Home > Finding Snow (Fairytale Shifter #4)(3)

Finding Snow (Fairytale Shifter #4)(3)
Alexa Riley

Dropping to my knees, I look up at the sky, trying to catch my breath as the snowflakes fall around me. I close my eyes and relax into the snow, breathing in the winter air and thinking about how different running was this time. So different from before.

Chapter 2 Koda

It’s still dark when I wake up with a jolt, the cold sweat covering my naked body. It takes me a moment, like it always does, to remember where I am and that I’m safe. The seconds tick by, and my breathing evens out. Rubbing my hands against my eyes, I remind myself that I’m not in a cage.

I give up on sleep and get up from the bed. I make my way to the bathroom, turn on the shower, and get in before the water has a chance to warm up. I’m used to cold showers after being denied the luxury of hot water for so long and then having to bathe in rivers when I escaped.

I soap up and try not to think about my past, but it always comes flooding back after a nightmare. I can’t seem to stop it, so I just have to ride it out until all the feelings pass. This dream was like so many before, most of it exactly the same, but sometimes my mind likes to add in details that weren’t there, just to fuck with me.

This time when I was dreaming, I was in the cage again. The one they kept me locked in unless they were running tests. They had a theory that if shifters were kept in small places, they would be less likely, or unable, to shift.

In this dream, I was in the cage, and I could hear Winnie crying. I know this didn’t happen because Winnie was never captured with me. She got away. I always have to remind myself of that. We were young when we were caught, but she fought and was able to get free. I was too drugged up to know what happened, and all I could remember was waking up in a cell without her.

I'd learned over the years that we were taken by a company that was doing research on shifters. They kept us as if we were animals in a lab. It was a horrible time in my life, and ever since I broke free, my only goal was finding my sister. When I found her, it was only to see that she had amnesia and was being cared for here in Gray Ridge. Winnie had gotten lucky, and Alpha Stone had taken her into the pack and kept her safe. When I found her, and when her memories came back, I felt like my journey had finally come to an end.

Only it didn’t.

I’m a bear shifter, and there aren’t as many of us as there are of other species. Even fewer bear shifter females exist. When Winnie mated with Alpha Stone, I could have left, but I didn’t want to. Bears aren’t normally pack animals, but they are close to their families. I couldn’t move away from Winnie after finally finding her, even though she was mated.

Thankfully, Alpha Stone welcomed me into the pack and gave me some land. Xavier, one of the wolf shifters, and I built my cabin out here to give me some space away from the pack and also to have a way to stay close to Winnie.

I’d been in captivity for so long that I was worried I wouldn’t be able to adjust to pack life. But Xavier had gone through some trauma before he met his mate, and he was able to give me some advice to help me cope.

When we built the house, he helped me put in extra security measures so that I could feel safe again. My nightmares used to be a lot worse, and I think he knew it. So to help, we installed bolted locks both inside and outside the entry points of the house. The locks are in place in a way that no one is going in or out of my home without my permission. The extra security helps me sleep. As long as the nightmares don’t creep in.

When I’ve finished showering, I make myself breakfast and have coffee. My life is very quiet, and I don’t have many friends—just the Gray Ridge pack people who Winnie makes me hang out with. I look over at the counter and see an invitation to a kid’s birthday party at Xavier and Gwen’s home. I know I should want to go and be around everyone, but I feel myself getting tired and wanting to hibernate.

I let out a long sigh and try to shake off the dark mood. Internally, I know that I’m safe and everything is okay. I’m just getting used to the world again. Also being around a lot of happy mated couples can start to wear on any single shifter after a while. There’s a longing that comes with wanting to find your mate, and knowing I probably never will sends another wave of sadness over me.

Closing my eyes, I see dark hair and blue eyes. I try to grab on to the image, but it’s gone like smoke through my fingers. I think of the image every time I think about finding my mate. I don’t even know where the image is from or how I remember it, but something about it is familiar.

I push away from the table and clean up the kitchen. When I finish, I look outside. The sun has come up and it’s starting to snow a bit. I love this time of year. The cool air and the clean smells of the forest calm my bear. I feel him stir inside me, and I decide he could use a walk in the woods.

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