Today is doubly happy. Not only do I get to chat with you beautiful people, but it’s also release day. Shift Happens is book one in a brand new series, I Heart Shifters. Each installment will be short, hot, and funny as heck. I’m excited about this project, and I hope everyone gets a kick out of Ellie’s antics.
Ellie, the heroine in Shift Happens, owns a nail salon. It was an interesting occupation for me to give to a character considering I can’t paint my way out of a paper bag. I blame it on being left-handed. I’m awesome like all lefties, of course, but painting nails isn’t my forte. Unless it’s paint by numbers, I’m screwed.
You get the picture.
So here’s Ellie, manicurist extraordinaire, who caters to the shifter housewives of Atlanta’s elite. Unlike me, she’s a whiz with a nail file and a bottle of polish. She creates colorful creations for her clients, all of whom don’t realize Ellie’s a shifter herself. She’s a half dragon shifter, who’s never quite mastered the art of keeping smoky belches hidden.
Since it’s finally spring and sandal season is in full effect, I couldn’t wait to treat myself to a pedicure at the conclusion of writing Ellie’s story. I got pink polish with white polka dots, in case you’re interested. ; )
My first ever pedicure took place last May, right before I attended the RT Conference in New Orleans. I’m a bit ticklish and the “cheese grater” thingamabob freaked me out…and made me giggle! (When I wasn’t busy being disgusted by the entire process.) But boy, were my foot smooth as silk. I went to the Dark Side and became a pedicure regular since then.
For someone who cringes at the sound of a file, you’d think I’d avoid a nail salon like the plague. Not so, fearless readers. I may cringe, of course, but the discomfort is worth it for a fantastic French manicure and cute, colorful little toesie woesies. I still think I have ugly feet – flat and wide – but no one can deny my love of pink when I’m all glammed-up with a fresh set of paint.
I’m currently growing out my fingernails. For a lifelong nail biter, this is a hard road to travel. My nails have finally grown past the pads of my fingers and I’m already envisioning the perfect shade of pink to christen them with. Fingers crossed I don’t lose an eye taking out my contacts. That is a tricky maneuver, let me tell ya.
So we’ve established I love pink, pedicures, and peanut butter cups…okay, so I didn’t tell you that, but it’s true and it does start with P…I want to know what style everyone is rocking these days.
Come on, share the deets. I’ll be right here taking notes.
Shift Happens (I Heart Shifters, Book 1)
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Etopia Press
Number of pages: 69
Word Count: 24,906
Ellie Reynolds runs a nail salon that caters to shifters of all varieties. The proverbial shift hits the fan when billionaire mogul Jackson Lawrence walks in the door and offers Ellie two million dollars to sell her shop. Ellie has no intention of selling out, especially to someone who plans to bulldoze her shop to the ground and replace it with a fast food joint. Their battle of wit and will is brought to a sudden halt when Jackson’s enemies appear, throwing them into a fight for their lives.
Jackson believed he’d left violence behind when he resigned his position with the Blood Wolves, a secret shifter military group, but someone wants his company’s cyber invention and will stop at nothing to get it. He didn’t mean to drag Ellie into his mess, but he’s willing to do anything to protect her and the firewall his friend created…anything except fight his attraction to the outspoken redhead he’s suddenly responsible for. Jackson soon learns Ellie is hotter than he first gave her credit for…like dragon hot…and life is about to get a whole lot more interesting.
Sometimes shift happens when you least expect it.
Longer (Sexier) Excerpt
Rain kept up a staccato rhythm on the tin roof, and her supersensitive hearing picked out every drop. She’d never be able to sleep like this, not while her mind was racked by thoughts of Jackson. The situation was laughable. She should be more worried about her safety and instead all she could think about was the fine-looking man in the room across the hall, like the perfect dimples in his cheeks when he smiled really big, or the perfect symmetry of his gorgeous face. And that ass. She could bounce a quarter off that ass.
She groaned as the familiar heat filled the place between her thighs. She needed something to take her mind off Jackson.
Milk. That’s what she needed. A nice, cool glass of milk.
Well, what she really needed was her vibrator, but it was at home, tucked safely away in her drawer under a bundle of handmade scarves that she’d bought and never worn.
Ellie slid out of bed and tugged the hem of the too-short nightgown. She’d picked out a size eight when she was more like a twelve, so Jackson wouldn’t know her true clothing dimensions. When he’d gone to pay for the items she’d chosen, he’d merely lifted an eyebrow but wisely chosen not to say anything. Could she help it if she’d been born with a fondness for sweets? Blame Nana’s genes, not her own lack of will.
Speaking of sweets, cookies would be nice too. She wondered if Jackson had any in the cabinets. He seemed to keep the Montevallo home stocked with foodstuffs since they hadn’t had to stop for groceries.
A few minutes later, with chocolate chip cookies clutched in both hands and a mug of milk hooked around her thumbs, she crept back down the hall toward her room. She bent her head to take a bite of a cookie and lost her grip on the drink. She cursed when the mug fell out of her hands. The milk spilled across her toes and the ceramic shattered when it hit the wooden planks.
“Ellie!” Jackson jerked his bedroom door open and appeared in the doorway, disheveled and entirely too yummy. He wore nothing but boxers and oh geez, he had a six-pack. A perfectly lickable six-pack that made her mouth and sex water. She hoped she wouldn’t drool, although it was a distinct possibility.
“I’m sorry for waking you.”
Jackson ran a hand over his shorn hair. “Fuck. I thought they’d found us.”
“Nope, just the cookie monster.” She held up the cookies in her hands and grimaced. How embarrassing. “Want one?”
He came forward until their toes touched. Hers, milky and chilled. His, warm and dry. She wanted to feel her feet wrapped around his beneath the covers. She wanted to feel everything of his beneath the covers, actually.
His thumb brushed the corner of her lips. “Chocolate,” he explained right before he licked his finger.
Damn her knees. Useless joints that they were. “Umm.”
And damn her larynx for not working properly.
His gaze dropped and she suddenly realized she was in the too-short, too-tight nightgown. Her boobs stretched the cotton material and she didn’t need to look down to know she was nipping. If she turned around, he could probably tell she wasn’t wearing panties. She’d never been so self-conscious before, but never had she been in the presence of a hot-ass canine shifter who was practically naked.
Jackson’s expression turned predatory. His cheeks seemed to hollow out, becoming more pronounced, and his nostrils flared as if he’d caught a whiff of something. Perhaps it was her. The quick shower she’d taken had been hours before. Then again, no panties. Perhaps he smelled her scent. She clamped her thighs tight together and prayed he didn’t laugh. The situation was embarrassing enough without suffering unrequited lust.
“Ellie.” He spoke her name again, but it was low-pitched and soft.
Oh God. She wanted to eat the cookies in his bed. But later. Much, much later. “Yeah?”
“I owe you something.” He slid a hand around her waist and cupped the upper swell of her butt. His fingers spread out in a proprietary manner, as if he was sure of his welcome. “I wanted to wait until all this shit was over, but you’re killing me. I can’t hold out any longer.”
Neither could she. She went up on tiptoe and puckered her lips. He stared at her as he traced the seam of her lips with his index fingers. “I think you misunderstand the type of kiss I want from you.”
About the Author:
Christy Gissendaner is a paranormal and contemporary romance author who believes laughter and love should go hand in hand.
Christy lives in Alabama with her husband and three sons. She’s always hard at work on her next novel, but in her spare time she loves blackjack, karaoke, and anything resembling a vacation!
To find out more, please visit http://christygissendaner.webs.com