Read Alpha Asher by Jane Doe Chapter 159
Hours later I could still hear his roar in my ears, trickling down my spine in wave after wave of crippling pleasure. His face was painted in my head, eyes black with need and jaw carved from stone even though the promises he whispered were soft and sweet.
It played in the background of my mind and along the swollen, tender bits of my skin as Rowena’s delicate voice threaded words together in small notes of conversation.
“I’m not sensing any magic attached to him.” She said with an encroaching frown, her lips painted in a new shade of lipstick-one with a nude undertone that reminded me of a caramel latte. Her dainty hands moved swiftly, weaving around one another in a graceful dance that was made mysterious by the jade glow they emitted. A scowl coated Asher’s face in harsh lines and angles when she dropped them abruptly. “…just a great deal of stress, and quite a bit of anger.” As I thought he would, Asher stood from the leather chair the moment a wilting note of sympathy laced itself within Rowena’s voice. “With the pressure you’re both under, no one can blame either one you for acting swiftly. You’re both so young, with such little time to enjoy it.”
The stubble across his jawline rippled from the tensing of his muscles as he grunted, “There will be plenty of time to enjoy youth once the people murdering our pack members are brought to light.”
“Yes…well, with that attitude you’re bound to succeed.” She replied, aiming a tight-lipped frown in his direction. It mirrored one a teacher might make when an unruly child spoke out of turn. Her eyes, the same jade green as the treetops outside, slid over the stony expression on my face and stalled. “Will I still be seeing you at training today, Lola?”
“She’ll be there.” Asher answered first, his voice curt and attention placed solely on me even though the witch he replied to was standing a few feet to his left.
I didn’t break my stare from his, and instead listened to the ominous beat our hearts made, counting each note until Rowena cleared her throat and said, “I’ll leave you both to talk, then…”
“You’ve gone fully insane if you think I’m letting you out of my sight.” I told him only after the thud of the heavy office door swinging shut faded from our ears.
My words hung in the air between us and were much truer than either of us could’ve known.
As his eyes narrowed and head tilted, I shifted on my feet and nearly bumped into the bar cart and coffee maker I stood beside–both of which I knew were unused because Asher didn’t drink coffee.
“I may be called insane in tomorrow’s papers, but what this article is calling you is much worse.” Both his baritone and the tiny ink of the newspaper clipping traveled the short distance to pelt me with the truth. He spun the page around and stopped it with a finger. “I’ll spare you the specifics, so you’ll still be surprised once you read it yourself, but it paints a pretty little picture of your life this past year. Tyler’s birthday, returning home, meeting me, the murders. The wolf that wrote this, the web of lies that they’ve spun-It’s more than convincing. It’s already begun to turn heads, and not just ones in our pack.”
“Whose, then?” I asked and instantly regretted it when his fists clenched, and irritation flashed within the pits of his eyes.
His laugh was as dry as the air I sucked into my lungs, swirling with dust particles that made my throat constrict.
“The ones surrounding ours know, and the news is spreading by the hour. Within a month every pack in the world will know someone else’s version of your story. They’ll have more reason than ever to hate you and every witch or vampire they stumble across.” His eyes softened at the sudden rush of my fear, but he didn’t move from where he stood. I wasn’t sure my stomach could plummet any further, but as always Asher lived to prove me wrong. I could practically taste the wicked promise on his tongue when he said, “I wish I could tell you that were it, but it’s not. Our old friend Alpha Bran…he’s already campaigning against you.”
‘You’re joking.’ Cassidy hissed, narrowing her eyes in a way that reminded me of Breyona.
I had mind linked my best-friend during the fifteen-minute drive to the training center and told her everything that happened after our peaceful morning turned tumultuous.
Part of me needed a second opinion on what happened with Asher, while the other side wanted to shove his vicious glassy-eyed stare deep within the depths of my mind, buried so deep I’d never have to hear the empty tone of his voice again.
Half an hour later I found myself sitting beside Cassidy, stretching on the padded mats that lined the classroom we met in every weekday for training. With over a dozen other students doing warm-ups around us, talking wasn’t an option.
‘I wish I were joking.’ I sighed out loud, leaning forwards to touch my toes. Cassidy followed my movements and together we stared at the floor, our ponytails grazing the sweaty, bloodstained mat. ‘I mean you saw him. He was…he was feral or something. How does that just happen to someone?’
‘…maybe it is an Alpha thing.’ Cassidy’s baby blues were reluctant as they flitted over to meet my own. When I turned my head in her direction and the burn in my muscles faded into static, she swallowed and quickly explained. ‘What I mean is there’s still a lot we don’t know about Alpha’s. They’re stronger, faster…they have bigger wolves. We know they have rage and possessiveness down to a science, but maybe this is what happens when an Alpha gets overwhelmed…’
‘You don’t seem convinced of that, and you’re the one that’s known him his entire life.’ I pointed out the obvious, returning to a standing position in time for Emilia to begin today’s lesson.
Even though this was the second time I’d seen her sweep into the room and claim the attention of every student, the awe that followed hadn’t lessened.
There was something incredibly feminine about her delicate eyebrows and slender nose. Even her wide-set mouth and plump lips were symmetrical and gave her a softness one wouldn’t associate with a warrior. Those qualities paired with her rippling muscles and broad shoulders highlighted her unique form of beauty.
“Alright, class. I know we’re all a bit amped from what happened to Devin Armstrong–and may he rest in peace, but this is when we need to settle down and focus. You’re here to learn how to defend yourself, to master your weaknesses and turn them into strengths. That, my students is how you stay alive.”
Emilia walked the length of the room, eyeing us like we were soldiers prepping to step onto the battlefield. Her soprano voice bounced off the brick walls, sharp like the commands of a general at war.
I was immediately grateful she hadn’t taken a side, unlike some of the students in the room who felt the need to tell me they supported Clint Armstrong and the mess he had made.
As her speech came to its conclusion, she came to a stop at the center of the room. For a moment she stood there, hands clasped behind her back as she stared us all down. More than half the wolves began to shift on their feet, averting their eyes in favor of the floor, ceiling, or their athletic shoes.
Even Cassidy’s jaw began to clench, but I knew from the stubbornness written across her face that she’d never submit to Emilia.
It was my position in this pack which made staring into her champagne tinted eyes all too easy.
“How many of you know the ten core fundamentals to Krav Maga?” Emilia asked, holding my stare as though she were waiting for me to raise my hand.
No one else in the room responded, except for Cassidy who let out a disgruntled huff under her breath. As my hand inched into the air and the curious and condemning eyes of the other students fell on my face, I felt a rush of Maya’s stubborn strength fill my bones.
“Luna, if you’d be kind enough to tell us the first three…” Emilia said, gesturing to the room to show that everyone was waiting for me to speak.
I stepped forwards and met the eyes of the students staring me down, the word ‘murderer’ written across the tense muscles in their faces.
“The first is to aim for your opponents’ weak points.”‘ I said loudly, plastering my attention on a she-wolf who at the beginning of class felt the need to snarl the word traitor as I walked into the room. My words were directed at her and her alone. “Shifting weight to a particular side could mean a childhood injury that didn’t heal correctly.” Without waiting for the blood to rush to her face and embarrassment to claim her features I pivoted my head in the direction of another student, this one a muscular guy who promised I’d receive my comeuppance soon enough. “The second and third go hand in hand. Quick and powerful responses are what will save you in battle. You have to be ready for the situation to go from o to 100…but strength will only get you so far. Speed and technique are crucial. They’ll win you any fight, no matter how big the meathead you’re up against is.”
One by one I ran through them all, using each fundamental to pick apart the weaknesses of the students who decided to stand against me and Asher.
As I recited each one by memory, courtesy of Chris who pummeled me into the dirt until they were etched into the back of my skull, Emilia’s smile seemed to widen.
“Wonderful.” She exhaled, speaking only after I’d finished shaming half the class. If she noticed their embarrassment and anger she didn’t let on. Her eyes darted from face to face, “…now that is a warrior. Someone who not only memorizes every single aspect of a fighting form, but also uses those moves in a way that turns them into art-into a dance where one lives and the other dies.” Once she finished making the rounds, her attention returned to me. “Luna, would you mind sparring with me? I’d like to give the class a demonstration of a few of those fundamentals.”
“Of course.” I replied instantly and without a hint of hesitation.
‘…good luck, she punches hard.’ Cassidy’s voice trickled into my head, and I glanced back to see her eyebrows furrowed and lips pursed in the direction of our trainer.
I made sure to take my time approaching, using those valuable seconds to scan Emilia from head to toe. Her widening grin told me she knew what I was doing and was thrilled to see me respond accordingly. As I watched her walk a few feet to her left, I noted no imperfections in her long stride nor in the way she bounced on the balls of her feet.
‘This might actually be challenging…’ Maya murmured, impressed even though we’d yet to begin.
“Can anyone here tell me what our Luna just did?” Emilia asked the class once I stood at her side. When no one raised their hands she continued, “She sized me up and took in my movements, posture, and the way I distribute my weight. This is what a warrior does. They see the fight in their head before it even begins, and that way they’ll always be prepared.”
“The man who trained me always said preparing is half the victory.” I said both to Emilia and the class, thinking back to simple days in Grandma’s cottage, where training with Chris was the most strenuous thing I had to deal with.
Emilia’s eyes twinkled pleasantly when she asked, “And what is the other half, Luna?”
“The other half is earned.” I told her, this time turning away from the class to stare into the eyes of the she-wolf Cassidy claimed long ago tried to win Asher over. There was no malice I could detect whether it be with my eyes or what strange sense unlocking my magic had given me. Either way, right now she was an opponent. With that reminder swirling in my head, I squared my shoulders and sank into my fighting stance. “Through blood and sweat, it is earned.”