Home > Novak Grizzly (Daughters of Beasts #1)

Novak Grizzly (Daughters of Beasts #1)
Author: T.S. Joyce

Chapter One

Sometimes, when a heart breaks, it’s the most hideous thing in the world.

Being left behind by someone who once promised Remington Novak the moon had destroyed everything she thought about herself, and the way the world worked. She curled her knees up to her chest and traced the raindrops that raced down the window pane.

City bear, living in Sacramento where she didn’t belong. Why was she here? Stuck in the middle of this big, busy city, her inner grizzly restless for open spaces. Why had she put herself through this?

For a man.

When she caught her reflection in the rain-spattered window, she didn’t recognize herself. Long hair dyed blond for him. She was too thin…for him. She was twelve stories above a street lined with honking cars, in a crowded city, crying…for him. She’d changed everything about herself because that’s what she thought being a good mate meant, but she’d been so, sooooo wrong. She’d never been anyone’s mate. She’d just thought she was.

Her phone dinged on the cushion of her window seat. For one weak moment, she hoped it was him. She’d been trained to become excited when he messaged. Why? Because he’d become so frugal with his responses she would search for any sign he was still in love with her. So any glowing screen, any ding of a text message, any phone call, her heart had pounded a little faster.

It was Juno, her childhood best friend from Damon’s Mountains. Remington tried not to be disappointed, really she did. Juno deserved her attention way more than Kagan ever had, but there was this split second when she wanted to cry. Kagan really didn’t care. He’d really left her—the one she’d given up everything for.

Special delivery, Juno had texted. Clean up all the empty ice cream cartons, put a damn bra on, the delivery guy will be there any minute. Call me when you get it.

Remington tossed the cell back onto the cushion and leaned her face against the window. The rain matched her mood.

There was a knock at the apartment door, and she snarled before she could stop herself. All she wanted was to be left alone for a few freaking days. All she wanted was to deal with this heartache the exact way that worked for her, but everyone kept blowing up her phone and pestering her.

“Go away,” she called.

“Uuuh, I have a package you have to sign for?” a guy said on the other end of her door.

Aw, for fuck’s sake. She didn’t want anything. Unless it was another delivery of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

“Leave it at the door!” Remi scrunched up her face and added, “Please and thank you.” Even heartbroken, she had some manners.

“You really need to sign for this one, lady. Please, I’m on a time crunch. I’m almost off work, just…help a guy out.”

“Fine,” she growled. Juno could stuff it; she wasn’t putting on a bra.

Remington stomped to the door, threw it open, and held out her hands, barely looking at the startled delivery man. She scratched her name onto the iPad he gave her to sign and then handed it back, one eyebrow arched with impatience. He was in a navy delivery suit with a nametag that read Benny.

“Okay,” Benny yelled behind him at the stairwell. “Bring them up!”

“Bring what up?” she asked, panicking slightly.

A half dozen men in firemen suits stomped up her narrow stairwell while an old school boombox started blaring the Catwalk song. “I’m too sexy for my shirt…”

“What the hell?” she asked, stunned as they filed past her, holding vases of bright pink tulips.

“Sorry your ex was such a twat,” Benny said. “He was everything that you did not…deserve.” He put his hand to his mouth and arched an eyebrow as he murmured, “I’m not so good at rhyming.” He cleared his throat and began again, but this time reading off a piece of scribbled notebook paper. “‘Kagan couldn’t even get your favorite flower right, and now that emotionally constipated little bunion is out of sight.’”

“Did Juno write this?” she asked as the men in her apartment broke out in a saucy round of pelvic thrusting and twerking.

“Yes. ‘And so we bid dickhead adieu. He was never right fur you.’” He lifted his voice and pointed to the poem on the paper. “She spelled ‘for’ like ‘fur.’ That’s pretty funny. Clearly, you’re one of those shifters. Your eyes are really freaky.”

“That part doesn’t rhyme,” she called over the pounding music.

“Oh, right.” He cleared his throat and read off the paper again. “’Kagan is a fucking asshole, a fucking asshole, a fucking asshole.’ I think I was supposed to sing that part, but I’m not a very good singer.”

“Fantastic, are we done here?” she called out over the noise, frowning at the gyrating men now removing their shirts.

“Yeah, come on boys.” He waved them toward the door. “The lady is declining the full show. Here, this is for you.” The delivery guy handed her a sealed envelope.

“I swear to God if this is a glitter bomb,” she muttered as she opened it, “I’m gonna maul her.”

It was a newspaper clipping. Across the top of it in Juno’s handwriting, it read, Time for a Change, Remi.

“No need to tip,” the delivery guy said as the men all filed out of her apartment. “It’s already been taken care of. Have an emotionally stable day!”

Remington stood there in her open doorway, her three-days unwashed hair a mess, wearing her rattiest pajama pants and a tank top with three holes and two teriyaki sauce stains, standing on a pile of take-out menus people kept shoving under her door, and staring at the men who filed down the stairwell and out of sight.

Typical Juno, to make her smile when all she wanted to do was Change and go Godzilla on that… What had she called Kagan? Oh, yeah, emotionally constipated little bunion.

Remington shut the door and made her way back through the maze of tulips the stripper-firemen had boobytrapped her floor with to her little den, aka the nook by her single window where she’d spent the last few days falling apart.

Folding her legs under her, she read the newspaper clipping.

Wanted: A cook/secretary/beer getter/drill sergeant/extra hand for a three-man lumberjack Crew. Pay is decent, hours are long, Crew is rowdy but respectful…mostly. Must be knowledgeable in first aid and not be scared of animals. Must be okay with foul language and dick jokes. Full benefits and a singlewide trailer will be provided. Saturdays off. Must like fun. 1009 Wayward Way, Tillamook, Oregon.

Remington read it again. And again. Her phone rang.

She picked up on the second ring. “Juno, what is this?”

“Tulips,” her lippy friend said. “Because Assface kept getting you roses even though you told him three times you don’t like roses. That was the first red flag, Remi! He didn’t even listen to you. And besides, I’m pretty sure he only got you flowers when he was feeling guilty over something awful he did to you.”

“Not the flowers. I mean the newspaper clipping you sent me.”

“Oh. That is your new life.”

“Uh, no, it’s not. I’m not going to go find a job in some fucked-up episode of Deliverance with a Crew I don’t even know.”

“They’re a good Crew.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because we stalked them!”

“Who is ‘we’?” she demanded a little too loud.

“Me, Ashlynn, your dad—”

“My dad researched a Crew. And he’s seriously okay with sending me to my demise with a three-man Crew of foul-mouthed, dick-joking lumberjack strangers. I smell bullshit.”

“Uh, bullshit must smell like the truth because your dad was the one who sent this newspaper clipping to me.”

Remington was dreaming. That’s what this was. She had to be dreaming. Her friends and family were not seriously suggesting she pack up her whole life in the city and move out to Tillamook, Oregon to live in a trailer with three strange men. It couldn’t be. Couldn’t.

Her phone vibrated in her hand right as she opened her mouth to tell Juno she was hanging up. It was a text from Dad. You should go.

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