Authors: Tianna Xander
Tags: #Paranormal, #Erotic Romance, #menage, #shapeshifter
What’s going on in Paradise? Apparently, shape shifters are real and they’re attracted to middle-aged plus-sized women.
At least that’s what Alexa finds when she gets to Paradise. She doesn’t expect to find her friend Milla there, happily dating two men. It doesn’t help matters when she finds out that all of the single guys are gorgeous and the town motto is to care for and protect all women and children. In fact, the whole thing sounds too good to be true.
When the townsfolk suddenly start shifting into wild animals in front of her, Alexa is certain she’s gone mad. Is she strong enough to stay in Paradise with its strange secrets and the two hot guys she’s falling for who insist she is their mate?
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A Faire in Paradise
Copyright © 2014 Tianna Xander
Cover art by Carmen Waters
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.
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A Faire in Paradise
Paradise Series # 17
To everyone who asked for more Paradise stories.
“How much longer before we get there?” Alexa asked as she stared out through the window, looking at the beautiful landscape as it flew by. She loved the country. She loved the out of the way places like the next town they headed to. She also loved the idea of staying in one of the towns. It was her dream to settle down and raise a family one day.
She’d never thought much about it, until her other friend, Milla, left the carnival, looking for a better life. Maybe she should have gone with her. Looking out the window again, she sighed. She would love to settle in this area. The sky was so blue, the air so fresh and clean. It was like heaven on Earth. She felt for her cell phone in her pocket. Maybe she should call Milla and ask if she wanted company. Maybe they could open some sort of shop together.
“I can’t tell you how glad I’ll be to actually stay in a motel for a night and get to take a long, hot shower.” Alexa sighed as she thought of her small trailer with its broken down water heater. Maybe one day she could trade the piece of junk in for a newer model, or better yet, a real home. It was a nice dream, but as unattainable as diamond hubcaps, with her way of life. She sighed again.
“You could use my shower, you know.” Her friend Nadya said as she concentrated on the road. “It’s not like I’d pay extra for the water or the electric to heat the stuff.”
“I just don’t want to be a burden on anyone.” It was bad enough that she didn’t own her own truck anymore. She had to have her trailer hauled behind one of the food trucks. It was a good thing that the same family owned three of the food stands. They shared a bunkhouse trailer, which left their other trucks available to tow other things—for a price, of course.
Taking a deep breath, she let it out slowly. Alexa knew if she sighed again, Nadya would know something was wrong. She didn’t need that. Her friend would insist she stay with her. While she wouldn’t mind it, she didn’t want to impose.
“I’m serious.” Nadya reached down and patted her hand. “In fact…“She paused to clear her throat.
Alexa glanced at her friend. Why did she look so nervous? Nothing rattled Nadya. She was as steady as a stone.
“I’ve been thinking about leaving the carnival myself. It’s not the same without Milla and, well…” She shrugged. “I’m kind of tired of the life. I look at the families who come to the carnival and wonder what it would be like to have a man who could love me, who would help me pay the bills. Don’t you ever wonder what it would be like?”
“All of the time.” Alexa sat up, growing excited at the possibility that they could call Milla and ask her where she was. She couldn’t think of a better way to leave than to do it with her two best friends in the world. “We could call Milla and ask her where she’s at. Maybe we could all throw in on an apartment together, find
jobs and start saving for a better life.”
Her heart pounded, her nerves jangling as she thought about leaving the carnival circuit for a better life. It was time. It was finally time and she wouldn’t have to gather the courage to go out on her own. She wasn’t sure she could have done it by herself. She’d admired Milla for doing it once she left.
Once Milla was gone, Alexa felt the strange urge to leave, as well. Maybe it had something to do with missing her friend, or maybe she was just tired of the life.
She pulled her phone from her pocket, looking at it with a frown. “No signal.” She shoved it back into her pocket with a sigh. “We’ll have to wait until we get to a town to call her.”
“I’d say do it from Mason, but we’ll be too busy shopping. We have to do this after the next set-up. I promised that asshole, Perry, that I would keep an eye on the ticket booths for him. Apparently, he plans to take a couple of days off while we’re there.” She shrugged. “He’s probably going to go search for Milla. I don’t know why the jerk can’t just leave her alone. Their affair has been over for a couple of years.” She turned to look at Alexa with a frown. “Do you think he’s one of those nuts who doesn’t want a woman, but doesn’t want anyone else to have her either?”
“Who knows?” Alexa shrugged. “The nicest thing I can say about the man is that he is a
piece of work.”
“Ha!” Nadya shook her head. “That’s an understatement if ever there was one. That man is an asshole, through and through.”
“I was trying to be nice.” Alexa said with a giggle. Her friend’s expression was priceless.
“Why be nice to that jerk? He’s never been nice to you, and if he ever starts being nice to you, I’ll kick your ass. I happen to know that he’s only nice to the women he’s sleeping with and he’s only nice to
as long as they hold his interest.”
“Yuck!” Alexa shuddered. “You don’t have anything to worry about there.” Even if she
been attracted to the man, which she wasn’t, she never would have slept with him after what he’d done to Milla. Besides, she had standards. In her mind, a woman of character
dated her best friend’s ex. It was just plain tacky.
Forty-five minutes later, Nadya pulled into the parking lot of a big-box store. Turning to Alexa, she pulled a piece of paper and a wad of bills from her pocket. “Why don’t you do the shopping for both of us while I stay with the truck and trailer? I have a sneaking suspicion that someone plans to break in to your trailer.”
“Why my trailer?” Alexa asked with a frown, and since when was Nadya psychic? That was Milla’s profession. Nadya ran the bungee jumping platform. Her
was somehow knowing if someone lied about their weight and by how much, and she also had a sixth sense about whether equipment was about to fail. They were both excellent gifts for that particular attraction.
“Let’s just say that it’s because I think you’re next on Perry’s conquest list.” She shrugged. Either the man has an idea that you’re about to get a gift or he thinks you’re going to leave and wants you before you go. Usually, he waits for a woman to get her gift before making a move. Not that there’s anything wrong with
having one. Believe me, I could do without mine. Either way, you don’t need him snooping around your trailer.”
She glanced through the window toward where the Albus family had parked Alexa’s trailer before leaving it to go do some of their own grocery shopping. “As a matter of fact, Alexa, I think you’re lucky. You’ll be forty-five soon. It’s been years since the normal gift cut-off. No one will try to stop you from leaving if that’s what you want to do.
on the other hand, am another story. Perry is going to have a cow and two chickens when I announce my imminent departure.” She rolled her eyes. “After all, who will sell the tickets and keep people from killing themselves on the bungee platform if I leave?”
“So, with that in mind, I’d appreciate it if you would pick up the things on my list. I’ll just stay here. I have a feeling that the jerk won’t want a witness to his planned perfidy.” She patted Alexa’s hand. “Don’t worry. If I see anyone messing around your trailer, I’ll use my self-defense moves and kick their balls up into their throat.”
Wade sat in the barber’s chair and waited. He knew the routine. First, the hairdresser would wrap that nylon sheet around his shoulders before asking him what kind of hairstyle he wanted this time around.
“How short do ya want it this time, darlin’?” She stood behind him, running her fingers through his hair. “My, this is getting’ thick, like a pelt. Are ya part wolf, or something?”
“Or something,” Wade said, giving his usual response.
“One of these days, you’re gonna dull my razor.” The woman chuckled. “Do ya wanna wash or just a cut?” She massaged his scalp and he closed his eyes.
“Just a cut today.”
One of these days, when he got his ranch organized and his relationship with his partner worked out, he just might ask this little piece of fluff out on a date. She wasn’t his mate, but she was attractive, had ample curves in all the right places, and looked sturdy enough to take on two shifters for a night of horizontal aerobics.
Generally, he didn’t date. Wade had done his best to wait for his mate over the last five decades. Today, for some reason, he had an itch that needed scratched. The moment he strode into the store, he felt the urge to reach down and cup himself as though he were some untried youth.
He hoped the urge would pass. He had too much work to do on his ranch. Even after five years, they still had a ton of work to do. The last owners had neglected the place for years. It wasn’t in Paradise proper. It sat on the outskirts, in the
Closing his eyes, Wade tried not to think about the strange urge to grab the woman and dry hump her right there in the middle of the salon where a half dozen witnesses sat waiting their turn in the chair.
He’d come to Mason for two reasons—to get his hair cut and eyeball a new truck he could use to haul his horse trailer. The old truck wouldn’t do. It labored too hard in the mountains. One of these days, it would break down, stranding him and his horses in the middle of nowhere.
When he’d decided to stop in for a trim, he hadn’t expected this strange ache in the pit of his stomach and his aching balls. They burned. If he didn’t know that he couldn’t get one, he might have thought his last sexual encounter, ten years ago, had left him with a slow-incubating venereal disease.
“So, when ya gonna take me out, sugar?” the woman asked as she combed out his hair.
Why couldn’t he remember her name? She’d only cut his hair every two months since they retook Paradise six years ago. Why couldn’t he think? His mind spun, his gut burning. He studied the woman. Leaning close, he took another sniff. She smelled nice, but she wasn’t his mate.
A slight breeze hit him when the door opened and a woman walked in. Hair as straight as a preacher’s morals and black as sin itself floated around her shoulders. It shone in the artificial light, its glossy strands reflecting blue-black as she strode to the cash register. Tight jeans showed off her ample curves with hips wide enough to take a man.
Now that’s a woman.
His nostrils flared. Wade took a deep breath and groaned. “What’s that delicious smell?”
What’s-her-name leaned down, pressing her lips against his ear. “That would be me, sugar.” She straightened when he chose to ignore her comment. “The usual cut then?”
Wade grimaced at her tone. She sounded pissed.
“You know what?” He stood quickly, grabbed the black nylon material draped around him and yanked it free. She wasn’t getting a razor anywhere near his head using
tone. “I forgot I have an appointment in…” He checked his wrist.
He’d forgotten his watch, as well? “In about fifteen minutes. I gotta run.”