“She made you kill my brother, Asher. How can you not want this?” I whispered; my hands flush against
his broad chest.
My voice was back to normal, but the sickly veins of darkness crawling up my fingers remained. They'd
gotten further this time around, creeping past my knuckles and onto the tops of my hands.
The Shadows were silent, bloated on Rowena’s blood.
There were no whispers of fixing this because this time, the damage was irreversible.
Sprawled out in the dirt, covered in her own blood, Rowena muttered, “I didn’t make him do anything.”
Asher’s neck cracked as he craned his head to look down at her, a ripple of pure malice wracking his
body and vibrating down the mate- bond. It wasn’t just me whose sanity was hanging by a frayed
thread, but Asher too.
“Believe me, I want her dead and I want her to suffer first, but not at the cost of my mate. Look at your
hands, Lola. Look at yourself.” Asher said in a low voice, one laced with caution.
I kept my eyes locked on his face, even as I shook my head defiantly. There was no turning back this
time. I knew that, and everyone else needed to as well.
“No, none of that matters. I don’t matter. This is the least I can do, Asher. For you, for Sean, for every
person in this pack that I failed. What kind of Luna am I if I don’t do this?” I said through clenched teeth,
begging him to understand whilst fighting back tears.
The pain was too much, squeezing my heart and robbing my lungs of oxygen. The song the darkness
in my veins sang grew louder. It was a melody of temptation and promise, one that spoke to the
blackest parts of my soul until my fingers twitched with the urge to finish what I'd started.
Asher’s stare was locked on my face, his skin pale as he scoured my eyes feverishly. The fear in his
expression made me wonder if he’d seen something flash in my eyes, or if he'd felt the darkness
currently poisoning my soul.
His large, calloused hands found my face.
They cradled my cheeks like I was the most precious, fragile thing he'd ever seen.
“Do not ever say that.” Asher urged, his voice dangerously calm. “None of this is your fault.”
It was easy for him to say that, to absolve me of my role in this mess while also condemning himself.
Well, I refused to have it. He needed to know how I felt, that
I was torn in two by Sean’s death, but not because it had been his body that did the horrible act.
“It's not your fault either, Asher.” I blinked up at him, seeing the refusal in his eyes as clearly as the
bond between us.
He never bothered responding, and instead turned to Tristan. He gave the blonde Vampire, whose
gaze had not once left my face, a long look before nodding down at Rowena. Her scarlet hair was
matted with blood, sprawled out in the dirt where she laid.
“Take her to one of the cells.” Asher commanded, though not harshly.
Tristan slid his eyes from me to Rowena, a dark smile toying at the corners of his lips. “Don’t mind if I
With the gentleness of a feral, rabid animal, he yanked Rowena off of the ground and slung her over
She cried out when his shoulder slammed into her stomach, her face contorting in pain. I didn’t bother
hiding how much I enjoyed the sound.
Asher’s attention flickered to Zeke, then to the witch practically clinging to his side.
“Does this one need to be put in a cell too?” Asher asked, and much to my surprise the question was
not directed at Zeke, but at me.
Tessa's eyes flashed with fear, and rightfully so. Anyone with half a brain could see the shadows on
Asher's face, darkening around his eyes and in the hollows of his cheeks. He was on edge.
Hell, we all were.
“No, she doesn’t need a cell.” I replied, staring Tessa down. “I don’t think I’m going to be trusting
anyone for a long time, but she could’ve joined Rowena or helped her attack me. She did neither, and
helped heal Zeke. So, as far as I’m concerned, she’s alright for the time being.”
Tessa's shoulders slumped in relief, and as I paid closer attention to the two of them, I noticed Zeke’s
did as well.
“I'll keep an eye on her.” Zeke exhaled.
As Tessa looked up at him, there was a sparkle in her eyes that I latched onto immediately. They had
the same emerald tint as Rowena’s, only Tessa’s wasn’t as vibrant. Hers was laced with brown, rich,
and deep, like the earth had given up a piece of itself to aid in her creation.
An errant thought crossed my mind, one I hadn’t paid much attention to considering I was practically
frothing at the mouth at the thought of torturing Rowena.
“The prison was broken into. I’m not sure how bad the damage is, but are you sure it’s a good idea to
bring Rowena there?” I asked Asher.
“I have some men clearing the mess out and removing the bodies.” His voice was tight with pain, an
emotion I understood far too well.
“I can help get answers out of her.” I said, wanting more than anything to be the one that carved them
from her mind.
Asher shook his head, as I knew he would. “No magic, Lola. We do this the old- fashioned way.”
The song slicing through my veins, boiling the blood that flowed through them until it blackened, took
on a shrill tone.
‘We don’t need his permission,’ it seemed to say.
“Fine.” I muttered, pain spiking in my jaw from how hard I clenched it. “But I’m still helping.”
With Tessa, Zeke, and Breyona following behind, Asher and I headed to the prison where Tristan was
waiting with a semi- conscious Rowena.
Giovanni made it there before us, having swung by the hospital to grab some Hemlock from Clara. I
reigned in my reaction when the curly-haired Vampire leaned down and whispered in my ear, letting me
know that grandma was safe and on the mend.
As relieved as I was, I didn’t want to think about her or dad. Their faces made the hole in my chest
ache, and right now, my attention was needed elsewhere.
Rowena was placed in one of the cells deepest within the prison, several layers beneath the ground.
The moment we entered the observation room, which was identical to all the others with it's metal table
and chairs, I spotted her a mere ten feet away in her cell.
The chair she sat in was bolted to the ground, impossible to move. There were thick leather straps
around her wrists and ankles, holding her in place. While she looked a wreck, still covered in blood with
her auburn hair tangled around her shoulders, there was a cocky smile in place that I wanted to carve
As soon as the thick, metal door of
Rowena’s cell swung open and Asher and I stepped inside, she started talking. For moral support, and
another familiar face to keep me from plummeting off the deep end, I motioned for Breyona to follow.
Rowena wrinkled her pert nose at the three of us. “I’ve never been a fan of blood -well, my own blood,
anyway. Asked your damned questions and if I feel inclined to answer them, I will.”
“How did you get Asher to kill three werewolves?” I asked straight off the bat, no hesitation.
Breyona gasped softly, looking at the two of us in shock. “It...it was Asher all along?”
“Not consciously.” I said, immediately coming to my mate’s defense. Asher stiffened, but that didn’t stop
me from lacing our fingers together. “He'd never knowingly harm his own people.”
“No, of course not. I didn’t mean...” She blinked at Asher, shaking her head. “We all know he’d never.”
Rowena smirked at the three of us, clearly enjoying the after affects of the damage she caused. The
longer I stared at her, looking into eyes that once held such kindness-kindness I compared to my
grandma of all people—the more I wanted to lash out and tear the secrets from her mind.
Her eyes drifted down to my hands just as my fingers twitched.
“Like I said, I wasn’t the one who made him do anything.” She attempted to shrug, but I imagined it was
hard to do so when your arms were strapped down.
“The other witch then.” I snapped, clenching my hands into fists that I hid behind my back. “How did
she do it? How did she curse him?”
Rowena made a sound that resembled a hum, resting her head against the back of the chair.
“You should really be careful who you let close. Curses are pesky things, really. All you need is a drop
of blood, perhaps a hair or two, and something to bind the curse to the victim.” She said before leaning
in, the hint of a sultry smile toying at her lips. Jutting her chin at Breyona, she purred, “... maybe it’s that
one over there.”
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