Chapter 15: Blazing Inferno
“It was a beautiful ceremony,” Ashley said as they reached their room. “Thank god the storm didn’t hit us tonight or I don’t know what we would have done-” Ashley walked over to turn the lights on in the room- “I may have been nervous in the beginning but once the ceremony started I was doing fine. Although, I think the champagne helped me a lot with that-”
Isaiah locked the door behind him. Ashley walked everywhere in the room, except to the spot where he was standing. A small smile crept up his lips because he gathered that Ashley was definitely nervous, that’s why she was too busy chatting away about the weather or the food during the dinner. Their wedding was abrupt and quick, but that’s how Isaiah and Ashley wanted it to be. They didn’t feel the need to drag it out for weeks or months. They arranged a small lunar ceremony on the property with close friends and the entire pack. Isaiah wasn’t a romantic, but even he admitted that this night truly was magical. When he stood with Zeiden, Ronin and Adrik at the altar, his gaze froze on Ashley who was dressed to perfection in a beautiful white dress. His eyes feasted off her gorgeous face and her radiant smile, that made his heart skip a beat.
Isaiah had seen a lot during his time, but he had never quite seen anything like Ashley. She stood proudly next to his brother, who had walked her down the aisle to Isaiah. He couldn’t have picked anyone better than Lazarus, since he was the one that convinced Isaiah to be with Ashley.
“The Centauri pack were truly a sight to behold when they stand together,” said Ashley as she pulled the remaining clips from her hair. “No one could take their eyes off them. I was surprised that all of them could make it in such a short time, especial Gabriel. He seems like a gentleman despite all the gossip.”
“Gabriel and his pack aren’t like everyone else,” believed Isaiah because he had met each and every one of them.
Ashley took her diamond earrings off next and placed them on the table next to the bed. “They all seemed a bit tense though,” she said. “I wonder what that was all about?”
“They’re always a bit on edge,” said Isaiah.
“Well, everyone had fun. So, I guess that’s all that matters in the end,” she clapped her hands together.
Isaiah sauntered around the bed and stood right in front of Ashley. “You’re nervous,” he bemused.
Ashley took a deep breath. “No, I’m not,” she said which wasn’t very persuasive. He closed the space between them. “Er- I…” she lost track of her words as he approached.
“Tell me,” he whispered as his arm circled around her waist. “You, what?”
Ashley’s flustered eyes dropped from his eyes and landed on his lips. She couldn’t put it in words, but Isaiah could always trust her body to tell him the truth, that was inside of her heart. Isaiah towered over her, his hand surrounded her nape and he tilted her head back for her to receive his kiss. The slow tantalizing dance of their tongues lulled them into a dream. Isaiah couldn’t see or feel anything besides his mate who was aroused, in his arms, and all to himself.
Ashley drew back from his lips, breathless and flushed, she turned away from him. Isaiah’s eyes dropped to her bare back, his hand inched closer to her warm ivory skin, the backs of his fingers caressed the soft skin. Isaiah trailed down her spine to the small zipper, that was the only piece of security that held this delicate gown together- apart from the thin straps hooked on her shoulders. He pulled the zipper down without hesitating because he craved her body and soul to be his tonight and forever. Isaiah pushed the straps of her gown off the curve of her delicate shoulders, letting the silk spill onto the floor around her heeled feet. She stood alone in a white negligee looking like a gift for him to unwrap and explore.
Isaiah had sensed it all night, his wolf was ripping through him to get to his mate. The need to mark, claim and consume was strong inside his wolf and himself. The dark arousal masked the romantic night that they had prepared for themselves. Isaiah just hoped that he could make to the bed without marking Ashley and taking her body.
Ashley lifted her arms and moved her golden hair to one side of her neck. Isaiah clenched his jaw when he realized that she read him like an open book. Offering herself to him, a surge of blaring hot craving coursed through his muscles. Isaiah splayed his hand on her stomach, he pulled her back to his body and pressed them close, perfectly molded to each other. His head dropped and his lips kissed down the length of her neck, that was sweet and sensual for his eyes to feast upon. The urge in his wolf grew as Isaiah’s teeth grazed the supple skin, that tasted like ripe cherries. His shaft hardened in his pants and he needed to be released from the restraints.
“Isaiah…” his name was a mere whisper off her glossy lips, but he heard her, he always did and forever would, because it was physically impossible for him to not hear her angelic voice calling out.
His teeth sank into her skin and marked her possessively with unwavering greed, like he was going to do all night on her entire body, that belonged to him and him alone. “You looked so beautiful tonight,” he whispered. He licked over the sting of his mark, his hand collared her throat. “All I wanted to do was kiss you, hold you in my arms and never let you go,” his smooth voice turned into a growl.
Ashley faced him, her hand rested over his heart, that was beating erratically. Her blue eyes had darkened with the same feral need to claim Isaiah.
“Take my shirt off, Ashley,” he instructed.
Ashley unbuttoned his shirt, he watched her long lashes lower with each button. Isaiah placed his hands over her curvy hips and guided her back to the bed. She peeled off his shirt and discarded it on the floor along with her extravagant heels.
Isaiah kissed the corner of her lips, his hands roamed freely over her body that had healed from all injuries. But the angry, red scars tainted her shoulder and the juncture of her neck, which maddened Isaiah above anything else. Ashley always reassured him that it was fine and that the scars never bothered her, perhaps they really didn’t. But they were like daggers in Isaiah’s heart every time he laid his eyes on them. They tarnished his mate’s beautiful body and gave her horrible memories, which he couldn’t prevent from happening, and it was a reminder to him of his failure to protect her.
Isaiah lowered his head and laid his lips on the scar on her shoulder. Her fingers combed through his short thick hair, which he had cut for the wedding, the sides were still shaved but he had cut off his wolf tail, the rest was raked back away from his face like he always had it. Although, the irritably shorter strands repeatedly fell in his eyes, but Ashley had grown fond of pushing those tenacious strands away from his face.
“You get so sweet every time you see those scars,” she said with solace in her voice. “I told you there’s no need to feel guilty.”
Isaiah kissed up to the second more fatal scar on her neck. “It’s more anger that I feel now,” he corrected.
Ashley wrapped her leg over his waist, so his hard shaft landed directly over her scorching hot core. His strong arms were propelled so she was caged within him. “Don’t feel anything except this,” she whispered against his lips, her tongue boldly swiped across his bottom lip acting like a kitten who had found catnip. Isaiah buckled over her because he couldn’t resist her anymore. He pushed off and stripped off the rest of their clothes in hurried seconds. Their clothes met the floor in piled heaps completely discarded that the clothes were worth several hundreds of dollars.
Their bodies entangled and they didn’t feel anything expect the rush to feel each other’s skin, hands and lips. The heat blared around them which felt like ambrosia from the pleasant scent. Isaiah kissed and marked Ashley, her nails raked the muscles of his back marking him too. They both didn’t see anything beyond the other. Breathless and aroused in each other, Isaiah let all control go and gave in to his mate who had become his wife too. He hadn’t even realized that he had no control over his wolf tonight, they were both blinded by their Ashley’s scent and taste that they gave up trying to break the other down.
Aching and exhausted, Isaiah’s eyes opened to the cool blue light of winter’s dawn. The bedroom was dark and the only light was from under the closed curtains. Isaiah had only slept for a mere hour after they both had collapsed from their long mating. Isaiah’s blurry eyes cleared and he noticed that he was sleeping over Ashley; his legs tangled in hers and his arms caged around her like she was some teddy bear. Ashley didn’t seem to mind that he was practically asleep on top of her, although Isaiah didn’t even know himself that he was a cuddlier.
Pulling his arms and legs away, his body awakened in extreme heat reacting Ashley’s thick scent, that was entwined with his own. His wolf and him both had woken up to Ashley’s scent that was worse than any drug to them, and if Isaiah hadn’t left the room, then he would’ve taken her despite being with her all night. Isaiah kissed Ashley’s cheek before he rolled off the bed and sauntered into the bathroom to freshen up.
Isaiah returned to the room finding Ashley soundly asleep on her stomach, her entire back exposed to the cool morning air. Isaiah shrugged on a sweater and track-pants before he came to her bedside. On her smooth white skin were his teeth marks that did a thorough job of marking her to him. Isaiah grabbed the heavy blanket and covered her before he left for a run letting her rest some more. His wolf growled at Isaiah for leaving his mate alone, but Isaiah needed to burn off his wolf’s temperament before it got out of control. Isaiah didn’t want to attack Ashley again especially since last night he didn’t hold back.
The morning air was cool and brittle, but the sweater Isaiah had on was enough to handle the quiet cold. He continued down the forest path that had a clear trail without any snow. Isaiah’s rapid breath fogged in front of him as his agile feet paced themselves for the long run.
It wasn’t long before Isaiah froze on the trail; it was faint, but he heard the noise of snow crushing behind him. Isaiah raked his hair and turned to face the intruder, that dared to sneak up on him. In the icy air that swept across the tall trees, a scent that made him grin carried through. Isaiah’s gaze assessed the surroundings, when a golden wolf appeared on the path that he was on. A lean, elegant wolf strolled down the path joining his side. Isaiah bent down to one knee and faced those blue eyes that deepened to a sapphire blue. He laid his hand out on her snout, a pink tongue poked out and licked him.
Isaiah smiled warmly without even realizing it. This was the first time he had seen Ashley’s wolf form. The golden wolf’s tail wagged out of excitement. She jumped around him as they both walked down the path together. Isaiah caressed his hand through her thick winter coat, that kept her snug during this season.
“I would transform with you,” he said wearily, “but my wolf is on edge all the time, especially right now.” The wolf’s head tilted and it was then he saw Ashley grinning up at him, like a tease that she was. Isaiah shook his head. “He’s a dangerous wolf, Ashley,” he warned her. Ashley’s wolf lifted her head stubbornly, a low gruff challenged Isaiah. His wolf clawed inside of him to let him out, Isaiah didn’t have an ounce of strength to subdue his wolf, so he let go and gave in to Ashley’s wolf.
An iron grey wolf jumped into the air with a howl. Those infamous steel grey eyes met those of his mate for the first time. Ashley’s wolf didn’t run away or get scared, instead she moved right into the ferocious wolf’s side. She ran her body along his thick fur, nudging him over for kicks. The grey wolf wasn’t uneasy or careful, because he knew that his mate would never reject or be revolted by him no matter what happened. The golden wolf led him through a run down the trail, it was exhilarating for them to be together and alone in a forest. Blood pumped through the grey wolf as he ran with great speed next to his mate. He could have gone faster, but he wanted to stay by her side more. When they reached the frozen lake, they rested for a drink. The iron wolf watched intently as his mate dipped her tongue into the icy cold water to wet her parched throat.
The golden wolf’s sapphire eyes lifted from the water. Enjoyment was clear in her eyes, when she noticed that the grim wolf circled around her. The golden wolf sauntered around the stones and over to her mate. Playfully, she pawed the smug grin from his face. He growled when she had done that, but that’s what he deserved for being such a brute around her. The golden wolf marched away when suddenly the grey wolf pushed her over onto the pile of fluffy snow. Using her hind legs, she pushed off the grey wolf and they both tumbled down the hill together. But the grey wolf had faster agility than her, using his trained and muscular body, he stopped both of them from falling down too far down the hill. Pressed in the snow, the golden wolf opened her eyes to find the grey wolf’s jaw locked around her neck, warning her to make a move.
The nerve of him, Ashley’s wolf spoke to her through her mind.
Ashley’s stomach fluttered. Isn’t he just so precious? she asked her wolf.
Her wolf rolled her eyes. You love anything about this man.
That’s true, remarked Ashley with a chuckle. I won’t tell you to play nice, since you already accepted him. But don’t be too rough on him.
I won’t promise anything, said her wolf who was barring her sharp canines to the Isaiah’s wolf. Ashley stepped back and let her wolf enjoy their time together.
The grey wolf retracted his fangs and shifted over her wolf. The grey wolf moved quick, he had only tricked the golden wolf into thinking that he had retreated into submission. But he was just trying to get a better grip over her. His heavy paws held her down as his teeth barred and bit down, marking the golden wolf to him. Blazing heat swam around them. Their scents entwined and their mating had intensified even more than they ever could have imagined.
Ashley’s body burned alive inside her wolf. The marking had awakened her senses and she was reaching her heat. The golden wolf was agile on her feet as she led them back to the property with the grey wolf hot on her tail.
They reached the back door to the house, when they sifted back. Isaiah towered over her, his brand shoulders blocking out everything around her. Isaiah couldn’t see or feel anything expect the thrill of her body against his. He knew that no one had woken up yet, so he carried her back to their bedroom to be alone with each other. But they were covered in dirt and snow which had melted into cold water on their heated skin.
“Your wolf was lovely,” she smiled sweetly when he let her down on her two feet.
Isaiah fastened the lock on the door so they wouldn’t be interrupted by anyone for the whole day. Well, that was what he hoped for. “I’ve never felt him be so relaxed before,” he said. “My wolf enjoyed running with yours.”
“Mine did too,” she said as she entered the bathroom. Her curvy silhouette was outlined by the cool light of the bathroom.
Isaiah followed her to the bathroom too since they both had to clean up from the run. “How did you know I was outside?”
Her gaze lifted and she looked at him with her endearing eyes through the reflection of the mirror. “I saw you leave with your workout clothes on,” she said. “I remembered how hard you like to exercise and came looking for you.”
Isaiah smiled when he remembered how she daringly seduced him in the gym downstairs. “You worked me pretty hard that day too,” he sighed.
“I remember that day very clearly, Isaiah,” she chuckled, “and I unmistakably recall that you worked me to the bone.”
Isaiah came up from behind, his arms circled around her and his lips found the mark his wolf had left on her. The mark was intense and deep; it bound Ashley to him and everyone could now sense it from a mile away.
Ashley leaned into him, her smile wrapped his gut in knots just like it had when he first met her. She turned to the side, wrapped her hair in a bun, and turned the faucet over the large tub on. Rushing, hot water filled the marble basin rapidly. She poured a bunch of flowery oils into the water, that made him laugh, since he was most likely to smell like springtime at the end of the bath. After she got in, Isaiah slipped in behind her, her small back rested on his chest and she nestled between his legs. She let out of moan when the water soothed her muscles, that were sore and aching like his own were after their wedding night.
Ashley rested her head back on his shoulder. “Were you worried earlier?” she asked softly.
Although his eyes were closed, he knew that her gaze was on him. “About what?”
“That I was with your wolf,” she said. “Did it worry you?”
Isaiah stiffened behind her. “Yeah…it did,” he professed.
The water around him sloshed. “Why?” she asked harmlessly.
Isaiah’s eyes then opened and he found her facing him with a pout, that he so badly wanted to kiss off her lips. “Because he could have hurt you,” he said despairingly, wondering what she would say about him or his wolf.
She tilted her head. “Do you really believe that your wolf can hurt me?”
“I didn’t want to take that chance with you,” he laid his hand on her cheek, that she leaned into like it was a reflex. “I never want to hurt you-”
“Neither does your wolf-”
“You don’t know that,” said Isaiah.
Ashley’s smiled, she sloshed back to her previous position and rested back against his chest again. “Just like how you could never hurt me, your wolf is the same,” she said, “I trust both of you with all my heart.”
Isaiah’s heart tightened in his chest, he looked down at her small form that was leaning on him for support, but she didn’t understand how much he leaned on her. Those simple words sank into his body and erased the dread that he carried around with him all his life. Isaiah’s wolf was never to be trifled with, but Ashley was someone who treated his wolf like he was some grumpy puppy. Isaiah lifted his arms that were resting on the edge of the tub and hugged Ashley.
“I love you,” he caressed her ear with his lips. His arm rested underneath the weight of her plump breasts. “It still surprises me that you chose to mate with someone like me.”
Ashley securely lounged in his arms. “There was no one else for me,” she told him. “The moment I laid my eyes on you, I fell in love. You see, no man has ever helped me with my car before, it was a huge turn on.”
Isaiah laughed with her. He tilted her head back and he kissed her long and slow. His tongue entered through her lips and he deepened their kiss, the tantalizing taste of Ashley bloomed in his chest and every muscle in his body hardened. The bath did nothing to relax his body, that had turned to iron once again at the feel of his mate’s body. She felt his hard arousal against her butt, Isaiah smelt her excitement darken and intensify like an uncontrollable flame. Isaiah lifted them out of the tub and he took her to the bed, where he’d feast on her body that she had so sweetly entrusted to him.
The bright sun showered tons of light over the property after dawn had passed. The couple hadn’t gotten any sleep after they had gotten out of the bath- not that any of them were complaining. Isaiah laid back with Ashley straddling his waist, her fingers tracing over the tattoos on his abdomen. The sun warmed them as it blanketed over their naked bodies.
“Why’d you get so many tattoos?” she asked him.
Isaiah opened his closed eyes, he realized that he was so relaxed that his eyes had naturally closed. Isaiah could lie and tell her that he liked tattoos, which he did grow to like over time. But he wanted to tell her the real reason he had gotten them to cover his entire body. “I wanted to cover the scars my father gave me,” he told her truthfully.
Ashley’s blue eyes saddened. She licked her lips and looked down at his body, her eyes tracing where the faint marks were visible even through the thick black ink. “I know I never met your father, but I can’t help but say that was a terrible man,” she said.
Isaiah chuckled. “That’s an understatement when it comes to that man,” he said.
Ashley leaned down and laid her soft lips on the scar on the middle of his chest, surprising him of the soft gentleness he felt on the scar, even though they held his worst memories. “I’m sorry you had to go through all that alone,” her warm honey voice melted Isaiah’s stone-cold body. “If it was up to me, I would’ve snatched you away from him and taken you somewhere safe.”
Isaiah bit back the smile on his face. “You’re doing enough now,” he said. “You make that time feel like it never happened. And trust me, that’s not easy for me to admit.”
Ashley’s blue eyes exposed every ounce of love she had for him. “I’m glad then,” she said chirpily. “You deserve to be happy and so does your pack-”
“Our pack,” he corrected.
“Our pack-” she leaned in to kiss him, when suddenly, there was a loud knock on the door. Isaiah almost broke into his wolf form to kill whoever interrupted them.
“Come eat, lovebirds!” It was Lazarus’s voice that boomed through the closed door.
Isaiah rolled his eyes. “They’ll keep coming back if we don’t go,” he predicted grouchily.
Ashley quickly kissed his lips and hopped off his legs towards his closet. Everyone was too busy to move all her clothes into this room, which they would get to eventually, he supposed. Isaiah lifted his legs off the bed and planted his bare feet on the cold floor. He didn’t really want to leave the room or the bed far from Ashley, but she needed food if he going to keep Ashley…occupied.
“Can I borrow this?” she asked when she walked out dressed in his grey sweater, that reached low on her thighs and the arms were way too long, but she had rolled them up.
Isaiah laid his hand on the small of her back. “Keep it,” he said huskily. Isaiah pulled on a black shirt and a loose pair of silk slacks.
Ashley smiled with her teeth and she cleverly winked at him. “I just might,” she warned. “I like that your smells all over it.” She went up on her tippy toes, but she still didn’t reach his lips since he was over six foot.
Ashley’s closed eyes made him smile endearingly. Instead of his lips, Isaiah laid his hand on her puckered lips. “If I kiss you then I’ll want to take you again,” he forewarned. Ashley gaped at him for his brashness. “And seeing you in my sweater is already turning me on.”
Ashley’s lovely, feminine laugh continued all the way down the stairs, and even until they reached the kitchen where everyone had gathered right on time. “Good morning, everyone,” she greeted them with a beaming smile, that they noticeably couldn’t match for some reason. “What happened to all of you?” she frowned when she saw their paled expressions.
“Zeiden thought it was a good idea to place a bet,” groaned Ronin who had a pair of sunglasses on even though they were inside.
“It wasn’t my idea alone,” growled Zeiden as he lifted his head off the table. “Lazarus was in on it just as much as me.”
“But I can handle my liquor,” said Lazarus over the rim of his coffee cup. “You boys should’ve given up when I told you to.”
“And lose to you,” scoffed Ronin. “No, thanks, pal.”
Ashley took a seat on the chair between them. “What was the wager?” she asked. “And don’t tell me it was something ridiculous involving Isaiah and me again.”
All the men exchanged a weary look. “No,” answered Zeiden first. “It had nothing to do with you two.”
“Riiight,” said Ronin. “We were just bored and wanted to pass time.”
Adrik was seated drinking his own cup of coffee looking rather amused at them. Isaiah returned to her side with their own cups of coffee to fight off the morning fatigue.
“Thank you,” she said as she grabbed the warm cup and welcomed the sweet, savoury beverage. The first sip poured down her throat and hit a different spot, that always put a small smile on her lips. “Lazarus, you really have a gift of making coffee,” she smiled over the cup at the beta.
Lazarus smirked. “Thanks,” he said. “I made pancakes for breakfast. If you want anything else I can-”
“No,” she shook her head. “Pancakes sound lovely.” She got out of her seat and helped him arrange the plates and maple syrup and whipped cream. Adrik helped her cut the strawberries and wash the blueberries. Ashley poured all of them more coffee before she returned to her seat.
Isaiah helped her settle next to him as the kitchen filled with their chatter, and the noise of their busy hands over the full table of food. He brought all of his brothers Aspirin to fight off their hangovers, that they so stupidly gave themselves with some ridiculous bet, that he was sure was undoubtedly about Ashley and him. Isaiah enjoyed the pancakes as much as everyone around the table, but after the third one, he couldn’t stomach anymore. He simple leaned back on the chair with his arm behind Ashley, drinking his dark roast coffee, which conquered the sweet maple syrup from the pancakes.
Silently, he observed the group of people around the table. It had taken years for all of them to achieve this kind of luxury and undisturbed state. Isaiah wasn’t an expert, but he definitely felt the difference in all of the men. None of them were on the edge, ready to collapse or break from the weight of their past anymore. From what they all looked like a couple of months ago, they were very different people now.
Isaiah’s eyes lifted off his cup and glanced over to his mate, who looked radiant under the bright light of the sun coming from the window behind Ronin. She had a warm smile as she talked to all of them, and just like she made Isaiah feel complete, he was sure it was the same for the others too.
The alpha-female of the Iron Blood pack had five dangerous and trained wolves to protect her now and forever. Usually, an alpha wolf would ask or fight for their pack’s support and loyalty, but not Ashley. Without a single word, her smile had sealed all of their resolute allegiance to her, that much Isaiah was sure about. Ashley Hartling had become a part of their pack from the moment she had brought them breakfast, and she had given him a bouquet of flowers. To this day, he never forgot the sensation he felt when she had smiled and gifted him flowers. Isaiah bit back his smile when he realized that he had fallen in love with her from that moment on.
The people in this room was his family now. Isaiah had fought and bleed to crawl out of the hell that his father created for him. However, those years were in the past and Isaiah had built a new life for himself and for his brothers. Ashley had opened her arms and accepted them despite their lack of upbringing to be anything except normal. They may have scars and were a little rough around the edges, but they were a family to each other. And in the end, that’s all that mattered to the wolves in the kitchen.
Isaiah rested back under the warmth of the sun, and the laughter around the table keeping him calm, which had been happening quite often, ever since he met his bubbly and bright mate. Isaiah couldn’t believe that his mate would end up to be someone like Ashley, but it had, and he couldn’t have chosen better. Ashley was the centre of his life now, nothing mattered to him more than her love for him and her smile. Isaiah promised to keep her safe and he would bring Hell to anyone that tries to hurt his mate. It was a dark destiny that he lived all this time, but meeting Ashley made it all worth it in the end.