Ember Rains (Book 1)

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Chapter 5: Threats

In the next second I had put myself between them and the threat. Brooke surfaced taking over the defensive, and I knew my eyes would be glowing red now. I knew that voice all too well. Though I had to be cordial, I wouldn’t let him anywhere near Myra or Tyler.

“What are you doing here, Azrael?” Brooke growled as we stood defensively in front of them.

‘He’s pulling them!’ Brooke snarled in my head.

‘I know!’ I snapped back angrily.

“Mom.” I heard Tyler groan.

“Ty!” Myra gasped in shock and fear.

I stuck my hand out knowing that the child would be unable to resist the sensation even if his mother seemed untouched. Azreal had a magnetic power. He could choose to pull you in or push you away. Children and weak wolves were much more susceptible to his form of attack, but I wasn’t going to allow this.

I placed my hand firmly on Tyler’s chest holding him slightly behind me. I could feel heat from Myra’s fear on my back as I gently pushed Tyler back within her reach. In my peripheral vision I watched her crouch down pulling him tightly to her.

“What do you have there?” Azrael’s voice was suddenly more alive with interest as he grinned maliciously past me and at them.

No, just Myra, he could feel as well as I could the power that repelled his own.

He was a couple inches shorter than me with pale white skin and deep brown hair and red eyes. His wolf had taken complete control and the man was never consciously present anymore.

Werewolves like him were dangerous, but because of his standing with the southern packs we had to allow him an audience with the alpha. I now understood what meeting Logan had finished, and why he was so stressed. I wished he had told me though.

I snarled the sound echoing off the walls. Azreal and I had an unpleasant past. I didn’t trust him and was desperate to regain his attention

Azrael blinked slowly, shifting only his eyes to me. His face never flinched but his eyes showed a burning irritation. Despite my abilities, his expression made me uneasy. Why had he hung around all this time after the meeting?

“So you finally found her. Too bad she’s clearly damaged goods.” He chuckled, clearly amused.

Myra’s wolf, still surfaced protectively, whimpered. The pain in the sound tore at my chest and I fought to remain focused. Brooke growled furiously in my head, and shifted my weight blocking them completely from view.

“Why are you here?” I demanded again.

“Just heading out. I had a meeting with Logan this morning. I figured I would hang around to see my favorite maître de l’eau.” His voice dripped with false pleasantries. “Have you reconsidered my offer?”

I tensed, then responded with the same formality, “I am not interested.”

“Nobody here can understand you, Richard.” Azrael’s voice was soothing and I could feel him pulling harder, fighting for Myra, as well as myself now.

“Not a single one of them could beat you.” He purred, his voice tempting and smooth as he poured every ounce of power into convincing me.

I flinched at the image of fighting any of my pack members. Then I realized with surprise that Myra’s resolve was solid. If it hadn’t been she wouldn’t be able to resist. I decided she had to realize that Azreal had already tried taking Tyler away once, I hadn’t.

“Luckily, they won’t ever have to.” I shrugged, the motion jerky and sharp.

“You will change your mind.” Azrael snapped, uncertainty coating his voice. Then he stomped past us and out the door.

Brooke growled, still fuming.

‘Calm down.’ I said tensely as I willed myself to do the same.

‘She is not damaged goods!’ Brooke snarled at me.

‘We both know that.’

’But she doesn’t!’ He snapped, ‘Didn’t you hear her?’

‘We can’t do anything about that until she trusts us and believes we are her mate. You freaking out right now helps nothing.’ I pointed out.

He whimpered but I could feel myself calming. I sighed deeply, relaxing my head and shoulders.

‘What if we scared her even more?’ I asked in a hushed whisper of a thought.

All I got in response was a feeling of deep concern.

Suddenly I felt a small finger poke the hand I still had outstretched, palm facing backwards. I chuckled then smiled down at Tyler who was watching me nervously. His green eyes slits under his furrowed eyebrows

Slowly, suddenly exhausted, I turned to face Myra again. She stood awkwardly watching Tyler. It was clear she didn’t like him being so close to me.

I smiled cautiously down at her. “I’m so sorry. I had no clue he was coming today.”

She shrugged stiffly, “It’s not like anything happened. Thank you for standing up for us.” She said, rubbing her arm awkwardly.

“Always.” I felt my smile widen.

She was so beautiful; how did I get so lucky? Despite all the blood and dirt that coated her, she was still the most beautiful woman I had even seen. I wanted to brush my finger across her cheek, I wanted to touch her and know she was real.

“Can I walk with you now? When do we get ice cream?” Tyler asked, once again saving me from my own mind.

I observed him as he watched my hand. He flinched slightly, as I lifted it to pull my long hair back into a quick bun. Anger and pain flashed through me as I realized he was waiting for an offensive move against him. Apparently he wasn’t the only one either.

“You can walk with me Ty.” Myra snapped anxiously.

She stepped up next to him, then looked at me biting her lips. Clearly she was not comfortable with how close that step had gotten her to me. She flinched as I took a deep breath.

I, however, was suddenly distracted by an amazing smell of rain and pine. Somehow they weren’t quite the same as outside though, it was better. Her smell was everything I liked about rain and more.

“We can all walk together. Kitchens this way.” I smiled down at him after I caught my breath.

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