Chapter 10: Alpha's Pride
The sun beamed through Isaiah’s closed eyes. He had only gotten a blink of sleep because he was awake all night with Ashley. His wolf was wide awake before Isaiah even had the vigour to lift his finger. A sudden rush of panic seeped into Isaiah when he realized, that his wolf was awake without Isaiah’s counsel to keep him under control. Isaiah’s eyes snapped open. Ashley was soundly asleep next to him, it was then, did he realize, that his wolf made no attempt to take advantage of Isaiah when his guard was down. His wolf was simply sitting in the back of Isaiah’s conscious with a strict scowl, but there was no howling or raking to let the wolf out. The thirst for blood had died down leaving Isaiah bewildered over how this was even possible. But then, he knew that it was Ashley that his wolf’s attention had turned to. His wolf was watching over her while she slept.
The sun caressed her golden hair, that gleamed under the warm light. Isaiah brushed his fingers along the soft curve of her cheek, that had a blushed-rose tint to them. Her long lashed created a shadow under her eyes. Isaiah hadn’t planned to mate with her until her injuries had healed, but then she had convinced him. An undeniably pull was what she had on him. He had no power over her, no matter how much people thought it because he was an alpha male. His mate held him at the palm of her hand and now his wolf was on her side too.
“If you keep staring at me, I’m going to get embarrassed,” Ashley’s voice broke the morning silence. “And then it’ll be harder for me to compose myself.”
Isaiah smiled while her eyes were still closed. “I’m not staring,” he lied.
“Please, I can feel those beautiful eyes even from a mile away,” she sighed.
Isaiah never thought his eyes were anything special. He never even gave them any thought during his days. But this woman walked in and declared them beautiful.
Cold, distant, brutal, deadly were what people whispered about him and they weren’t wrong. But Ashley called him warm, protective and a softie with a smile on her face. She looked inside of him so easily. The part of him he thought was ripped out years ago, started beating for her. Ashley proved to him that he did have a heart and apparently it was on his sleeve.
“We should get all of your things from the Plaza hotel,” Isaiah said. “I want you moved into this house by the end of the day.”
Ashley’s eyes opened. The brilliant ocean blue glittered like the waves that rushed over rocky shores. They were sharp but kind like the warmth of flames. “It’ll take more than a day, Isaiah,” she affirmed.
Isaiah frowned. “Why?” he asked. “You only have to get your clothes.”
She raised a brow. “You’ve seen my closet, Isaiah,” she remarked. “I’m going to need bigger closet space here.”
Isaiah remembered the day he went to her penthouse to get her fresh clothes. He had taken her key-card and went as her husband if anyone was brave enough to ask him his purpose, which no one had. He had arrived at the top tier penthouse, that had flawless architecture and design. But when he had entered her closet, he had felt lost in the sheer size of the collection. The closet had answered why she changed her clothes multiple times a day. Isaiah had found rows of dresses, jackets, blouses- all branded. And then her jewelry collection had been placed in glass drawers. Isaiah had to pick a pair of jeans and shirt before he got a migraine.
“I remember clearly,” he told her. “I’ll get Lazarus-”
“I think I can manage doing the closet on my own,” she said. “Besides, Lazarus is already busy with things concerning the pack and you. I don’t want to put this on him too, when I can easily handle it.” Ashley turned to the other end and lifted her back off the bed. Her wavy blonde hair followed her and spilled down her back. “If we want to get everything done by today, we should get a head start on our day,” she said chirpily.
Isaiah knew the day was going to be long, but he was eager to begin it with Ashley. She got up from the bed, her backside completely bare for him to see. Isaiah noticed her slightly turn to face him revealing the delicate curve of her breast and hips, which enticed him. Isaiah found her eyes watching him with amusement.
“I was trying to give you a break,” said Isaiah.
Ashley leaned on the door frame of the bathroom. “Are you getting tired?” she asked mockingly. She shrugged her shoulders and turned the light on. “It’s fine, you can rest while I take a shower all by myself.”
Isaiah shook his head at her teasing giggle, that was left behind her when she walked further away from him. He got out of bed and sauntered over to her with lazy strides, her feet backing away from each step forward from him.
“You dare me, but then, you run when I come for you,” he observed.
Ashley avoided his gaze. Isaiah bent down accepting her harmless challenge. His lips graved over her erratic pulse. “I don’t run,” she said breathlessly. “I just find it unfair that you have more of an effect on me than I do on you.” Isaiah’s teeth marked her, satisfying him and his wolf immensely. Ashley gripped his arms for support when he kissed along her shoulder line and continued up her neck to her jaw. His lips hovered over hers, that were still pink and plump from last night. “You’re making me forget what I set out to do,” she bit her lip.
Isaiah brushed his fingers across her stomach making her quiver from the faintest sensation. “And what were you planning to do?” he asked softly.
“I…I,” Ashley’s voice faltered as her concentration dropped to his fingers that caressed up her bare stomach. “I was going to-” Ashley inched back but he didn’t let her- “seduce you.”
Isaiah raised a brow at her candour. His hand caught her nape bringing her head under him. Her hands barely fisted his thick wrists when he kissed her. Isaiah caught her bottom lip with his teeth, his growl sent shivers down her body. His arm circled around her waist as he pulled her right against him. Her body molded to his reminding both of them of their mating last night.
Ashley’s dark rose scent permeated through the room sending flares of lust through Isaiah. The scents were strong enough to give him a blinding drive to consume her again. He wanted the taste of her arousal on his tongue and the marks of her nails raking his back like last night. Isaiah lifted Ashley on the counter top and she voluntarily opened her legs, exposing her wet and sensitive core. Clinging to him, he entered her core, his body broke from how her core fisted his shaft. Ashley tilted her head and enticed him with her lips. She kissed away the coldness in him, melting it with her blazing fire. Isaiah and Ashley shattered from the tantalizing release.
Ashley wrapped the arm that didn’t ache around his neck. “Good morning,” she smiled brightly.
Isaiah couldn’t help but fall for her smile. “Good morning,” he kissed her soft and slow, until she was the one who asked for more.
“We should take a shower,” suggested Ashley.
Isaiah licked over the mark he placed on her neck. “Yeah,” he mumbled. Ashley took him under the spray of hot water and they took a shower, that wasn’t quick at all.
They went down the stairs expecting to surprise everyone. But when the pair entered the kitchen the boys were looking at them with knowing grins.
“Here comes the mated pair!” announced Zeiden. “You guys are perfect.”
Ashley smacked Zeiden’s shoulder. “Stop it, you’re embarrassing me.” Ashley hid her face behind her hands.
“Pass the twenty bucks, Lazarus,” said Ronin.
Lazarus grumbled on the side as he drank his cup of coffee. “I only have ten bucks on me though,” he sulked.
“Pass that much first then,” resolved Zeiden.
Isaiah frowned. “You guys placed bets?” he asked.
“We sure did,” answered Ronin.
Ashley beamed. “On what?” she inquired.
“If Isaiah would have the guts to mate with you or not,” answered Zeiden. “Lazarus and Adrik thought he wouldn’t. But Ronin and I called it.”
Ashley chuckled at the notion. “Lazarus, if only you believed in me more you wouldn’t have lost,” she teased the beta.
“I didn’t know Isaiah had the balls to mate with you,” grumbled Lazarus. “Hold on, why am I the only one paying up. Adrik lost too.”
Zeiden raised his brows. “You try asking Adrik for twenty bucks,” he challenged, but when Lazarus didn’t step forth to ask Adrik, Zeiden said; “that’s what I thought.”
“We should celebrate,” pronounced Ronin. “I vote that Lazarus cooks and we eat.”
“I vote for the same,” added Zeiden.
“You two are seriously pushing it,” growled Lazarus.
Ashley smiled. “I would love it if Lazarus could cook something special for tonight,” she said sweetly.
Lazarus’s cup froze before his lips. “Fine,” he grumbled.
Isaiah looked down at his watch. “We should head out,” he told Ashley. Ashley grabbed a cookie from the pile on the table and followed Isaiah waving to the boys behind her. They got into the car leaving the property.
“They seem to be in a good mood,” she looked at Isaiah. “I was kind of worried what they might think about me mating with you. But seeing them like that made all the jitters in my stomach disappear.”
“There wasn’t any need to be worried,” assured Isaiah. “All of them liked you from the start.”
“And you?” she asked him out of the blue. “What did you think of me when we first met?”
The car came to a stop at a red light, giving Isaiah the chance to gaze into her eyes. “That you were out of my league,” he shared. “I approached a girl who had a smile as rich as a flower. So, why would a girl like that be interested in a man like me?”
Ashley grinned bashfully. “It seems that I wasn’t the only one,” she broke into a chuckle. “You had eyes on me, like I did for you. That’s good to know. This whole time I thought I was pushing you.”
“Why didn’t you stop then?” he asked as the car moved again.
“I just liked the feeling I got when I was near you,” she told him. “You didn’t make me feel insecure nor did you underestimate me.”
“There was no reason to,” he said simply.
Ashley brushed her fingers across his cheek. “This is why I stayed with you,” she said. “You are such a sweetheart, Isaiah.” After they chatted away in the car, she didn’t even realize that they had pulled up in front of the Plaza hotel.
“Zeiden will come pick you up after you’re finished,” Isaiah told her.
“What about you?” she asked.
“I have to meet with someone,” he said when he thought; “Or do you want me to-”
“No,” she smiled at him. “You go do what you need to. I’ll be fine.” Ashley leaned over and sweetly kissed him. “I’ll see you later, baby,” she winked.
Isaiah shook his head with a brief chuckle. “I won’t be long,” he said. “So, make sure to come straight home.”
Ashley opened the car door. “Got it, boss,” she giggled as she exited the sports car.
Isaiah waited in front of the entrance until he saw Ashley safely go inside. It didn’t feel right leaving her on her own, but he had an important meeting that couldn’t be called off. The sun peeked out from behind the clouds, Isaiah slipped on his sunglasses before he put his car in gear. He stepped on the gas leaving the Plaza hotel behind him. His car raced down the freeway since he had to make quite the trip across town. Isaiah’s destination was a restaurant on Queen’s street, that was known to be popular amongst many wolves.
Isaiah parked the car on the road before he crossed the street to the bustling restaurant. He opened the door and took off his sunglasses. Many turned to see who had entered with such an intimidating expression. Isaiah spotted Bobby who was a lofty, robust man with thick white hair. He strode out with a smile from under his snow-white beard that made his stern blue eyes warmer. But Isaiah focused his gaze on the man he looked for in the crowd.
In the private booth turned away from the people, he found the alpha that was the talk around the world all the time. Gabriel Centauri was seated with his bodyguard River Drakov who never left his alpha’s side. River’s sterling blue eyes landed on Isaiah first because he never stopping scoping the area. Isaiah noticed River had mumbled something to his alpha before Gabriel’s stern eyes lifted. Even though, Isaiah wasn’t some regular alpha, he couldn’t compare to the dominance this man sat, stood or walked with all the time. Isaiah sauntered over and slid onto the booth.
“It’s good to see you again, Isaiah,” Gabriel’s voice was deep and smooth. “What brings you to my part of town?”
“What would you do if someone was threatening you?” Isaiah asked him bluntly.
Both the men on the other side stiffened. Gabriel wiped the sides of his stern mouth. “You’re going to have to be more specific, Isaiah,” he said. “There’s no need to hide whatever it is from me.”
“Vito Donovan,” said Isaiah. Both of the men looked up at Isaiah sternly.
“The thug,” River stated. “He has a history of theft and black money dealing with weapon’s dealerships.”
Isaiah nodded. He wasn’t surprised at all that River knew who Vito was already. The Centauri’s had their eye on every corrupt person, that could pose as a threat in this country. “He’s put a target on my back,” he revealed.
“So, the news about the shooting, was you?” asked Gabriel.
Isaiah nodded. “He tried to get his men to kill me,” he told Gabriel, “but he got my mate instead.”
River and Gabriel gaped at Isaiah. “You mated?” asked River.
“Congratulations,” said Gabriel. “Who’s the lucky girl?”
“Ashley Hartling,” Isaiah told them.
“The writer?” asked both Gabriel and River.
Isaiah nodded. “Yeah,” he said.
Gabriel revealed a small smile. “That’s good news,” he said. “No wonder you looked different when you walked in. You had this glow around you.”
“Glow?” frowned Isaiah.
“Yeah. Hunter had the same thing when he mated Hailey,” said Gabriel turning to River who nodded in agreement.
Isaiah had met Gabriel’s brother Hunter who was the Centauri pack’s beta. And Isaiah thought he wouldn’t be able to find someone scarier than Lazarus. But what was more surprising was Hunter’s mate, Hailey. She was a beautiful woman who had this air of charm that was calming. Isaiah found the pair complete opposites, but they managed to be the first out of the Centauri’s to mate.
“Look Isaiah, anyone that touches my family is a dead man,” stated Gabriel. “You’re an alpha yourself, so you’ll always have a target on your back, like I do. But as a new pack leader, you need to set an example, that it will end badly for anyone who crosses you.”
“Being alpha of a pack has been more of a strain than I thought,” he confided to Gabriel. This was the first time Isaiah shared his thoughts about this matter. He didn’t know why but he felt like he could tell this alpha any secret or turmoil.
“All alphas find this position tiresome-” his smirk fell and those intelligent but cold eyes replaced any friendliness- “but that’s what separates those alphas from me. This title wasn’t given to me on chance, Isaiah. I took it knowing that I was the only one who could handle it. You did the same thing because you knew that deep down you were born to do this.”
“I had to for my brothers,” said Isaiah.
Gabriel steady gaze fastened with Isaiah’s. “That’s all the motivation you need,” he retorted.
“How would I handle Vito?” Isaiah asked them both this time.
“He’s been on our radar for a while now,” River answered analytically. “Even if you didn’t go after him, we would.”
Gabriel shook his head. “This is your official task as alpha, Isaiah,” he affirmed. “Vito is not your target. It’s those that think they can fuck with you. Kill Vito for all I care. But do it in a way where others don’t forget your name.”
Isaiah nodded. “Thank you for meeting with me on such short notice,” he said.
“Like I’ve told you before, I don’t cross out the option of being friends with people that I think are earnest,” said Gabriel. “Good relationships are another key to being a pack leader.”
Isaiah smirked. “My first ally ended up being a Centauri,” he said. “I heard it’s not easy to do that.”
Gabriel chuckled. “It’s not easy,” he jested. “It was me who chose you, remember?”
“Why did you choose me?” asked Isaiah. “What did you see in me that it made you help me in my time of need?”
“I saw exactly what your brothers see in you,” said Gabriel. “The loyalty you have with your men was commendable.”
Isaiah shook his head. “I got lucky,” he shrugged it off.
“No,” asserted Gabriel. “I’ve heard your story, Isaiah. Not many would have the guts to kill and protect the way you did. I admired that about you.”
“You admire me,” astonished Isaiah.
Gabriel’s golden eyes glistened with amusement. “I only have a few friends, Isaiah,” he told him. “But the ones that I do have are worthy of that friendship.”
They all got out of the booth after Gabriel paid for his meal. They headed out onto the street, when River left to get the car.
“I’m happy that you found your mate,” Gabriel believed. “Being an alpha has its ups and downs. But having a home and a family are a gift that help in the time of need. However, having a mate is far beyond a blessing. Cherish her Isaiah, because that’s where the true and final test of being alpha lies.” Gabriel slid on his sunglasses before he returned to the black car, that pulled up to the curb’s side.
Isaiah went to his own car after Gabriel and River departed. Sitting down, he had to take a moment to take in all that Gabriel said to him. No matter how much someone else tried to dispute it, Gabriel Centauri was definitely an honourable alpha. Isaiah respected the man’s focus, determination and sheer-fucking-will to overcome his obstacles as alpha and a businessman. Not many could do what that man does day to day. Isaiah didn’t even begin to imagine the load on that man’s shoulders. Isaiah turned the ignition of his car on and drove back down the lengthy streets returning to his home.