Authors: Dawn Michelle
Tags: #romance, #coming of age, #young adult, #werewolf, #witch, #teen, #shapeshifter
Published by Novel Concept Publishing LLC at
By Dawn Michelle
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Claimed by the Beast – Part One
part of the Claimed by the Beast serial novel
“Hey Meth! Want to come hang out on the
deck? We’ve got a hot tub!”
Crystal spun away from the blond with the
dazzling smile and perfect hair and felt the heat rush to her face.
“I knew this was a stupid idea!” she hissed.
“Ignore that dumb bitch,” Beth, her best
friend, said loud enough for everyone nearby to hear her over the
music. “Let’s grab some beer and have some fun!”
Crystal let her friend grab her hand and
pull her through the crowd and away from the kitchen. She had sense
enough to yank her hand back. “That’s all I need, for Stephanie to
see that and start in.”
Beth rolled her eyes and turned to someone
sitting on the arm of a couch that cost as much as a small car with
a plastic cup in their hands. “Hey, where’s the keg at?”
“Out back, on the porch.”
Crystal groaned as she followed her friend
through the crowd of people in the house. The house belonged to
Chad Dixon, one of their classmates. Well, it belonged to Chad’s
dad, a high-priced corporate lawyer named Barnaby. Chad’s parents
were away on a business trip for the weekend and following week,
leaving Chad alone with at least a hundred of his closest
Crystal and Beth found their way through the
dining room and out through some French doors into the humid summer
night air. The music was a little quieter but that made the buzz of
conversation that much louder. The smell of tobacco and marijuana
stung her nose and made her eyes water. She saw Beth blinking and
recognized the forced smile her friend had on her face.
“There it is!” Beth cried out when she saw a
kiddie pool lined with ice. Three kegs sat in it, each tapped and
offering different types of beer. “Come on.”
Crystal yelped as she was dragged by her
friend across the deck. She heard someone yelling and turned to see
the hot tub that Stephanie had mentioned. Sure enough, Stephanie
was standing next to it. Amid cheering, she was slowly lifting her
top over her head. Crystal stared, stunned at how there was no
limit to what the popular girl would do to get attention.
“Can you believe that?” Crystal hissed as
Beth pushed a cup in her hands.
Beth turned and sighed. “Ignore her. She
just wants attention. I bet she’s nothing but a cock tease anyhow.
Not with her daddy and the church and all that.”
Crystal smirked and took a drink of the
pungent liquid. She grimaced but forced herself to swallow the beer
down. It would take some work before it started tasting good. Or at
least so she didn’t mind the taste. Maybe she wouldn’t mind
Stephanie being such a bitch by then either.
“Ladies,” a boy said as he slowed while
walking past them. He held up a bong and a lighter and offered it
to them. “You guys want a hit?”
“No thanks, Ben,” Beth said before Crystal
could respond. “We’re just drinking tonight.”
“That’s cool,” he said. His eyes dropped,
taking in their bodies, and then he grinned. “You two have fun
Crystal’s eyes narrowed. He walked out of
earshot before she could hiss, “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Beth laughed. “Relax, it doesn’t mean
anything. Just try to have fun! You’re too hung up on what people
think. Nobody cares what that bitch said. They probably don’t even
“Oh, sure they don’t. That’s why he accused
us of being together!”
Beth rolled her eyes. “Screw them,” she
“Not a chance!”
Beth laughed, spraying out some of her beer.
More cheering distracted them and made them turn to see Stephanie
standing in only her bra and panties on the deck. She stepped into
the hot tub and sank to her knees, and then took another step and
sank to her waist.
“Attention whore,” Beth muttered.
Crystal nodded but couldn’t help herself. It
was like watching a train wreck—she wanted to look away but
couldn’t. Stephanie bent over and dipped her arms in the water. A
moment later, she lifted them out and held her pink panties in her
hand. She swung them around before letting them drop on the deck,
earning a fresh round of catcalls from the boys gathered for her
“Well, that’s backwards,” Beth observed.
Crystal nodded again and took a large drink
of her beer. She ignored the bitter taste until it burned her nose.
She lowered the cup and saw Stephanie staring at her across the
deck. The blond pursed her lips and blew her a kiss as she released
her hands that had been holding her bra against her chest. Crystal
“Look at her!” Stephanie cried out over the
drunken cheers. She shook her head and dropped the bra on the deck
before sitting down in the hot tub and letting the water hide her
breasts. “You can’t have me. I’m not into girls.”
Crystal spun away, tears stinging her eyes.
Beth swore loudly and grabbed her arm, sloshing her beer on the
“Fuck her! Come on,” Beth growled. She
tugged her across the deck and off into the yard. People were
gathered there too, but it was more open and the smoke wasn’t as
thick. “God, what a bitch!”
“I’m not like that,” Crystal said. “Why does
she have to do this to me?”
“Maybe you should be,” Beth suggested.
Crystal’s heart skipped a beat. She stared,
too stunned to be upset. “What?”
“She keeps getting attention for teasing
you. Maybe you should one-up her. Stop denying it.”
“But I don’t like girls!”
“You kissed her,” her friend pointed
“I was drunk and it was her idea! She said
we could get some guys to like us. I didn’t know—”
Beth sighed. “Crys, I love you. You know
that. We’ve been friends forever, even when you kind of treated me
like crap earlier this year.”
Crystal let her head drop and stopped
fighting the tears. “I’m sorry. I wanted to be—”
“Stop it. I know. It’s okay. We all want to
know what it’s like to be the queen.”
Crystal lifted her head and nodded. She’d
always been nobody since middle school started. A little too thick.
A little too clumsy. A little too awkward. A little too plain. She
was always nice to everyone and tried to get along no matter who
she talked to. Then when Stephanie Edgerton, the queen of
Middlebrook High, suddenly started saying hi back, she thought
everything was going to change.
Stephanie started spending time with her.
They went shopping together and did homework together, with Crystal
helping her get better grades in math and science along the way.
They hung out and people started noticing her. Noticing her and
wanting to hang out with her.
It all came crashing down at a party after
midterms were over. She was drunk and Stephanie had played her,
telling her how different and special she was. Crystal didn’t know
what was happening, other than that she was the center of
attention. Stephanie’s attention. Before she knew what was
happening, Stephanie kissed her. It wasn’t a good kiss or even a
kiss that Crystal wanted. But it meant something to her. It meant
she was good enough and cool enough. She kissed Stephanie back.
And then the rug was pulled out from under
her feet. Stephanie pushed her back and laughed at her. Laughed at
her in front of a stunned crowd. She called her a dyke and a rug
muncher and a bunch of other things. None of them true! But people
believed her. Hell, Crystal believed her. She ran home, crying and
hurt, even if the shock had killed her buzz.
Beth reached up to wipe the tears off her
“Stop, somebody will see,” Crystal
“Let them,” Beth challenged. “I’ve heard
them say it before.”
Beth shrugged. “We’re friends. They make the
jokes and assume we’re lesbians.”
Crystal groaned and stomped her foot on the
spongy ground. “Damn it!”
Beth shrugged and poured the rest of her
beer into Crystal’s cup. “Drink up. It’ll help.”
“Alcohol won’t solve my problems,” Crystal
“Neither will milk,” her friend said with a
grin. “I’ll go get more. That way you don’t have to get near the
Beth turned to get more beer and Crystal
took her medicine like a good patient. She chugged the foul-tasting
drink down and managed to only gag a little when she’d finished it.
She winced and belched, her hand flying to her lips to try to hide
it. She looked around and saw that no one was paying any attention
to her. Just like it used to be. Just like it should be.
Crystal sighed. “This was a stupid idea.”
She repeated her earlier statement. She let the cup drop and turned
away. She could cut through a neighbor’s yard and be on the next
street. She was a couple of miles from her house, but the walk
would do her good. It was warm out and she needed to clear her
She glanced over her shoulder at the porch
and saw everyone dancing and partying like they didn’t have a care
in the world. They were having the time of their lives and didn’t
realize it was at the expense of someone else. Crystal’s lip curled
up in a snarl. “Fuck them,” she growled before turning and striding
across the yard to get the hell away from them all.
Crystal pushed through the hedge and tugged
her shirt free with a cry of frustration. She felt the fabric rip
but it came free from the bush. She grabbed the torn fabric at her
side and stared at it with fresh tears welling up in her eyes. It
was one of the shirts she’d bought because Stephanie had said it
looked hot on her.
She clenched the fabric between her fingers
and started to pull on it. She wanted to keep ripping it. To tear
it off and burn it. Except then she’d be walking home in the dark
with only a bra on. Not one of her better plans. She let out a
frustrated sigh and dropped her hands to her sides.
She wondered if anyone had noticed she’d
left the party. Beth probably did, unless she got caught up in
something. Beth was a good friend. The kind of friend Crystal
needed. The kind of friend she wanted to be. After all the stuff
that had gone down, Beth had been there to help her. To show her
somebody still cared, even if she’d been too stupid to realize
She turned to look back at the hedge and the
couple of yards between her and the party. Should she go back and
tell Beth she couldn’t stay? Or would she figure it out? She bit
her lip and shook her head. No way was she going to face those
people again. Beth was a smart girl; she’d figure it out.
Crystal turned and started walking again.
She hugged her arms against her chest in spite of the sticky night
air. The sooner she got home the better. Then she could throw her
stupid shirt away and try to figure out what she really wanted.
She glanced up when she got to the next
street. She was near the edge of the upper-class part of town. The
road went back into town to her right and on the left it went
towards her place. A small house with just her and her mom. Her dad
had left a long time ago, running off to chase some dreams of
making it big in California. Sometimes he sent money, but he never
called or came back. Then one day, even that stopped.
She stopped and turned, glancing up and down
the dark road. Trees lined the side, casting shadows in the
darkness as the moon and stars were filtered. A breeze kicked up,
blowing humid air against her and then fading. Crystal glanced back
and shivered. It was really quiet. She knew she shouldn’t hear the
kids at the party; those voices had faded a couple of minutes ago.
But now everything seemed so silent.