Izabella (The Bloodstone, #1) ✓

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2. Savage Beauty


Grey clouds dominated the sky, their presences depriving the earth of sunlight as droplets of water fell to the ground. I watched the trees submit to the force of the wind. I felt numb on the inside, my soul cold as the weather reflected how I truly felt, roaring my unheard cry as I continued to wait for my brother, Hunter.

Being Alpha kept him busy so my first day back, I didn’t get a chance to see him. I didn’t know how he’d react. He was very unpredictable. The times where I did think I was in deep shit, he never expressed anger. I just hoped this time his emotions were in my favour.

The packhouse was eerily quiet, it was unusual as I was used to hearing the blurred voices of the members as they chatted with each other. There weren’t many of them roaming the halls which added to the deep hole that was my loneliness.

The door opened and I glanced over my shoulder to see Hunter standing by the threshold, towering over me with his muscles more defined in his folded arms as he regarded me intently. His eyes were a darker blue than my sister; slightly more similar to my dad's though. His stubble dotting the skin of his sharp jaw and his hair was trimmed into a clean cut. Naturally, he was intimidating but I didn’t get any sense of fear other members felt when facing him. He looked like Phoenix, a lot more like my dad as well. Appearance wise, I was the outlier.

I turned my body to face him fully, mirroring his posture.

“Brother,” I greeted coolly.

“Come in,”

I sauntered towards the door, walking past him and into the ‘Alpha’s office’. My eyes took in every aspect of the room. The theme colour was dark brown but it was illuminated by the lamp that was lit next to the scattered papers littering the desk.

I took a seat in front of his desk - the Alpha’s desk - and watched as he rounded it to take his place directly across from me. We locked eyes and for a few seconds, I challenged him, not willing to break away first. He narrowed his eyes the slight action, warning me to back down. Gritting my teeth, agitated, I did.

Biting the inside of my cheek, I took a deep breath. “What?”

“That’s all you’re going to say after four years,” he released a humourless scoff. “What?”

“Hunter-”

“No, don’t speak, listen,” he growled, his dark blues blazing with rage. “I lived through hell worrying about you, especially with mom complaining and crying endlessly.”

I held my tongue, not daring to speak. I kept my head down, my hair tumbling around me in waves as it covered most of my face. I was submissive. That was my only role in this pack, right? The thought sent a bitter taste to my tongue. My wolf was unsettled by my actions but I had to placate her. Any sense of her disobedience, my brother’s wolf would rise to the challenge and I would be forced to be subdued under his authority.

“You’re my sister, Izabella. As your brother, your Alpha, I’m obligated to take care of you. What if something happened and I didn’t know?”

At his question, I raised my head and whispered. “I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself,”

The silence between us was thick and I shifted in my seat. Indirectly, I’d challenged his strength, bruised his wolf’s power and anger flared in the depths of his irises. I glanced at the walls of the room, seeing the paintings of the great Alpha’s that were before him. My eyes landed on my grandfather. He’d trained Hunter to the Alpha he was, the one that I admired and thought I could be. The repetitive mantra haunted my thoughts, mocking me, ‘You can’t be an Alpha’

My place was to follow, not to lead.

Leaning back in his leather chair, he scratched his jaw, darkened with his five o’clock shadow. “We have visitors in the pack and you'll see them tomorrow at the gathering. More importantly, you'll see Basil.”

I frowned. What an unusual name. “Basil?”

He nodded. “Basil, a new proclaimed Alpha recognised for assembling rogues into a pack that is now identified as The Bloodstone.”

“How was he able to get them to submit under his command?”

He smirked, twirling the pencil with those cool tricks I could never imitate. They use to distract me as a little girl and he’d do it constantly to entertain me. I blinked rapidly, refocusing my attention on him. “He was once a rogue himself, so naturally, all the others followed him. Even rogues cannot survive without companionship, Bell.”

A rogue as an Alpha? It was nothing different if you were thinking of an insane king.

Nevertheless, I was intrigued by this new Alpha.

“As he is visiting, it’s custom for him to meet the whole family. That’s why you’re here. I’m giving you the heads up since you’ve been AWOL for most of the years,” he offered one final glare before he stood to his feet and I quickly followed

“I’m not going to lie, I’m not looking forward to it,” I sighed, cringing at the thought.

Throughout my life, I’d been a tomboy. I'd enjoyed the activities both my brother and dad took part in. There would be times when I would sneak away with the warriors to go hunting but dad disapproved. His main concern was my safety. I was tired of being treated like a delicate flower. Like I was breakable. I tried to make my point clear by cutting all my hair off to be like the boys much to my mom’s horror. Sabrina Steele was a woman with elegance and grace; the only two things I did not get from her.

Grabbing the back of my neck, he leaned down to peck my forehead. “We’re supposed to look united as a family. We would be seen as strong in front of the new Alpha, especially if he’s to be invited into The Nobles.”

I pulled away from him, the sudden shift in my mood saturating the air. It hadn’t lifted since my return and I didn’t think it would anytime soon. My skin prickled as the desire to run increased since I stepped into my brother’s territory. The woods called for me and my wolf needed to stretch her legs, begging me to release her into the wild.

Free from the bullshit, the facade I was forced to display.

Hunter sensed this and I ignored his pointed look.

“I’m going for a run,” I declared and strutted to the door.

“Izabella, one more thing,” he called and I shot an expectant look over my shoulder. Leaning against the desk, he crossed his arms and the muscles beneath the skin tightened with tension. “Learn your place tomorrow when talking to the Alpha, don’t do anything reckless.”

I smiled tightly at him.

“Tell Hailey I’ll see her tonight,” I whispered, slamming the door right behind me. I stalked towards the glass door, blood pumping through my veins, fuelling my need to shift. With each step, the earth quaked as anger boiled inside me. My shift was quick as I jumped into the air, my skin replaced by fur and I sprinted into the forest whilst feeling my brother’s eyes on my back.

The cold wind sliced through my fur, the frictionless sensation driving me forward as the trees zoomed by.

My heart rate matched with each rhythmic thud of my paws. My wolf took complete control over my consciousness. I stood in the darkness, watching from her eyes as she chose the destination she desired. At times, I needed to allow her this power, knowing if I didn’t she would be sent to dark places.

She was a savage beauty and like any other Alpha female, she didn’t submit to anyone, other than the Alpha himself. She did this out of survival rather than choice. I remembered the times growing up when I would become temperament, defying authority and blacking out as rage would consume me into oblivion. We both had the same desires but we knew we could never have it. It was my tipping point, our rage a grenade exploding at the mere mention of it. She was my lifeline and I was hers, my consciousness and my soul.

Years of internal torment took a toll on her, my memories causing her to growl lowly. It was always the unwanted memories that I recalled only because it was a deep, blatant scar that would never allow me to forget.

‘Only men can be Alphas’

Abruptly, she ceased her steps and stood in front of a lake with her paws wet from the earth’s moisture. My vision of the world drew closer as she receded into the background, allowing humanity to tame the beast. My fur drew back into the pores of my skin and I watched my hazel eyes stare back at me. I was naked, uncaring of my vulnerability as I reached out to touch the smooth water, the surface rippling in quakes at my disturbance.

The forest was my only home where I truly felt at peace.

I had thoughts of staying in the forests, to never return and abandon the world around me. I sat on my backside, lying down before turning to my side. The soft grass beneath my skin soothed me and I released a deep, content sigh. I closed my eyes, the rustling sound of leaves lulling me to sleep and at that moment, I let my guard down, knowing that I was in my own sanctuary.

And that day, I dreamt of deep, green eyes that resembled the forest surrounding me.

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