Authors: T. S. Joyce
Tags: #Paranormal, #Shifter, #Erotic, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Fiction, #Fantasy, #Supernatural, #Suspense, #Romantic Suspense, #Danger, #Adult, #Forever Love, #Action, #Adventure, #Wolf, #Mate, #Dark Secrets, #Series, #Deceased Father, #Galena Pack, #Galena, #Alaska, #Wilderness Living, #Father Avenged, #Hell Hunters, #Mission, #Pack Loyalty, #Protection, #Threats Everywhere, #Hunted
CHANCE FUR HIRE
(BEARS FUR HIRE, BOOK 6)
By T. S. JOYCE
This book was not written as a standalone.
The author recommends to read these stories in order for optimal reader enjoyment.
Husband Fur Hire (
Bear Fur Hire (
Mate Fur Hire (
Wolf Fur Hire (
Dawson Fur Hire (
Copyright © 2016 by T. S. Joyce
Copyright © 2016, T. S. Joyce
First electronic publication: January 2016
T. S. Joyce
All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without the author’s permission.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental. The author does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for third-party websites or their content.
Published in the United States of America
Emily Vega was going to destroy the Galena pack.
Listening intently for any signs of life, she pushed open the door to the cabin. The
of the wood sent shivers down her spine. Was she afraid? Hell, yes. Who wouldn’t be if they knew what kind of monsters the Dawsons and their alpha really were. They were bloodthirsty murderers, and they’d taken everything from her.
Her vengeance would be felt through the entire shifter community after this. That was her pledge. It would be a warning to the others that she was coming. That they were being hunted.
With a steadying breath that blasted crystallized air in front of her face, she scanned the open cabin, from the exposed beams and the high pitch of the roof to the kitchen with its wooden counters and the living room with its dark leather couches. There was a towering stone fireplace that was barren and cold, and the wood burning stove in the corner was open with fresh tinder and firewood inside, ready to be lit when Dalton and his wife, Kate, returned from Silver Summit Outfitters.
As the breeze kicked up outside, the trees swayed and croaked behind her. Narrowing her eyes over her shoulder, she swatted at the hairs that had electrified on her neck. These damned woods were haunted by her father, and his soul wouldn’t rest until she avenged him.
A fresh sense of urgency gripped her as she tiptoed through the house, placing the bugs where the Dawsons would never find them. One inside a decorative vase on an antique table in the corner, one under the lip of the countertop, and one in the drawer of the bedside table next to the bed.
It was a pity someone had put thick curtains over the large window behind the bed because her spying would be much easier with a clear view into the cabin at night. She would have to rely on her hearing to hunt the monsters that lived here.
One last bug under a porch floorboard, and she made her way to the shed out back. Uncle Victor said one of the Dawsons, Chance, lived out here when he visited. He would be an easy mark to gain access to the pack. Dumb animals, driven by the instinct to procreate. He was the last unmated wolf in the pack and would be the first to bleed for what they had done to her father.
His shed was more like a small log cabin with a wood burning stove much like the one inside the big house. A cot sat against the wall, the covers rumpled and unmade. Emily lifted the blanket and inhaled deeply. Huh. She’d expected the wild musk of wolf fur, but it smelled different. Good even. Like masculine body spray. With a frown, she dropped the soft fabric and took a step back.
She couldn’t afford to see them as human. They weren’t. They were monsters who had to be cut down. Her father had told her that from birth, and Uncle Victor had ensured she was trained to hunt them in case something like this ever happened.
A picture frame poked out from under the disturbed bedding, and carefully she plucked it from its hiding place. It was a photograph of a strapping blond-haired man with his arm slung over the shoulders of a man who looked quite his opposite. Dark hair, dark eyes, and an empty smile, as if he was sad. No, not sad. Monsters didn’t feel emotions like that. He looked vacant because he was a demon.
Canting her head, she studied the blond-haired man. Chiseled jaw and bright green eyes with eyebrows so light in color, they were barely there. His bright-white smile looked genuine, as if he was mid-laugh. This was the crafty one. The wolf who could blend in and pretend to be human. Pretend to be normal.
A wave of hatred washed over her. She didn’t know the exact details of the night her father had died, but she did know that one of these two men had killed him in cold blood.
Emily shoved the picture back where it had been and silently made her escape from the shed. She couldn’t afford to get confused or unfocused, no matter what the werewolf looked or smelled like. He wasn’t human. He wasn’t.
She closed the door softly behind her and made sure to step on the grassy patches in the yard to avoid putting her footprints in the mud. With any luck, the Dawsons would come back in a few days, long after her scent had dissipated.
Gritting her teeth, Emily made her way to her dad’s truck, climbed behind the wheel, and turned the engine. With one last look at the shed in the back, she stamped down the feeling of uncertainty that was snaking through her gut in an inky tendril. She hit the gas—the faster she escaped this place, the more certain she would feel in her task.
Dad had hunted these creatures for a reason, and Uncle Victor wanted retribution before he succumbed to the ever growing lull of his death bed.
She was the only one who could end this.
She was the only one who could make the Galena pack pay for what they’d stolen from her.
She, Emily Vega, was the last of the Hell Hunters.
Chance Dawson watched the Alaskan wilderness blur by from the passenger’s seat of Dalton’s truck. The air was filled with the sound of Dalton and his mate, Kate, singing purposefully off-key and destroying a popular song on Galena’s only radio station. A piece of him wanted to tell them off, but that was just the unrest that had been building in his middle talking. Dalton deserved happy moments like this after everything he’d been through.
Kate elbowed him and sang even louder through a grin, and Chance couldn’t help the answering smile on his face. Not that they needed the encouragement. He pitched his voice falsetto and sang the chorus with them to Kate’s clapping, giggling delight.
She used to be a bit of a shy soul, but slowly, over the past year she’d been mated to Dalton, she’d opened up. Good for her. The timid red-head with the too-big green eyes had wiggled her way straight into the heart of the Galena pack, and now she was carrying Dalton’s child. And also cuddling her new red and white husky puppy, Sasha Two, who was lying on her back across Kate’s lap with her paws flopped limply in the air as she somehow slept through their braying.
“Hey, I never thanked you,” Kate said as the final notes of the song faded away.
“For what?” he asked.
“You know. For helping me surprise Dalton back at Silver Summit. It must’ve been hard keeping it a secret, but you helped us pull it off.” From the middle of the bench seat, she bumped his shoulder. “So, thanks.”
“I knew something was up when he just stopped talking midway through our fishing tour,” Dalton said from behind the wheel where he had his head leaned against his palm, elbow resting on the open window.
“Bullshit,” Chance said as Dalton’s cabin came into view. Home sweet home lay in the shed behind the house.
“I’m serious.” Dalton glanced at Kate, then back to the cabin as he pulled to a stop in front. “I asked him what was wrong, and I joke you not, Chance fled to the river to get in some night fishing.” He used air quotes on the last part as he got out of the truck, then turned and helped Kate from the bench seat. “I thought you had a girl on your mind and you were headed out for a late-night jack-off session.”
“Dalton!” Kate said, smacking her dark-haired mate on the arm.
Chance snorted and shook his head, then gave his attention back to the early spring woods that surrounded Dalton’s land. The air smelled funny here. Different and, inside, his wolf growled out a warning. But his instincts always got a little jacked up when he returned to Galena after a long tour out in the wilderness. “No girl is taking up head space with me. Between you, Nicole, Fina, and that baby girl you’re carrying, I have enough girl problems.”
“You don’t know if it’s a girl yet,” Kate said primly, cupping her belly with a mushy look on her face as she made her way up the porch stairs. “We won’t know for another two months.”
“I hope it is,” Dalton said softly from behind her. “I want a little girl who looks just like you.”
“Oh, yeah? You want a baby with tiny lips and giant alien eyes?”
Dalton laughed and picked Kate up off the ground, then spun her slowly in the living room. “I happen to find alien eyes infinitely sexy.”
“Flatterer,” Kate accused, but there was a smile in her voice.
“All right, before you two go at it like rabbits, I need food from the root cellar. I’m starving.”
“You’re always starving,” Kate teased. “I had no idea a man could put away the amount of food both of you do.”
“High metabolisms,” Chance and Dalton said at once, then laughed. That had been their excuse growing up when people asked how they could eat so much. The truth was the shifter in them required so many calories because they burned hotter and needed more energy to sustain their inner wolves. The baby Kate was carrying would require the same, when he, or hopefully she, was born.
“Oh, stop spinning,” Kate murmured, her face going serious.
Dalton set her down gently and cupped her face. “What’s wrong?”
“It’s the baby,” Chance said, pulling her arm toward the bathroom. “Kate still gets sick. Get her some water, will you?”
Kate made it to the toilet just in time, and Chance held her shoulder-length hair out of her face. This was the part he hated, seeing a pack-mate sick. Nicole, Link’s mate, had suffered the same during her pregnancy.
“It’s okay, shhh,” he said, rubbing between her shoulder blades as she retched again.
She was crying now, poor Kate. She hated getting sick, and it had been hard on her to hide this part from Dalton.
“Here, baby,” Dalton said in a worried voice as he handed her a glass. He took over rubbing her back and holding her hair as she drank down her water.
Chance sat back on the edge of the bathtub, watching them, worrying as he always did. Having babies was hard, and growing them took its toll. He’d watched his own mother give birth time and time again when he was young, but none of them had lived after him. They’d all been baby girls, and baby girl werewolves didn’t survive more than a couple days after birth. Or at least, they hadn’t until Vera Silver had cured the curse. Still, humans were frail, and Kate was growing a strong little werewolf inside her belly.
He would never do that to a woman.
“You’re growling,” Dalton said low, casting him a warning look. “Take it outside.”
Chance swallowed the rattling sound he hadn’t realized he was making and shook his head hard. “Sorry.”
“It’s okay. You don’t like to see me hurt,” Kate said, wiping tears. “It’s okay,” she repeated in a shaky voice as she slumped against the toilet and held her half-empty glass of water to her chest.
Good Kate. She was always so accepting of their animal sides. She was a good mate for Dalton and a good member of their pack. Chance ruffled her hair and squeezed Dalton’s shoulder as he passed. At the door, he turned. “She might do well with some crackers. My mom used to get sicker if she didn’t have anything in her stomach. I’ll go into Galena later and see if they have anything with ginger at the grocery store.”
“Chance?” Kate asked in a rush.
“Stop thanking me, woman.”
“Fine, what I really meant to say is can you also pick me up some of that crab dip the deli makes? And those big pickles from the gas station?”
“The individually wrapped ones? Why don’t I just get a jar of them from the—”
“Those are gross. I need the ones from the gas station.”
Chance chuckled and nodded. “Whatever you want.” He clapped his hand onto the doorframe and then sauntered into the living room and out the front door.
The smell was there again. Something subtle and floral. He froze on the bottom porch stair and scanned the woods. He’d never been here at the beginning of spring, so perhaps it was some early flower blooms that were changing the smell of everything.
His throat rattled with a soft growl again, but this time, he didn’t stifle it. No one was here to reprimand him. With one last suspicious glance at the woods, he jogged through the mud to Dalton’s pickup, pulled his pack out of the back, then made his way to the shed.
There was no sign that anyone had entered, but he paced the front warily, his instincts on red alert for reasons he couldn’t fathom. Sometimes it was like that. Sometimes his inner wolf sensed things that his human side couldn’t. It happened a lot when he was guiding hunts or fishing trips, but it had never happened on Dalton’s land.
He studied the latch of the door, but it was in place. Pulling it open warily, he looked into the dim room, lit only by the evening sun that filtered in through the single window on the right. The hint of flowers lingered in here, too, but nothing looked disturbed. He walked around slowly, touching his belongings, re-familiarizing himself with his den. Everything was in place, just as he’d left it a couple weeks ago. He huffed a laugh. He’d lost his damned mind since that Hell Hunter attack last year.
Vega was dead, and he wasn’t coming back. Chance had watched Dalton’s black wolf tear that Hell Hunter limb from limb for what he’d tried to do to Kate.
That asshole would never hurt his pack again.