Beauty Sleeps (Fairytale Shifter Book 2)(4)

By: Alexa Riley

I stop that train of thought and focus on the task of cleaning up. I can’t let myself go down that road.

The sun is setting, and I’m all finished for the day. Shifters are amazing creatures with lots of strength, but I realize that I had neglected my body for a long time, only eating when I gave in to the hunger pains.

I’d always built houses, so I knew my way up one side and down the other when it came to putting one together. But the first day I tried to do just some basic work, it about broke me physically. After a few good hunts, I was doing better. And about a week later, my body was back. I could feel the strength in my arms and legs grow as my shifter genes helped repair the years of damage I’d done to myself. I am bigger than I have ever been.

I’ve been given free rein of the forest surrounding Gray Ridge, but a few acres are specifically mine. I’d built a home on some land out here before my mom and sister died, but I hadn’t been back since the accident. I built it so that one day, when I took a mate, I would have room for everyone. I couldn’t bring myself to go back after they died, but from what Dominic told me, he and Stone would go over every so often and take care of things for me. I think Stone knew at some point I would want to come back, and he made sure it was kept up.

Once a week Sheriff Dominic comes to check on me and brings me supplies. Sometimes he even offers a hand to help me with the place. When he found his mate, he made me realize what I’d been missing. I’d let myself go and let my wolf run for so long that I forgot about the things I want in life. I want a mate, and someday I hope to find one. Dominic made me see that I wasn’t doing what I needed to. I need to provide a safe home for my mate, and I have to be able to protect her. The power of his words hit me when he asked if I would have allowed another shifter to make my sister live the way I was living. His words hurt, but he was right. I wasn’t a worthy male, and I need to be. A mate deserves the best, and I intend to make the best home there ever was so that when I find mine, she’ll be happy.

I stand up and turn around, seeing Dominic. “Must be Friday, and it’s weird that you always smell like cookies now.”

“My mate likes the way I smell, thank you very much.” He sets the big basket of food down on the picnic table and looks at the progress I’ve made since last week.

Dominic has been worried about me a lot lately, but I can’t figure out why. It’s as if he keeps coming back to make sure I’m making progress. Like something is going to happen and he’s making sure I’m prepared.

“You’ve come a long way, X. The house looks great.”

“I’ve got nothing but time on my hands,” I say as I grab the basket, pulling out the cookies first. They are my favorite and always smell the best.

Not too long ago, I was doing pretty bad and walked too close to town. I think I was in a daze and following a scent. I stumbled upon the back of the town bakery, and I stopped when I saw a woman coming out. I’d been smelling something so good coming from the shop, and I think that’s what led me there. When I saw her, I thought she was my mate, though I was surprised that the scent wasn’t stronger. It was only a hint of my mate. It turned out that the woman was Ruby and she belonged to Dominic. She wasn’t mine, but the cookies she had in her hands smelled like mine. So now every week he brings me a basket from her, and the cookies are what I look forward to the most. They remind me of something I have buried deep in my heart, and I refuse to let it out.

“I know you’ve come a long way, Xavier, and I just wanted to say that I’m really proud of you. You’re making a good home for your mate.”

I turn to Dom with a mouth full of cookies and shrug. “It’s not good, it’s the best.” He laughs, and I don’t know why. It’s not a joke. I’m a good builder, and this is the best thing I’ve ever made.

“Okay, X. It’s the best.”

The house is a big one-story log cabin. It has an extra-large great room that opens into a kitchen. I built a big fireplace in the great room and put river stones around it. It has a large master bedroom with a big master bath, and four other bedrooms. I built bunk beds in the kids’ rooms because I expect to have at least two litters.

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