Sharp Change(3)

By: Milly Taiden

Something stabbed her between her breasts.

She winced and picked herself up off the floor. The damn underwire in her bra, it always tended to break through the casing. She wouldn’t have bothered with them if they didn’t make her breasts look so lingerie-catalog good.

“Ouch, dammit!” Looking down at the tray, she saw that the sharps were not on the floor. Panic seized her, and sharp blades of terror stabbed her gut while she scanned the ground. A pinching sensation in her chest drew her attention to where the two long sharps dangled from the area between her breasts.

Icy fear numbed her brain and lodged in her throat, making it impossible for her to breathe. Frantic, she pulled the two long needles out carefully and examined the amount in each.

There was a minute amount missing from each of them.

A panicked scream wrenched out of her. Her first thought was to take a blood sample and check for any alterations in her DNA. After a second thought and some frenzied breathing, she decided a few days of wait were probably best. No notable change would show up straight away if there was a delayed reaction. If there had been any life altering changes to her DNA, she would see it for sure in a few days.

Tears of frustration filled her eyes. Had she destroyed all her hard work with a stupid accident? She’d have to wait until Monday when she returned to the lab to run tests, unless there were any strange occurrences sooner.

Her stomach churned at the thought of her foolishness, but there was not much she could do other than wait and see. She stood, carefully grabbed the two vials with shaky hands, and stored her previously untainted samples.

She secured her storage freezer with her fingerprint and voice, which turned on the double-locked safe. There was no way in hell she was going to take any chances with what was in there. It was a good thing the freezer was made of the thickest metal out there and resembled a bank vault.

She headed for her office. Her previous happiness turned into a desolate sense of impending doom when she thought of the notes she would have to write to detail the calamity from that night. Then she would head home for a nice long soak and finally catch up on much needed sleep. She was going to get the rest she’d denied herself for the past long months.

* * *

Chase took a swig of crisp, cold beer while scrutinizing the crowded bar. The Back Door was packed on Friday Nights, and Julia, positioned behind the bar, served drinks with a smile. Chase’s brother watched from a seat next to him.

Looking at the pitiable adoration pasted on his brother’s face, Chase wanted to smack him upside the head to bring him back to the land of the non pussy-whipped. What the hell happened to his strong no-nonsense beta? The one that always told Chase “not me, I never want a mate.”

He’d turned into an overgrown puppy is what. After River met Julia he’d given a new definition to the phrase love-struck fool. Chase snorted, gulped down some more of the draft, and scanned the entirety of the bar for any idiots that might want to start trouble.

His gaze bypassed the women that stared and struggled to catch his attention. Pack and human females had a tendency to fling themselves, and even their underwear, at him. He knifed cold fingers through his black hair, unconcerned if he messed up the strands, and ended up looking like a wild animal.

He didn’t really care most of the time how his hair hung, but women loved the shaggy wild look. It wasn’t done on purpose—his hair just grew so much that it became an annoyance to get it cut every two weeks. There were more important things to do than make a trip to a barber to make him look tame.

Julia smiled at one of her waitstaff as she filled glasses. Her long dark hair was in a ponytail and gave her the appearance of a teenager among adults. Unlike most shifters, she wasn’t a stick figure. After she’d been turned she’d lost some weight, her body gaining the rapid ability to metabolize fat. Shifters were slimmer, since each shift made it easier to burn a large number of calories.

Julia was a little rounder and softer than most, which explained his brother’s love for groping her whenever he thought nobody was looking. Julia had a flair for the dramatic, which made it sometimes painful to be around her when she was in one of her tearful moods.

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