“How long have you lived in Mississippi?”
Elizabeth finished doing the dishes and was wiping the plates dry. I took a sip of my coffee, sighing as my skin heated with warmth, patiently. “A few years,” She tilted her head, a distant look gracing her features. “For sixteen years I think.”
“This isn’t your homeland?”
“No, most of us pack members migrated here. We all just found each other,” she shrugged.
I leaned back in the chair, furrowing my brows. She must’ve understood my bewilderment as she said. “I assumed Basil lived here all his life, judging by his accent.”
I nodded. “I’m trying to understand him. He doesn’t give much away.”
“He doesn’t trust easily,”
“I’ve noticed,” I tucked a loose strand behind my ear, gazing down at my tea. But why? “At times, he frightens me.”
Abruptly, Elizabeth froze, sending me a quizzical look. I wondered if she’d ever experienced what I’d been through that night. I never believed in ghosts but after what I saw, what I felt, I couldn’t deny the possibility. Subconsciously, I rubbed the bruise on my wrist.
“Why would you say that?” she asked cautiously.
“Have you ever experienced anything unusual?”
“No,” She shook her head, continuing her tasks. “What do you mean though?”
“Like have you seen something that isn’t supposed to be... seen?”
By her confused look, I knew I sounded crazy. Hell, I might be crazy. Running my fingers through my hair, I released a tired sigh and rubbed my eyes. Sleep, that’s what I needed; yet it seemed impossible to achieve. Basil was never around and I had a feeling he was avoiding me. It kind of hurt a little.
“No, are you okay?”
Before I could reply, Cassandra and Katherina entered the dining room and kids flooded the area. The room filled with chatter and I smiled as they surrounded me, each one desperately trying to get their attention. A little girl, Trina, grabbed my hand and my eyes locked with hers instantly. She was an angel, with her big doe, innocent brown eyes and her dark skin, she was beautiful. She looked around five years of age.
Tucking my hands under my pits, I placed Trina on her lap and tickled her stomach and childish laughter ricocheted throughout the room.
“Kids, calm down, she’s not going to disappear,” Cassandra laughed, taking a seat next to me while lifting one of the little ones onto her lap. Katherina stood behind her chair and around her arms around her neck from behind. “What’s gotten you guys so rattled?”
“The ghost, the ghost!” they all said in unison and Elizabeth raised her voice to which they lowered theirs.
“What in the world are you guys talking about?” she asked and walked towards us. I raised a brow at Elizabeth before turning my attention to the kids.
“Ghost,” Trina said, clutching my waist as she buried her face in my neck. “I saw a ghost in the pack-house, where the Alpha lives!”
I paled, my breathing becoming shallow and my eyes widened a fraction. So I wasn’t the only one. Tightening my grip on Trina’s small body, I kissed her temple in a way to try and sooth her necks. She was shaking, the fear vibrated through her small frame; I couldn’t blame her, I was fearful myself.
I stayed in the Alpha’s quarters. Dread seeped into my bloodstream as my heart rate increased.
“Trina, what were you doing in the Alpha’s quarters?” Katherina asked, her tone taut and condescending.
“I was looking for Luna,” she answered in a quiet voice.
Luna... Grinding my jaw, I tucked my fingers under Trina’s chin and lifted her head so she’d meet my gaze. “Talk to Elizabeth if you want to see me. Alpha won’t be happy knowing you’re entering his private rooms.”
“Ghosts?” Cassandra wrinkled her nose. “There’s no such thing. I bet you Luna will go to the Alpha’s quarters and tell you there are no ghosts.”
Everyone turned their eyes to me and I gave them a wry smile. “Yeah... sure.”
The training centre was empty when I got there which I was thankful for. It gave me some to let my thoughts run free and the noise wouldn’t allow that. I’d just finished running on the treadmill and sweat clung to my skin. Breathing deeply, I tensed when his voice reached my ears.
“You’re doing it wrong,” I glanced over my shoulder to find Basil leaning against the threshold, his arms folded across his chest. The stutter of my heart didn’t go unnoticed when I took in his appearance. His folded arms accentuated the counters of his muscles, the veins along his forearm protruding beneath his tanned skin. He wore a white wife-beater with workout pants that stretched with each powerful step he took. His eyes looked sharper, more intense. For a second, I thought they were seeing through me, past my skin and into my soul.
Unable to hold his gaze, I looked away. Despite my attraction, I was mad at him. He played dumb, acting like he had no idea what I was talking about. Two can play that game and I’ll act like I didn’t see him.
I continued to hit the punching bag and felt him get closer. As I threw another punch, he grabbed my wrist, swirling me around and my attention was placed on him. So much for ignoring him.
His eyes pinned me on the spot.
“I’m not going to stand here and pretend everything is fine and dandy if you’re not going to tell me the truth,”
He clenched his jaw, his grip tightening slightly as his thumb caressed the back of my hand. “I’m telling you the truth, you were sleepwalking.”
“The pups have seen a ghost, how the hell are you going to explain that to them?” I scoffed in disbelief. I pulled away from him, crossing my eyes and narrowed my eyes. “Don’t you have duties to do?” My tone was bitter, envious and I think he detected it.
There was a silent pause.
“I’ve done what I needed to do. Now I’m free,” I faltered and balled my fists to my sides.
“An Alpha is never completely free,” I knew this, seen it through my brother whenever a call pulled his away from Hailey and other family conventions. It never bothered us because we knew he had the weight of the whole pack on his shoulders and he found it difficult to balance family life with his duties.
“My Beta can take care of that for me,” pushing off the door, he took long predatory strides towards me. “Are you trying to avoid me?”
His eyes narrowed. “Then lets train,”
He brushed past me and I turned to watch him saunter to the knives laid neatly on the wooden desk. Leaning back on my heels, I regarded him intently as he picked one of them, poking it into his pointer and the scent of blood permeated the air. He grunted, satisfied, then looked at me. “How good are you at throwing knives?”
I raised a brow. “I’ve never thrown one.”
Nodding, he crooked his finger, motioning me to come forth. I walked but kept enough space between us. Still spooked by what happened the night before, my skin prickled at the eerie feeling he exuded. There was something off about him I couldn’t pinpoint and it was unnerving. Grabbing my wrist, he tugged me closer and I shivered as electricity skyrocketing through my nerve cells.
Rubbing his thumb on my pulse, he placed a knife in my hand. “I’ll teach you.”
Facing the dartboard, he took a couple knives and with white eyes focusing on his target, he threw the knives. They soared through the air, one by one, digging dead centre into the board.
I gasped, slightly awed and impressed. He was done within seconds, his eyes pinning me before he waving for me to do the same. I twisted my lips, squinting to make sure my target was right.
Of course, I wasn’t going to show my lack of confidence so I braced myself in the same position he was in. I threw the knives but unlike Basil’s, it didn’t hit the perfect aim.
I jumped when his fingers skimmed my midriff.
“You’re lacking position,” he mumbled gruffly. He straightened my body with a sharp tug on my hips and I breathed sharply at the biting pain digging into my flesh. Ignoring the pleasurable sensation curling up my spine, I focused on the dart board. Basil didn’t step away; he waited patiently, his thumb stroking my hips.
I was taken aback by his gesture. It was the only sign of tenderness I’d seen from him. I glanced down to see his large hands, his long fingers rough against my smooth skin. I swallowed - how the hell was I supposed to concentrate?
His lips skimmed the outer shell of my ear and said. “Take a shot.”
“I... I need space,”
“Do you want that?”
No was the immediate answer but I didn’t say it aloud. With his mark on my neck, I was acute to his presence, his touch and my wolf slowly rose to the surface. I felt his chest rumble against in a low satisfying growl. The vibrations seared through my skin, shaking the deepest depths of my core. Basil’s strong fingers touched my chin and angled my head towards his face. Through the reflection of his eyes, I saw my golden irises. My wolf.
She’d never been this active; mostly, she would stay hidden beneath my human consciousness, watching from afar but with Basil around, her walls shattered. He was a force to be reckoned with.
“I see you,” he said.
He stepped back, crossing his arms as his hooded eyes watched me attentively. “Take a shot.”
Inhaling, I pulled my arm back and released the silver knife, watching it soar moments before it hits the centre of the dartboard. Bull’s-eye. I smirked arrogantly, turning to see Basil with a look of approval. Releasing his folded arms, he closed the distance between us and grabbed my wrist.
“You’re a fast learner but skill is the key to win a successful fight,”
For the rest of the afternoon, we stayed on the training ground as he thought me how to fight. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like I wasn’t able to throw a punch but Basil’s techniques were... indescribable. They were perceptive, fast in movement yet slow to the eye, fluid.
He wasn’t just an Alpha, he was the Alpha. The strongest I’d encountered and he was my mate. Basil would lead The Bloodstone on a path of greatness amongst The Nobles. I was in complete awe of him. From the corner of my eye, I watched as he cleared the area around us, scrutinising his face and his body.
His incredible height was imposing; I was a tall girl but with him, I might as well call myself short. He stood at 6′7 with bulking muscles widening his frame. His light brown hair whisked along his shoulders. It was long enough for him to place it in a bun.
The longer I stared at him, the heat dancing along my skin resembled a thousand fires. My heat was coming soon again. He followed the old traditions strictly, refusing to touch me until the moon makes Herself known. He was religious and clearly, a product from his tribal pack, very different from my own.
I raised my head to see Keith entering the building, his eyes sweeping over me for a split second before returning to Basil. Ever since Basil attacked him, he kept his distance and for his safety, I wanted him to. If nobody stopped Basil that night, he would’ve killed him. I knew his humanity was consumed by his feral nature. When he sees a threat, he attacks. No second thoughts, no questions.
“Who’s here?” I asked, confused.
Basil eerily white eyes landed on me. “Your uncle, Theodore.”