Sassy Ever After: Kiss My Sass (Kindle Worlds Novella) (4 page)

BOOK: Sassy Ever After: Kiss My Sass (Kindle Worlds Novella)
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Six and a half hours of driving and he’d finally reached the halfway point to his destination. Blue Creek was a nice place, and Luke looked forward to grabbing a beer and something to eat before moving through.

He’d not been there in years, and was surprised to see that his favorite bar had changed names. A few years back it had been the Thirsty Wolf, and now it was the Sassy Wolf.

Shrugging, Luke locked up his SUV and headed inside. With the clientele being largely made up of shifters, the place could get a little rowdy from time to time. Especially when the scenting ceremony was going on.

Sadly, some of the wolves from visiting packs just couldn’t behave. Usually any fights were dealt with and chalked up to the amped up need being felt by many. Sometimes though, things went a little too far, and they ended up severely punished and banned from the territory.

Luke had no intention of getting involved in any drama. All he was interested in was a quick meal, a cold beer, and catching up with Nate. Rumor had it he’d found his mate and was already working on a whole pack of cubs.

Strolling in, he ignored the curious glances from locals and found an empty seat at the bar. It didn’t take him long to spot Nate either. It’s pretty hard to miss a guy who looks like an escaped cast member of a pirate movie.

“Hey man! What brings you to town?” Nate asked, grabbing a longneck and sliding it down the bar.

“Relocating, actually.” Luke took a swig and sighed. “I’ve got someone to go see first, then I’ll be looking into where I want to be.”

Nate grinned, spreading his arms wide. “What about here? Blue Creek is a pretty hip place. Oh, and it seems that the mating bug has been biting pretty regularly around here too. Couldn’t hurt to try it, right?”

Luke chuckled. “I’ve noticed the rapid decline in single members of the Wolfe family. While I’d love to find my mate, I’ve got to meet up with someone before I can think about looking any further.”

“Who are you meeting, if you don’t mind my asking?”

“I’m looking for the girl Matt hooked up with at the wedding about eight months ago. It took me a long time to locate her since she was doing some crazy cross-country sightseeing thing, but she seems to be staying at her home now.” Luke paused, unsure of who may be listening, before motioning Nate closer. “She just had Matt’s baby. I need to make sure they’re okay.”

“Damn. She doesn’t know he was a shifter, does she?”

“Not a clue. She delivered way too early for the baby to be human, so I need to find her and explain.”

“I don’t envy you that job. I still can’t believe he’s gone. When you first walked in, I actually found myself looking for Matt to come in right behind you.”

Luke wasn’t the only one feeling the absence of his best friend. Matt had been loved by many, including the Wolfe family. He’d mentioned that Barbara Wolfe was his great aunt, but admitted to not visiting as often as he’d like.

Some of the Wolfe family had been at the wedding where Matt had met Ashe, so perhaps they could give him a good description of her, or maybe a general perception of her personality. Right now, all he knew was what little Matt had told him, and even less was found online.

“Did you see him at the wedding when he came back on leave?” If Nate knew of her, then maybe he could score a little info during his meal.

“Yeah, we spoke briefly, but the babies were getting real fussy, so we had to dip out early to get them to bed.” He shrugged. “Having one baby is hard, but three is exhausting, yet amazing. All I know is, it really does take a village to raise a child.”

“I’ll bet. How’s Karla doing?”

“She’s doing great. All the women help each other with the kids when my brothers and I are either working or attending to Pack business. Mom is in heaven with all the grandbabies.”

Luke laughed. “I’ll have to be sure to say hi to them before I go. This is my only stop before going on to some little town called Honey Hollow.”

“In Tennessee?”

“That’s what the GPS is telling me. Someone’s supposed to be meeting me there, since I guess Adrian thinks I need back-up to deliver the news of Matt’s passing.”

“Check with Barbara, or maybe some of the girls met her,” Nate suggested. “Was she family to the bride?”

“No, she was one of the bartenders.”

“I’ll bet I know which one, too. Long brown hair, curvy, great smile, and could flip bottles like a pro. Well, that and the other bartenders were guys,” Nate chuckled.

“I suppose that would narrow it down.”

“I’m pretty sure Barbara spoke to her some, but I don’t know what about. Listen, why don’t you give her a call and pick her brain while your food’s cooking? You want the bacon burger with the works, right?”

“With extra bacon, please,” Luke replied, accepting the scrap of paper Nate had scribbled the number down on. “I guess I’ll kill two birds with one call. I wanted to get permission to let my wolf out for a run later.”

“It shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve got a few orders to take, but I’ll be back with your food in a few.”

In the time it took Luke to place his call, he managed to pick Barbara’s brain, gained permission to run, and wrapped up with a promise to consider Blue Creek’s scenting ceremony if he finished his mission with Ashe in time.

Seeing as it was much closer than his old pack, Luke figured it couldn’t hurt to check out the available women. After all, he’d already concluded that none of the females from his home were his mate. Sure, he could settle, but it wasn’t his way. He wanted the real thing, or nothing at all.

Once he’d eaten, Luke ventured to the location where he was told to park his SUV for his run. Stripping down, he stashed his clothes in the passenger seat before shifting and sprinting into the woods. Barbara and her mate, Tristan, had joined him while his wolf explored the lush pack land. They’d enjoyed a nice talk afterwards, remembering happy times with Matt, and providing Luke with a little insight into Ashe.

There was only so much to learn about someone by searching the internet and such. Personality was one of the things left unknown.

Not that Luke could see Matt hooking up with someone who was bitchy, or rude, but good looks and lust could blind a man to some faults.

It seemed as though Ashe was a nice enough girl, from what Barbara had told him. She was outgoing, adventurous, and sassy enough to keep Matt in line, so he hoped their assessment held true for when he finally met her.

Tomorrow he would be meeting up with whomever Adrian had contacted, so he settled into the surprisingly comfy bed at the motel on the edge of town. He needed to be clear-headed and well rested if he wanted to help ensure he wouldn’t injure the poor bastard.

*  *  *  *

Luke rose early the next morning, enjoying another run as his wolf while the sun came up. With the beast satisfied, he grabbed up his duffle bag and hit the road.

He was to meet up with his partner at a diner in Honey Hollow, so he did his best to ensure he’d be there on time. With traffic being surprisingly light, he made it in with half an hour to spare.

The town was incredibly small. Even though he wasn’t expecting much, he still thought there’d be more to it than
this
.

Small neighborhoods surrounded what few businesses existed. Kids rode bikes on the sidewalk while people shopped in a small farmer’s market, there was only one traffic light situated in front of the fire and police stations, and all of the shops were clearly family owned.

There were no big-name commercial stores in sight! It was like stepping back in time, and Luke found he rather liked the simplicity of it. A small grocery store, two gas stations located at opposite sides of town, a few diners, a pharmacy, police and fire departments, one large courthouse, a clinic, and a few clothing stores were pretty much all that made up Honey Hollow.

Needless to say, the diner was easy to find, and Luke found himself eager to enjoy some good southern food. Once parked, he made his way inside, surprised when the scent of bear hit him.

Chastising himself for not even considering that a place called Honey Hollow would be a bear town, Luke sauntered up to the counter and claimed a stool.

He’d noted the stares directed his way, and could feel their eyes tracking his every move. The only things that had him holding his tongue were the few humans also dining. If not for them, he’d have put the other shifters at ease.

Luke wasn’t looking for trouble by any means, let alone from a bunch of grizzlies, so when the waitress behind the counter made her way over, he offered a warm smile.

“What can I get you, hon?” Her question was polite, yet her big brown eyes showed a mix of curiosity and anxiousness.

“I’d love a glass of tea. I’m new in the area, and I’m supposed to be meeting someone here shortly. I got in a little early, so I guess I’ll grab something to eat. The food sure smells amazing.”

She smiled, and this time it reached her eyes. “Well, you just glance over this menu and I’ll be right back with your tea.”

Luke ignored the few patrons still openly staring, and perused the laminated menu before him. Everything sounded amazing as he read it off in his mind, and he hadn’t been lying when he’d said it smelled amazing.

He was just deciding on the special, when a familiar scent to his right caught his attention. Sure enough, his old commanding officer, Benson, was sauntering over.

Suddenly, Adrian’s comment about knowing they could work together made sense.

“Benson, you old bastard, how have you been?” Luke greeted him, rising to shake hands, only to be pulled into an awkward, backslapping man-hug.

“Not too bad, man. How about you?”

“Just rolling with the punches. So I take it Adrian contacted you?”

“Yes, though it may have been due to the fact that I live here,” Benson chuckled. “By the way, I saw your SUV outside. You pack like a girl.”

Luke gave a playful growl, knowing Benson was only playing around. “More like I’m relocating once this is finished. Let’s just say it wouldn’t be a good idea to remain with my old pack.”

“I had sensed you had a little alpha inside you from the beginning. By the end of your tour with me, I could see it. You wear it well, my friend.”

“Thank you. My wolf has gotten to the point he doesn’t like to take orders at all. I haven’t decided where I’ll go, or if I even
want
a pack of my own right now. Honestly, at this point in my life, I guess I need to find a good woman to settle down with. I’m not getting any younger,” he mused.

“None of us are, but are you really willing to shackle yourself to a woman who isn’t your fated mate? Just give it a little time. Things have a crazy way of working themselves out. You’ll see.”

The waitress came back with Luke’s tea, and a big smile for Benson. “Well, look what the cat dragged in!” she exclaimed. “What can I get you today?”

“You’ve got the pot roast as the special today?” he asked with a hopeful expression.

“You know it.”

Benson turned his attention to Luke. “Man, you’ve
got
to try it. I promise you’ll love it.”

“Okay, sounds good to me.”

Luke could hardly believe Adrian had looked Benson up, let alone that his old buddy lived in the same town as Ashe. However, now that he knew it was a bear town, Luke was glad to know someone who was well liked.

Bears, for the most part, were pretty laid back, but they were a protective lot too. If they were to see him as a threat to them, or their cubs…

Luke shuddered. He
never
wanted to end up on the bad side of a momma sow. Those women would tear his wolf limb from limb with barely any effort, and they’d do it with a smile.

He and Benson had a good conversation about their time served, what they’d done since leaving the service, and even shared some great memories of Matt.

Their food arrived, and Luke nearly groaned at the rich taste. Southern cooking
never
failed to leave him feeling warm and satisfied. If he ever found a woman capable of cooking like that, he’d be one happy wolf.

He tipped the waitress well, earning him another genuine smile from the woman, before he and Benson headed out.

“Let’s go get you settled,” Benson called, walking over to a massive lifted truck not far from Luke’s SUV. “Just follow me.”

“You got it.”

Luke figured Benson would know the best place to stay while in town. What he didn’t expect was for him to drive right out of it and up a winding road into the woods.

Granted, he trusted Benson enough to know he wouldn’t be leading him out to some secluded place to kill him, but when he saw a bright sign with
Honey Hollow Bee Farm
on it, he began to wonder where the hell they were going.

Rounding another bend in the road, they came to a stop in front of a beautiful white farmhouse. It seemed a little odd to be brought to a bee farm of all places, but perhaps they ran a bed and breakfast too.

Parking next to Benson, Luke exited his SUV. “Planning to slather me in honey and stake me to an ant hill?”

Benson’s black eyes crinkled at the corners with his grin. It was one Luke had seen before. Usually reserved for when he was about to assign him to a rather sketchy mission. “Nah, not yet anyway. I’ll wait for you to piss off enough of the bears in town first.”

BOOK: Sassy Ever After: Kiss My Sass (Kindle Worlds Novella)
13.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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