Sharp ChangeBy: Milly Taiden
She’d done it.
Sophia stared at the computer screen and couldn’t believe her eyes. Number and letter sequences in front of her drove her excitement. A slow sliver of fear raced up her spine when she thought of what could happen if the information got into the wrong hands, but it wasn’t enough to stop her from smiling ear to ear.
She’d finally singled out the particular chromosome in the DNA strand that made shape-shifters shift. This little baby was the hottest ticket in Shifterville. It’s what bonded with the rest of a person’s DNA and created the furry beast that lived inside them.
If it were a person she’d kiss it, hug it, probably spank it for being bad and making it so hard for her to find it. She grinned; she couldn’t help herself. Julia would be able to have a choice in life now after being attacked by a rogue werewolf the previous year.
The one positive outcome was that her sister had met River, the beta of his pack and her current husband. Talk about love at first bark. His animal had taken one look at her sister and had literally rolled over for her to pet his tummy. It was sweet and kind of creepy, considering how damn big he was in his wolf form.
River was a real nice guy too, but nothing beat freedom of choice in Sophia’s mind. He loved her sister and treated her better than any other man she’d ever been with, not to mention the man was absolutely gorgeous. Then there was his brother, the pack alpha.
Thoughts of Chase, the alpha of the Black Meadows pack, made her heart torpedo in her chest and rockets go off in her stomach. The better-than-a-sundae, delicious-looking man, with golden brown skin and enough muscles to share with his friends, turned her into a puddle of goo.
The man had so much sex appeal her girl parts were ready to lift a white flag in surrender just by looking at him. Even thinking of him made her tongue wag. Seeing him was like having your favorite desert and knowing you couldn’t eat it.
She was very aware of her physical appearance whenever he came around her. She was short, fat, and shy, and now that she’d hit thirty-two, she also felt old.
She had long ago given up on the idea of finding Mr. Right and had started focusing on Mr. Right Now. Unfortunately, that hadn’t worked out so well either. She ended up dating boring, geeky people, and sex tended to be nothing to write home about.
Shit, sex tended to be nothing she’d want to try again with any of those guys, having been responsible for her own orgasms for as long as she could remember. Heat crawled across her skin when she thought of the last guy she’d been with, Jake the Snake, before she’d moved to town. He was the reason she’d ended up looking for a new job.
He’d stolen her research and tried to pass it off as his own. Luckily, she always backed up her work with multiple copies and had months of data to prove the work was hers.
She blinked and squinted tired eyes, then rubbed cold fingers under her rimless glasses, drawing in a deep breath. A burst of energy rushed through her blood when she thought of what she’d just accomplished. Exhilaration made up for the lack of sleep. She’d been burning the candle at both ends working and doing her own private research.
She swatted away the guilt that tapped her shoulder over using the lab resources for her own experiment. Too much depended on the results of her first test to worry about being found out. And if she was—oh well, they did encourage “groundbreaking” and “outside the box” research.
Her sister Julia would have kittens if she knew. Or should she say puppies, now that Julia was a wolf shifter? The woman had been a straight pain before, but now that she had a dramatic animal inside, she’d taken theatrics to a whole new level. Her tears could appear and disappear faster than Superman at the scene of a crime.
As the older sister, Julia always wanted to take care of Sophia, so two years ago Julia had packed up her life and moved with Sophia to the town of Black Meadows.
Black Meadows was by no means a small town, but with only the research facility and a car plant, it was easy to see people as either scientists or engineers. Then there were the blue-collar plant workers and the small-business owners.
Looking through the microscope at the samples of the particularly special FB chromosome, Sophia had to smile. Yes, she had called the chromosome Furry Beast. It was her special way of keeping herself from losing her mind after working on this for what felt like forever.