Home > Ash Bear (Daughters of Beasts #3)(15)

Ash Bear (Daughters of Beasts #3)(15)
Author: T.S. Joyce

“Oh my gosh, is this what you guys meant by movie night?” Juno called, jogging with Remi toward them.

“Fantastic,” Grim muttered, but he had a tiny smile pulling at the corners of his lips that said he wasn’t that mad the Rogue Pride Crew was crashing their date.

“I’ll get the truck,” Kamp said, “that we had to borrow because some asshole stole the rental car.” He didn’t sound that mad, though, as he jogged toward an old Ford that looked like Tagan’s of the Ashe Crew.

The sound of the engine reached them as Juno, Remi, and Rhett stomped snow off their boots near the SUV.

“If you’re going to watch this with us, you have to shut the fuck up,” Grim muttered.

He was so cute when he cursed.

“Wait…” Rhett whispered, his eyes going round as a pea on a plate. “Did you just invite us to movie night?”

“No,” Grim said, never taking his eyes from the screen.

“But I think you did,” Rhett murmured. “I knew it would happen. I knew it all along.”

“Shhhh!” Grim demanded.

“We just became best friends,” Rhett said, stooping. He picked up a pair of snow-covered pebbles and handed one to Grim. “Put this in your pocket so you can remember this moment for always.”

“Fuck. Off.” Grim grabbed the small rock and chucked it into the parking lot. He enlightened Rhett with, “You’re standing directly in the way. As usual.”

Rhett canted his head and looked mushy. “I love you, too.”

A ferocious growl vibrated Grim’s entire body as he dragged his bright gold gaze to Rhett, who suddenly looked like he’d sucked on a lemon. He took three deliberate steps to the side.

After Kamp backed the borrowed truck right up next to the SUV, Juno ripped one of the thick blankets from their legs, grabbed a handful of popcorn, kissed Ash on the cheek with a loud smack, and then she and the others of Rogue Pride situated themselves in the back of the truck beside them.

And that wasn’t the only cool thing that happened. A pair of headlights shone against the wall before another truck backed in on their other side. It was one of the humans in town, Davis Mauro. “Hey all. I just got off work and was driving by. Saw the movie playing. It’s a good one. Mind if I watch, too?”

She thought Grim would say no, but he didn’t. He just nodded and went back to watching. Good Reaper being nice and quiet tonight. She slid her hand on top of his thigh under the covers as a reward, and it was the first time she heard Grim purr. She’d been wrong about his chuckle being what joy sounded like. It was this, his animal’s satisfied purr. Gooood, goooood Reaper.

And they kept coming—the headlights. Headlights and cars, filling up the parking lot of Sammy’s one by one. Some people went inside, but most stayed right out here, watching the movie. Some got out of their cars and stood outside in heavy jackets, all paired up, talking low and laughing at the funny parts. It was hard to watch the movie because everyone seemed to be having so much fun.

“This is the coolest night,” she whispered excitedly.

Grim pulled her closer and looked around at the makeshift party. “It is? I was afraid your movie night was getting ruined.”

“No! Look what you did, Grim.” She twisted in the seat so she could look out the front window at the cars filtering into the parking lot. “These people are coming here to spend time together and watch a movie. You gave the people in this town a fun night. Look! There’s some of the Gray Back Crew right there!” Willa’s fiery red hair and echoing laugh as she hung out the window of her truck and waved were impossible to miss.

“And this is all a good thing?” he asked in a gravelly voice.

Ash turned back around and snuggled closer into his ribs. “I like it very much.”

“I talked to Vyr today,” he said suddenly in a soft voice.

Ash checked his burns again on instinct. She brushed her fingertips across the raised pink marks that would probably look like nothing in a few days, thanks to his super-healing. No new burns so it must’ve been a civil talk.

“He said I should be a better Alpha.”

“Do you want to be? Better, I mean?”

Grim shook his head and then sighed. “I never wanted to be an Alpha. I can barely keep my own shit together, but for better or worse, those idiots have stuck with me. I keep trying to kill them, and they keep surviving. Now I’m starting to think I’m stuck with them.”

Grim was very cute when he was grumpy.

“Well, you’re lucky then. They are like little love-barnacles on the tail of a beluga whale—”

“Great white shark,” he corrected her.

“Of a great white shark…and sometimes they say offensive stuff, but they smile when they call you names to let you know they really care. It’s good to have a Crew like that.”

Grim gritted his teeth so hard his jaw twitched. And then he muttered, “Do you want to sit in the truck with them?”

“Yes!”

And as he gathered up their blankets and the popcorn, she poured out of the back like a ladle of gravy because one of her legs had fallen asleep. But she didn’t mind because tonight was amazing. Rogue Pride was calling to them and waving them over, and Grim was growling quietly, as if he didn’t mind that much.

As he helped her onto the tailgate, she told him, “I’m really glad you aren’t a great white shark shifter because I’m not good at swimming…and sex would be very difficult…and our love story would be very short on account of me drowning.”

Grim froze for a one-count, his hands gripping her hips as she sat on the edge of the truck. And then he let out a great echoing laugh.

“Oh my God, that was awesome,” Rhett said from behind them.

The others were laughing, too, and she didn’t really know what she’d said that was funny, but she did know one thing—every time Grim laughed or purred, he made her heart happier.

They scrambled into the back of the truck. There wasn’t much room because the males in this Crew were silly amounts of gigantic, but she sat in Grim’s warm lap like Juno and Remi did with their mates. It was more comfortable for her butt cheeks. Plus, while they laughed at the movie and joked around with each other, Ash got to feel Grim’s glorious boner against her tailbone, and everything was finally, finally right with the world.

She looked around at her friends that she’d missed so much. At their easy smiles and banter, at their mates who looked at the Remi and Juno like they were the stars and the moon and glitter and pizza rolls and all of the other best things in the world. Grim’s hand was resting lightly on her hip, his eyes sometimes green, sometimes gold, but mostly steady brown on her and her smile. Her favorite movie was playing in the background, and they were sharing the last of the popcorn like they were all old friends. The soft murmur of happy voices all around them was a song for her soul. She’d been so lonely when Remi and Juno had left, but tonight, right now, she couldn’t even remember what loneliness felt like.

This was magic and all made possible because Grim wanted to give her a special night.

She should tell him her nice thoughts because even strong men should know when they’ve done something right.

“Tonight is my favorite night of all nights, and it’s all because of you.”

He looked surprised in a good way, and his eyes flashed that pretty green color for just a few moments. Then he pulled her close against his chest, leaned back against the metal of the truck bed, and murmured against her ear. “Mine, too. Because of you.”

Chapter Twelve

The movie was through and the cars were starting to disappear from the parking lot in front of Sammy’s. Everyone seemed distracted, so maybe now was a good time.

Over and over again, Grim had looked at that lone pebble that sat near the front sidewalk of the bar. Rhett had kept his, and Grim had this stupid urge to pocket the one he’d given him. Why? Because, apparently, he’d turned into a sentimental pussy cat. The Tarian Pride would kill him on principle if they ever found out how weak he was now.

He tried to ignore it, but the damn pebble kept talking to him in Rhett’s voice.

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