Read Alpha Asher by Jane Doe Chapter 134
“You sure they’ll be alright together? Mason’s a good guy, but even he can take so much.” I said, staring out the car window at the three of them.
Brandon had a sly smirk on his face as he placed his hand on Clara’s lower back, leading her into the lobby of the Crescent Inn. Mason walked on the other side of Clara and stepped forward to intervene when she turned and punched Brandon in the gut. She gave him a few choice words before standing next to Mason, as far away from Brandon as she could get.
“Cock-blocking Brandon will bring him some joy.” Zeke chuckled from where he sat in the back seat. “Seriously though, he knows about Clara’s witchy powers enough to stay out of her grasp. He’ll be alright.”
“I hope so.” I sighed, “I’ve been through enough for one night and the night’s not even over yet.”
I had no idea what to expect walking into Claire and Killian’s house. If Flora were still there would she be angry with dad or reject him on the spot? Was there some part of her that even cared about finding a mate after everything she’d lost? And dad…I didn’t want t o think about how he felt, about what must’ve gone through his head when the bond snapped into place.
Nothing could’ve prepared me for the tension that coated the walls and floor, which made every soft-spoken word echo as though it had been shouted across the room. I hesitated in the doorway before stepping inside, using the feel of Asher’s hand on my lower back as encouragement.
The first thing I noticed was the petite blonde woman sitting on the sectional beside Claire, a cup of tea resting in her hands. Next was Sean, who sat on a barstool by the kitchen island, his eyes wide as he watched Dad and Flora without a hint of shame. Dad sat on the end seat, angled towards the football game on the screen as he tried, and failed not to gawk at her. He took his chance to look when Asher and I walked in.
Flora’s face was tinted a rosy shade of pink as she looked our way, confusion and just a hint of fear rounding out her almond shaped eyes. She startled slightly when grandma came gliding into the living room with plates stacked in her hands.
It was impossible to feel anxious or unwelcome around grandma. My point was proven when Flora’s shoulders relaxed, and her lips curved up ever so slightly. That whisper of a smile made the corners of her eyes crease, and I knew just by looking that a real smile from her would light up her face and transform it completely.
Plates of scones lined up by flavor, macarons stacked in neat circles, and fruit tartlets covered the table. Nestled within the free spaces were small teacups of sugar cubes and cream. This would’ve been normal for grandma if it hadn’t been almost four in the morning, which was why Sean was the only one helping himself.
“How’s your tea, dear?” Would you like some more?” Grandma smiled down at her, holding out the glass teapot in her hands.
“Actually, I would. It’s very good.” Flora’s voice was soft and feminine, like the gentle breeze that provided a few seconds of relief from the early summer heat.
Grandma topped off Flora’s cup and was about to reply when dad beat her to it. I ditched the disapproving expression I’d been throwing Sean these last few minutes and openly watched the scene unfold, hushing him when he snickered behind my back.
“It’s lavender…that’s what makes it sweet. She uh…she makes it herself.” He stammered, his voice gritty and rough.
It was the oddest thing. Dad was nervous, sitting there blinking at Flora like he couldn’t believe he actually spoke. There was something ‘d always find endearing about watching werewolves born and bred to become warriors, go speechless over the attention of a she-wolf, even if that werewolf was forty-five years old and my dad.
“Oh, do you drink it too?” She asked him, her grip on the teacup tightening as she brought it to her lips.
The color across her high cheekbones deepened when dad’s lips parted but no response came out.
“Of course he does. Never met a person who hasn’t liked it. That, and my lavender cookies. You can put lavender in just about anything and make it taste better.” Grandma smiled proudly, shaking her head at dad when Flora looked downward to drop a few sugar cubes into her tea. “Actually, come look on this top shelf for me. I think I might have a spare container or two.”
“Oh, you don’t have to do that.” Flora said softly, tucking a wavy strand of hair behind her ear.
Dad stood and looked down at her with a mixture of guilt, longing, and disbelief. I had seen each of those emotions on dad’s face at one point or another, but never at the same time. It changed his face, making it look younger while his eyes seemed to age.
“It’s not a problem.” He grumbled, heading through the kitchen and into the pantry.
“And you-you can get taking these desserts to the basement. If any of them melt, you’ll be helping me remake them. Got it?” Grandma said, lifting an eyebrow at Sean who was working on his second plate of blueberry scones and chocolate macarons.
“Killian cleared the freezers out earlier so there’s plenty of room.” Claire and Grandma smiled at one another proudly.
“You gotta quit stress baking, grandma.” Sean shook his head, letting her shoo him from the living room.
Once everyone found a reason to make themselves scarce, we were finally able to talk to Flora. Her eyes drifted up from the surface of her milky tea, past the curls of steam that filled the air. Even with everything going on, they were strong.
“You’re the new Alpha and Luna…” She said as we approached, her eyes on Asher as we took a seat on the couch just a few feet away. “…before I was attacked, your father was Alpha. You look just like him.”
“We are.” Asher nodded, his sharp features softening. “Thank you for coming out here on such short notice, especially given your situation. You’ve been out for a long time. Has anyone filled you in on the present?”
“The doctor that passed along your message filled me in on a few things…you being one of them, Luna.” She took a steadying breath and sipped at her tea before continuing. The psychologist told me to take it slow, but I can’t stand not knowing. I’m sure you have questions…and I’ll try to answer them if you tell me how I woke up.”
“Last week, a witch broke into our home. She would’ve killed me if another witch hadn’t been there to stop her.” I explained, “the one that broke in had a mark on her hand…like the one that used to be on yours.”
“It started fading the moment I woke up, but I’ll never forget what it looked like. It’s all I’d see in my dreams. The witch that saved your life…is she a friend?” Flora asked tentatively.
“I’m beginning to think so.” I nodded.
“And did she…did she kill the witch?” Her voice dropped to a whisper, but I didn’t think she noticed.
“She did.” I replied and watched as Flora let out a great sigh of relief.
The teacup in her hand rattled as she set it on the table. I swore I saw some of the weight leave her eyes, evaporating as relief took its place.
“I was cursed because of a mistake my parents made, one they both paid for with their lives.” She began, and the soft tone her voice had taken on made me wonder if this were her first time saying it out loud. “They were Alpha and Luna of a small pack up north, and desperately wanted a baby. You know how rare it is for werewolves to struggle with having children, especially Alpha’s. They were both too desperate to see that talking to a witch was where everything went wrong.”
“Not all witches are bad…there’s a few here that are on our side. They’re trying to keep the pack safe.” I promised.
“The world has changed since my father was Alpha, but the safety of our people always remains priority.” Asher added, warmth filling the golden flecks in his eyes as they met my own.
“I believe you, that not all witches are bad… but this one was. She acted like she wasn’t, pretended she was going to help them if they repay the favor someday. All she needed was some of their blood…” She shuddered, and her features grew solemn. Decades old pain was still fresh in her mind, because to her it hadn’t been so long ago. “They gave it to her and within a month they were going to be parents. That favor the witch mentioned, she came asking for it when my mother was six months pregnant…but what she wanted, my parents couldn’t give her.”
“What did she want?” Asher asked.
“A baby, one as healthy and strong as I was. Her only catch was that my father had to be the one to impregnate her. She never told them why, but they both refused anyway. They were offended she hadn’t cared that they were mated, and that she wouldn’t choose from any number of unmated males in the pack. The witch vanished for a while, and they thought that was the end of it until the night my mother’s water broke…” The jagged breath she took made my throat clench, but I forced myself to remain stoic as I listened to her story, when all I wanted to do was cry for her. “…the witch was there that night. While my mother gave birth surrounded by her midwives, she was down the hall…with my father.”
“He fulfilled his end of the deal, but why?” I glanced at Asher.
Both of us were absorbed within Flora’s past, even though neither of us had any clue how it connected to the present.
“Believe me, it wasn’t willingly…what they didn’t know was that the witch that helped them practiced a dark kind of magic, powered by blood and death. Giving her my father’s blood–it was what she needed to get into his bed.” Her voice cracked and I watched as she visibly pulled herself together, swallowing back the tears until fury shined through. “While she was giving birth, she could feel him mating with the witch…and then felt the mate-bond snap when she stabbed him in his heart. My mother stumbled inside seconds after he took his last breath…all she asked was why.”
“And did she tell her?” I cleared my throat, knowing if I hadn’t my voice would’ve come out as a croak.
I knew little to nothing about blood magic, other than it ran in Holly’s family down her mother’s side. The thought of it affecting a completed mate bond…shoving it down long enough to take advantage of someone like that, it chilled me deeper than anything that happened so far.
“She told her the child she was having with her mate–it would be the strongest blood witch to walk the earth.”