Tomasina Parks is responsible for making sure her boss’s first holiday event goes off smoothly. Chasing a gate crasher who swipes the party’s money tree is not in her plan. Neither does she expect a guest to follow her home and discover her most guarded secret.
Court Germaine shares DNA with a cunning creature, and it craves freedom as he stands in an apartment lobby eyeing a dog -- who turns into a woman. Christmas lights from a miniature tree flash multicolor ribbons on a beautiful, petite body -- the body of another genetic anomaly -- one smelling like heaven!
Praise for Courting Christmas (Shepherd's Watch 5)
"Two shifters, one holiday and a lot of heat. I love the books of J Hali Steele and this one was no exception. It’s funny, the writing flows well and it’s hot. That’s a plus. I wanted a hot, short holiday read and this one ticked all the boxes."
-- Nymphaea, Long and Short Reviews
"Super cute short Christmas story about two shifters finding their mate. As usual the man in the situation aka Court is being stubborn and don't want a mate. It's up to Tomi to coax him into wanting her and the perks of Christmas. Check out this story to see how Court and Tomi work out their mateship. Enjoy!"
-- 4 Stars from Shell, Amazon Review
"This story was simple, quick and funny. You have to read to find out!"
-- Beast's Beauty, Amazon Review
"...a short cute book. It made me want to read about the other people in the book and find out about their lives."
-- 4 Stars from Candance72, Amazon Review
"A good short story about Tomasina Parks and Court Germaine both being shepherd shifters. He finds that out when she goes after a crook. I enjoyed seeing them get an HEA."
-- 4 Stars from Babs, Amazon Review
"This is a fun and steamy holiday read. Two shepherd shifters find their mate in this instant attraction story with a touch of action and spicy fun."
-- 4 Stars from Mary, Amazon Review
"This is a fast steamy story with a bit of action, and plenty of heat as Court and Tomasina find each other and accept them as mates."
-- 5 Stars from Casvec, Amazon Review
"Court hates religious hoildays because of the monk who created there kind. Thomasina love all things Christmas. Can the grump and the enthusiastic hioliday lover make it work. I enjoyed this story and the characters involved."
-- 5 Stars from Janet, Kobo Review
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Courting Christmas (Shepherd's Watch 5)
J. Hali Steele
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2022 J. Hali Steele
Shepherd’s Watch, Court Germaine’s employer, had branched out, and now provided security for powerful members of corporations and government entities, as well as beautiful women who worked for modeling agencies and movie studios. These assignments usually required blending into sophisticated atmospheres. Court preferred these jobs because he always left with the prettiest woman.
Being an employee as well as the brother of Harm Germaine, VP of The Watch, Court was thankful his current duty kept him away from the company compound they all shared. Currently, however, he wasn’t particularly happy to be keeping tabs on the newly elected local mayor, whose office held a Christmas party. If he had to deal with holiday lights and shitty music, he could at least enjoy eyeing sexy women. Not tonight. Seemed as if everyone involved with the campaign neared sixty. Many were beautiful, their scents causing a slight stir, but their husbands tended to frown upon him if he paid too much attention.
Lately, Court had gotten stuck with a lot of these incredibly boring missions, which was causing him to dwell too much on their disadvantages. The party he watched over tonight was just such an annoyance. Still, the assignment kept him happily from any obligation to join in the family holiday merrymaking, which was in full swing with Christmas only days away. “I do not like Christmas.”
* * *
Tomasina Parks was in her element. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was large enough for her to go pretty much unnoticed, and she embraced the change of climates as well as the city’s history. Unlike the West Coast, it was cold enough here to really feel like Christmas. Tomi wished for snow and couldn’t wait to let her inner self romp in the white stuff.
She didn’t know how, regardless of her clerical experience, she’d acquired the position of executive assistant to recently elected mayor Sherwood Kelly. Getting things in order for his party hadn’t been exactly the job assignment she’d expected. Mayor Kelly wanted to keep it low key. Regardless of the compliments, she thought there should have been more Christmas lights and gaiety. A mix of newer Christmas tunes would help. If she heard Jingle Bell Rock or Let it Snow one more time, Tomi would howl like a wolf baying at the moon. And where was the younger crowd? Going by age, the invitees should have children ranging throughout the twenties and thirties. The invitations they’d sent out included families. Why hadn’t these people brought their family members along?
Perhaps their children remained next door. Sounds from the nightclub drifted into their smaller space. If Tomasina had her way, there would be a tree in every corner of the hall, with tiny white lights blinking. Strings of them crisscrossing the ceiling like little stars casting a glow on everyone and everything in the room. She endeavored to tamp down her memory of the home she’d grown up in, with families caroling from house to house and each home vying to see who could fill windows with more lit candles than the next.
“I miss the snow.” Tomi surveyed the area again to make sure no one caught her talking to herself as she fluffed the limbs on a tiny artificial tree that came outfitted with multicolored lights. It stood on a table near the single official live tree, which had enough colored bulbs to resemble dueling rainbows. Attendees were being asked for donations to one of Mayor Kelly’s favorite charities -- an animal shelter. Appropriately, various animal-shaped clips were provided to affix money to the little tree’s metal limbs. No risk of theft with this crowd and she had to admit she liked the fact he’d chosen the shelter as recipient.
Holidays were tough for newly adopted pets. People giving in to a child’s wish for a cat or dog usually ended up returning them when they realized the work involved in caring for the new family member. And that’s what they were -- or at least what they were supposed to be. Not a cute toy to be taken lightly and returned after the twinkly lights were stored away until next year.
Tomi had engaged an elite security company Sherwood recommended. The mayor didn’t want to rely on his regular security detail, employed by the city, as they shadowed his every move. The mayor wanted everyone to relax and enjoy the celebration.
She was a little disappointed that the company, Shepherd’s Watch, hadn’t sent over pictures to identify the agents along with their paperwork. She knew the company was sending a man -- Germaine, the vice president’s brother -- along with an Alsatian.
Tomi peered around the hall until she spied a tall, well-built black man who looked bored lounging against the oak bar. She didn’t recognize the man, and she knew most of these people. He had to be security and, Lord, he was fine.
Fine didn’t capture it at all. The bastard was to-die-for handsome. Curls with a mix of gray were worn close to his scalp, accenting his high cheekbones and a strong jaw covered by a clipped beard.
“Oh, Hell.” Stop looking at his face. Perusing his clothes would be safer. Aware of fashion and its trends, she knew the black wool suit must have set him back a couple weeks’ salary. It fit perfectly, framing broad shoulders, thick thighs, and long legs. Deep brown skin looked warm and… lickable.