Authors: Jessica Coulter Smith
Asthon Grove Werewolves
Jessica Coulter Smith
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This is a work of fiction. All characters,
places, businesses, and incidents are from the author’s imagination. Any resemblance
to actual places, people, or events is purely coincidental.
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Font used in this
novel is Garamond.
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©2014, Jessica Coulter Smith
Allie Jenson swept her bangs out
of her face and pulled the dishtowel from her apron. Wiping down the table in
front of her, she wondered how much longer she had to be in this God awful
place. With a waitressing background, she’d thought it would be easy to get a
job at a diner or
, but no one in Ashton
Grove had been hiring. So here she stood, in a micro-mini skirt and a skintight
shirt, getting her ass pinched every few minutes. She supposed it could be
worse. She could be working across town in the strip joint. If Lagoona Paradise
hadn’t hired her, that would have been her next stop. She wasn’t too proud to
admit that maybe she’d made a mistake coming to Ashton Grove. First demons and
now demeaning jobs. If she didn’t hold out hope that her mate was in the pack,
she’d hit the road and search for a new place to call home.
But then, that’s how she’d landed
in Ashton Grove. She’d been bouncing from pack to pack all across the US, never
finding a place that quite felt like home. The Ashton Grove pack was different
from what she was used to, and it wasn’t just the two alphas. The people were
friendlier and there were lots of pack gatherings. From what she’d heard,
before the word demon was ever mentioned, there had been a lot of good times to
be had in the pack. She wished they could go back to those days. Now they were
down to one alpha while Gabriel locked himself away to mourn the loss of his
mate and child.
Allie didn’t begrudge him his
time alone, even understood it having lost family herself, but the pack needed
him. Surely he realized that! He had a garage to run, for starters. She’d heard
that Michael had taken over until Gabriel rejoined the land of the living, but
something needed to give pretty soon. Word was out that Kinley, the sugar
glider shifter who had just mated an angel, had been visiting Gabriel daily. At
first, Allie had thought it was good news that maybe their alpha was coming
around, but that had been weeks ago and still nothing new happened. Gabriel was
still acting like a hermit, with the exception of Kinley and Adriel visiting
Allie went up to the bar to pick
up an order for table three, steeling herself for the touches and pats from the
men sitting there. She’d accidently used her werewolf strength the first night
she’d worked at Lagoona’s and had nearly broken a customer’s hand. Ever since,
she’d just gritted her teeth and put up with the grabby assholes sitting in her
section. There were a few good men who came to see her, regulars who treated
her civilly. Unfortunately, none of them were in sight tonight. She glanced
across the room at Hunter’s table and wished her pack had come to sit in her
section, but she understood why they hadn’t. She’d seen Hunter watching Holly,
one of the other waitresses, and knew he’d chosen the table with the best view
for his favorite pastime.
As she set the first bottle of
beer down at table three, the big human with the mustache reached over and
patted her on her ass. She ground her teeth together, to keep from snapping at
him, and calmly set the other bottles down in front of the other three men.
“Can I get you gentlemen anything
else?” she asked, trying to keep her voice sweet and light.
“Just you, honey.” The one with
the mustache leered at her.
“I’m afraid I’m not on the menu,
“Aww, come on. We just want to
have a little fun. We’d treat you right,” he said.
A shiver raked down her spine.
They wanted to share her? All four of them? She hoped her face didn’t show her
distaste. She took a step back, getting out of grabbing range, told them once
more that she wasn’t interested, and then walked away, head held high. She
heard them calling out to her, but she didn’t stop, didn’t look back. When she
reached the bar, she set her tray down and sighed in relief. She’d thought for
a moment that things would get ugly.
She might not love this job, but
she needed it. The pack owned the apartments where she lived, but there was
still rent to pay. A nominal amount compared to what she’d be paying elsewhere,
but there were also utilities and cable. Not to mention car insurance and gas
to put in her car and, with the way gas prices had been climbing, that wasn’t
cheap. If it weren’t for all of her moving around, she’d wish she had a smaller
vehicle. The large SUV came in handy when it came time to load up her boxes
though. She hoped her days of moving around were over, she really did, but
there were days when she wondered if she’d made the right decision. More than
once she’d contemplated hitting the road and seeing where life would take her,
what adventure would next be on her list of things to do.
What she needed was a man who
would be her all-time adventure, a man worth settling down with, but she was
starting to wonder if that would happen. She’d dated a few guys in the pack,
but she hadn’t felt that pull that she’d always heard about. They’d been nice,
and the dates had been pleasant, but other than that initial amount of lust,
there’d been no spark. So she’d passed on a second date and had moved on. She’d
heard rumblings that she was a tease because she wouldn’t invite her dates
inside at the end of the night. It was no secret they wanted more from her than
she was willing to give, but she’d made a vow when she was a kid and she’d kept
it so far. No man was getting between her legs, unless he was her mate. She
hadn’t led a pristine life, had even been caught stealing once or twice, but it
was the one gift she could give her mate. The knowledge that no one had come
before him. She would belong to him and only him.
Out of the corner of her eye, she
saw two males settle in her section. She adjusted her ponytail, brushed her
bangs aside once more, and went to greet her new customers. It was with a great
deal of relief that she noticed it was two pack members, Cain Boudreaux and
Sawyer Braxton. She knew they worked together at Connor’s construction company,
and usually Rex McKinnon was with them. They’d sat in her section a few times,
but usually preferred one of the tables near the wall in the back. She supposed
it was so they could survey the whole room.
“Hey guys.” She smiled. “Two
“Bring a pitcher of whatever’s
popular tonight,” Sawyer said. “Rex should be joining us soon. I think he was
going to see if Adriel wanted a night out. He stays glued to Kinley so we try
to get him out every now and then for some time with the guys.”
Cain laughed. “Yeah, dude’s
Allie frowned. “So, because he
loves his mate and wants to spend time with her, he’s whipped? I feel sorry for
your mate, Boudreaux. Women like to feel wanted, needed, as if they’re the most
important thing in your life. Seems like Adriel already figured that out.”
Cain shook his head. “Not gonna
happen. No woman is gonna grab this tiger by the tail and lead me around by my
whiskers. My mate is going to know she’s important, but she’s also going to
know her place.”
Allie’s eyebrows arched. “Her
? As in what, barefoot in the
He shrugged. “I make a
comfortable living. No sense in my woman working if she doesn’t have to.”
“Need I remind you that every
mated woman in this pack works? Marin works with Cole at Sabin Bio-Med, Chloe
works with Matt in real estate, Aislinn helps Connor with his office work,
Kendall works from home but she does have a job. Even Kiera… she helped Gabriel
with office stuff when he needed her assistance
main job was helping take care of the pack though.”
“You forgot Harper.” Cain said
with a grin.
“Harper decided to be a
stay-at-home mom,” Allie conceded. “But you’d better believe Ramsey would let
her work if that’s what she decided she wanted to do. I can’t see him ordering
her to stay home and clean house every day.”
Cain held up his hands in
surrender. “Okay, okay. You’ve made your point,
“Don’t you ‘cher’ me you overgrown
Cajun carpet.” Sawyer snickered and she narrowed her eyes at him.
“I can’t wait to meet your mate,”
Sawyer said. “He’d better have a sharp wit and a strong will. Otherwise, you’re
going to run right over him.”
Allie rolled her eyes and
strolled off to place their order. Sawyer was nice, but if he were her mate,
she’d probably run screaming into the night. He thought he was God’s gift to
women but, thankfully, he hadn’t hit on her. And then there was Cain. The stoic
were-tiger, who was apparently something of a chauvinist. She couldn’t believe
him! Her place, indeed. She hoped he mated a lioness, a woman who would beat
him over the head with a skillet for even suggesting her place was in the
kitchen. If anyone deserved to be henpecked by their mate, it was Cain.
The bartender slid the pitcher on
her tray and she carried it back to their table, along with two mugs. Along the
way her not-so-favorite table stopped her, with mustache guy reaching his
grubby paw out and gripping her arm.
“Hey, sweet thing.” He smiled and
his breath was bad enough to make her wrinkle her nose. “We’re ready for
She nodded. “I’ll bring it over
in a minute. Have to deliver this first.”
He released her, only to pat her
on her ass again. She gritted her teeth and continued on her path to Cain and
Don’t kill him. He tips well.
it over and over, trying to calm herself. Really, she’d put up with most
anything if the man tipped well enough. It was how she made her money, after
all. Not that she should have to put up with grabby men like Mr. Mustache, but
it was just part of her job. Be nice to the customers, and they’ll tip you
well. At least, in theory. She had a few that left her a dollar or two on a
sixty dollar tab. Cheapskates.
Cain was staring at Mr. Mustache
when she arrived at their table. She placed the pitcher in the middle, and then
gave each of them a mug. Rex and Adriel still hadn’t shown, but she’d bring
more mugs when they did.
“Why do you put up with that?”
“It’s part of my job.” She
sighed. “Can I get you anything else?”
“Yeah, might as well place a food
order. How about two orders of wings, some chili cheese fries, and some of
those potato skin wedges?” Sawyer asked. “I think that will stave off our
hunger for a bit.”
Allie tucked the tray under her
arm and scribbled the order on her notepad. When she went back to the bar, Mr.
Mustache grabbed her ass again. She shrugged it off, best as she could, and
kept going. A loud rumble from behind had her turning around. Her eyes widened
in surprise when she saw Cain leaning into the man’s space, a snarl on his
“Keep your hands to yourself,”
“Or what?” Mr. Mustache smirked.
“You gonna make me? You a big tough guy? What’s it to ya anyway?”
Cain leaned in closer and, in a
voice that carried across the room, said, “That woman happens to be mine. If
you want to keep your hands, you’ll keep them to yourself.”
Allie gasped in outrage and
glanced toward Hunter’s group. Yep, they were looking, and seemed rather intrigued
by the scene. Damned tiger. He’d really gone and done it now. She watched as
Cain backed away and she followed him back to his table, where she smacked him
on the arm with her tray.
“What the fuck!” He narrowed his
eyes at her.
“You just claimed me in front of
the pack, asshole.”
He glanced around and shrugged.
“We’ll get it cleared up at the next pack meeting. I wasn’t going to stand back
and watch that ass hat harass you. You’re welcome, by the way.”
“Ohhh,” she growled, stomping her
foot. “You think you can just clear it up at the next get together? What about
until then? You just declared me off limits to every guy I know.”
“You mean there were some you
“I’ve gone out with exactly three
wolves,” she said through gritted teeth. “That’s hardly the whole pack. Can you
say the same? Weren’t you out with Jenny just the other day?”
“It wasn’t a date,” he said,
taking a sip of his beer. “We were just hanging out – as friends.”
“Whatever. If I’ve lost my tip
because of you, I’m charging you double for your beer.”
She stormed off to the bar,
setting her tray down with a bang. The manager stepped up beside her.
“Are we going to have a problem,
Allie? Your boyfriend just harassed one of my best customers.”
“He’s not my boyfriend. And no,
sir, we won’t have a problem.”
“See that we don’t. Another
mishap and you’re out on your delectable ass.”
If she ground her teeth any
tighter, they’d crack. She was seriously going to skin that tiger and use him
for a rug! He’d look perfect stretched out on the floor in front of her sofa.
An image of a very naked Cajun tiger stretched out in front of her sofa, hard
in all the right places, beckoning her closer, flashed through her mind. No!
Bad Allie! He’s trouble, a man’s man who doesn’t believe women should work. He
probably doesn’t even think they should vote!
She grabbed a fresh round of
drinks for her troublesome table and went to deliver them, anxious for her
shift to be over. The sooner she could get out of Lagoona’s, the better off
she’d be. She had just set the drinks down on Mr. Mustache’s table, when he
snaked an arm around her waist and hauled her into his lap. Her skin crawled
from the contact and she struggled to get up. When a grubby hand cupped her
breast, she fought like a wildcat. Grabbing her ass was one thing, but you just
didn’t touch the girls without an invite!
The table went flying as Allie
was freed. Her jaw dropped when she saw Cain had grabbed Mr. Mustache, hauling
him up against the wall by his throat. The man’s feet kicked at the air as he
struggled to breathe, fought to get free. She took a moment to admire the
muscles bulging in Cain’s arms before she swooped in to save the poor schmuck
who’d grabbed her. The tiger was causing all sorts of trouble today. Obviously,
someone needed to put a leash on him.