As Asher’s voice faded from my mind, the heat encompassing my body increased. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin, unbearably warm and antsy. I struggled to sit up in the sedan, but could hardly move my limbs.
I knew Maya was fighting for control, pushing back against her instincts in order to give me a reprieve from the intense heat. My eyes fluttered closed, and I cherished the brief minutes of unconsciousness, free from the blistering heat.
When I opened my eyes, I was in Seans arms, the thin blanket still wrapped around my torso. Sean’s eyes found my face as I let out a long groan. A whisper of a smile formed on Sean’s face.
His amusement only added to my horrific discomfort and muddled mind. There was nothing I could do but let out a low growl.
“That bad, huh?” Sean chuckled, carrying me up the stairs to a small house.
“Yes, it’s that bad.” I snapped. Instead of sounding cold and ferocious, my words came out in a garbled groan.
A little one-story house, covered in sky blue paneling with a little white porch. Judging from the flower pots on the porch, and the lace curtains in the window, someone lived in this house.
Sean fished a key out from his front pocket, holding me with one arm as he unlocked the front door.
Whoever had once lived in this house must’ve moved recently, I thought to myself. An old couch sat against the wall, along with an old television stand.
The television was gone, as were most of the other furniture. I could see the imprint against the wall where a row of pictures had once sat.
“Kind of glad my mate was a guy.” Sean chuckled, but his eyes had that misty, faraway look I often saw on Mason’s face. “I feel for Asher. You’ll jump his bones the minute he steps into the house.”
“Shut up!” I groaned, clenching my eyes together in hope that I would once again fall unconscious. The last thing I wanted to do was talk about jumping my mate’s bones with my brother.
“Alright, alright.” Sean replied, a small smile twitching on his lips. “Want me to put you in the bedroom?”
While I detected a hint of amusement from Sean’s voice, I ignored it in favor of something better. What I needed was to cool the fire crackling along my skin.
I let out a painful grunt, which Sean took as a yes. As he opened the bedroom door, I noticed a bathroom off to the right. That was exactly what I needed. The heat was overwhelming, making my breaths come out in labored pants.
“The bathroom.” I croaked, “Take me into the bathroom.”
The bathroom was fairly large, and I assumed that this bedroom was the master bedroom. The bathtub was large enough for me to submerge myself fully, and I sighed at the thought of an ice-cold bath.
Sean sat me down on a plush stool that sat against the wall. I resisted the urge to tear the blanket from my shoulders and dive into the tub, whether Sean was there or not.
“Well, I’m not sticking around while you–do that.” Sean cleared his throat. Sean walked over to the tub and turned on the cold water, wincing as he stuck his hand under the faucet. “I’ll be just outside the bedroom. Gotta keep all those hungry wolves away.”
“Ugh, go!” I groaned, eyeing the frigid water.
I was off the stool and across the room before Sean could shut the bathroom door. I practically leapt into the bathtub, hissing as the cold water lapped at my heated skin.
I half expected steam to come rolling out of the tub, my hot skin reacting with the icy water. There was no steam, just as there was no relief from my heat.
I thought about what Sean had said, and was grateful he stood watch. I loved Asher, and wouldn’t trade my mate for the world, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stop myself if someone came in here looking to relieve the pain, I was in. I knew Maya’s instincts would take over, and we would mate with anyone–regardless of who they were.
My eyes roamed the plain bathroom, settling on the large window across the room. It would be so easy to slip away, to crack the window open and leave. I could find someone–anyone, to take this pain away. Certainly, they wouldn’t be able to resist.
A nak*d, she-wolf in heat, roaming the streets. If the battle was won, there would be countless males, tired from battle, looking for anything to relieve the horrors from their mind.
“No. Not a chance.” I groaned into the empty bathroom, tearing my eyes away from the window and curling myself into a ball. My damp hair fanned out across the water, and I sank lower into the tub.
My entire body grew stiff as the large lights in the bathroom grew dull, magnifying the shadows that bounced along the walls.
The cold water that filled the bathtub grew colder, cold enough to make me wonder if shards of ice swirled in the water. The blistering heat that seared my skin was momentarily forgotten as the shadows gathered along the walls.
My heart hammered in my chest as fear settled in my bones. The shadows gathered at the edge of the tub, lapping against the porcelain walls like an inky ocean. I watched in fearful silence as the shadows gathered, forming a large mass that was human in shape.
It had no discernable features, and yet I could feel it staring at me. Analyzing–watching the half-breed Princess who had often fed them her blood.
I hadn’t called the shadows, and they never came on their own before. Which meant someone else had called them. Only two others had the ability to call on the shadows, my Father and Holly.
Fear raced through me at the thought of what might’ve happened. We could have lost–and my father could have sent the shadows to claim my life.
“Why are you here?” I asked, finding my voice and sending all the strength I could muster into my words. I kept my voice stern. I controlled the shadows, not the other way around, I reminded myself.
The humanoid shape moved, gliding across the floor until it stood in front of the bathtub.
“The Vampire King has fallen.” They hissed, their silky-smooth voices colder than the water I sat in. “He had one last request–his price paid in full.”
I braced myself, my hands gripping the edge of the tub as I debated screaming out for Sean. It would do no good, I told myself. Even if Sean could see the shadows, there was nothing he could do.
I tensed against the side of the tub, trying to keep as much distance from the shadows as I could. I clenched my eyes shut, hoping it wouldn’t hurt–praying to the Goddess that Asher would be well taken care of.
Instead of pain, a heavy weight pressed on my shoulders. I felt my limbs go slack, only to stiffen and become horribly rigid. My back arched as a frightened wheeze left my lips.
This was it, I told myself. I wondered if I would go home to my Goddess, or if the shadows would also claim my soul.
Something exploded in my mind, filling my head with a thick, coldness. I could feel every icy shard that rolled through me, every crystal-like piece of ice that embedded itself in my mind. My heart pounded in my chest, never once slowing.
As I waited for death, I realized it wasn’t coming. All at once, thousands of silver threads wormed themselves in my mind, all connected to a single Vampire.
I could feel them, all of them. Every Vampire that walked this earth, I could feel their presence in my mind. It was nothing like the mind-link I had with my pack, and yet it was oddly similar. I was aware of their presence, and they were aware of mine.
“Heir to the Kouritis bloodline, companion to the shadows, host to the Renaldi magic. Hail Queen Lola, ruler of the Vampires.’
The shadows spoke all at once, their voices coming from every inch of the room. I could feel every single Vampire, and knew they were all looking to the sky. Mourning their lost King, and honoring their new Queen.
I couldn’t wrap my head around it, around what my Father might have asked of the shadows. I was already in line for the throne, that much I knew.
Upon his death, I would become Queen, whether I liked it or not. So, what did he bargain for with the shadows?
“What did my Father ask of you?” I asked the shadows, “What did he pay for?”
The human shaped shadow tilted its head at me, and I could feel a million cold eyes pierce my skin. The heat that singed my skin was long gone in the presence of the shadows, allowing me just a few brief minutes to think clearly.
“He asked for your compliance.” The shadows hissed, “From hence forth, you are unable to forfeit your crown. Not even your sister will be able to remove this burden from your shoulders. Upon your death, your first-born child will take your place.”
“Wait!” I called out, but the human shaped shadow was already beginning to unravel, each individual shadow slithering back to its corner. The lights in the bathroom brightened until I was left alone, the blistering heat my only companion.
I wasn’t sure how long I sat in the tub, succ*mbing to the pain and my whirlwind of thoughts. There was more to what my Father bargained; I know it.
He wouldn’t just die without exacting some form of revenge. He solidified my place as Queen, but I couldn’t understand why. Wouldn’t he want the crown to go to Holly? After all, she had lived with him for much longer than I did.
I stayed conscious the entire time, holding Maya back from what she truly wanted. Maya had tried to fight against her instincts, but the battle had been too much.
Her willpower chipped away until she was fighting against me, urging me to leave the house and search for someone–anyone to remove this pain.
The bathroom door swung open, my salvation stepping through the door and into the room. Asher’s chest heaved as he caught my pain filled gaze.
I could see the torment in his eyes, the urge to resist my thick scent, luring him forward. My heart hammered in my chest at the sight of him. He was alive, and relatively unharmed. Dried blood splattered his skin, and I noticed a small wound on his abdomen that had already healed.
I opened my mouth, trying to form the right words that would end my pain. I wanted this, all of it. Better it was with Asher than anyone else. My soul called out to his, begging him to claim me–to end the pain that consumed every cell, every living piece of me.
I could no longer fight against Maya, not now that Asher stood in our presence. Strength coursed through my body, and I stood from the bathtub. Freezing cold water dripped from my skin, running between my bre*sts and down my legs.
Asher’s eyes darkened at the sight, and I watched as the bulge in his sweatpants grew, spurred on by the burning lu*t in my eyes. I could see his hesitation, see it etched onto his face. He didn’t want to take advantage of me, of how willing I was in this state. I didn’t care, nor could I bring myself to stop.
I let my fingers trail down my damp skin, running down my bre*sts and circling one of my hardened n!ps. The hiss that left my lips was echoed from Asher, who watched my movements like a blind man seeing color for the first time. As my fingers trailed lower, dipping down to the wetness between my thighs, Asher’s control snapped with an audible crack.
He was on me within seconds, his arms wrapped around my torso as he pulled me from the tub, his hungry lips claiming my own. There was nothing sweet or romantic about the way we devoured one another. The heat crackled against my skin, soothed by Asher’s touch.
Each time he pulled away from me, the fire returned tenfold. Simple kissing wasn’t going to satiate me, nor would it extinguish the flames. I twisted my fingers in his hair, pulling him closer. I needed more, so much more of him.
“Lola.” Asher groaned against my lips, but I didn’t want to hear the rest of what he said. He wanted this just as bad as I, but didn’t want to take advantage of me.
“Please–” I whimpered, guiding his hand between my legs. His fingers grazed my wetness with predatory focus. A long, breathless moan left my lips as one of his fingers slipped inside of me. “I need this–I need you.”
“What do you need, Lola?” Asher murmured against my lips, his other hand twisted in my hair, yanking my head back so that he could devour my neck with his mouth. “Be specific. Use your words.”
“I need you to f**k me, Asher.” I whimpered, rocking my hips against his hand, basking in the pleasure and relief a single finger brought me. I felt the pressure gathering in my groin, but found no release. I needed more. I needed to feel his steel length inside of me, stretching and pushing me to my limit. I needed the pain and pleasure that came from his hands.
An animalistic sound ripped through Asher; one I hadn’t heard before. He gathered me in his arms and stormed out of the bathroom, placing me on the bed before crawling on top of me. My fingers clawed at his clothing, tearing into the grey sweatp#nts he wore.
My nails lengthened on their own as Maya spurred me on. The desperate lu*t burning in his eyes nearly brought me to my knees. I didn’t know I could make someone want me this bad, but Asher did. His lips trailed over every inch of my skin, rough and demanding.
His face settled between my legs, his hands gripping my thighs as his tongue lapped at my pu**y relentlessly. He devoured every inch of me, gr0aning at the taste of me on his tongue. Even as I clawed and tugged at his hair, he never stopped his frantic pace, spurred on by my heat as much as I was.
Only when my org*m rippled through me, coaxing a blissful scream from my parted lips, did Asher pull away. My back slammed against the bed, my heart shuddering in my chest. My legs shook as the remnants of my org**m rippled through me.
“You taste so f*king sweet, Lola.” Asher murmured, looking up from between my parted legs with blind lu*t.
The look in his eyes sent another wave of heat crashing through me, and I found myself sitting up and flipping him over. I settled over his hips, which were still covered with his torn sweatpants. I shredded the rest from his body, feeling his dark eyes watching my every move.
His c**k sprung out, rigid and ready for me. I centered myself over him, lowering down with a blissful groan. With my head tossed back, I ground myself against his c**k, savoring the pleasure and pain that ran through me. I gave myself no time to adjust to his length, and began riding his c**k feverishly.
“f**k, Lola.” Asher groaned, his fingers digging into my hips roughly. Every rough touch sent a wave of icy bliss through me, soothing my heated skin. “You feel so f*king good wrapped around my c**k.”
Asher lasted a total of fifteen seconds before wrapping his arms around my thighs and driving himself deeper inside of me. The sounds that left my lips were ones I never knew I was capable of making. I felt myself detach from my body, only to rush back in, facing the intense pleasure.
His hips slapped against my own as he thrusted relentlessly. With each long stroke, the pain and pleasure grew.
“That’s it, baby.” Asher groaned, his dark eyes watching as he slammed his c**k inside of me. “Take it, take every inch.”
Asher flipped the two of us over, lifting my legs over his shoulders as he continued thrusting inside of me. Our eyes never left one another, never stopped roaming the other in blind lu*t. His fingers worked my swollen cl*t, while his mouth devoured every inch of my heated skin. Only when I was crying out his name, tears burning in my eyes, did Asher finally release himself inside of me.
“That was not fair, Lola.” Asher groaned, lying beside me. Our hearts pounded in tandem, and my limbs felt blissfully relaxed. The heat that had once pulsed through me was now long gone, chased away by the countless org**m s Asher had given me.
“You wanted it just as bad as I did.” I teased, tracing circles along his bare chest, savoring every touch–every moment with my mate. The soreness between my legs ached with every movement, but spurred on a pleasure of its own.
“How could I not?” Asher scoffed, running a hand through his dark, messy hair. “With you standing there like that, touching yourself in front of me. f**k, Lola.”
I chuckled as Asher began to harden again. Just as I reached over, determined to feel him inside of me again, his large hand wrapped around my wrist. Asher had a pained look on his face, and I whimpered as I already knew what was coming.
“Trust me, baby. I want nothing more than to take you again, but there’s things we need to do.” Asher murmured, planting gentle kisses along each knuckle. “When were done though, I’m going to f**k you until you scream.”
“Promise?” I sighed, letting my finger nails scrape along his bare chest.
“f*k, I promise.” He groaned, running the rough pad of his finger over my nip. My back arched under his touch, pushing my brest into his hand. “My mate, so responsive.”
“I’m glad it was you who found me.” I swallowed, feeling the guilt burn in my eyes. “I wasn’t sure I’d be able to control myself if someone else walked through that door.”
“Don’t.” Asher hushed me with a gentle kiss, one that soothed every aching muscle in my body, while making the sensitive spot between my legs throb. “It’s not your fault, it never was. Next time you go into heat, I’ll be there. We won, Lola. You’re lucky if I ever let you leave my side again.”
“So, it’s true.” I exhaled, “He’s really dead?”
“He is.” Asher nodded, and I watched his adams apple move as he swallowed. His voice held unease, something that was unusual for Asher. He was always so certain, so concrete in his decisions. “He called to the shadows, Lola. At the end, that is.
I worried I was too late, that he managed to make a deal with them. The shadows–they took his blood. I think he did make a deal, but it wasn’t to kill you.”
The shadows earlier words came back to me, and I found myself running through every connection I felt in my mind, each and every one led back to a Vampire.
“You were too late.” I murmured, “He did make a deal with them, but it wasn’t for my life.”
“What?” Asher grimaced, sitting up in bed. His hands grasped mine, holding on tightly. “What did he ask for?”
“He made me Queen.” I whispered, meeting Asher’s wide eyes. “I can’t forfeit my crown. Not to my half-sister, not to anyone.”
“Your half-sister?” Asher murmured, “Then how–how would there be another ruler?”
“If–If we have a kid someday. They would be the next ruler.” I winced. I couldn’t stop the guilt that rolled through me. This burden wasn’t only mine to bare. It was also Asher’s. Any future child of ours would be caught up in this mess, in this fight between Werewolves and Vampires.
“Then–then we make sure we leave things better than they were.” Asher reasoned. The determination and softness in his eyes soothed my nerves.
I blinked back the tears that formed in my eyes, and appreciated every inch of my incredible mate. “We’ll fix things. So that someday, when our child takes over, there won’t be conflict between our people.”
Our people. I repeated those two words in my head a million times. I wasn’t in this alone. I had Asher, and knew he would never leave my side. I was torn between two worlds, three if you counted my supposed witch heritage, but Asher would be there to help me through it all. I didn’t know the first thing about being a ruler, but I had amazing people by my side.
“Now, you have quite a bit of explaining to do.” Asher chuckled, “I want a rundown of everything that happened while you were gone, and I mean everything. Don’t think I don’t know about Tristan’s sudden change of heart, and I want to hear everything about this half-sister of yours.”
“I’ll explain everything, I promise.” I replied, unable to stop the hint of a smile that formed on my lips. “After we get my family, and the people of this pack back where they belong.”
“I’ll hold you to that, beautiful.” Asher murmured, taking my face in his hands. “It won’t be easy, but things will be different when we do have children. They won’t have to deal with the problems were facing now. We’ll bring our people together, and end the fighting once and for all.”
“Sounds like a plan, Alpha.” I giggled, wrapping myself in his arms, surrounding myself with the comforting scent of my mate.