Home > Ash Bear (Daughters of Beasts #3)(10)

Ash Bear (Daughters of Beasts #3)(10)
Author: T.S. Joyce

“Ash!” Audrey called.

All she wanted to do was stand in the freezer to cool her fiery cheeks and change this profile back to something not ridiculous, but Audrey, the mate of Ash’s Alpha, Harrison, took that moment to throw open the door. “Girl, you need to get in here. You have customers waiting.”

“What? But…Brandt is working still, isn’t he?”

Audrey was wearing a weird smile. “Best you get to the front counter quick.”

“O-okay.” Ash followed her boss past the refrigerator, down the hall, through the indoor barbecue pits, to her register.

And who should be standing there but Grim himself, wearing a tight black T-shirt, a blue and black flannel shirt, a gray beanie, and a bright smile that stopped Ash dead in her tracks. “Grim?”

The smile reached his eyes and made them crinkle at the corners. Pretty, pretty man. Her heart was trying to jump out of her throat, so she swallowed really hard to keep it inside of her.

“Hi,” she said, making her way to the register. She looked around to find Juno and Remi ordering food from Brandt at the register down the counter, but mostly they were staring at Grim with matching frowns and squinty eyes.

“You look pretty,” he murmured, his face turned away from his Crew, his eyes locked on Ash.

“Y-you also do that. Look pretty, I mean.” She huffed a breath because her lungs felt funny. Wringing her hands didn’t help, so she picked up a stack of paper menus and busied herself with straightening them. “I thought you had to go,” she murmured.

“Rhett decided to stay a few more days to record in the Beck Brother’s studio over at Sammy’s Bar. He told me to leave, but I think I’ll stick around. You know, to piss him off.”

“Oh. Oh, yes, pissing him off would be good.”

“Plus…I wanted to see you again.”

“Me?” she asked too loud.

Grim chuckled and cast a quick glance at his Crew. “You’re fun to be around.”

“I’m a great friend.” Heck yeah, she was going to sell herself! She wanted him to stay, too!

“Yeah, but fortunately her friend card is full,” Remi griped. “Stop looking at her like that, Grim. She’s not a steak.”

“Well, if she was, she would be a porterhouse,” Rhett said nonchalantly from where he was standing next to Juno, popping open a bag of Cheetos.

Juno elbowed her mate.

“Ow! What?” he asked, glaring at whatever look Juno was giving him.

The country crooner looked from his mate to Ash and back. “She’s grown. She can get whatever dick she wants to. If she wants to slum it with Grim, who are we to tell her no?”

“Rhett!” Remi yelled.

He hunched his shoulders at the shrillness. “Are you seriously being a cock blocker? Remington Novak, you’ve been bitching for three months about how Grim needs to get laid, and now you’re cock blocking him?”

“Laid by anyone other than my best friend!”

“There’s no laying,” Ash whispered, mortified.

“And furthermore,” Juno said, “Grim is a damn monster. Ash is innocent.”

“No, no, no, no,” Ash murmured a little louder, pressing her cold palms to her heated cheeks.

Grim snarled. “Says the girl who put that she likes butt stuff on Ash’s profile.”

“Don’t growl at her, man,” Rhett said, anger flashing in his eyes.

Oh no, they were definitely going to fight.

“Can we get through one fucking meal without a brawl?” Kamp asked from where he was pulling a beer bottle from a bin of ice.

“No!” Juno and Remi said in unison.

“I’m not innocent.” Ash’s cheeks were on fire. It felt like someone had doused her in kerosene and lit a dang match on her face. “I’m not,” she reiterated to Grim.

He was staring at her with an odd, intense expression, and his eyes were bright green, the brightest green she’d ever seen. Hello, The Good. He kept his eyes on her as he growled out, “You’re upsetting her.”

Ash didn’t understand. She was upsetting who?

Grim dragged a slow gaze to his Crew and said it again, much snarlier this time, “You’re upsetting Ash.”

“She’s fine,” Juno said.

“No, I’m not.” Ash’s eyes were burning. “I’m definitely not fine.”

“What’s happening?” asked a very human Brandt from where he was piling brisket onto plates for the Rogue Pride Crew.

“Nothing,” Remi and Juno said in unison again. They’d turned into twins or something, and Ash was getting mad. She didn’t even have an exact reason why. She just felt like the odd man out since they’d linked up in the same new crew and synced all their responses. She didn’t like this. Not at all.

“Yes. Yes, something is happening,” she said, glaring at the register because she was too submissive to look all the dominants in the eyes right now. “You aren’t listening to me. You never listen to me.”

“Who?” Remi asked.

“Both of you.”

The entire Crew went still and silent, and Remi and Juno now looked like twins with their eyes all round like that.

Ash took a long, shaky breath. “I’m not innocent. I know what I want, and it’s not some stranger-mate from bangaboarlander.” Her stupid voice was so quiet, and it shook like a leaf. It made her even madder. “I want to go out with Grim.” She dared a glance at him. “I want to go to the movies.”

“I’ll Change in a movie and probably maul seven people,” Grim muttered, but that wasn’t helpful so she ignored him.

She made her voice get stronger. “And I want extra butter on my popcorn. I’m going to wear the purple shirt from the picture, and I don’t want anyone to update my profile anymore. I haven’t taken any pictures in lingerie because I only own granny panties, and I don’t know if I like butt stuff!” She clenched her hands at her sides. “But if Grim likes butt stuff, I would try it. Because I’m not innocent. And he has a very good-looking dick. I think about it a lot.”

Grim’s dark eyebrows disappeared under the edge of his gray beanie.

“Uh, when did you see his dick?” Remi asked.

“Last night,” Grim responded. “And none of this is any of your business.”

“I feel like it is my business,” Rhett said, crunching on a Cheeto. “Serious question, Ash. If I gave you a measuring tape, would you measure his dick next time you see it because we have a bet going on, and I’m pretty sure mine is the longest and also the thickest, so I’m gonna need the numbers on length and also girth, and—”

“One more word, and I’ll kill you,” Grim deadpanned.

Rhett stopped talking immediately, zipped his lips, but then unzipped them, put another Cheeto in his mouth, and zipped it again, all while Grim stared at him with the most exhausted, slow-blinking expression Ash had ever seen. He was kind of cute when he was murdery.

“When does your shift end?” he asked.

“Um—”

“Four o’clock,” Audrey called from behind a smoker.

“But I’m not supposed to get off until six,” Ash argued.

“I’m letting you off early today,” Audrey said, giving Ash some serious look she didn’t understand. She waggled her eyebrows. This was like reading hieroglyphics. God, people were confusing.

“But—”

“Four o’clock!” Audrey declared and marched back toward the freezer.

Okaaaay. Brandt was going to have to cover her shift. She hoped he hadn’t made plans. “F-four o’clock, apparently,” Ash answered Grim.

“Good. I’ll pick you up from your place at five then. Is that enough time to get ready?”

“Y-yes. I don’t want to smell like meat.”

Grim chuckled and pushed off the counter, then sauntered toward the door.

“Where are you going?” Kamp called after him.

“I’m taking the rental car. You idiots can find your own way back to the hotel.”

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