Beauty Sleeps (Fairytale Shifter Book 2)(8)By: Alexa Riley
“Everyone just calm down. Xavier, come over here to me.” Ruby’s soft voice penetrates my anger, bringing forth another feeling. Jealousy.
“Mine!” my wolf snaps, making Ruby raise her hands. I can’t seem to control myself.
“Goddamn it. All of you, knock it the fuck off,” Dominic yells. Everything has gone completely quiet. No one is moving or making a sound. “Let him take her. He won’t hurt her.”
“No.” Stone's answer is immediate and final.
“I’ll fight you and win.” The man everyone but me seems to know crouches lower to the ground, and my fear rises. He must smell it, because his eyes shoot back to mine. “You have nothing to fear from me. I’ll prove I’m strong and a good mate. You’ll see.”
“Don’t hurt my brother.” I need to stop him because I do, in fact, think he might win a fight against the alpha, given his size and the fact that he’s literally busting out of his clothes.
“I never wish to harm your family unless they keep you from me. It’s best they learn now that I’m strong. They’re no competition against me. I’ll always win.” He says it with such certainly that I want to believe him.
I can tell Stone’s fighting everything in him to keep his skin and not to lash out. I’m guessing the only thing holding him back is the importance of protecting this town's little growly secret. But I’m also guessing my mate doesn’t feel the same. I can tell he’ll do whatever it takes to have me, and he’s not leaving without me, no matter the price.
“I’ll have to get in the middle of you and him.”
He growls at my words, then moves faster than I thought was possible in human form. Before I can blink, I’m in his arms and over his shoulder. But just as he has me, he suddenly stops, falling to his knees and pulling me from his shoulder down to his chest.
“They can’t keep you from me.” He falls the rest of the way forward, softly pinning me to the ground. “My beauty.”
I grab his long-bearded face in my hands as his eyes start to roll back in his head. Fear shoots through my body like I’ve never felt before. “Someone help me! Something’s wrong with him!” I try to push him off me, but he’s pure solid muscle and a dead weight on top of me.
After just a second, I feel his weight ease, and I see Stone and Dominic are lifting him from me.
“What’s wrong with him?” I ask in panic as I reach for him.
“I tranqed him.”
I walk through the woods, and the closer I get to town, the warmer my chest feels. It’s strange, because it’s not anxiety, which is what I expected to feel. I pull on the sleeves of my shirt, trying to make it longer than it is, but I give up and walk through the clearing at the back of the bakery.
I stand there and take a few breaths, trying to relax. Dominic was right. I’ve finished my home, and if I want to move forward in life and find my mate, then I need to take the next step. I’m afraid of what’s to come, but I know that locking myself away in the woods won’t bring me any closer to what I want.
Running my hand through my long hair, I try to brush it out of my face to look less intimidating. I probably should’ve shaved my long beard or cut my hair, but I let that thought go. It’s too late to do anything about it now. It’s been a long time since I cared about what I look like, and the feeling is a bit foreign.
Once I round the corner of the bakery store front, I see the crowd of people, and I stop. It’s been so long since I was around this many people, and the noise in my sensitive ears is a bit jarring. I need a second to adjust, so I stand there and take a breath. Giving myself a pep talk, I keep trying to stay focused on how important finding a mate is to me. I know she’s out there, and I’m ready now. I wasn’t for a long time, but the past few months have changed me, and I can do it. I can be the best mate there ever was.
Taking another cleansing breath, the warming in my chest expands. A slight breeze rolls across my face, and as I breathe in, a faint trace of something sweet catches me. My eyes snap open just as my wolf snarls one word in my head.
▶ Also By Alexa Riley
- · Taking the Fall: The Complete Series
- · The Final Fall
- · Taking Her Turn
- · Keeping Her Warm
- · The Runaway Mail-Order Bride
- · Double The Ache
- · The Lost Slipper (Fairytale Shifter Book 3)
- · Growling for Mine
- · Taking What's His (Forced Submission Book 4)
- · Blackmailing the Virgin (An Alexa Riley Promis...