While I wanted to visit my Grandma and Dad, I had spent the rest of the afternoon with Breyona and Mason. I returned to the packhouse around seven, immediately heading to the kitchen for something to eat. Werewolf appetites were troublesome at times, requiring a large amount of food to keep us sustained.
Alpha Zeke stood in the kitchen, a bowl of chicken and rice in his hands. His black hair was a tousled mess on his head, his large body leaning against the countertop. His eyes twinkled in amusement as I walked into the kitchen.
“Here, I made dinner.” Alpha Zeke grinned, looking much too young for his age. He shoved a bowl of steaming food towards me, his eyes expectant.
With little more than a grin, I grabbed the bowl and dug in. Alpha Zeke had something about him that invited you in. While he still had that powerful aura of an Alpha, he was care-free and had a great sense of humor.
“Where’s Alpha Asher?” I kept my voice even with just a hint of curiosity. I forced the longing from my voice. As strange as it felt, I missed him. I hadn’t seen him since training, and had noticed the absence of his presence.
“You call your mate by his title?” Alpha Zeke snorted; his mouth full of food. “I’m not sure what he’s doing. Said he’ll be back shortly though.”
“Did he tell you we were mates?” I pursed my lips, trying to hide the hopeful tone in my voice. Alpha Asher was well over eighteen. He would know if the two of us were mates.
“He hasn’t said anything to me, but it’s pretty obvious.” Alpha Zeke shrugged, his lips pulling up in a smirk, “The way you look at him says it all.”
I wanted to roll my eyes and let a frustrated huff leave my lips. Alpha Asher hadn’t said anything about being my mate. Alpha Zeke had gotten his information from the way I looked at Alpha Asher. The information provided little help, and only frustrated me more.
“I have no idea who my mate is.”I pointed out.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s Alpha Asher.” Alpha Zeke shrugged unbothered but let a smirk form on his face, “He rarely shows interest in women, but I can see what intrigued him about you.”
“He rarely shows interest?” I couldn’t hide the smug satisfaction that lingered in my words. The thought of Alpha Asher ignoring other females was oddly satisfying. If Alpha Asher expected me to belong to only him, I wanted the same in return. Other men hadn’t piqued my interest as well.
‘Other than that Vampire.’ Maya murmured grumpily.
She was right after all. Tristan had grabbed my interest. His ethereal beauty nearly matched Alpha Asher’s. With his hair light as the sun, he had my attention the moment we met. The mark on my shoulder tingled at the thought, a feeling I shoved deep down within me.
“Most she-wolves are docile and obedient creatures when it comes to being an Alpha.” Alpha Zeke nearly grimaced, making me wonder if he experienced the same.
“They’d obey our every command without argument. It’s not very appealing if you ask me, although Alpha Bran would disagree. He prefers his women to be obedient little creatures.”
I couldn’t help but snort at his comment, “Obedience is difficult for me. I tend to speak without thinking.”
“Oh, believe me, I noticed.” Alpha Zeke winked, flashing me a dazzling smile.
Alpha Asher had been quick to find me in the kitchen, as if he knew I had been there all along. His honey eyes met my own, but conveyed no emotion. They were hard, as though he had a rough afternoon. The two of us were quick to head upstairs.
Alpha Zeke had thrown out a snarky comment, telling the two of us to ‘have fun’. After a half-hearted snarl from Alpha Asher, we headed to his bedroom. I had long ago stopped questioning if Alpha Asher wanted me in his bed.
Sleeping by his side felt right, increasing my hope that he would be my mate. While I wanted to ask, I couldn’t bring myself to form the words.
What if he wasn’t my mate? Would I be able to stomach it? I knew my eyes would fill with disappointment if he said no, followed by crisp tears stinging the backs of my eyelids. My birthday was a week away—I could wait a week.
“You look more troubled than usual.” Alpha Asher noted, his dark eyebrow raised in a way that sent butterflies swarming my stomach.
“I could say the same about you.” I noted, ignoring the blood that flooded my face under his intense gaze. “Care to share?”
“You go first.” Alpha Asher smirked, his eyes dark and patient. He strode over to one of the armchairs in his suite, pouring himself a glass of that dark colored liquid. Much to my surprise, he poured a second and placed it in my hands. “Drink”, was all he said.
I brought the glass to my lips, determined not to cringe as the strong taste of liquor hit my lips. The alcohol was strong, but contained notes of teak wood, maple, and cinnamon. My chest warmed as I swallowed the liquor, chasing away the chill that had settled over me.
Guilt was eating away at me as I debated on whether to tell him about my visit with my Father and how I discovered I was part of the Kouritis bloodline.
Maya wanted me to tell him, urged me to trust him above all others. In the end, I gave into her whims. If I couldn’t trust my friends and the man, I shared a bed with, I could trust no one.
Alpha Asher’s eyes darkened with every word, with every detail I provided. Any traces of humor fled his chiseled face as I told him about my Father.
“And you’re sure of this, Lola?” Alpha Asher finally spoke, after a prolonged moment of silence.
“I’m sure.” Unfortunately, I was. I could feel the truth of what I said in my bones.
“He could use the shadows against us.” Alpha Asher paused, his eyes burning with fury. “How can my men fight against shadows?”
“The bigger the request, the steeper the price.” I repeated for the second time today. “I doubt even the Vampire King would pay any price.”
“I wouldn’t underestimate him, Lola.” Alpha Asher grimaced, “Underestimating can get you killed.”
“Noted.” I nodded, taking his words to heart. “I do have something else to tell you.”
Alpha Asher’s dark eyebrow lifted, registering the reluctance in my tone. Stress and frustration clouded his dark eyes, but I had his full attention. Trying not to squirm under his gaze, I told him about my conversation with Luna Freya.
“She should have come to me directly.” Alpha Asher’s eyes flared with anger; his lips pressed into a thin line. I could feel his fury rolling in waves. While Luna Freya’s actions may have come off as disrespectful, her heart was in the right place.
“She just wants the best chance for her daughter.” I frowned, “She knew you would be angry.”
“Angry?” Alpha Asher scoffed, his dark eyes burning holes in my skin. “Her daughter is a traitor to her own kind, but it is not my pack she betrayed. Her own pack would be responsible for sentencing her.”
“I know.” I exhaled, my eyes wide and pleading as I looked on at Alpha Asher’s clenched jaw. “She wants to get Brittany away from the Vampire’s. She wants to bring her here.”
“Here?” Another wave of anger flashed through Alpha Asher’s eyes. While his eyes conveyed how he truly felt, his calm voice gave nothing away. “If she is to reside in my pack, I will take responsibility of her interrogation and sentencing.”
My irritation with this irresistible, hot-headed Alpha began to grow. My own voice turned sharp, my tone slightly demanding. “If she provides crucial information about the Vampire’s plan, is that enough to prove her innocence?” I questioned, my own eyes flashing brightly.
I had my own doubts about Brittany, but wanted to give her the best chance I could. If she was truly innocent, then she deserved that chance.
Any information about what the Vampires were planning could change everything. With the upper hand, we could prevent further intrusions on Alpha Asher’s territory.
“Provided her information is accurate and useful—I will consider it.” Alpha Asher murmured thoughtfully, some of the anger draining from his eyes. “But I will not provide any of my men in the attempt to rescue Luna Freya’s daughter. I will ensure her safety, nothing more.”
“I can work with that.” I nodded, “I’ll tell Luna Freya tomorrow.”
Alpha Asher stood from the armchair, approaching me with hooded eyes. His glass of liquor was forgotten in his hand. My own frustration faded as his hand lifted to touch my face.
His thumb rubbed against my lower lip, sending a cacophony of butterflies swarming in my stomach. Someday I would have to ask him what his obsession with my lips were, but now wasn’t the time.
“Ferocious little Lola.” Alpha Asher chuckled darkly, his eyes looming down on my lips.
“You’re not distracting me this time.” I murmured breathlessly, my tongue emerging from my lips to flick against his thumb. “It’s your turn to share.”
Alpha Asher looked up from my lips, his eyes hooded and dark before removing his hand. He let out a frustrated sigh, taking a deep drink from his glass. His eyes were more troubled than usual, sending a wave of longing through me.
I wanted to wipe the irritation and worry from his face, to run my fingers over his frowning lips. Those things would have to wait a moment.
“I told you I was looking for information about your brother.” Alpha Asher cleared his throat, his eyes dark and troubled. “I found what I was looking for.”
“You know where he is?” I immediately perked up, stepping towards Alpha Asher without noticing.
“I have a strong inkling where Sean may be.” Alpha Asher sighed, as though he didn’t want to have this conversation. “I sent some of my men to various cities, searching for what information they could find.
It seems the Vampires have been gathering for much longer than we anticipated. Packs in the United States haven’t thought of Vampire’s in nearly sixty years, we had almost forgotten they existed.
The Vampires have spread out in many cities, taking control of what they could. Many own clubs, casino’s and even large corporations. Mainly businesses open at night, due to their—aversion to the sun.”
I was practically shaking with anticipation, my heart a thundering mess in my chest. I willed him to continue, silently begging him to give me the information I needed. I would head into the city by myself if need be. I would bring my brother home at all costs. With each word Alpha Asher spoke, the chain around my heart grew tighter.
“Word is the Vampire’s enjoy watching the brutality of others, placing bets with life or death. They have an underground fighting tournament, one that appears in different cities each time.
I have word Sean is a participant, forced to fight others for sport. I also happen to know where this week’s fight will be held. Atlanta, just a few hours from where we are now.” Before Alpha Asher could finish, the words were flying from my mouth with little thought.
“I’m coming. When are we leaving?” The words left my lips in a rush, my heart pounding with anticipation.