Izabella (The Bloodstone, #1) ✓

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3. Epiphany


I woke this morning to greet the ceiling of my room, clutching the sheets tightly and unable to recall what happened last night. How the hell did I get to my bed? It’d been a while since I enjoyed a peaceful night’s rest, pleased as sleep was the simplest medicine to rejuvenate my body. That quickly drained when my mother, Sabrina, revealed the black dress I was forced to wear. It was then I remembered the event to meet this Alpha rogue. Mentally, I cursed this Alpha, wishing I could be back in my college dorms and do things other humans did.

Dresses weren’t my ‘go-to’ outfits. Ever since I was a pup, I despised them and memories of mom fighting to fit me into the itchy material still haunted me. Night fell when I hopped into the shower and surprisingly, this dress fitted me perfectly, hugging my slender curves.

My sister chose that moment to barge into my room. “Phoenix!”

She grinned, her sharp blues taking in my appearance. “You’ve got great legs, why do you hide them?”

With a frown, I stared at them then glanced at the mirror, twisting from side to side as my dress flared around. Suddenly, thoughts of the guys back in college making crude comments about my legs came back to me. I shrugged.

“I don’t know,” I answered honestly.

Shaking her head with a sigh, she jerked her head to the door. “Come on, mom and dad are already there. We’re gonna be late.”

“I thought you already left?” I called after her, swiftly taking in her blood – red, knee-length dress. “I was pretty sure the house was empty.”

Phoenix snorted. “They sent me back to make sure you were coming.”

I sent her a dead look. I could hide the sarcasm in my tone. “Wow, thanks for trusting me.”

According to my brother, everything was set in place and the welcoming ceremony of The Bloodstone Pack would occur in the woods. As so, it was customary for us wolves to be barefooted and wear comfortable clothes. I wouldn’t be surprised if we had to shift for a run.

My only guide was the rays of lights chasing the shadows in the distance. The loud chatter of voices and the tranquil sound of soulful music reach my ears. Lifting my nose to the sky, I inhaled as the unfamiliar scents plagued my senses.

Rogues.

My body tensed instinctively at the unfamiliar presence and fought the wolf that threatened to break free. An Alpha knew when there was a trespasser; it was like the soil was connected to our blood. For many years, this land had been my home despite my eagerness to leave the territory.

Glancing around the woods, my eyes landed on two bodies and thanks to my heightened senses, I could see every single detail from afar. From the stench of the male, he was a rogue and the girl was from The Midnight Moon. Their naked bodies collided as he entered her with a deep thrust. Her gasp was a ghost echoing through the vacant woods and for an unknown reason, I didn’t avert my eyes.

“Izabella!” Phoenix hissed, grabbing my wrists whilst tugging me away. From her behaviour, you’d think she was treating me as if I was a petulant child. “The mating process is sacred. We shouldn’t be here.”

I rolled my eyes yanking away from her grasp. “It’s just sex, Phee, chill.”

When we were at a safe distance from the couple, she spun on her heels, her blue eyes bright with annoyance, causing me to arch a taunting brow.

“It’s not ’just sex’, not when two souls are merging together,” she huffed, tilting her nose up as she gave me a once-over. “Wait until you find your mate. With what we are, Alpha females, it’s not gonna be ‘just sex’ to you.”

I scoffed, rolling my eyes and I brushed past her, heading to the packhouse. “Whatever...”




It'd been an hour since I arrived and in that time, I tried to adjust easily to the pack life. Phoenix abandoned me once she reunited with her minions, leaving me to fend for myself amongst the heated stares of my pack members. Other faces I didn’t recognise blurred my vision and I aimlessly wandered around with no real destination. In all honesty, I took the time to observe the men from the new pack. Most of them were tall burly men, possessing an animalistic glint eclipsing a part of their humanity.

I noted a few women, taking them in as they did for me. I held their stare, my eyes impassive with a silent challenge. ­They looked away first, unable to withstand the authority oozing from my pores. My chest swelled with pride.

“Izabella?”

Recognising my mom’s voice, I swirled around to face her. A smile broke through her sombre expression, the lines around her eyes tightening with happiness. Her dress fell to her feet, a deep ruby colour accentuating her raven hair. She looked great for her age and at times, I wondered if I’d looked the exact same in the future. I was my mother’s daughter and no one could deny that.

“You see, Izabella? You’re a stunner,”

“Thanks?”

“It’s not an insult but it’s nice to see you wear something different other than your t-shirt and jeans,” she rubbed my arms, her hazel irises scanning the crowd curiously. “And hopefully, you’ll be able to find a mate. He’s got to be around here somewhere.”

Horrified, my eyes widened. “Mom!”

I paled, feeling my blood run cold at the thought of a mate. A mate? I’d never given it much thought. In fact, I wasn’t sure if I wanted one or if I could have one. At the age of twenty-one, it wasn’t common for a she-wolf to be unmated. In fact, it reminded me of my dad who found mom when he was twenty-three. Was it genetic?

She waved her hand, rolling her eyes at my horrified expression. “Hush, child, you are well past the age to find your mate.”

“A mate?” I jolted at the deep baritone of Jackson’s voice as he came into view, standing next to my mom. “You found your mate, Bell?”

“No, I did not,” I sighed, narrowing my eyes at Sabrina. “Can you tell mom to stop bugging me about this ‘mate’ business?”

His eyes shifted to me and he grinned, revealing straight white teeth. “Haven’t seen my baby girl in a dress in years.”

Okay... he’d completely ignored my question. Playfully, I rolled my eyes, folding my arms as I shuffled from foot to foot. “Okay, can I leave now?”

He chuckled wrapping an arm around my Sabrina’s waist and kissing her temple. She melted into his touch, nuzzling her cheek against his in a loving manner and they inhaled each other’s scent in greeting. I sighed in an exaggerated, tedious tone.

That’s my cue to leave.

“Where do you think you’re going? You’ve been here a day and still, you haven’t said hi to me,”

Hailey!

Turning away from my parents, I faced her, my eyes lowering to her stomach to see no signs of her pregnancy. By the whiff of her scent, it was confirmed. In some ways, we were alike with our preferences yet starkly different in our appearance.

“I’m sorry, Hales,” I said sincerely, using the nickname my brother had given her.

She was of average height, with shoulder length brown her and eyes that resembled the forest revealing a glimpse of her carefree nature. It matched her dress which moulded against the curve her body perfectly. Hailey’s pupils were unusual, like ones of a cat, holding an ominous undertone to her innocent exterior. I’d been told many times how she suffered possession of a demon and the Rogue within her never fully passed.

I couldn’t image the amount of control she needed to placate her untamed wolf. Her demons were on a leash that threatened to break free. At the remembrance of Rogues, I glanced around apprehensively.

“Feeling nervous?”

“Are they all... frightening?”

Hailey raised a brow. “I mean, for some reason, I have this urge to be in defence mode,”

“Glad to know you care for the pack,”

Sighing, I sent her a pleading look. “Come on, not you too?”

She rubbed my shoulders, laughter wrinkling the corner of her eyes. So far, it seemed to be the day to attack Izabella. I knew my decision leaving hurt many people, especially dad. I could never reveal my true reason, unable to conjure up the right words for my actions. So instead, I offered a tight smile and shut down any unwanted questions.

“Hey, I’m happy you’re home,” her eyes glazed over for a split second. “Hunter needs me; I guess it’s to greet the new, upcoming Alpha,”

It was my turn to raise a brow, suddenly intrigued. “You’ve seen him?”

“Yes, briefly, he visited the pack yesterday morning for a meeting with your brother,”

Hailey kissed both my cheek before disappearing into the sea of people. I blew out a breath, running my fingers through my hair as I quickly scanned the room and stalked towards a table where various drinks were aligned. Standing next to me was one of the Bloodstone wolves and we eyed each other speculatively. I made sure to survey his entire form: dark-skinned, darker brown eyes and hair closely cropped to his scalp I could see a tattoo peeking through. I was going to lie, he was attractive, especially with his finely shaped jaw that accentuated his high cheekbones.

I didn’t miss the way his eyes trailed down my body slowly as if he was undressing me. I didn’t show my discomfort, instead, sent him a deadly glower to which he responded back with a flirtatious wink.

“You’re the absentee sister,” he rasped, making more of a statement than a question. I straightened my posture, giving him another once over but this time, tilting my nose up arrogantly.

“From your stench, I’d say you’re second in command?”

His lips curled into a smirk. “That obvious?”

“You don’t really fit in the crowd,” I motioned around the room for emphasis. “After all, you are rogues.”

“Your implication?”

Dumbfounded, I cocked my head to the side and his dark orbs held mine as he took a sip of his drink. The muscles in my body tightened as he stepped closer, his upper body leaning into me as an arm stretched out for a doughnut next to me. I pulled back, repulsed and scrunched my nose.

His lips didn’t twitch in a taunting manner, his eyes were flat, exposing the monster deep within. I held my ground.

“You seem like the judgemental type,” a humourless scoff escaped his lips. “Of course, you do come from a great line of Alphas.”

“I just being cautious,” I said sincerely.

“Uh-huh,” he nodded his head slowly, rolling his eyes as he turned away from me. “Run back to your daddy, princess.”

Before shoot a snarky reply, I was shoved forward, crashing into his chest as some drinks spilt around us. He wrapped his arms around my waist, effectively breaking my fall and my breast pressed against his torso. My cheeks heated and I was prepared to pull away but I never got the chance to.

Suddenly, ripped away from his arms, a growl thundered through the air, sending quakes through my body. Heat seared over my skin as something hard pressed against my chest and the most delicious scent invaded my senses, intoxicating me.

The noise around me faded as I focused completely on the presence affecting me in ways I couldn’t explain. I wasn’t aware of the curious eyes watching me nor did I check if I was breathing. I couldn’t see my captor but with my back pressed against his front and from the way his strong arms tightening around me possessively, I knew he was a very powerful male. An Alpha male.

Slowly, glancing over my shoulder, my eyes locked with blue eyes so icy, I would’ve mistaken them for being white. I was utterly speechless and shocked as my wolf howled in a language my body translated in response to his touch.

Mate!

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