Blind Beast Mate (Beast Mates Book 1)By: Milana Jacks
A gentle hand landed on my bare shoulder. By the size of her hand, the way she touched me, and her strong gardenia-laced perfume, I knew it was my stepmother, Leslie. “How are you holding up?” she said.
Faked affection. I held my tongue and placed the small wooden box she handed me inside my black leather backpack. “I’ve been better.” I was holding up, or down, depending on how I regarded the forces of nature, just fine. Gravity did the work for me. Holding upward, or up, wasn’t the problem, but holding on to the contents of my stomach when the bike engines—the sounds of my grim future—rumbled above the roof was a problem. The beasts circled above our community. I swallowed bile, didn’t want to vomit on my alien soon-to-be husband. “Leslie, do you know if Uncle told him—”
“Shh, your uncle is here.” She whispered for my benefit, as if I couldn’t hear Sam’s heavy footsteps. He’d walked with a limp ever since my dad shot him in the leg, before my uncle killed him. Go, Daddy, I thought. Two months after Uncle Sam killed my dad and took over the Beast Pairing Program, he’d arranged an alien beast husband for me, his greatest burden. “At least you weren’t sold to the lowest of their ranks,” he’d comforted me. At least he hadn’t killed me, I comforted myself. He’d killed Dad for not punishing my sister for running away from her beast pair my dad had sold her to. The same day he’d killed my sister.
After massacring my family, Uncle Sam did me a favor and allowed me to say good-bye to them. He’d put the bodies in glamorous coffins for the viewing I couldn’t view. Asshole. For the past two months, I’d nursed fears of abandonment, fears of what Uncle Sam would do with me, while smiling for the sake of his new wife—who was my dad’s ex-wife and the mother of my dead sister. Leslie had broken out of one abusive marriage with my dad to enter another with his brother, my Uncle Sam. She pillow-talked my uncle into killing my father for not punishing my sister. She hadn’t anticipated Uncle Sam would shoot my sister too. I hated Leslie.
A tear slid down my cheek, and I wiped it with a shaking hand. I didn’t want to be paired with an alien beast man, because he’d expect a perfect wife, something the communities had provided for the alien race ever since they’d occupied Earth. I didn’t have any choice in the matter. If the Alpha Beast hadn’t bought me, someone else would have. The Alpha Beast was the most inhuman of them all. They said he ate his bedmates. Why me?
“Did Sam tell my husband about me?” I whispered to Leslie, mindful of Sam’s approaching steps.
“I doubt it. We celebrated with the beasts all night. I’m exhausted. Pretend to be normal for as long as you can. If the Alpha comes to like you, he’ll keep you, but if he returns you and requests a refund, I won’t be able to save you, the same way I couldn’t save your sister. Sam won’t listen to me. I’m sorry.” Her soft touch left my shoulder, and her heels clicked across the tiled floors.
“Rey,” Uncle Sam said and placed a heavy hand on my shoulder. “He’s here. Rode in with the entire city.”
Uncle Sam was jealous. The beasts didn’t outnumber us humans, but after the Great Nuclear War, which destroyed most of the Earth, the human survivors had closed themselves off and formed private communities. Stuck inside the confines of our communities, the human race fragmented, and we forgot about each other. The beasts had occupied the Earth in all of one night before the community’s leaders surrendered, and after the aliens discovered some of us could breed with them, the Beast Pairing Program was born.
Uncle Sam gripped my elbow and tugged. I faced the short, stocky man and forced a smile that amounted to a show of teeth. Beside my leg, Dark, my guide hound, growled low in his throat. Despite his dislike for Uncle Sam, he didn’t bite. His spiky fur brushed my leg as he rose to standing and guided me down the hallway leading outside. Before the exit, I tugged my elbow away from Sam’s grip.
Uncle Sam pushed me against the wall. Here he goes again. But I couldn’t have cared less. The only thing on my mind was the Alpha Beast. I hoped I didn’t look too nervous to meet him. I hoped I didn’t vomit when I did meet him. And now, I hoped the giggle that escaped my lips didn’t match my hound’s snarl. Uncle Sam squeezed my elbow and pressed his body against mine. He was only an inch or two taller than my five foot nine, and the stale beer breath hit my nose when he said, “Make him happy. If he returns you because he expected a trophy wife and not a blind bitch, I’ll put a bullet in your useless head. This community depends on their money and on pretty girls like you, so spread your legs the minute you hear his belt unsnap. Your momma must’ve taught you something.”