Home > Beck Bear (Daughters of Beasts #2)

Beck Bear (Daughters of Beasts #2)
Author: T.S. Joyce

Chapter One

Rhett released the arrow and watched it arching into the woods.

“Did you hear anything I just said?”

Fuck yes, he’d heard every word of Remi’s nagging because he listened to everything, but she didn’t need to know that. It would only encourage her.

“Do you think I need to manscape more?” he asked, standing up straight and looking down at his bare chest.

“You’re as hairless as that damn mole rat you brought home for Raider which, by the way, only has visitation with us every other weekend, so guess who gets to take care of that little bitey monster when he’s not around?”

“I’ll buy you another one to befriend her, and then you won’t have to take care of her. I’ll get a boy this time. Oh my god, I just had an epiphany.”

Remi’s dark eyes went totally dead. “We aren’t breeding mole rats.”

“Are we not?”

“Stop doing that!”

Rhett loaded another arrow and drew the string back on his compound bow. “Do what?” Ziiiiiing. The arrow went sailing into the woods.

“Ask a question every time you don’t want to have a serious conversation.”

“Why the everlovin’ hell would I ever want to have a serious conversation?” He grinned brightly and reached for another arrow off the seat of the green plastic lawn chair Remi had punted into a tree the day she moved here. But he’d fixed it because lawn chairs weren’t cheap. They were at least five bucks, and he was poor as shit right now. Plus, he was really good at fixing stuff. Ziiiiiing.

Remi was standing there watching him with her lips all pursed, her face all scrunched up and angry, and her black hair whipping around in the wind. She had the coolest hair when it was all wild like this, but again, she didn’t need to know that nice stuff. Girls got mushy if you complimented them.

“Did you even brush your hair today?”

Remi shoved him in the shoulder so hard he lost his balance. Stupid grizzlies. So violent. He didn’t even try to hide his laughter.

“Rhett Bertrand Finnelfucker, I have a friend coming to visit,” she called over her shoulder as she stomped away. “Act right for two days. That’s all I’m asking!”

“Polite decline,” he called after her as he loaded another arrow. “Also Finnelfucker isn’t my last name, but it’s kinda cool so I’m gonna change my name. Can you file it with the courts for me?”

“That’s not my job!”

“Yes it is! You’re supposed to take care of stuff around here.”

Remi flipped him off over her shoulder, not bothering to turn around. Four seconds later, the door to her and Kamp’s trailer slammed closed.

“Your middle fingers are really skinny!” he called.

“Fuck you, Rhett!” she yelled back.

Hmm. He smiled. He liked the Novak Grizzly. Feisty, feisty. She was a good fit for this place, and especially for Kamp. That asshole had only gotten into three fights with the Alpha, Grim, this week. Remi was like a little magician.

Damn, he was out of arrows. Now for the challenging part—finding them again. He played this game every week. He shot the arrows randomly into the woods and then went searching for them. Sometimes when it was raining, he dressed like a Viking and set the arrow tips on fire just because it pissed Grim off when he played with fire. Finding the lost arrows settled him. They gave him an excuse to get to know the woods—his territory. Grim and Kamp thought they ran these mountains, but they didn’t. The lion inside of Rhett did. He just kept better control of his inner beast. Years of living among the humans had taught him valuable lessons in self-control.

“Why aren’t you working?” Grim yelled as he tromped by with his yellow hard hat in one hand and his chainsaw in the other.

“Because I don’t want to be?” Rhett offered. Duh, jackass. That answer was pretty obvious. That, and it was his day off. Rhett hadn’t had one in two weeks.

Grim snarled and rounded on him. His dark hair was messier than usual and his skin pale as a ghost, his tattoos stark against his pallid flesh. He smelled sick. Not cold or stomach flu sick, but head sick. Or heart sick. The bitter, acrid scent was the same for both. The Alpha looked like he was losing mass in his shoulders, too. Alarm bells, alarm bells. Rhett was the watcher of the Crew. The secret watcher. The jokester everyone ignored, but he paid attention more than anyone realized. Why? Because these mountains and the people here were the only things in the world that belonged to him anymore.

“Are you okay?” he asked, dropping his plastered smile for once.

Grim’s bright gold eyes narrowed to slits. “What do you care?”

“Because you’re my Alph—”

“No, I’m not. I’m the same as you and Kamp. I wish everyone would fucking stop calling me that.”

“Uh, then stop beating us in all the fights,” Rhett yelled.

“Then here is my Alpha order.” He took a menacing step forward and jammed his finger at the woods. “Get to your machine.”

Uh, it really was his day off so Rhett pulled a Remi and flipped him the bird.

Grim launched and snapped his teeth at his finger, damn near bit the thing off. Rhett jerked back just in time. Thank you lion shifter reflexes.

“What the hell, man? That’s my favorite finger!”

Grim arched his eyebrows unapologetically and walked away, snarling an unsettling sound. He literally might be the worst Alpha in the entire world. Rhett wanted to hate him but, secretly, he admired him instead. Grim was possibly the only one in existence who was more stubborn than Rhett. I see you, kindred spirit.

“Have a good day at work!” Rhett called.

“Don’t set my woods on fire!”

Rhett chuckled. “Don’t give me any ideas.”

“I’m serious, Rhett! If I have to come home to another fire, I’m going to kill you and eat you.”

Rhett shook his head and made his way for the woods.

Maybe Grim should eat him.

Put him out of his fuckin’ misery.

Chapter Two

“Are you good?” Juno Beck’s boss asked way too loud into the phone.

Juno hunched her shoulders at the sheer volume of his voice. He knew she was a shifter, so did he have to yell everything? Lord, she could probably hear him from Los Angeles without the phone clutched in her hand.

“Manny, I told you three times already. I’ll get to the concert in time. I’m sure the Beefeaters will be super worth our time.”

“The Beateaters,” he corrected her.

A large man with Funyun breath knocked into her in his rush to grab his suitcase off the airport baggage claim. She pitched forward and had to use the edge of the baggage carousel for balance.

“Sorry,” he muttered.

“It’s okay,” Juno said politely.

“I was talking to her,” the man said, pointing to a perfect ten blonde with bright red lips and cat-eye makeup on his other side.

Juno’s mouth was definitely hanging open as she watched him tip his baseball cap at the smirking lady and pull his suitcase away.

Rude human.

If he didn’t smell like onions, she would’ve been tempted to eat him.

“Helloooo,” Manny said. “Are you listening to anything I say?”

“Yes, yes,” she rushed out, lurching forward to grab her own glossy neon-green hard-case luggage. “I’ll be at their gig in two days. It’s only a four-hour flight from here.”

“It’s just there are two other record companies circling these guys, and this is the worst time for you to take a couple of days off.”

“Well, I haven’t taken any days off in four years, Manny, so I think I’m due.”

“If we lose these guys, the higher-ups will look at you.”

“Is that a threat? I’m fired if I don’t seal the deal? You all use the same threat every time you want some new talent, but guess what, Manny? Most of the people you get desperate for are shit—”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me. That’s why you’ve sent me out to these dives over the last three months, right? You know I can spot actual talent, but you keep pushing and pushing. You ignore everyone I tell you about and sign these dweebs who sell out in a year, tops. Where is the soul—?”

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