Read Alpha Asher [by Jane Doe] Chapter 85
The first thing I did was try to mind-link Breyona. I was hit with a wall of darkness, of nothing. Even as I stumbled through the dark, I knew they had placed silver on some part of her body. Mind-linking her would be impossible until the silver was removed. Breyona had given her wolf-form to save Giovanni, but her wolf still resided within her, simply trapped in her human body. Enhanced speed and strength she would retain, as well as her connection to the pack. My nerves felt horribly fried, but panicking would do me no good. I needed to stay calm for Breyona’s sake, and come up with a plan to save their lives.
Once the fight had ended, Asher came inside the house. I watched as his entire frame went rigid with anger. Not only did they want me in return for Breyona and Giovanni’s lives, but they had come here with the purpose of taking Giovanni. I knew it was a low blow for Asher, as Breyona was a part of his pack, and he was tasked with protecting us all. I sent a gentle soothing wave down the mate-bond between us, watching as some of the tension faded from his shoulders.
Asher had lost little men during this fight; Luna Freya’s men were not so lucky. The bodies of both wolf and man were scattered about, and Breyona’s car was beyond destroyed. I figured that was the Vampire King’s intention, to use Luna Freya’s men in replacement of his own. After all, what was more dead wolves to the Vampire King?
Asher gathered a group of men and began dragging some of the fallen into the woods to burn. We pulled the bodies of our own men behind a building, keeping them out of sight. Their families would need to mourn properly, and a large funeral would be held for them. I helped the guys drag the bodies into the forest, though I could only manage one at a time. Each of us wore a grim expression on our face, all thinking the same thing.
The Vampire King had done nothing but toy with us for weeks now, and had taken little action to throw this pack into disarray. We still had little information on the Vampire King, and hadn’t a clue where he might set up base. I had seen the stone bedroom in my short visits with Tristan, but couldn’t gleam enough information to name a specific place. Their headquarters had to be close enough for immediate action, but far enough away to remain safe and inconspicuous.
A plan was beginning to take root in my mind, though I needed to think the entire thing through. The war between Vampires and Werewolves was inevitable, but this pack had been taunted enough. Alpha Asher had brought in nearly a thousand of his men from across his vast territory. Many housed with other families and filled all the nearby Hotels. Bran and Zeke’s men were in the same situation, taking what shelter they could find, or accepting the tents Asher had given them. Food had been provided at the large Community Center in town, courtesy of the influx of volunteers we received. Asher had resumed training two weeks ago, expanding the size of his class by another hundred students. Anyone willing and able to fight would have a place in this war.
Asher split the training up into smaller groups, assigning some of his men to the task. I was surprised at the influx of volunteers, young men and women willing to risk their lives for this pack. Despite Asher’s cruel reputation, he was willing to give everything for this pack. I could tell by the look in his eyes, that Asher would give his life before forcing any of his people to fight. It was a side of him I had never knew existed, a side that changed the way I viewed him.
A couple days ago, I had talked over evacuation plans with Alpha Asher. His territory was vast, but the Vampires were targeting the center of our town. Many of the citizens could head to the opposite end of Asher’s territory, nearly four hours away. Others could escape into the nearby city, finding shelter until the war was finished. What we needed was inside information, we needed a heads up on when this war was happening. Without it, we were all as good as dead.
I was once the type of person to jump into a situation without thinking. While I’m still stubborn and headstrong, I had learned my lesson. As insane as my plan was, I had thought the entire thing through. There was no other option for this pack. My sense of self-preservation and my duties as Luna were at war, but they had not changed my decision.
The smell of burning bodies lingered in the forest, the dark smoke spewing into the sky, covered by the darkness of night. The breeze was blowing in the opposite direction, a gift from nature that the people in this pack would not have to endure the stench of death. Asher’s men made quick work of cleaning the blood from the streets, houses, and cars.
Exhaustion had long ago settled in my bones as countless hours had passed. My feet ached from the flats Breyona had given me, and the dress I wore was speckled in dirt and ash. I smelled like a walking corpse, and promised myself a long shower once we were finished. I visibly jumped as Asher placed a hand on my shoulder, the comforting sparks licking over my skin.
“Let’s head back, let the rest of the men finish cleaning up.” Asher spoke lowly, his eyes still dark and troubled.
Asher led me down the road to where I had parked Zeke’s Mercedes. The car had somehow remained untouched, not a scratch on the shiny paint.
“Good, Zeke will be happy to hear his car survived.” Asher chuckled dryly, slipping in the driver’s seat.
Asher had thrown on a pair of loose sweatpants after returning to his human form. While it was hard to take my eyes from his rippling muscles and creamy skin, the two of us had other things on our mind. I’m sure Asher already assumed I was coming up with a plan, and had no intention of letting Breyona or Giovanni die for me. Instead of demanding answers from me, we drove home in a comfortable silence.
‘Attention everyone. It is safe to return to your houses. The threat has been neutralized.’
Asher sent a quick message through the mind-link, informing everyone in town that it was now safe to return home. My birthday had quickly gone downhill, though I had no one to blame but my Father. I still considered it a blessing that Asher was my mate, even with the problem of Tristan’s stubborn mark.
When we arrived at the packhouse, Dad had taken most of the elderly home in his truck. Grandma had already baked up a storm in the kitchen and was putting her cookies and brownies into Tupperware containers. They each had their own ways of coping with stress. Despite Dad’s injured knee, he insisted on being hands on. Grandma liked to bake enough pastries for the entire country.
The smell of Grandma’s pastries filled the house, and I couldn’t help but meander into the kitchen. Tupperware containers were stacked by the dozen, and I watched as Grandma wiped down the counters with a rag, humming softly to herself. A relieved grin formed on her face as she caught my eye, pulling me into a hug that soothed some of the unease in my stomach.
“How’s Sean and Mason doing?” She asked.
“They’re alright, just helping the others clean up.” I sighed, giving her a tired smile.
“It seems we weren’t the only one’s busy.” Asher commented, stepping into the kitchen.
A soft smile had formed on his face as he looked at my Grandma, one that made me want to ask about his family. Grandma gave Asher a gentle nod, a bright smile forming on her face.
“Welcome to the family, Alpha.” Grandma chuckled, “I’m afraid I’ve raided your kitchen.”
“Would you mind passing some of those out to some families tomorrow?” Asher asked, eyeing the dozens of Tupperware containers. “Save a few for us, of course. Lola didn’t save me any the last time.”
Grandma’s eyes brightened at Asher’s words, and I snickered as she shot me a knowing look. She had always judged someone’s character on whether or not they liked her cooking, and so far, Asher was passing.
“Of course, I will.” Grandma nodded happily.
By the time Dad had brought all of the elderly home, Sean and Mason had returned to the house. The four of them piled into Dad’s truck, and headed home. I was practically swaying on my feet, and didn’t argue as Asher led us upstairs.
“You smell like death.” Asher chuckled dryly, picking up a strand of my hair and breathing deeply. His face contorted in a grimace, making me roll my eyes and smack his shoulder.
“You don’t smell so wonderful yourself, mate.” I smirked, making a show of sniffing him and nearly gagging.
“Keep taunting me and neither of us will get any sleep tonight.” Asher muttered, though a rare smile had formed on his face.
The two of us hopped in the shower, and I used my remaining energy to scrub the scent of death from my skin. The steaming water released some of the tension from my body, but my mind was clouded with worry. There was no way Asher would agree with my plan, but it was our last resort. The Vampire King would grow tired of taunting us, and we needed information before that happened.
Asher’s eyes narrowed as he noticed Tristan’s mark still lingering on my skin. The wound Asher had left on my neck was healing, revealing a cobalt blue mark beneath the scab.
“His mark is still there.” Asher growled lowly, tracing his finger over it with a dark grimace.
“I asked the shadows. They said I have a mate for each side.” I frowned, “I asked them to remove it, but the price was too much.”
“What did they ask?”
“They wanted our mate-bond.” I spoke softly, tracing my finger over the wound I had left on Asher’s blemish-free skin. “I couldn’t part with what I feel for you. Not in a million years.”
“And what about this Vampire?” Asher snarled, “What do you feel for him?”
I looked into his eyes, holding his dark stare. I let the truth ring through the mate-bond, soothing his aching heart.
“I feel nothing for him, Asher. Nothing compared to the way I feel for you.”
Asher scooped me into his arms, placing a fierce kiss against my lips. There was little restraint as our lips collided, my back slapping against the tiled wall. Desperation, love, and jealousy flashed within the kiss, and I devoured each emotion as the sparks lapped my skin. We only pulled away once our lungs were devoid of oxygen, our lips sore and bruised.
My mind was still reeling as we slipped into bed, the silk blankets grazing my bare skin softly. Asher pulled me into his arms, and I inhaled the clean scent of him. All man, mixed with spices and earth. The sparks that ran across my skin lulled me, making my eyelids heavy.
“Tell me about your family.” I found myself asking, my voice a sleepy mumble. “I hardly know anything about them.”
“My Mom’s name is Claire, my Dad is Killian. They had a rough start as mates, but it worked out in the end. I have an annoying little brother, Brandon, and a couple cousins.” Asher’s voice was gentle, his hand tracing circles along my spine. “What else would you like to know?”
“Where are they now?” I asked, my words somewhat slurring together. “How did they have a rough start?”
“I sent them away when all of this began. My Mom, Dad, Brother, Aunt, Uncle, and cousins are all someplace safe.” Asher replied, “As for my Mom, she dealt with some things when she was younger, things that came back to haunt her. Dad wasn’t so understanding at first, but eventually he came around.”
“They sound really nice.” My voice came out soft. Anything else Asher had said fell on deaf ears, as I had already drifted off to sleep.
I woke to an empty bed, holding the pillow Asher had been sleeping on. His side of the bed was still warm, letting me know he hadn’t been up for long. I threw on a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt, and headed down to the kitchen. Asher smirked as I walked through the door, one of my Grandma’s cookies in hand.
“Cookies for breakfast?” I asked, an eyebrow raised. I made myself a cup of coffee and drank deeply, letting the warmth seep through my body.
Asher snorted at my comment and took another bite, “Can you blame me? You and Zeke ate everything last time. I never thought lavender cookies would be this good.”
“Never underestimate Grandma’s baking.” I shook my head, grabbing a cookie for myself. “She’ll have you on the ground if she hears you doubted her incredible skills.”
“Just as I have no doubt, she could defeat me.” Asher chuckled. His carefree attitude was short-lived as last night’s events came to mind. Asher knew I was coming up with a plan of my own, that I wouldn’t allow Breyona and Giovanni to suffer. “Care to tell me your plan concerning Breyona and Giovanni? I watched you mull over it for hours last night.”
The kitchen was the last place I wanted to have this conversation, but Bran, Zeke, and Asher’s Beta were all still asleep. It was better to get it off my chest now, as I was unwilling to negotiate.
“I’m going to turn myself in.” I nodded, stilling the turmoil in my gut. At first, Maya was completely against the idea. She hated the thought of being unable to reach me, the thought of me being in danger. As the hours passed, she had come to agree. We had no information regarding where Breyona and Giovanni were being kept, and we hadn’t the time to send spies out into the world.
“No.” Asher stated, simply put. His face contorted into a grimace, one that made my heart ache. “They’ll kill you, Lola. Have you thought any of this through?”
“You know I have, and I don’t think they’ll kill me. I’m the Vampire King’s only daughter, he needs me to take the throne. My Mom’s dead, so he can’t have any more children.” I said, taking a deep breath before launching into the details of my plan. “I’m going to turn myself in and gather as much information as I can about where their headquarters are. We know nothing about the Vampires, Asher. We don’t know where they sleep or where they come from. When this war happens, we’ll be blind. We can’t afford to let them have the advantage.”
“And what about your heat?” Asher asked, his voice growing darker with each word.
That was one of the downsides of this plan, that my heat would quickly be approaching. I had around a week, perhaps two, until my heat hit with full force and I’d be willing to mate with anyone. A she-wolf’s heat didn’t start until after she was marked, a way to speed up the mating process.
“I’ll have to get my information before that happens.” I grimaced, knowing how bad this plan sounded. “I have two weeks at the most, but I’ll get it done in a week. I won’t be anywhere near them when my heat hits. I’ll find a way to mind-link you, then you and a group of men can come and meet me at the entrance to where ever the Vampire’s go during the day.”
Asher remained silent, clearly at a loss for words. He hadn’t expected me to think this through so thoroughly, but he knew I was right. We needed this information at all costs. It could be the tipping point of this entire war.
“And what if they place silver on you? You won’t be able to contact me. I can’t let that happen. I won’t let you sacrifice yourself for this pack.” Asher shook his head, his lips set in a grim line.
“Tell me you wouldn’t do the same.” I pressed, “Tell me you wouldn’t risk everything for this pack’s safety. I’ll figure out a way around the silver, I’ll send the shadows to tell you if I must, but I need to do this.”
Asher closed the distance between us, taking my face in his hands. His grip on my face was gentle, as were his lips when they met my own. It was nothing like last night’s kiss. The kiss was one of boiling, consuming fear. I could taste the terror on his lips at the thought of losing me. His tongue grazed along my lower lip, slowly begging for entrance. Just as I allowed him access, he pulled away, leaning his head against my own.
“Don’t you dare die on me, Lola.” Asher murmured, those honey-colored eyes burning into my own. My stomach fluttered unhappily at the thought of leaving Asher, but we needed this information. There wasn’t much I wouldn’t do to return to Asher and this life I had built for myself.
“I won’t, I promise.” I murmured softly, running my hands over the rough stubble that coated his jaw. “I’ll always find my way back to you.”
“You better. I’m not sure I’ll be able to let you go.” Asher breathed, giving me an empty chuckle.
“It’s because you love me that you’ll let me go.” I smiled softly.
“In that case, you’re spending the day with me.” Asher smirked, but the action didn’t reach his eyes.
Asher walked me through what he had to do in a day, and I wondered how he managed it all. As soon as Bran and Zeke woke up, a whirlwind of problems, questions, and requests surfaced. The influx of warriors in the town required large amounts of food, and loads of volunteers to cook the food. Asher appointed a few of his men, some I had seen around town before, to oversee finding more volunteers. Some of the men were unhappy with their living quarters, to which Asher tried his best with new accommodations.
Next came the repairs to the Northern part of town. You’d be surprised at the damage that occurs when a large werewolf is thrown into a building or car. Those unlucky enough to live on that end of town were in dire need of new cars, as it was too long of a distance to walk. Asher used money from his personal fund to replace their cars and fix any damages to the house and land. Asher had listened to every request, no matter how small, and treated them with the utmost importance.
He had also planned small gatherings within the pack to boost morale. The constant attacks were weighing on everyone, and Asher was determined to provide an outlet for the frustration. He also began preparations for funerals of the lost werewolves in our pack, and gave large financial settlements to the families. As each of the dead were named, Asher’s eyes seemed to dim. I could tell he took every death personally, every life lost was another chip on his shoulder.
We had finally gotten time to ourselves late in the afternoon, long after the sun had sunk into the sky. Asher sat at the chair in his office, a hand combing through his dark hair. I could now see why his hair was always so messy. A scowl had been etched onto his face as he stared down at a stack of papers. My gut twisted at the sight of him. A man with countless rumors talked about him, a man feared, and yet his loyalty to his pack was unbreakable.