|This is the fifth story in the Shifting Crossroads Series by Zenina Masters. You don't have to read the other three first... but I actually do recommend it so you can understand the Crossroads.
This story begins with Ivy going to her parent's house for dinner and finding her entire family, aunts, uncles, et cetera sitting and waiting for her. When her mother begins by saying her first, middle and last name she knows she's in trouble. Well, when any parent does this, every child knows they're in trouble. They decide to chip in and force her to go it the Crossroads for a month in an attempt to get her mated. You see, our girl Ivy has been avoiding finding a mate. She's a swan shifter but she's also a book editor and reviewer who is semi-obsessed with her job. Most of the men she's met really just don't get her. She arrives at the Crossroads and is given the tour with her final stop the Crossed Star bar. This is where she meets Chuck, bartender extraordinaire. She also asks him to assist her in her goal of avoiding men in the bar. He is surprised but does, and that launches him into looking at her a little more deeply.
We've seen Chuck in all the previous Shifting Crossroads stories so we know he's a snake shifter of some kind and he is covered in tattoos. Now, with Ivy, we get to know him much deeper. Ok, I didn't mean that in the Boom Chicka wah wah way! We learn about Chuck being the Snake Boy at a traveling circus and why he received all the tattoos. We also learn he writes romance novels under a Pen Name so know one knows he's male. I think it's hysterical that he writes those novels with the heroine on the cover in ripped clothes and the hero looking much like Fabio. Regardless of Ivy's intention to read her e-books and her determination not find a man, she is just too attracted to Chuck to ignore her desires. It turns out that Chuck is a Nāga, or, a king cobra and he's just so involved with kissing Ivy he accidentally nicks her with his teeth. This is what leads to the actual Boom Chicka wah wah.
I am always amused by the couples Ms. Masters gives us in the Shifting Crossroads series where one is a predator species and the other a prey. But you know, swans can totally take care of themselves and can be strong and determined about it too and Ivy certainly has those characteristics and then some! I loved how their relationship progressed and how the two of them really interacted once the smexy time was complete. I loved the fact that Chuck totally gets Ivy! As usual, I liked what I refer to as the supporting cast of the Crossroads but I truly adored meeting Arkenon, Chuck's foster brother. When I finished the story I had a huge smile on my face and was wondering if Ark would get his own story!
Reviewer: Teresa T.