Izabella (The Bloodstone, #1) ✓

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17. Heritage

I sat upright, spook out of my sleep as my wolf stirred restlessly. Something was off and I looked to my right only to realise Basil was missing. Where the hell did he go?

I was in the woods, alone and the fog lurking around the trees did nothing to ease my nerves. It was light out but the sun was nowhere to be found, hidden behind the greying clouds above. A cool breeze brushed my skin and I shivered just as dread pooled in the pit of my stomach.

I still wore the white dress Basil had chosen from last night. I couldn’t see the past the fog or know what direction to take to head back to the pack. Another breeze brushed by and I rose from the ground to my feet. After spending a couple of weeks in The Bloodstone, I wasn’t really aware of the paths. I cursed myself silently, wishing I’d spent more time on that.

I winced when my toes sunk into the soggy earth, wishing I’d brought my shoes but when did it rain? I remembered the Moon was clear last night and it was a lot more humid compared to now. After everything happening with Basil – losing my virtue – it must’ve drained me to complete exhaustion. Venturing through the forest, I hoped I found something somewhat familiar, or him. It didn’t seem like Basil to leave me alone, not by myself at least and especially not in the woods. There were still concerns about the hunters roaming around. The thought alone made me quicken my pace, desperate to find safety.

Suddenly, something moved from the corner of my eyes but when I looked, nothing was there. The air was getting tighter, my throat clogging with unease but I continued to wander aimlessly. Where the hell am I?

There was no scent in the air to give me a clue of my location, nothing but the mixture of rain and earth. I couldn’t even sense the pack or him.

“Basil?” I called out only to get silence in return.

AI released a strangled scream when a hand gripped my neck, cutting off my oxygen. I clawed at the thick forearm in an attempt to fight for my survival but it was useless. The hand tightened the harder I fought and I felt dizzy, my vision darkening into nothingness. I felt useless, powerless against his hold.

Basil’s eyes void emotion but held a lingering sense of insanity. He was feral, no sense of discipline in him but the menace of death. My eyes drifted to the dark figure behind him and I could’ve died at that moment looking into her eyes, the ghost I saw not long ago.

Gradually, I closed my eyes, the look of disdain on his face a permanent image I’d never forget. As I drifted into nothingness, I heard shouting. At first, I couldn’t understand the words being said until hands gripped my shoulder and pain bit into my skin.

“Izabella! Izabella!” Basil bellowed and I was thrust back into reality, waking from my nightmare. Startled, I shook violently but then the scent of death filled my nostrils and I panicked, thrashing in his hold. “Calm down!”

It was him, that smell! The smell of decaying flesh burning my senses was unbearable. I tried to scurry away but he climbed on top of me, pinning my arms to the ground. I released a cry of fear and he cursed under his breath.

“I’m not gonna hurt you, calm down!” He growled and forced his weight on me until I was too weak to wiggling around. “Look at me!”

Grabbing my chin, I was forced to meet his wolf’s glacier-like gaze. His look was so intense he tapped into my wolf’s consciousness. I could feel her on the edge and no doubt, my eyes were burning a fiery gold. Instantly, my body relaxed and terror fled my body.

“It’s okay,” He coaxed, pushing away while holding me in his arms, cradling me as if I were a skittish pup, hushing my whimpers. “You’re bleeding,”

Startled, I followed the trail of blood staining my thighs, marking the loss of my virginity. I was too stunned to say anything or to realise he was heading for the lake. Returning with his wet shirt, Basil lowered to his knees to wipe the blood away.

“You were dreaming. What was it about?” He asked but I suspected he knew of my nightmare. He didn’t like waiting for my response. Grabbing my chin with bloody fingers, I was forced to meet his gaze again. “Answer me.”

“I was being suffocated by someone, the ghost I’ve been seeing,” I lied, not knowing how he’d react if he’d known it was him.

He stayed quiet for a while before grunting. “They want you to become like me,”

I flinched. “What?”

“Or I assume so. Whatever it is, I’m not going to allow them to take your soul. It’s what pleases me about you,” He murmured, tossing his shirt to the side and stayed in his crouching position. He had his pants on and I felt vulnerable being bear beneath his stare.

“You’re connected to my wolf more. You understand her more than me,” I said, sensing a hint of bitterness in my tone. It was ridiculous to get jealous of my wolf as we’re the same but there’s a veil of disconnect as his humanity was gone. There wasn’t a balance between man and beast, and he was too rough for me to understand. Pulling my thighs to my chest, I nestled my chin on my knees. My hair tumbled around my face, obscuring my view. “Is it possible to feel like the third wheel?”

Who was I kidding? It was ridiculous!

He growled in frustration. “I am attracted to your flesh as I am to your wolf. You’re a beautiful she-wolf... too beautiful I think you’re the Moon,”

My heart leapt a beat at his words; it was the most endearing thing he’d ever said to me. With his lack of humanity, he didn’t show many emotions except for his attraction. At times, I doubted that he could ever love me.

“The Moon...?”

“You fill the void inside me, I... no words can explain the way you make me feel,”

I moved closer to him, running my fingers through his shoulder-length hair. His large hands wrap around my waist before travelling up my torso, taking a handful of my breast. I sighed in content and lowered my body to the ground, dragging him with me. He hovered over me, pressing his hardening length against my centre. I was spread out for him, exposed… willing but this time, without the Moon’s influence. We spent the rest of the morning tangled in each other, lost in our desires.

A week passed since the Moon made Her appearance. It was also the last time Basil touched me, sexually at least. It has gotten to the point where I thought he wouldn’t mate with me until the next Moon. That was until I noticed his eyes wandering to my stomach, the larger portion of food on my plate and his fingers skimming my abdomen. Freaked, I spent my spare time searching for ways to prevent any possible pregnancies.

Wolfsbane was the only form of birth control I thought of. I found a little pharmacy not far from the packhouse, designated for wolfs specifically, and was relieved to be informed of the possibility that conception hadn’t happened. I wasn’t pregnant, at least not yet. I stared at my cup of water, pouring a couple drops of the poisonous elixir. Too much would kill me so I was careful. Without hesitation, I took a quick swig, wincing at burning sensation down my throat. Distracted, I didn’t notice Basil’s presence.

“What are you doing?” I glanced over my shoulder, watching him lean against the threshold with his arms crossed. Wearing a tight long sleeved shirt, it stuck to him like a second skin, revealing the lining of his broad shoulders and his muscles. His forearms were left bare, the veins snaking into the sleeves. At his narrowed eyes, I looked away.

“Nothing, just thirsty,”

“We’re returning to your birth-pack in a few days,”

I raised my brows in surprise, turning to face him. “So soon?”

He arched a brow. “I thought you’d be pleased?”

“I am,”

Basil entered our room with two long, powerful strides before sinking down on the bed. He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and watched me attentively from the corners of his eyes.

“I’ve been thinking about your family’s invitation to The Nobles. I talked to my advisors and they’ve convinced me that it’s best for the pack,”

“You didn’t trust me when I told you the benefits?” I asked, recalling the meeting between him and my uncle. I frowned. “I don’t think you like my birth-pack very much,”

The Midnight Moon was the oldest surviving pack in the continental U.S and the most powerful. My ancestors established The Nobles in 1810 to ensure the survival of the werewolf culture and protect new values that weren’t seen as barbaric. Not only that, my heritage came from all around the world from South America all the way to Europe. Uncle Theodore gave Basil no option to deny their invitation; he said my life was valuable. How so? All this time, I thought I was of no use to them.

“I tolerate them, they say they intend to protect wolves in the continental U.S but don’t take into consideration ‘tribal packs’, as that’s what you call them,”

“What is your heritage?” I asked and he frowned at me.

“I'm a Native,” His eyes scanned my features. “Should I try and guess yours?”

“I’m from all over,”

“Hmm,” He hummed, taking note of my empty cup before lifting his gaze to mine. Squirming in discomfort, I looked away. Could he tell? “Be prepared for the journey,”

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