Shifter Mate Magic, the first book in my new Ice Age Shifters series, is set in 1993. While I was writing, I thought back to what I was doing in 1993, but it wasn’t very exciting. I was living in Los Angeles, and had a day job. When I wasn’t at home with the resident mad scientist and the multiple cats, or working, I was commuting between them, because everyone in L.A. has to commute.
Fortunately, the web is here to save me. It wouldn’t have been, back in 1993. Online communities were dial-up bulletin boards and chat rooms hosted by companies such as Genie and AOL. If you wanted to know what movies to go see or what songs were topping the charts, you bought a newspaper. Hit movies in 1993 included the first Jurassic Park and The Fugitive. Schindler’s List took home several well-deserved Oscars. Jackie, the heroine in my book, is a movie fan, and loved 1992’s The Last of the Mohicans, and so did I. The lead actor, Daniel Day Lewis, certainly got a workout, because the character of Hawkeye spent two-thirds of the film running everywhere.
Personal computers were around but expensive, especially if you added a color monitor (16 RGB colors!) that was heavy enough to be a boat anchor. Cat videos were relegated to people’s home movies made with video cameras and stored on film or magnetic tapes. So were all our tunes — the first affordable MP3 players were still six years away. The top songs of the Billboard charts in 1993 included “I Will Always Love You,” Whitney Houston’s soaring cover of a song by Dolly Parton, and “I’d Do Anything for Love” by Meatloaf.
Trevor, the hero in Shifter Mate Magic, is a truck driver. He and Jackie both listened to country music, so they’d have been hearing the sweet ballad “Can I Trust You with My Heart” by Travis Tritt and the touching duet of “The Heart Won’t Lie” by Vince Gill and Reba McIntyre.
The first cell phones that could be used in cars were just becoming the thing (smartphones were only in science fiction). Cellular phones were only useful in big cities that had cell towers, but more were being built everywhere. Calls sounded like they originated from a distant planet, and cell plans were hideously expensive. Funny how some things never change. 😉
Here’s a short excerpt from Shifter Mate Magic, when heroine Jackie meets the hero, Trevor, in an all-night truck stop:
The smells of warm bread and sizzling hamburgers drew her like a lodestone toward the restaurant section, but she couldn’t afford to waste the time or the money. She sternly made herself march into the back aisle and open the refrigerator door for the lunch meats and cheeses.
She got a whiff of a tantalizing scent as she pulled her selections off the hooks. Not food, but something intensely interesting. Her sense of hearing and smell had magnified with each passing week of her pregnancy. She wished she knew if that was typical for a human woman carrying a shifter’s child, but had no one to ask. Certainly not the lying son-of-a-bitch leopard who’d gotten her pregnant, despite her precautions. She hoped he was roasting in hell, but he probably wasn’t. Justice for the privileged rich, regardless of skin color or species, had a whole different set of rules.
She let go of the refrigerator door and turned toward the scent, only to run headlong into a man who’d just turned down the aisle.
“Sorry,” she said, even as he said the same word. She regained control of her suddenly clumsy feet. She got the impression of chiseled cheekbones and a square jaw before she dropped her gaze out of habit, one learned from living with volatile shifters. His scent hit her like a freight train a moment later, all woodsy and leathery and mouth-wateringly male.
No one, not even the father of her baby, back when she’d thought she was in love with him and he with her, had ever smelled that good. She took a step back, because if she hadn’t, she’d have been tempted to stick her face in the vee of his short-sleeved T-shirt and lick.
“My fault,” he said. “Are you…” He trailed off and audibly swallowed.
She made the mistake of looking up at him and confirmed that he was the sexiest man she’d ever seen, even counting the handsome actors she’d thrilled over as a teenager. His brown skin and features spoke of ethnic heritage something like hers, and his warm, coppery-brown eyes threatened to drown her on the spot. His wide shoulders and arms looked strong enough to protect her from anything. The few tight coils of hair on his muscled chest mirrored the close-cropped hair on his head. His low-slung jeans and boots completed the mesmerizing package.
She swallowed and took another step back, away from temptation. “I’m fine.”
Except she wasn’t. Suddenly, she wanted set fire to all her plans in favor of getting to know the man standing in front of her. For his part, he looked stunned.
She shook herself. Not, not, not happening. She was a pregnant fugitive with enough secrets to write her own soap opera, and an implacable enemy on her tail. A human, no matter how tall, broad-shouldered, and sexy, was no match for a criminal cat-shifter pride with claws and teeth, and vengeance on their minds.
She clutched her meat and cheese packages to her chest and turned away, even though her now throbbing body and aching breasts begged her to get closer. She’d learned to ride out the hormonal roller coaster of being pregnant, so she could damn well ride this out, too.
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SHIFTER MATE MAGIC (Ice Age Shifters Book 1)
A lonely prehistoric bear shifter meets his mate. She’s running for her life and doesn’t have time for romance.
Pregnant Jackie Breton just escaped from a corrupt feline pack intent on selling her half-shifter baby to the highest bidder. She’s smart, independent, and has a desperate plan to keep her baby safe: Get away from the pride as fast and far as possible.
Trevor Hammond, prehistoric bear shifter, has been rejected by everyone in his life for… being born, basically. Well, except for the beloved aunt who raised him. He’s built a career as an independent trucker, but life would be much better with someone he can hold in his arms and claim as his own.
When Jackie meets Trevor at a truck stop, his bear demands he help her. His aunt even calls with a dire warning: Get Jackie to the magical sanctuary town in Wyoming before she’s killed.
Jackie thinks he’s sexy as hell, but too good to be true. She doesn’t trust shifters. With the feline pride hot on her trail, however, Trevor and the quirky town of Kotoyeesinay might be her only chance for survival. Even Trevor’s indomitable bear may be no match for the dangerous enemy seeking retribution.
Discover the secret world of magic and true mates in Shifter Mate Magic, the first book in USA TODAY bestselling author Carol Van Natta’s fun, action-filled, steamy-hot Ice Age Shifters™ series.
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Carol Van Natta is a USA TODAY bestselling science fiction and fantasy author. Works include the new Ice Age Shifters paranormal romance series and the award-winning Central Galactic Concordance space opera series. She shares her Fort Collins, CO home with a mad scientist and many cats.