Blitzen's Fated Mate (Arctic Shifters Book One) by R.E. Butler by R.E. Butler - Read Online

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Blitzen's Fated Mate (Arctic Shifters Book One) - R.E. Butler

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forever.

Chapter 1

Arian rubbed the polishing cloth on the buckle of his harness until it shone brightly. Excitement filled him as he thought about what the night would bring. Christmas Eve in North Pole City was always a busy night, and as one of the chosen eight to pull the sleigh, Arian’s day had been especially busy. After he’d turned eighteen and first been able to shift into an arctic animal, he’d known that someday he’d be chosen for a sleigh run. He’d never expected it to take twelve years for a spot to open, but thanks to a mating arranged by Mrs. C, the Blitzen position had opened up.

It was about damn time.

Rhys, head of the North Pole City security team and also the Dasher position on the sleigh, slapped Arian on the shoulder. You ready, rook?

Arian arched a brow. I’ve been shifting as long as you have, Rhys.

But you’ve never pulled the sleigh before. This is a trial run. If everything goes well tonight, you’ll be looking at a permanent position, and you know what that means.

Arian felt the beasts within him stir. There weren’t many females in North Pole City. The males outnumbered them seven to one. In order to be allowed to pursue a female to mate, a male had to prove his worth in a noble profession – for shifters like himself, Arian needed to find a permanent position, such as sleigh-work. For the last twelve years, he’d been standing on the sidelines, working his ass off but never actually being given a permanent position. It had been hell. His beasts wanted to be mated and start a family. Waiting because of an ancient Santa law had started to make Arian want to forget his shifting abilities and take a permanent position somewhere else, like with the toy builders.

His beasts hadn’t much cared for that notion. Shifters weren’t supposed to be toy builders; they were part of security or part of the sleigh team, and sometimes they were both.

I’ll do my best, Rhys, Arian said.

Rhys smiled. I know you will. If you’re nervous, go for a run in your shift before we have to harness up. It helps to take the edge off.

I will, thanks.

Arian finished polishing the buckle on his harness and hung it on the rack in the stall. In a few hours, he would be shifting into his reindeer form – one of his four shifted forms – and an elf would attach the harness and hook him up in the line. He didn’t relish spending the evening staring at Roi’s ass as they flew from house to house, but he’d gladly take it to have a chance to find a mate and start a family.

Deciding to take Rhys’s advice to heart, Arian jogged out of the barn to the trees and stripped, closing his eyes and talking to the beasts inside him. He could transform into four arctic creatures at will – polar bear, snowy owl, arctic fox, and reindeer. His favorite shift was the arctic fox. He liked blending into the snow and being able to race through the trees. The polar bear, while powerful, was just not as fast as the fox.

He shook himself out as he took on the mantle of his shift and stretched, curling his claws into the snow and snapping his tail. Without any thought to the point of his run, he took off, the trees a blur as he raced by. As he ran, he thought about how powerfully unfair the mating situation was for those born in North Pole City. He’d never been to a human city before, but he’d heard rumors from some of the elves who regularly visited to pick up supplies for NPC, that humans mated at will. No one made them wait until they had a certain job, or matched them up through a special ceremony. It would be nice if he were human, but he wasn’t, so he was bound by the rules and laws of his world, which although on the same planet as the humans’, were about as different as night and day.

After lazily chasing some snowshoe rabbits and then chuckling to himself as they cursed him out in their strange bunny language from the safety of their dens, he headed back to the barn. He could feel the time drawing close for when he would need to shift and take his place. Excitement coursed through his veins, the idea of having the opportunity to mate with a female shoved to the back of his mind as more important tasks awaited him.

* * *

Declan shoved Sullivan, and