Together, we walked to the perimeter of pack territory, the trees on both sides creating a slight arch leading to the packhouse. I changed from my workout clothes into shorts and a black tank top revealing my midriff. Basil didn’t like what I wore but with the scorching heat that came with the South, his growls of protests were neglected. I wasn’t going to let him dictate what I wore.
I didn’t miss the way his eyes lingered on my legs, devouring them. If I didn’t know him or wasn’t aware of his observant nature, I would’ve been uncomfortable. In fact, a part of me liked he was watching. He’d find a reason to touch them whether his hands were around my waist and wandered down or he’d reach for my fingers and accidentally skim my thighs. I think he had a leg fetish or something. On my left stood Cena and at Basil’s right was Keith. Behind us, there were four warriors marching with us in sync. This type of greeting was custom to any visiting Alphas to show our warmth and welcome. I was excited to see my uncle, Theodore. Just seeing a little piece of home brought a pang of homesickness.
I was messed up; one minute I’m desperate to leave The Midnight Moon and now I longed for my family.
Emerging from the fringe of the trees was the force of The Broken Shadow pack and standing at the centre was my uncle, Theodore. A face-splitting grin stretched across my face and I ran at full speed towards my uncle. He saw me coming and he stretched out his arms as I crashed into his body, absorbing the force of my attack. His gruff laughter filled my ears and I tightened my hold on him before burying my nose in his neck, inhaling his scent. He rubbed his rough jaw against my cheek in greeting and I squealed at the scratchy sensation.
After what felt like years, I pulled away and met my uncle’s vibrant green eyes. I couldn’t stop smiling.
“How are you, Izabella?”
Theodore and my mother we’re twins. He looked a lot like her and because I looked like my mother, he looked like me. His curly hair was trimmed neatly and his features were savagely rugged. Like Basil, there was an animalistic air that surrounded him but with years of rehabilitation, he was slightly more human.
“What about me?”
Glancing over my shoulder, I caught my cousin, Tristan, tackle me with a hug. He looked like his own mom, Casey, with his darker caramel complexion but had his father’s built.
“You goof,” I giggled.
“Thank you for having us, Basil. I hope this little one isn’t causing too much trouble.”
I scowled, my good mood dissipating at his words. Why did he talk like I wasn’t there or worse, that Basil was my babysitter? I turned to see him watching me with an inexplicable look in his eyes. I swallowed nervously.
“She causes a little trouble,”
What the hell? I did not cause any trouble. I just had a few questions and he thought I was a nuisance. If I was trouble, he did that with his weird voodoo magic.
“I’m right here,”
“Sorry, little one,” he smacked a loud kiss on my forehead. “These are your daddy’s questions by the way. I’m just being the messenger.”
Ever since I was a baby, he called me ‘little one’. I asked him why and he said I was so tiny when he first saw me. The nickname stuck ever since, even though Phoenix was the smallest of us all. He called her ‘tiny one’. We walked back to the packhouse and tuned into the chatter around me. Tristan caught up to my pace easily and bumped shoulders with me. “Thank god, I thought you were kidnapped and locked in a dungeon somewhere.”
“Shut up, you dork,”
I slapped his shoulder but he only grinned and winked. Tristan easily towered over me. Damn it, all Alpha males easily towered over me. I remember there was a time when I used to be the tall one and somehow he shot up faster than I expected.
“No, but seriously,” he lowered his voice only for my ears to hear. He held a more serious tone. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I sent a lopsided smirk. “Worried?”
Tristan raised a brow, eyes widening in disbelief. “Where’s his humanity?”
I knew he was listening from the way his back tensed at Tristan’s question. He may be rough around the edges but Basil didn’t hurt me - minus the way he brutally marked me. My interactions with him were gentle, endearing even. I frowned.
“You don’t have to worry, he’s kind to me,” he truly was.
His demeanour relaxed at my statement and Theodore glanced at me, shooting me a grin. Skipping to his side, I wrapped my arm around his big, bulky one with my head resting on his shoulder. Basil’s eyes were on me once again but instead of meeting his gaze, I started a conversation with my uncle and cousin.
Suddenly, I felt at ease.
After dinner, Theodore went to his room and so did Tristan. There was going to be a meeting and I had every intention to join in. I looked around as others passed me, some bowing their heads in respect. I smiled back in return. From the corner of my eyes, I saw something emerging from the shadows. Frightened, I swirled around in defence mode only to relax when it was Basil. I thought it was another ghost… I blew out a deep breath.
“God, you scared me,”
“I have that effect,”
He grabbed my arm and guided me down the darkened corridor, the shadows hiding us from anyone passing by. With one arm snaked around my waist, he swooped down to capture my lips in a heated kiss. I gasped in surprise and heat surged through my flesh, waking my wolf, and his tongue slipped in, taking complete control. She was aware of him, wanting him and fighting to break through the thin layer of my humanity.
Gripping the roots of his hair, I returned the kiss with much ferocity and need. His hands travelled to the back of my thighs, hoisting me against his body and I wrapped my legs around his waist. The hairs on my skin stood to his low feral growl. He broke the kiss only for his lips trail down my neck sensually.
I moaned, my eyes rolling to the back of my head as I savoured each nerve shooting pleasure down my spine. I was extremely sensitive because my heat was near and his kisses were raindrops shattering upon a famine - filled land.
I wanted more.
I needed more.
“Moon of my life,” he muttered in a groan, cupping my head so I’d hold his stare. "Mine.”
Moon of my life...? Oh god. I squeezed my eyes shut. It all felt too good. And his possessive claim pleased the animal in me. It was like I was drowning in his touch, the musk of his scent and his warmth enveloping me. He was everywhere.
“Mine,” He repeated in a hushed whisper. I sighed and opened my eyes, choking on a scream. My blood ran cold as I stared into the soulless eyes of the ghost. Basil froze, ceasing his kisses. Lifting his head, he watched me with questioning eyes but I didn’t meet them.
Paralysed with fear, my eyes never swayed from the creature before me and quickly, he tossed a glance over his shoulder to see her… it. He couldn’t deny it, from his clenched jaw, I knew he saw her. I knew I wasn’t crazy.
His grip on my waist tightened as he shoved my head into the crook of his neck, muttering words in a language I couldn’t understand.
I struggled in his grip and tried to push away but he was too strong. I swear, if he called me crazy, I’d probably show him just how crazy I could be. A light breeze passed and he eased his hold on me. Raising my eyes, the ghost wasn’t there and I searched around frantically. Motherfucker… Turning my blazing gaze towards him, I shoved him but he moved away out of his own will instead of my force.
He reached out to grab me but I slapped his hands away. I regarded him intently. “What the hell are you?”
Silence filled the air and he leaned down, his nose inches from mine when he replied in a calm, gravelly tone. "Alpha.”
With a snarl, he spun on his heels and walked away, leaving me confused and with many unanswered questions.