Pretty Poison

Pretty Poison by Kari Gregg Read Free Book Online

Book: Pretty Poison by Kari Gregg Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kari Gregg
cum-smeared sheets, and he sighed in relief when the room dimmed in softer shadows a few inches away.
    He was alone in the bed. Judging by the coolness of the blankets, he’d been alone for some time, too. Not surprising. Wade hadn’t squandered precious minutes with his mate from the beginning.
    Mated.
    The stinging bite at the crook of his neck assured him that was true, but Noah still couldn’t believe it. Kicking a lust-sick Noah from his bed wouldn’t have humiliated Noah. He expected no better from shifters in town and counted himself lucky that he hadn’t been dealt worse. Rejecting Noah would’ve efficiently broken the spine of his family’s pride, though. His father had entertained the thin hope that Noah might mate. Not with a shifter. None would have him, but a human wouldn’t care that his wolf was defective. Humans would consider that a bonus. But now that Noah had been bedded by Wade and tasted his blood, he’d never tolerate the touch of another. Without Wade, the possibility of Noah achieving anything resembling a normal life, be that life with a human or shifter, was gone. Noah would’ve died alone, longing for Wade.
    That would’ve crushed Noah’s family.
    Instead, the alpha had bitten Noah, mating and sealing them forever.
    Why?
    “You’re up. Good.”
    Noah startled. Heart thumping, he scrambled in the crumpled sheets as the beta from the first night carried a tray into Wade’s bedroom. Typical shifter. Thick dark hair topped a head that would tower at least a foot over Noah. The shifter’s skin lacked the bronze kiss of the sun from years of working outside, but as a beta—and assigned to Noah, likely a trusted beta very close to Wade—he was heavily muscled. Noah was no lightweight there, at least. He’d developed strong arms and shoulders while he was stuck in his wheelchair.
    He fumbled with the sheet because of the differences between other shifters and him. A smattering of blondes dotted through every shifter pack. Noah’s sister, Lydia, was dishwater blonde. Few shifters had red hair, though. Noah’s was dark enough to be unremarkable in the right light, but with the sun beaming through Wade’s windows, the carpet of springy curls trailing down Noah’s chest was the shade of spilled blood. The fiery red bush at his groin also emphasized white scars on his pale skin, scars that scant shifters possessed. The ones he’d earned as a four year-old were gone. As weak as his wolf was, Noah’s first shifts had repaired that much, but surgical incisions marked his hips and etched his legs. Which were scrawny compared to his muscled shoulders and biceps.
    City shifters would and had condemned him as inferior for that. And more. Covering up was the only option.
    Arching an eyebrow, the beta settled the tray next to a newly swaddled Noah on the mattress. “You are a very strange shifter.”
    Snorting, Noah anchored the sheet higher and reached for his glasses on the night table. No shit.
    The beta removed the domed lid off the plate. He waved at a small mound of steaks. “Eat.”
    Noah grimaced. “It’s raw.”
    “They’re medium rare, but they have been cooked.”
    Noah sniffed his disbelief.
    “Lightly seared then.”
    While his stomach rumbled with hunger, Noah’s nose wrinkled. “If you’re trying to make me shift again—”
    “If the alpha wants to force a shift, you’ll shift.” The beta’s lips thinned. “Cooking breaks down larger proteins your wolf needs.”
    Noah eyed the meat and regretted putting his glasses on. If the plate was a blur, he wouldn’t be able to see the bloody sinew they expected him to consume. “I usually scramble a few eggs. Maybe a bowl of cereal. Some fruit.”
    “Your wolf is starving.”
    Noah nudged the tray away. “This is disgusting.”
    “If you don’t eat,” the beta said, “Alpha Wade might reconsider permitting you clothes, and I wouldn’t count on leaving this room any time soon.”
    “I thought I wasn’t a prisoner.”

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