Home > Asher (Wolves of Winter's Edge #3)(4)

Asher (Wolves of Winter's Edge #3)(4)
Author: T.S. Joyce

Asher picked up a vase from the table by the door and chucked it at where Dad had stood. It shattered against the wall, but didn’t make Asher feel any better. The darkness was still swallowing him up.

Outside sounded the soft rumble of Ashlyn’s car starting up.

Blaire hadn’t really answered the phone. She couldn’t. She was out in the woods of Winter’s Edge, running as a wolf with Gentry, Roman, and Mila. Asher had just pretended, and then instantly regretted it when he saw the hurt on Ashlyn’s face. She must be one of Blaire’s friends to show the slap of betrayal on her pretty face like that.

Pretty face, pretty color. Blue like her eyes. Chestnut-brown hair streaked with little honey-colored highlights. Side swept bangs covering one of her eyes. She had this direct way of looking at him that made him uncomfortable and excited all at once. It made him feel like she would see him and maybe he should hide. But it also made him want to step out of the shadows and into the light so she could tell what kind of monster he really was. He wanted to test her and see how fast she fled from him. Silly human wouldn’t survive long if she had no instincts against barging into the lair of a beast. He snorted at the thought of her demanding hot chocolate in that harmless, sexy voice of hers. Pissed-off kitten demanding milk from a demon. A smile began to stretch his lips, but he stopped it. It was dangerous to be amused by that pretty little creature. Dangerous for her.

He was The Taker, and she would be The Giver, and he could ruin her life with the flick of his fingers.

She’s important.

To Blaire maybe. Not to Asher. Nothing was important to him.

Lie, his inner wolf snarled.

Asher let off a long, low growl. Dark Wolf was overstepping boundaries. He was growing soft around Roman and Gentry. Around Blaire and Mila. He was connecting with living things in a way he shouldn’t. Nothing survived him. Asher needed to leave soon, but first, he would bring in the wolves because the thought of Ashlyn waiting out in the car in the cold was something he suddenly couldn’t stomach.

Disturbed by that inconvenient instinct, he opened the back door and jogged down the slick stairs, then knelt at the edge of the dark tree line. He could call them in with a howl. He could force their Changes and drag their unwilling bodies right to him in a matter of moments. Power like that drained him, though, and he had to be careful with The Taker. Especially with something so tempting sitting in the parking lot while blaring—Asher tilted his head and strained his ears—Backstreet Boys? She was singing every word, too. Nice voice, but she was punching out each word at the top of her lungs.

God, what a mess. A beautifully dangerous mess.

Asher knelt in the snow and touched the cold ground with the flats of his palms. Inhaling deeply, he rolled his eyes closed and searched for them. Ears straining, senses stretching, he was flying over the woods. The trees glowed blue, and the ghosts stood stock still, scattered among them. He followed trails and tracks, faster and faster until he could feel them close. Mila and Blaire were playing. White wolf. Gray wolf. Glowing, transparent like the ghosts, but they were still alive. He could feel them. They always made him hungry, but he would never hurt them. He would cut The Taker from his veins before he drained them. They were good. Angels in wolf forms. The girls had earned his fealty. The fealty of the biggest demon. Lucky them. Gentry and Roman were fighting fifty yards away from the girls. Ripping into each other, they were serious. Always serious. Wolves like Strikers needed blood and pain to stay steady. That was Mom’s bloodline that had done that to them. The blood that sprayed the snow looked black from way up here above the trees.

Time to bring them home.

Home. The vision wavered as Asher frowned. Home was Hell, not these woods. He forced himself to cling to the vision harder, to focus, and then he dove toward the earth like a missile until he hit the snow and blasted into a cloud of black smoke.

Come back to 1010. Now.

Yeah, he’d given them an order. He used to be more careful, but fuck it all, they knew he was messed up. He’d let his façade slip too much in recent weeks. They knew he could order them around and control them like he was a real alpha. He wasn’t, though. He was just king of the monsters.

Asher opened his eyes and smiled as a long howl lifted into the air. Gentry was pissed.

He stood and made his way through the woods, brushing his fingertips against tree after tree, pulling from their life-forces until he felt sated. One of the trees splintered at the lower trunk and fell immediately, crashing through the woods and landing on a smaller pine at an angle. Good. Firewood.

Dusting snow from his hands, Asher made his way in through the back door of 1010. Fuckin’ house. Roman and Gentry had decided Asher needed to be the one to live here while he stayed in Rangeley. They said he needed whatever magic mojo Dad had been convinced this place had. He knew what it was, though. Gentry was trying to distance himself from Dad’s memory by living with his mate Blaire in one of the smaller cabins instead of Dad’s old house. And Roman knew the damn place was haunted by Dad’s ghost and thought if he lived with Mila in the middle cabin, Dad would leave him alone. Sucker. Thanks to a boring afterlife, Dad had nothing better to do now than stand around and stare at them, Roman included. Gentry was so fucking lucky he didn’t see ghosts. All he got from his lineage was a wolf that was separate from his human side. Boo-fuckin’-hoo.

Asher had a separate wolf, saw ghosts like Roman, had easy access to black magic, and had The Taker. His life revolved around trying not to kill everything in his path. But good for Gentry and Roman for shacking up with some great girls. Asher snarled and slammed the back door behind him. Why the hell was he envying them? It wasn’t like he could ever have that. He couldn’t have pretty things. Pretty things turned gray and ugly in his hands.

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