Alpha Asher was quick to leave that night, not another word was spoken between the two of us.
Sean didn’t return until the early hours of the morning. Breyona had arrived shortly after Alpha Asher left. The three of us went into my bedroom and closed the door behind us. Denial and shock were thick in the air, feeling like a sticky and tangible substance.
The first thing I did as we entered my room was to lock the damn window. I pulled the curtains together roughly and tied them shut. I wasn’t planning on looking out that window for quite some time.
Dad didn’t argue when I told him Mason was staying the night along with Breyona. He simply gave me a distracted nod and turned his troubled gaze to Grandma.
Mason and Breyona provided little in the way of comfort, but I was still grateful for their company. I’ve always heard when things like this happen, it’s best not to be alone.
The four of sat in my room, silence taking up the empty space. Breyona and I visibly jumped as Grandma knocked and came into the room.
“Grandma, it’s two in the morning.” I chuckled.
Grandma shuffled into my room two plates, a couple cups, and a pitcher of tea in her hands.
Grandma had a tendency to cook whenever she was stressed, always resulting in a never ending supply of food. If we were back at her cottage, there would be apple pies lining the counter tops.
“It’s never too late to eat.” Grandma nodded, “Or too early.”
“Thanks Grandma.” Breyona grinned, picking up one of the cookies and shoving it into her mouth.
Mason and I gave her pointed looks, our lips twitching into identical smiles.
“What?” Breyona lifted her eyebrow at the two of us, “I eat when I’m stressed, and Grandma cooks.”
“I knew I always liked her.” Grandma nodded proudly, setting the plates down and leaving the room.
Mason and I shared the same look before we both were consumed by laughter. The kind of teary eye’d laughter that comes with sleep depravity and a traumatic event. Our brain’s poor attempt at having a moment of peace within the chaos.
Soon after the laughter calmed town, the conversation turned serious.
“I never knew Kanyon very well.” Breyona frowned, “Katie was my neighbor and all, but we never really talked like that.”
“I was pretty close with Kanyon when we were kids.” Mason sighed, running his hand through his hair. “Kinda grew apart after we moved away.”
“I never really knew either of them.” I frowned, picking at one of the sandwiches Grandma made. “Is it bad that I don’t really feel bad for Katie and Kanyon? I mainly feel bad for their families.”
Breyona nodded, “Doesn’t sound very nice when you say it, but it makes sense.”
“Kanyon had a little brother.” Mason frowned, “I can’t imagine how he’ll take it.”
“Did Alpha Asher ever figure out why Kanyon was right outside your window?” Breyona’s voice lowered a few octaves.
I had a moment of clarity in the midst of confusion I had been feeling. If I couldn’t trust my friends, then who could I trust? The more people who knew, the better. Besides, come morning the entire pack would know of Kanyon’s death and the placement of his body.
So I spilled the truth to my friends. I told them of how Tyler had visited me, giving cryptic details of his insane plan to once again become Alpha. Not only that, his plans to rid the world of Alpha Asher. I even told them about the cryptic notes, including the one I had gotten tonight.
Breyona was speechless, while Mason looked infuriated. His light brows were knitted together in anger.
“f**king Tyler.” Mason spat, shaking his head. “Why’s he have to include you in his suicidal plans?”
“And what did he mean about his friends?” Breyona frowned, “Why are they so interested in you?”
“Maybe cause of my charming personality?” I huffed and shook my head. “I know as much as you two do.”
“Alpha Asher will figure it out.” Breyona nodded.
“Hopefully before they get their hands on Lola.” Mason frowned, worry filling his eyes.
“It might not be a good idea to go to Haze this Friday.” Breyona frowned, the disappointment of losing her mate clear in her eyes.
“No.” I shook my head, “I’m not letting some cryptic notes and Tyler’s threats scare me into hiding. We’re going to Haze, and we’re going to find your mate.”
“It could be dangerous.” Breyona frowned, “Any one of us could get hurt. Haze isn’t in the packs territory.”
“It’s only ten minutes out.” I shrugged, “Besides, we all know how to defend ourselves. We’ll stick together and find your mate, then we’ll bail.”
It took only a matter of hours for the news of Kanyon’s death to reach everyone else in town. Lights shined brightly through windows in the neighborhood, and I wondered if anyone was going to be able to sleep tonight.
Sean hadn’t come home this morning, but we weren’t worried. Sean was one of the best warriors in our pack and could handle himself. I’m sure he needed time to process what happened to Kanyon.
While none of us slept a wink last night, exhaustion couldn’t find me. My mind was flitting through the details. Trying to find any errant thought or comment about the day Tyler visited me. He mentioned a friend, but failed to give any more details on said friend.
Time ticked by slowly until I had to remove myself from the couch to get dressed for training. I figured there was no way Alpha Asher would cancel, now that we needed training more than ever.
Breyona and Mason had stayed the entire night with me. The three of us were horribly sleep deprived, but weren’t feeling the effects quite yet.
I let Breyona borrow a pair of shorts, and tossed Mason a tank-top and shorts from Sean’s closet. The three of us were out the door, heading to the pack house with ten minutes to spare.
Of course by the time we got to the pack house, rumors were flying by the dozen.
‘Did you hear they found him outside her window?’
‘Sketchy right? I bet she had something to do with it.’
‘But why pick her out of everyone.’
‘Chelsea said she left Haze early. Plenty of time to kill someone if you ask me.’
“I’m gonna rip her burnt hair off.” Breyona muttered under her breath, hearing yet another rumor that painted me out as a coldblooded killer.
I sighed, “We knew this would happen. It’s not a surprise Chelsea’s making it worse.”
“Seems like that’s the only thing Chelsea’s good at.” Mason rolled his eyes.
“That and trying to cozy up to Alpha’s.” Breyona muttered, and I followed her gaze over to Alpha Asher.
Alpha Asher stood by the side doors, talking to his Beta and a few other men. I inwardly cringed when Chelsea twitched up to the group of men and interrupted their conversation.
I couldn’t help the smug smile that formed on my face when Alpha Asher turned to her with anger blazing in his eyes.
Seems like we weren’t the only ones sleep deprived.
Chelsea flinched at the hostility rolling off Alpha Asher and turned away.
Mason, Breyona and I took our places on the mats, making plans to visit the little cafe in town later on.
Beta Devin stepped forward in Alpha Asher’s usual position. His rough voice boomed throughout the building.
“Attention everyone.” Beta Devin called out, and everyone’s chatter ceased. “Alpha Asher has some business to attend to. He has left me in charge. Pair off with your usual partners and begin.”
Chelsea, Mason, Breyona and I stood off to the side. Kanyon had been Chelsea’s partner since I arrived back in town. That left her without a partner.
Beta Devin noticed the three of us and walked over.
“Lola, pair off with Mason.” Beta Devin nodded in my direction, and called Chelsea over. “Chelsea pair off with Breyona.”
“I’ve been dying to kick her ass for years.” Breyona was practically shaking with excitement.
Beta Devin strolled over to the front of the room, his eyes scanning each group as they trained.
“Hopefully Mason lives after training with you.” Chelsea hissed, “I’d hate to be paired with a murderer.”
“f**k off.” Mason growled.
“Honey after I’m done with you, you’re gonna wish you were paired with Lola.” Breyona chuckled in anticipation and followed Chelsea over to one of the mats.
Training went on as usual, but my mind was occupied. I wonder what kind of business Alpha Asher had to attend to and if it had anything to do with Kanyon’s death. I hoped he would tell me if he found anything else out.
Mason took advantage of my distracted mind, and managed to bring me to the ground twice. Mind you, I pushed back with equal force and had him pinned at least a dozen times.
Breyona did not disappoint after being paired with Chelsea. Each time Mason and I heard a yelp or groan come from Chelsea, we stifled the urge to fall over laughing. Breyona’s anger and general dislike for Chelsea pushed her to train harder, earning a praise from Beta Devin.
Ten minutes before training ended, Alpha Asher came back into the room. I slipped an old t-shirt over my sports bra and waited for Breyona and Mason.
“Lola, come over here.” Alpha Asher barked, continuing his conversation with Beta Devin.
“Yes, Alpha?” I couldn’t help the slight condescending tone that filled my voice.
Alpha Asher flashed me a look of irritation, and his honey eyes darkened a couple shades.
“Lola, you’ll be moving into the pack house Monday.” Alpha Asher wasn’t asking, his tone made that clear. “Beta Devin will have a group together to bring your stuff to the house. You simply need to pack it.”
“Um, excuse me?” I squeaked out, and Beta Devin raised his eyebrow.
“This is gonna be either really dangerous or really fun.” Maya murmured, “Either way I’m here for it.”
I was still processing what Alpha Asher had said. No one besides the Alpha and Beta lived in the pack house. The thought of living under the same roof as Alpha Asher was both tempting and terrifying. How much trouble could I get into living with the man?
“Must I repeat myself, Lola?” Alpha Asher rolled my name off his tongue, and I couldn’t help but glance down at his lips.
Breyona and Mason stood ten feet away, clearly listening in on our conversation.
“No, I heard you.” I rolled my eyes and ignored Beta Devin’s snicker, “Don’t I have a say in the matter?”
“No, not at all.” Alpha Asher replied, deadpan.
Beta Devin stood silently, watching our conversation unfold.
“And what about the rest of my family?” I huffed, crossing my arms over my chest to glare at Alpha Asher.
“Obviously, it’s you whose in danger.” Alpha Asher snapped, “I am not inviting your entire family to live in my house.”
“Oh, I’m sure you’ll be so miserable.” I growled.
Alpha Asher’s eyes were nearing black now. He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose, letting out a sharp breath. His eyes were back to their normal honey color when he opened them.
“Must you always be so defiant?” Alpha Asher grimaced, and I shrugged.
My heart was fluttering at our heated conversation, excitement swirling around me from our close proximity. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy arguing with Alpha Asher. He had that primal dominance that made every argument fun.
“Yes.” I replied in the same tone. “Makes life interesting.”
“Lola, you will be fully moved into the pack house by Monday. Not your family. You.” Alpha Asher growled, sending a delightfully cold shiver through me. “If I come back Monday and find you haven’t moved in, there will be hell to pay.
Alpha Asher turned and began to walk away, Beta Devin on his heels.
“Wait!” I called out, his words finally getting past my thick skull. “What do you mean ‘come back’? Where are you going?”
I ran up beside Alpha Asher, forced to run in order to keep up with his fast pace.
“I don’t believe that’s any of your business, Lola.” Alpha Asher murmured thoughtfully, giving me a hard look. His pace did not slow.
I let out a frustrated grunt and jumped in front of Asher. Beta Devin skidded to a stop, but Alpha Asher wasn’t fazed.
Alpha Asher slammed into me like a freight train, his dark eyes looking down at me as I stumbled back.
“Can’t take no for an answer.” Alpha Asher grumbled to himself, running a hand through his already messy hair.
“Sure can’t.” I smirked, but my smug satisfaction was cut short as I felt my back being slammed against the brick wall of the training grounds.
“What is with you and slamming me into things?” I grunted up at Alpha Ashers towering form.
“What is with you not listening to me?” Alpha Asher hissed, his face only inches from my own.
Instead of fear, excitement was fluttering in my stomach.
“If you want me to move into the pack house, tell me where you’re going.” I snapped, poking my bottom lip out in a pout.
“Lola.” Alpha Asher took another calming breath, “If you speak of this to anyone, you’ll wish you never moved back here. Got it?”
“Got it.” I nodded, a successful grin on my face. Alpha Asher’s threat sounded scary, but I couldn’t fathom him actually hurting me. The thought simply didn’t make sense in my mind.
“Other packs have been experiencing attacks..similar to ours.” Alpha Asher’s voice was low, his warm breath fanned across my face. “I’m visiting those packs, examining the nature of the attacks.”
I frowned, “Why are you keeping this a secret?”
“Whoever is orchestrating these attacks do not need to know I’m gone for the weekend.” Alpha Asher murmured quietly. “Only you and Beta Devin know.”
Surprise pulsed through me. Alpha Asher was actually trusting me here.
“I won’t tell anyone.” I promised, my heart fluttering.
“Good.” Alpha Asher nodded, “I will see you for training Monday morning, Lola.”
Alpha Asher’s gaze flickered to the three people watching our every move. Mason, Breyona and Beta Devin had their eyes peeled on us. A thick blushed formed on my face as I realized they had witnessed Alpha Asher shoving me against the wall. At least they hadn’t heard the entire conversation.
Beta Devin followed after Alpha Asher, giving me a heavy smirk and quick wink as he walked by. My flu*tered mind didn’t have time to process what the wink meant.
“That was hot.” Breyona’s eyes trailed after Alpha Asher. “Goddess please let my mate be like that.”
“Breyona if your mate ever did that you’d punch him in the face.” I rolled my eyes and laughed.
“You’re completely right.” Breyona shrugged.
The three of us began walking to the cafe in town. Our voices filled the silent air, but even our laughter couldn’t chase away the lingering scent of death.