Sassy Ever After: Kiss My Sass (Kindle Worlds Novella) (6 page)

BOOK: Sassy Ever After: Kiss My Sass (Kindle Worlds Novella)
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“Good, good. Especially now that your friend finally caught that little prick,” he said, jerking his thumb in the direction of the police car, before extending his hand to Luke. “You can really run, man.”

“Thanks,” Luke said, giving Calvin’s hand a quick shake before he started placing bags into the SUV.

“We’ve been after that jackal for weeks. He’s a slippery one, but we’re pretty sure he was the only one in the area. No loyalty amongst thieves, you know?”

Jackal? What an odd thing to call him,
she thought. Ashe didn’t miss the look that passed between the three men before a light bulb seemed to go off for Calvin.

“I’m so sorry, I’m being very rude here. I’m deputy Calvin. You must be the young lady he tried to rob. At least you had Speedy over here to run him down and get your belongings back.” He extended his hand, offering her a card. “If you could swing by the station for a statement, that would be great.”

“I’m Ashe. I’ll be happy to help any way I can. Would tomorrow be okay? I don’t live in town and I’d really like to just get home right now.”

“That’s perfectly fine. Just ask for me when you do stop by and we’ll get through as quickly as possible,” he assured her, wiggling his fingers at a very drowsy Lilly.

“Thanks.” She heard the back hatch of her SUV close and realized they’d already loaded everything up. “I really appreciate your help guys.”

Luke looked back through the window at the large amount of merchandise inside. “I wish you’d agree to let us help you unload this. You don’t need to hurt yourself, especially with a little one to take care of.”

Damn it, he was right. Well, how bad could they be if the deputy was so friendly with them? “I really am glad that you two came along when you did, and I guess you’re not raving psychos or pervs if you’re friends with a cop.” And there went her damn mouth again. “Okay, that may have come out wrong.”

To her dismay, all three men were laughing.
Hell, at least they’re not offended.

Benson was the first to recover. “Sweetheart, my mother would beat my head to mush if I
ever
disrespected a woman.”

“Mine too,” Luke agreed. “Besides, I like a woman with a little spunk,” he winked.

Was he flirting?

“Well, I have sass and ass in spades,” she retorted.

“Not a thing wrong with that.”

If she wasn’t mistaken, the way he was looking over her curves left her thinking he liked what he saw. And her body was certainly reacting to him as well, if only she could figure out what it was about him that affected her this way. Sure, he was hot, but it was like some part of her deep down wanted to be closer to him.

Benson cleared his throat and Ashe felt her cheeks heat. “How about we get going? I’d hate for your groceries to start thawing.”

“Absolutely. I’m just outside of town, if you want to follow?”

“Lead the way. We’ll be right behind you,” Benson promised.

Ashe carefully strapped a sleeping Lilly into her car seat before lifting it from the cart and setting it back into the base. With any luck she’d continue to nap long enough for Ashe to at least get her food put away.

Pulling out of the parking lot, she noticed two things. First off, Benson drove a
huge
truck. Second, they’d left the store with nothing. That begged the question, what were they doing there?

Reaching into her purse, she palmed the small can of pepper spray tucked inside an inner pocket. She had a feeling everything would be fine, but with her daughter to think about too, she had to be careful with who she trusted.

Turning onto the long driveway to her house, Ashe slowed down so as not to wake Lilly with all the turns through the trees, thankful that her parents had paved it instead of leaving it as a dirt path.

She pulled up to the front porch, frowning when she noticed the front door was cracked open. “What the hell?” She was sure she’d shut it when she’d left earlier.

The guys hadn’t come up the driveway yet, but Ashe wasn’t one to rely on anyone. She took her pepper spray and hopped out of the SUV, closing the door as quietly as possible, and locking Lilly inside.

She crept up the porch steps, careful to stay close to the railing to avoid the creaky board halfway up. Sure enough, the doorframe was damaged, so her home had been broken into.

Heart in her throat, she nudged the door with her foot and peered inside. Things seemed to be relatively untouched from what she was able to see.

Maybe they got spooked and took off when I pulled in
, she thought. After all, she had no way of knowing when exactly the break-in occurred.

A tentative step inside confirmed nothing was out of place for as far as she could see. Going through the kitchen, she saw the back door was still closed and locked, and all the windows were intact too.

“Looks like I’ll be giving the cops
two
statements today,” she groused.

With a sigh, she headed back to the front door only to stop cold at the foot of the stairs when a low chattering hiss came from above. The air froze in her lungs as she stared up at the biggest badger she’d ever seen.

How it got inside didn’t really matter at that point, because the only exit available to it was right behind her, wide open and waiting. Unfortunately, that meant she was in the way.

Horrified, she watched as it prowled down the stairs, its beady eyes focused on her, rooting her to the spot. She’d seen badgers before, but the markings on this one were different. Instead of the black stripes, which were usually over the eyes and head, this one had a silvery-white mantle that extended down its back, while the rest of it was solid black.

All badgers were known to be rather vicious, but not necessarily very large. The one stalking towards her was at least two feet wide and four feet long. A monster among its kind for sure!

Making sure her finger was on the trigger, she raised the pepper spray and aimed for the dark eyes trained on her. The hiss she got in response raised the tiny hairs on her arms and had her heart racing.

“Where the hell did you come from? There aren’t any nuclear plants around to mutate the wildlife, but you sure are one
ugly
bastard.” Ashe was mainly talking to herself, but her words seemed to enrage the furry demon. For such a stocky thing, it practically flew down the steps. All she could do was spray and hope she hit it.

Stepping quickly to the side, Ashe tried to avoid being too close as it bolted for the outdoors, but at the last minute, it twisted and struck. Its paws had claws that were longer than its damn teeth, and it raked them down her calf before scrambling out the door, hissing and chattering the whole way.

“Son of a bitch!” she screamed, dropping to the floor. Her leg felt like someone had lit it on fire. The scratches were deep, and already bleeding freely, the blood making her feel woozy.

Refusing to pass out, she averted her eyes from the injury, her maternal instincts kicking in. Sure, her rational mind knew the badger couldn’t get to Lilly in the car, but rational thought wasn’t really in play at the moment.

There was still no sign of the guys, but she didn’t have time to worry about them now. Her sock and shoe were already blood-soaked, and she needed to fetch Lilly and doctor her leg as quickly as possible.

Gritting her teeth, she struggled to her feet, stumbling out onto the porch. She tried to block out the pain radiating down her leg as she scanned the area for any signs of movement.

If the badger came back she’d be in serious trouble. A glance down had a wave of dizziness slamming into her. Blood was steadily oozing from her wounds, and while she was usually okay with the sight of blood, seeing her own was a completely different story.

Averting her eyes, Ashe pulled her keys from her pocket and unlocked the doors. She was glad to see that Lilly was awake, but not fussing, because she would have been hard pressed to get her inside without waking her up.

She was fumbling with the release for the car seat base when she saw Benson and Luke coming up the drive. There was no telling why they weren’t in the truck, but with sweat dotting her brow and her body beginning to shake, Ashe knew she was only moments from passing out for sure.

Giving up on the base, she grabbed onto the door as everything began to tilt. Lilly’s face scrunched up as she let loose a wail, but the sound was so muffled to Ashe’s ringing ears she barely heard it as she felt herself sinking to the ground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Six

 

Luke

He still couldn’t believe it. Not only had he found Ashelynn, but she was
his
. Oh, she didn’t know it yet—and he’d have to approach things carefully—but she was his mate, and he intended to claim her.

They were following her back to her house when Benson finally broke the silence. “So how do you plan to break the news about Matt?”

Luke sighed, running his hands through his hair. “I have no idea. Things are getting complicated.”

“How? She’s here, you managed to catch her mugger, and we’re going to her place now. Hell, you could get everything started today, then work up to the whole shifter thing in a day or two.”

“We’ll have to discuss more than that,” Luke replied, turning to face his friend. “She’s my mate.”


Seriously?
” Benson couldn’t have looked more stunned if Luke had punched him in the face.

“Why would I kid about that?”


Shit
,” Benson exclaimed. “Are you sure? I mean, there’s no denying she’s a looker, but you’re positive it’s not lust?”

Luke growled a low warning, his wolf not happy with another man commenting on how attractive his woman was. “I’m sure. As soon as I scented her, I knew. And her daughter is definitely Matt’s. She carries his shifter genes.”

“I picked up on that too. I just hope Ashe can handle having all this dumped on her. It’s enough to receive any one of those bombs, but all three?” Benson shook his head. “Good luck, Luke. You’re going to need it.”

“Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence,” he drawled.

Ahead they saw Ashe turn off onto a driveway. Benson carefully maneuvered his huge, lifted truck behind her, though with the way it wound back and forth in the trees, it didn’t take long for them to fall behind. A minute or two later and they came up on a branch that hung too low for the truck to pass.

“Looks like we’ll be walking from here,” Benson announced, shutting off the engine and climbing out.

Luke exited his side, breathing in and enjoying the rich scents of the trees, soil and small wildlife around them. The land was lush and would be amazing to do a little hunting on in his wolf form.

“It shouldn’t be too far back, but you never know around here. Some of these families have a bunch of land,” Benson said, falling into step.

“It’s great that she’s got plenty of property though. Wolf cubs tend to have a
lot
of energy. She’ll need room to run it off.”

“And someone who can keep up with that little girl, help her through her first shift, and also with explaining the urges that come from their animal half. Those are things Ashe won’t be able to do for that little girl.”

“Are you going to tell her she’s not equipped to raise her own child? I don’t know about you, but I’m rather attached to my manhood and I’d rather not have it mangled.”

Benson chuckled. “So her little outburst startled you earlier? I’ll admit, it caught me by surprise too.”

“Not just that, but…do you smell that?” Luke stopped, raising his nose and searching for the scent again. “There, to the right.”

Benson did the same. “Yeah, it’s a shifter, but I can’t place what kind.”

“I don’t like it,” Luke growled. “First a jackal attacks her in a store, and now there’s some unknown trespasser on her land?”

Just then, both men heard Ashe’s shouted, “Son of a bitch!”

They broke into a run, darting through trees and over shrubs before they saw it barreling towards them.

“A fucking
honey badger
?” Benson yelled.

At that, the creature turned sharply and flicked its tail up, leaving a trail of stench foul enough to have their eyes watering.

BOOK: Sassy Ever After: Kiss My Sass (Kindle Worlds Novella)
3.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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