While everyone seemed elated over my victory, my stomach continued twisting in knots. Clearly something had happened during the fight, something that chilled me to the bone. I hadn’t won on my own, something had helped me.
If I tried to picture the source, I could see smoky tendrils of darkness pulsing at the edge of the forest. They blended in with the shadows, nearly invisible to the nak*d eye. If I focused hard enough, I swore I could see them moving.
The strange surge of strength put Maya on edge. She hated the cold and prickly feeling that caressed our skin. It felt seductive and cold, unfeeling yet addicting. While I hadn’t a clue what I did, I promised myself that would be the last of it.
Alpha Asher’s eyes lingered on the forest line, flickering back to me as he caught my gaze. Something turned in my stomach at the way Alpha Asher looked on at the shadows.
My gut was telling me he could see them, slithering into the darkness until called. Even Grandma looked uneasy, her lips turned up into a forced smile. Every now and again her eyes would run over me slowly, as if she were searching for something.
Alpha Bran had been placed out of sight, still unconscious in his wolf form. A sense of smug satisfaction filled me. I had defeated an Alpha. Alpha Bran was a far cry away from Alpha Asher, but I had been successful. Alpha Asher would receive aid from Alpha Bran, and I didn’t have to spend a night with the man.
Once everyone cleared from the training grounds, Alpha Asher and I retreated inside the house. I hugged Breyona and Mason goodbye, promising to meet up with them tomorrow after training. Dad and Grandma had left, Dad’s shoulders lifting with pride as they walked back to the car.
I walked into Alpha Asher’s bedroom without being told, the action simply felt right. After spending these few days with him, I couldn’t imagine sleeping in bed alone. It was strange how attached I became to Alpha Asher, relying on his presence like a crutch. After a while, I stopped questioning the intense s*xual attraction I felt towards the man.
Now something new was simmering within me. Every intimate move Alpha Asher made was stored in my mind, igniting feelings I hadn’t expected. These feelings weren’t born from lu*t and allure, but something deeper.
Choosing to focus on anything other than those feelings, I asked Alpha Asher what happened during the fight.
“Did anything—strange happen while I was fighting Alpha Bran?” I frowned, the words tasting sour in my mouth.
Alpha Asher lifted my shirt from my head, another intimate action. I was keeping count at this point, each action making my insides flutter.
Alpha Asher insisted we shower but noticed how I seemed to wobble on my own feet. He was incredibly gentle, removing each piece of my clothing with ease. I could hardly feel his fingertips graze my skin as he removed my br#.
Alpha Asher’s lips pressed together tightly, an expression I was beginning to anticipate. His dark brows pressed together, worry clouding his honey colored eyes.
“Strange?” Alpha Asher murmured, his voice rough. “You could say that. Did you notice anything strange?”
It was my turn to purse my lips. I had learned my lesson about telling Alpha Asher the truth. If I lied to him, it would only come back to bite me on the a*s.
I told Alpha Asher about what happened during the fight. I gave every insignificant detail I could muster. I gave a detailed description on how the small shards of ice danced across my skin, and the searing pain that erupted in my ankle. My ankle had already begun to heal, a red puckered wound lingering on my skin.
Alpha Asher’s jaw clenched when I told him what the shadows had said, and how they fed from my blood. My stomach churned as I spoke, but I told him what the surge of power felt like.
It was raw and ancient, yet dark and s3ductive. It was easy to become lost in that power, letting it flow unrestricted.
“That doesn’t sound good.” Alpha Asher’s eyes darkened, the muscles in his jaw working roughly.
My pants and underwear hit the floor with a dull thud. It was clear Alpha Asher had seen something during the fight, something he was reluctant to speak of. The pulse of allure and lu*t bounced between us, but our thoughts kept us occupied.
Alpha Asher placed his hands on my hips and lifted me from the floor. As if it were second nature, I wrapped my legs around his hips. He walked the two of us into the shower and set me on my wobbly legs.
The hot water eased my bruised skin wonderfully, lulling me into a sleepy daze. I forced myself to remain awake, to continue the conversation we were having.
“What could it have been?” I murmured warily, “They spoke in my head, like I was the one who called them.”
“Werewolves can’t do things like that, Lola.” Alpha Asher pursed his lips, grabbing a bottle of bodywash to lather over my skin. “That mean’s what happened probably stemmed from your other half—your Vampire side.”
“I’m not sure I want to know.” I frowned, my wide eyes meeting his own. That kind of power felt wrong, yet incredibly alluring. I felt strong harnessing this ancient power, but I could feel it leave a stain on my soul. That kind of power was addicting.
“It’s half of who you are.” Alpha Asher smiled wearily. “You do not have to accept that side, but it is smart to learn what you can.”
“Breyona’s parents are big into history. They have all these ancient texts, but they still didn’t have much on Vampire’s.” I frowned.
“I can see what I can do on my part.” Alpha Asher spun me around, rubbing the soft sponge against my back. “I make no promises—many Alpha’s do not care for history.”
“That’s not a surprise.” I snorted, my eyes closing against my own will. Alpha Asher set the sponge aside, letting his large hands glide over my shoulders.
His thumbs dug into the sore muscles on my shoulders, coaxing a tired moan from my lips. His hands paired with the hot water soothed my body, making me weak to the knees.
“I’d suggest you hold those sounds in, Lola.” Alpha Asher murmured, his lips only inches from my ear. “You’re too exhausted for what I want to do to you.”
I could feel his length press against my back, hardened from the noise that left my lips. My cheeks burned red, but Alpha Asher continued running his hands along my back.
I clamped my lips shut, letting Alpha Asher’s hands work away my tension. It was another int!mate act, another moment where things felt much more… serious.
“Talk to Breyona again.” Alpha Asher murmured; my eyes began fluttering shut. “Reread what you’ve already read. I’ve learned coming back later can offer fresh perspective.”
I murmured something unintelligible, my head falling back against Alpha Asher’s chest. The rest of the shower was a daze, my eyes refusing to stay open for the rest. Every so often, I could feel Alpha Asher run his fingers along my skin.
The move wasn’t s*xual, his fingers stayed far away from my private areas. Alpha Asher trailed his fingers up my neck, along my collar bones and down my stomach.
His arm wrapped around my waist, holding me up as he massaged conditioner into my hair. He had been incredibly gentle, taking control and cleaning every inch of me. My eyes might’ve been closed and fighting sleep, but my stomach swarmed with butterflies.
“Sleepy, little Lola.” Alpha Asher chuckled lowly in my ear, sending a pang of something delightful between my legs. His voice continued to have a strong affect on me. “Your clever move must have left you drained.”
Alpha Asher was right, my move had left me drained. The strength that once flowed through my body had left with a vengeance. As that dark power left me, I felt as though it su*ked away my own strength.
The last thing I remembered before succ*mbing to the darkness, was the feel of a soft material beneath my fingers. I could feel Alpha Asher’s fingers in my hair, the motion lulling me into sleep.
I was envious of the confidence in Alpha Asher’s voice. While he didn’t put it into words, he trusted me. He might have not trusted my ability to stay out of trouble, but he trusted my loyalty.
He wasn’t worried about the dark power I had tapped into; confident we would find the answer.
I wished I could feel that way, but his confidence did nothing to ease the anxiety in my gut. My sleep started off as restful—that was until the slippery voices filled my mind.
I felt myself being torn from my body, pulled away from Alpha Asher’s bed. I could see my body below, curled up as I breathed softly. Alpha Asher’s face was smooth and relaxed, his own eyes closed in sleep.
I wanted to reach forward, to go back into my body but the shadows stirring in the corner had other plans.
They pulled me backwards, ripping me from Alpha Asher’s bedroom with force. I tumbled out of the house, several feet above the ground before plummeting forward.