Beauty Sleeps (Fairytale Shifter Book 2)(2)

By: Alexa Riley

Chapter One


Present day…

“God, I would kill to have a place like this.” Winnie flops down on my bed and stretches out.

“Not much longer and you can,” I remind her as I search through my closet for something to wear to the Fall Street Fair tonight. “You’re saving all your money, right? You’ll be eighteen soon enough and free to do what you want.”

“Whatever,” Winnie says, the tone in her voice making me turn to look at her. She has lived in Gray Ridge for a few years now with the Stockton family. They took her in after Sheriff Dominic found her out in the National Forest all alone. It took us three days to get her to shift out of bear form. Since that day she’s never shifted back. I can’t imagine what that must feel like, never letting your animal out.

“Why ‘whatever’? It’s why you started working here to begin with, right? To save up?”

She rolls to her side, propping her head up on her arm, her gold-brown eyes meeting mine, and she just shrugs. Shrugging doesn’t work for me.

I took on working at Red’s Goodie Basket full time after Sheriff Dominic mated the owner, Ruby, and knocked her up with three of his pups. I had to hire someone to help me out with the place being as busy as it is. Even with living in the apartment over the bakery, I still couldn’t get it all done on my own, even if I worked day and night. Shifters have a sweet tooth, and they cleared the bakery out daily. So keeping this place stocked is a two-person job.

“Spill it.”

“It’s nothing.” She sits up, letting her legs hang over the side of the bed, and looks anywhere but at me. She tries to avoid the question by trying to change the subject. “What are you going to wear?”

Damn, she knows my weakness. Clothes distract me easily, and I let her have this one because I don’t want to push her. Winnie retreats into herself, and that’s not what I want to happen today. We closed the bakery early, and tonight’s about having fun, something I know she needs. I like to go out and have a good time, but Winnie likes to put her nose in a book and forget the world.

“I was thinking a sweater dress with some boots.” Dresses are my favorite, and with summer long gone and the chill of winter getting closer, it’s time to put up the summer dresses and break out something new.

“God, I’d kill to have your legs. I’d wear dresses all the time, too.”

“You can wear dresses,” I snap at her, harder than I mean to, and it makes her flinch. It’s so subtle that I almost don’t catch it. Then she just rolls her eyes at me like I don’t know what I’m talking about.

It kills me when she does this to herself. She’s a beautiful girl, but growing up the last few years around wolf girls probably hasn’t helped. We’re lean by nature; it’s just how we’re all built. I can eat all day, every day and still not add anything to my hips. But the downside is a lot of wolf females are also bitches. I’m not sure if that’s by nature or not.

“Look at Ruby, she’s curvy and Dominic follows her around like a lost puppy. He can’t keep his hands off her.”

“They’re mates”

“What’s your point?” I reach for a dress and pull off the one I’m wearing. I slip on the dark blue sweater dress and grab my boots. I walk over and sit next to Winnie on the bed to slide them on.

“My point is, of course he can’t keep his hands off her.” Winnie says, like she doesn’t like the idea of that.

“The mating heat stops after the full moon. It’s been over and he’s still all over her like a dog in heat.”

Winnie’s face turns red, making me smile. I grab her hand, linking her fingers with mine, wanting to give her comfort. Shifters like human contact, well, wolves do. I don’t know much about bears, Winnie being the only one I’ve ever met, but I’m guessing they like it, too.

“I don’t know how many times I have to tell you this but you’re gorgeous. You may not look like the wolf shifter females, but that’s because you’re not one.” She flinches again, but I just squeeze her hand in mine. “You’re a bear, Winnie, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just remember the things you don’t like about yourself are the same things other women want. I’d kill to have some boobs and ass like you’ve got. Hell, you’d fill this dress out better than me. Bet some of the tourist boys would hit on you if you put this on.”

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