Home > Ash Bear (Daughters of Beasts #3)(21)

Ash Bear (Daughters of Beasts #3)(21)
Author: T.S. Joyce

Fucking good! I don’t want to sit by these stupid humans anyway. The Reaper was nice and agitated, probably thanks to being shoved in a plane and having a three hour flight ahead of him. He smiled at the flight attendant. “Can I get some vodka?”

“Ooooh,” she said, her eyes going round. “We aren’t supposed to serve the back alcohol until we take off. But you look like a shifter. Am I right?”

He inhaled deeply and muttered, “Yep.”

“And the flight will probably go a whole lot smoother if you get what you want, right?”

“Yep.”

“Then I would call these extenuating circumstances,” she said with a kind smile. Patting her bouffant silver-streaked hair, she marched into the refreshments station in the little room in the back and began humming that “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts” song.

People were starting to turn around and stare. Probably because of all the growling. “What?” he snarled.

Two normies turned back around. Wise humans.

Everything will be okay, The Good said. Grim had renamed him just for Ash.

Shit, thinking of Ash made his stomach clench.

Fuck off, pansy, the Reaper said.

Eat me, The Good said.

Gladly.

“Everyone just shut up and get along for three goddamn hours,” he snarled.

The animals inside his head shushed, but now the humans were looking a might less comfortable. At least they wouldn’t talk to him during the flight. There was a bright side to having two assholes arguing inside of him. People steered clear of psychopaths.

Ash had cried when he left her. Just the thought of her sweet face…

Something pulsed dark inside of him so he rested his forehead on the seat in front of him and closed his eyes.

“Pardon me, ’scuse me,” a familiar voice said from near the front of the plane.

Grim frowned so hard his face hurt. Oh great, now he could hear the Reaper, The Good, and the pebble in his pocket telling him in Rhett’s voice to stop being a pickle-dick and go back to Ash. And now Ash’s soft, submissive voice was clear as a bell.

Just load me up. Give me all the voices.

Everything was awful.

“Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to bop you in the head.” Aw, make-believe Ash. He was going to miss her. Maybe her voice in his head wasn’t such a bad thing.

“Hiiiiiiiii,” make-believe Ash said from right beside him.

Be cool, be cool, be cool. She isn’t really here.

You’re wrong, fuckface, the Rhett-pebble in his pocket said. He even had a name for the stupid thing now. Rebble. Rebble the Pebble. The Tarian Pride should’ve just killed him when they had the chance. Put him out of his misery. He wish he’d never met Rhett.

Rhett is awesome and has a bigger dick than you, Rebble said.

Maybe if he dunked the little rock in a plastic cup of vodka, it would drown.

“Are you okay?” A hand touched his shoulder, and Grim nearly jumped out of his skin.

Ash stood there, blue eyes wide, looking just as startled as him.

“You’re really here,” he murmured.

“Well, I don’t really want you to go to your old Pride alone. And I don’t really want to sit around Damon’s Mountains being sad that you aren’t around. So”—Ash shrugged—“I packed in five minutes, and I’m pretty sure I forgot panties and pajamas and also a hair brush, but here I am.” Her mouth ticked up into a nervous smile. “If that’s okay.”

Relief flooded his veins like a tsunami. “Hell, yes, it’s okay.”

“Oh, good. I got nervous for a second.” She put a hard-topped purple carryon suitcase in the bin above them and sat in the seat beside him. And then she wrapped her arms around his bicep and settled everything inside of him with just a touch. He blew out a steadying breath as she began to tell him how her dad got her the plane ticket.

And when the flight attendant peeked around the corner and held up two miniature bottles of vodka, he shook his head and declined. He didn’t need it anymore.

Because as he listened to his sweet Ash Bear talk, he realized something big.

Right now, hers was the only voice he could hear.

Chapter Eighteen

It was dark by the time Ash and Grim rented a car, ate dinner, and drove to Tarian Pride territory. She was nervous from the second he eased onto an old one-lane dirt road. A few No Trespassing signs later, and Grim pulled up to a security checkpoint.

The second the man in the little one-room station saw Grim, he began speaking fast into a walkie talkie. Well, there was no getting in and out of here unseen.

“It’s okay,” Grim murmured, sliding his hand over Ash’s thigh. “Rose knows we’re coming, she’s all packed, and there’s nothing wrong with us being here. This used to be my home.”

“Where the Reaper was born,” she reminded him gently. She didn’t trust a single lion here except his grandmother.

Ash sent another text to Juno. Where are you?

Juno’s response was immediate. Off the plane, in a rental, speeding to you. Five minutes out.

Hell, yes, Ash had called Rogue Pride. That’s what Crew’s did. They leaned on each other. Grim hadn’t learned that yet because he wasn’t brought up like she had been, in Damon’s Mountains where shifters depended on each other. But going in alone like this, into a powerful Pride without a plan B was a bad idea.

“Hey, Zeke,” Grim murmured through his open window to the guard.

Zeke was a tall man, but much lankier than Grim. He kept ducking his gaze, and his voice was quiet when he murmured, “They’ll be waiting for you inside.”

“They?” Grim didn’t sound happy.

“Things have changed a lot around here since you left. Rose is at the pavilion.” Zeke hit a button on the desk, and the automatic gate swung open slowly. There was a soft humming noise and a current in the air that said one touch of that metal fencing and a person would get the shock of a lifetime.

“Why do they need security?” she whispered. There were glowing eyes in the woods, reflecting in the headlights at every turn they made.

“They have a lot of enemies,” he murmured darkly.

His body was strung tight like a bow string, and he sat rigid behind the wheel, gripping it so hard his knuckles were ghost white. “She was supposed to be at her house near the edge of the territory, not the pavilion,” he snarled. Gold eyes. Grim had gold eyes now.

Ash tried to take a deep breath, but her lungs felt heavy and wouldn’t work right.

Up ahead, there was a fork in the road, and Grim took the left one. A hundred more yards, and he pulled up to a pavilion that was open on three sides and had high rafters with exposed beams on the inside. There were picnic tables lined up and strands of outdoor lights hanging from the ceiling. A group of a dozen shifters or so were loosely gathered at the tables near the edge. And behind them sat a single female with long silky gray hair pulled back into a ponytail. She had high cheekbones, and though her face looked calm enough as she watched Grim pull to a stop in front of the pavilion, her body was every bit as tense as Grim’s.

Something was wrong. She could feel it in her bones something was off. Something was coming. Something bad.

“Grim, I don’t like this.”

“Ash, you’re safe. I won’t let anything happen to you.”

“Yes, but you are one lion, and they are…” She did a quick head count. “Twelve.”

Grim chuckled and turned off the car. “You’re right. It wouldn’t be a fair fight. For them.” Whoa, he sounded very confident.

Rose stood and made her way right through the males. Grim pulled his grandma against him as soon as she was close enough. As Ash got out of the car to meet everyone, she could barely make out his whispered words to his grandma.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“There are things I haven’t told you yet,” she said, easing back and holding him at arm’s length.

“You didn’t answer my question,” he growled, his attention jerking to the males who were moving closer.

Rose inhaled deeply and forced a smile for Ash, held out her hand for a shake. “I’m Rose. You must be Ashlynn.”

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