The Lost Slipper (Fairytale Shifter Book 3)(2)

By: Alexa Riley

A low growl leaves his chest, and I can hear everyone take a step back, but I don’t. No. I step closer. I like the sound. It seems to scare everyone else, but it makes me feel safe. Even if the growl is directed at me. I want to lay my head on his chest and hear where the growl emanates from.

Stone takes a step back from me, then another.

He’s going to do it. He’s leaving me here.

“I’ll come back tomorrow to check on you, Winnie.” Then he turns, making his way back to his truck. Gwen steps in front of me, pulling me into her arms and whispering in my ear. “You have the phone. You can call me anytime. I’ll come tomorrow to see you, too. I’ll make sure you’re settling in okay.” She pulls back, looking down at me with the same blue eyes as Stone. Like everyone around here, she’s way taller than me. I guess bears just aren’t tall, or maybe it’s just me.

“We’ll find your family.” She tries to reassure me, but it’s not reassuring.

I’m a bear shifter, which I’ve been told is rare. Not only that, but I’m a female and there aren’t many female bear shifters left. Stone told me we would find my family fast, being as I’m so rare, but that has yet to be seen. I don’t feel rare or special. All I feel is unwanted.

She fully releases me, following Stone and getting into the truck. I watch them pull away, and I can’t bring myself to move until I feel a warm hand on my shoulder. I look up at the woman, who looks to be in her thirties. Her blonde hair matches the younger girls’, who I’m guessing are her daughters. It’s hard to tell with shifters.

“Come inside, dear. I’ll show you to your room.”

“She smells like a bear,” one of the girls says. Her face scrunches up like she’s smelling something terrible.

“I’m not sharing a room with it,” the other girl says, making an equally grossed-out face.

“You’ll do what you’re told. The alpha said we’re to take care of her and that’s what we’ll do,” the father finally says. The woman’s hold on me tightens at his words, her nails digging in a little. She’s clearly not happy with the alpha’s orders.

“Come inside.” This time her tone is annoyed as she starts to pull me towards the house. I want to yank from her hold, but I don’t. What choice do I really have? When we pass the two girls on the porch, they both give me a look that could kill. Gone are the nice girls who were making sweet doe eyes at the alpha when he was standing there.

When I get inside, I’m pulled up two flights of stairs until we reach the attic. Then the woman finally releases me, unlocking the door and showing me the space. The room is a mess, a bed in the center of the chaos.

“You’ll need to get this cleared up and habitable. I’m sure the alpha will want to see it when he comes back here tomorrow. Make sure it’s done right.” She turns and makes her way down the stairs. “Dinner’s at seven. Most of this better be done by then, or you won't be eating,” she calls as she descends. “…Not that you need it,” she adds in a murmur.

I sit down on the bed and look around the attic. I feel more alone now than when I was running through the woods without any memory of anything. At least then I didn’t have anyone to miss.




“You’re making a mistake.” Gwen’s words sting. We both know they’re true, but I don’t say anything in response.

Putting the truck in gear, I pull away from the Stocktons’ house and feel my chest ache. Gripping the wheel tighter, I force myself not to look back as I drive away. Just a few more minutes and then I can run. I just need to get back home.

Gwen and I ride in silence all the way back home. Thankfully, she doesn’t keep telling me what I know to be true and just lets me suffer in silence.

It’s the right thing to do. It’s what had to be done. I feel like if I keep telling myself that over and over again, it will be true. It’s like if I keep repeating it, then I’ll somehow believe the lie.

I pull up to the house, jump out of the truck, and head for the woods. Hearing the gravel crunch under my boots, I don’t look back when Gwen calls my name.

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