The conversation between Giovanni and I replayed in my head as I traipsed upstairs and collapsed into bed. Even after it had run its course, I fought the sleep that tried to claim me and focused on mind-linking Asher.
Another hour had passed, one without any success.
I’d considered reaching out to Zeke, but after pouring all of my remaining energy into getting through to Asher, I had nothing left to expend. In a haze of utter exhaustion, I slipped away into a restless, dreamless sleep.
I wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but the sun had yet to risen when I was yanked from sleep. The bedroom was cloaked in absolute darkness, even with the beams of moonlight streaming through the curtains. Luckily, I didn’t need light to tell who was hovering over me, their hand pressed firmly over my mouth.
It was his eyes I noticed first, the sight of them telling me that something was very, very wrong.
They were entirely gold, practically glowing in the darkness as they stared at me with a heat that belonged solely to a predator.
When Asher would battle with his wolf, often flecks of gold would swirl in his dark eyes, but rarely were they completely overtaken.
I grew still beneath him when his chest began to rumble, a growl building in his throat. He didn’t seem to register my mumbling against his hand, trying to coax him off whatever ledge he managed to stumble onto.
There was nothing soft about his face. Every inch was cast in sharp angles and harsh planes. Not an ounce of recognition flowed through him, but without a doubt in my mind, the man hovering above me was in fact my mate. Even if he couldn’t see that himself.
I tried not to show fear, but it was hard when the other half of your soul looked at you with such ferocity.
He leaned in close, pressing his nose against my neck. A gasp lingered in my throat, but I kept the sound at bay. What I couldn’t control was my heart, which stammered as a momentary blip of fear took hold.
His mouth was uncomfortably close to my throat, bringing on the realization that I had never, not once been afraid of Asher harming me.
Why was this time different?
Breathing deeply, he ran his nose up my neck, stopping at the base of my throat. I was warring with my mind and with Maya, both of which telling me to do opposite things.
Maya trusted Asher and his wolf with every fiber of our being, but the instinct to protect ourselves was growing stronger with each passing second. It was my mind, the part of me bonded to Asher that told me not to fight, to let my mate do as he pleased.
I’d run out of time to make a decision when he pulled back, his face contorting into something terrifying and feral.
His jaw was locked tightly, his teeth exposed and chest still rumbling as he tore through the front of my t-shirt with his claws. The fabric was torn to shreds, falling away like cheap ribbon, and leaving me entirely exposed.
I was torn between terror and the start of arousal, neither of which I could fight. My body always had a mind of its own when it came to Asher, and no amount of training had been able to change that.
He pressed his claws against my bare chest, right above my left br**st. As he dug the tips of them into my flesh, a sharp sting of pain took hold.
The longer I lay frozen beneath him, the more disbelief began to take hold, numbing my nerves until all that was left was the shocking realization that Asher was actually going to draw blood.
He might be rough and punishing, but he’s never made me bleed before.
Instinct took hold inside my head, and I shoved past the block in his head, racing down the bond between us until I was forced to stop. I was slammed back into my own body with enough force to make the world around me spin.
Asher wasn’t in there.
The only thing I could feel from him was this neverending sense of hunger, a murderous need that consumed ever facet of his being until even his vision was tinted in a sickly shade of red.
There was no human emotion, no trace of recognition as he stared down at Maya and me.
Despite every instinct in my body protesting, I needed to protect myself.
I had no choice but to fight my mate.
Bucking beneath him did nothing but incite anger, but it was the one emotion he seemed to be showing, one I knew could be used against him.
Sure enough, the more I thrashed, the more his snarling seemed to build. When he reached for my hair, I found my opening.
I continued to deny the obvious, ignoring the full extent of that endless hunger I’d felt, a hunger that would only be satiated by flesh and blood-by death.
There wasn’t a chance in hell I was going to use magic against him, not without knowing the full extent of what I could do.
I didn’t care what Asher planned to do to me, killing my mate was absolutely out of the question. Even the shadows seemed confused, almost reluctant to get in between whatever was going on.
A dull sting of pain radiated across my scalp, but hairpulling wasn’t exactly new between us. He’d shifted his weight, spreading his legs wide enough for me to maneuver my leg and plant my foot against his chest.
I kicked with every ounce of strength I had, a feat that was all but useless when he snared my ankle with one of his meaty hands.
I readied myself for my next move, or for his retaliation when he froze in place. His eyes glowed in the dark, skewering me where I lay beneath him.
The quiet huff of him sniffing the air hit my ears, but that wasn’t the only thing that happened.
There was something growing between my legs, something I was all too familiar with.
Not only was Asher seconds away from killing me, but he was also very much naked. I shouldn’t have found it so surprising considering he’d probably shifted before coming here, but it was hard to notice when pinned to the bed like a wounded doe.
Even as I felt the full weight of his c**k hit my th!gh, I couldn’t look away from his piercing eyes.
If I had looked away, I would have never seen the hunger in them shift-morphing into something else.
I knew that look, and so did my body because it reacted instantaneously, tightening my core until an ache began to build between my legs.
He leaned back ever so slightly, and I leaped at the opportunity to lift myself from the bed. Landing a rather forceful punch to his jaw, I swung one leg out and nearly made it onto the floor.
Apparently, I’d made the wrong move because with a swift shove, Asher flattened me onto the bed. The force alone knocked some of the air from my lungs.
“Asher.” I snarled in warning, but that only seemed to spur him on.
When his hands gripped my t!ighs, tearing them apart and pinning them to the bed, I realized what he was about to do.
Only a horrifyingly damp pair of p#nties protected my most sensitive area, which he promptly ripped away as though they were made of tissue paper.
With a guttural snarl, he latched onto my slick flesh his mouth, tearing the world out from under my feet.
“Oh—”I gasped, biting my tongue to keep from whimpering.
I tangled my fingers in his hair and pulled, y*nking hard enough to cause pain, but Asher didn’t even seem to notice. On the other end of our bond was that feral sort of hunger, only now it was fixated on something else.
I tried to fight it-to fight him, but he was gliding his tongue up and down my pu**y so roughly that all I could see were stars.
His chest was still rumbling, and every growl he let out vibrated against my skin. Any time I tried to tell him to stop, his tongue would curl around my cl*t and a m*an would break free.
With every feral movement he made, the pressure between my legs would build, ratcheting higher and higher until all that was left was the fall.
When his eyes flitted up to my face, burning with their golden glow as he ate and devoured, I had no choice but to plummet.
Every muscle in my body locked up, my pu**y spasming as I soaked the sheets and the lower half of Asher’s face.
“F*cking hell, Asher…” I whined through gritted teeth, realizing he had no intention on stopping.
Other than looking up from between my legs, he hadn’t reacted to my org*sm. He continued lapping at me, suckling on my heated flesh at a brutal pace. He shifted his grip on my th!ghs, and instead of forcing them to the bed, he pulled them even closer to his face.
Within seconds I was nearing yet another org*sm, this one even stronger than the first. My entire body was humming with pleasure despite how much I tried to fight it’s grasp.
At some point, that restraint I’d been trying to hold onto crumbled beneath my fingers. I found myself almost frantically rolling my h!ps against his mouth, desperate for more of that earth-shattering friction that was so f*cking good it bordered on painful.
I felt my heart leap in my chest when Asher looked up and actually snarled at me.
Anger pulsed over my already clammy skin as I glared at him, seconds away from snapping that he’d been the one to force himself onto me, latching onto me like he’d gone absolutely feral.
Now that I’d given into him, he wanted to act like a douche bag.
“You’ve got another thing coming if you think-“I snapped, the words ending with a gasp when he grabbed me and flipped me onto my stomach.
Before I could push myself off the bed and remove my face from the pillow, I felt him grab my h!ps and lift my bottom into the air.
“Don’t you f*cking dare.” I warned him, snarling in absolute frustration when my lecherous, traitorous body responded with another wave of ar0usal.
F*ck, I actually liked this. What the hell was wrong with me?
His fingers dug into my bottom, holding me in place as he rutted against my backside and slid the entire length of his c**k into my opening. I cursed and m0aned into the pillow, hating, and loving how f*cking full I felt.
Despite the fight I initially put up, he was met with no resistance, slipping into a frenzy that had him thrusting and grinding into my pu**y.
Asher growled and snarled in my ear, only they no longer sounded like the murderous kind. His ba**s slapped against my slit, my muscles gripping him for dear life as his movements grew rougher, more desperate with each sound I made.
Any time I tried to question why I loved this; he’d hit a spot deep inside of me that made my eyes roll.
Before I knew it, I was screaming my rel**se into the pillow, whimpering like a fool as I begged him to never stop.
It was when the stars faded from my eyes and I descended from the clouds that the bedroom door was ripped open, falling in a heap of splinters to the floor.
When Zeke and Brandon charged into the room, both their faces ashen and contorted in panic, I had no clue how to react. Asher’s head whipped in their direction and the snarl he cast at them was menacing enough to make the hairs along my neck rise.
Embarrassment had barely taken hold before both of them charged Asher, pulling him off of me and dragging him from the bedroom.
All I could do was sit there and stare at the doorway, absolutely horrified and sporting a blush I knew would never go away.
I gave myself those fleeting seconds to drown before leaping from the bed, snatching a random t-shirt off the floor, and racing after them.