in the house who wasn’t a wolf shifter.
The home was enormous, easily accommodating everyone. If Rebecca’s condition was any indication, Miles and Griffen must have been planning a large brood when they built this home on land at the border of the reservation. The acreage had belonged to their grandfather, who passed away many years before. Their grandmother, Mimi, sat cross-legged on the floor next to Rebecca, stroking her small hand over Rebecca’s belly and smiling.
Mimi knew things. She was a shaman, an ability that had been passed down to her daughter, Joyce, and her first daughter, Melinda. Hell, if the electricity in the house was any indication, it was likely Joyce’s abilities would resurface with enough time spent on tribal land. And Laurie shivered to admit to herself that she too might manifest some precognition. Her father was a white man, a shifter from another pack. No one knew how advanced Laurie’s abilities might extend with only one Native American parent, but time would tell.
Laurie was young still, only twenty-five. Anything was possible, especially if she remained in the area. She hadn’t told the others yet, but she intended to do just that. When the week was over, she would not return with her family to their hometown two hours west. With a degree in early childhood education, she would have no trouble finding work. She could easily get a job either on the rez in Sojourn or in Cambridge, the town where the Masters family lived on the northern end of the lake.
She was drawn to Melinda in a way she could not explain. She leaned toward her, setting her head on her sister’s shoulder and wrapping a hand around her biceps. “I feel a peace here I’ve never known.”
Melinda set her hand on top of Laurie’s. “I know,” she murmured.
Laurie and her brothers, Sawyer and Cooper, had arrived three days ago with their parents, Joyce and Gene Hamilton, for a week-long visit. They’d never been to the tribal land, and although Joyce was also Miles and Melinda’s mother, the twins had a different biological father. The twins had not been born of love or through a mating, but they were full Native American shifters and direct descendants of Mimi.
“My mates are giving me the evil eye.” Melinda giggled. Her face lit up as she watched them from across the room. Laurie felt that intense connection they shared easily.
Trace Masters met his mate’s eye and wandered toward the two women. When he reached them, he leaned forward to kiss Melinda tenderly on the lips before turning to Laurie. “Melinda tells me you’d like to go skiing?”
Laurie grinned. “Absolutely. I’ve never been, but I’ve always wanted to. I hear your family owns the local resort.”
Trace nodded. “We do. My parents own and operate the resort with the help of my brothers Griffen, Zachary, and Logan. My sister works there too. Her name is Sharon. You’ll eventually meet them all, considering I’m mated to your sister and Griffen is mated with your brother Miles.”
“Geez. I don’t think I can keep all of you straight.”
“Well, you’ve met me and Griffen today. And I spoke with Zachary earlier. He said he’d be willing to take you skiing tomorrow if you’re interested.” He smiled warmly.
Laurie’s eyes shot open. “Really? Isn’t he busy? I wouldn’t want to inconvenience him.”
“Hey, we’re like family. Don’t turn down an offer for free lessons from Zachary in the middle of ski season.” Trace chuckled. “Trust me. He offered. He wouldn’t have if he thought he couldn’t fit you in tomorrow.”
Melinda tipped her head up to look her mate in the eye. “Please tell me he doesn’t have an ulterior motive with my sister. You didn’t lead him to believe she looked like me or something, did you?”
Trace wrapped an arm around his mate and hugged her into his side, chuckling. “Believe me, that’s the furthest thing from Zachary’s mind these days. He’s far more worried about figuring out what man will share his mate than finding the woman.”
“Pardon?” Laurie lifted a brow in confusion.
Melinda swatted at Trace’s belly, making him buckle forward as though she’d knocked the wind out of him. She stood about five feet and weighed less than a bug. She turned her attention back to Laurie after giving him a stern look. “The Masters seem to mate only in ménages.” She nudged Trace with a finger and then nodded at Griffen across the room.
“Oh. Huh. I hadn’t really thought about that. But there are five siblings. Who’s to say they will all end in ménages?”
“History,” Trace added. “We have first cousins in Oregon. All four of the boys mated in threes—two men and a woman. By now, we have realized we’re all fated to the same thing.”
“Wow. That’s insane. It’s so rare. Wonder why?”
“We’ve all been scratching our heads over that one. Who knows?”
Laurie smiled. “So I’m safe with Zachary then.”
Melinda narrowed her gaze. “Don’t know if I’d go that far. Sometimes two of the partners meet before the third.”
Laurie shrugged. “It’s so unlikely. What are the chances?”
She glanced around the room and stiffened at her words. Both of her siblings had mated with a Masters. It gave her the chills. What if she did meet Zachary and find him to be her mate? Was she ready for that sort of commitment? And if that wasn’t bad enough, she’d never considered mating with two men. The idea was overwhelming.
As the activity around her continued, she smiled at the crowd of new family members and tried to block out the possibilities.
Slightly off-kilter was how she would describe herself as she settled into bed later that night.
Whatever happened…happened. Fate had her reasons. If she was indeed destined to mate with one of the Masters brothers, hiding out and avoiding them would solve nothing. And she had always been the sort of woman to face a challenge without hesitation.
She was only twenty-five, but she had a strong head on her shoulders. She could handle whatever fell in her lap.
Besides, what were the chances?
She fell asleep thinking of skiing while blocking out visions of what she assumed Zachary Masters must look like, judging from his two older brothers.
Zach stepped into the ski lodge at ten o’clock. He’d already given lessons to a rowdy group of six-year-olds, who exhausted him. He normally didn’t mind giving lessons, even to small children, but today he was distracted by thoughts of the woman he was meeting for a private lesson at ten. It didn’t help that two of the kids had cried almost the entire time he’d been working with them, and one of them flat-out refused to pop her tiny skis onto her boots. Luckily, he had another kid working with him for the morning, or he would have had difficulty leaving the little girl behind while he worked with the other five.
He pulled off his gloves and lifted his goggles onto his head as he strode through the throng of people filling the lodge.
Laurie was to meet him by the fireplace. He had very little information about what she looked like, but there was no way she could mistake him for anyone other than a Masters after meeting his two older brothers. Most people said they were like quadruplets as they got older.
A woman sat on one of the deep couches next to the fireplace, her arms lifted in the air as she fought to pull her long, thick, strawberry blonde hair into a ponytail. With her neck bent down, she didn’t see him approach. He assumed she had to be Laurie, considering there were no other women alone perched close by.
In fact, at this hour most of the skiers were out on the slopes. The crowd inside the lodge was made up of small children and whatever adult had been designated to watch them, usually a parent or grandparent.
Not for the first time, it occurred to him they should open a daycare center to allow parents and older siblings the freedom to ski longer.
The giant room buzzed with activity. His parents had built the lodge so that it blended in with the natural environment—a log cabin look both inside and out. The ceiling was high, and the room was filled with inviting couches in clusters around the center, with the enormous fireplace as the focal point. During ski season, it was always blazing.
As Zach stepped around the enormous coffee table into the woman’s space, she tugged her ponytail tight and lifted her face.
Zach stopped in his tracks two feet from her.
Her smile lit up the room for about two seconds as she realized who he must be. And then her face fell flat at the same time the blood rushed from his body. His eyes met hers and held them.
Why would he be shocked?
He grinned as he lowered himself onto the couch next to her, in part to get closer to her and in part because he didn’t think he could hold himself up any longer.
Before he spoke, he removed his goggles and hat from his head and set them with his gloves on the seat next to him. Still he held her gaze.
Her eyes were the most gorgeous shade of green, like the sea, almost clear. Her skin was fair with a smattering of freckles across her nose. Finally, he licked his lips and found his voice. “Please tell me you’re Laurie.”
She smiled broadly, and he loved the way her face lit up. A single dimple appeared on each cheek. “Does it matter?”