Shades of Betrayal
Ashley had me off balance from the first time I met her at the club months before. She was outgoing and vibrant, but not in an obnoxious way like so many other women. Her comments were thought-provoking, and her smart mouth had me envisioning what else she could do with her full red lips. Those images were far too dangerous for my taste, and I had known immediately that I needed to keep my distance.
When Ashley was turned Fae, I was ordered to introduce her to our way of life. I had anticipated her to be distraught and withdrawn—she had been anything but. Ashley was level-headed, confident, and everything I didn’t want her to be.
Contrary to the wishes of every fiber of my being, she intrigued me. She wasn’t afraid of the darkness surrounding her like most would be. I had known another woman who was also tenacious to a fault and courageous beyond reason, and she was dead. Losing Raisa left me uninterested in maintaining any meaningful female relationships in my life. I’d made it a habit to single out the vapid ones—happy to please and easy to walk away from. That had been my life for a long time, and I had no desire to change.
I appreciated Ashley’s natural beauty and strength of conviction, but that didn’t mean I was interested in being with her. I enjoyed fine works of art, but I didn’t need to own them. Not that what I thought or felt mattered anyway—if she ever saw beneath my surface, knew the things I’d done, she wouldn’t want anything to do with me.
It was a fact, and just one of the many reasons I should have kept my distance. Too bad Lochlan hadn’t gotten that memo. No matter how much I argued, he seemed hell-bent on ignoring my advice. He was my leader, so despite my objections, if he ordered me to do something, I would do it. I was nothing if not disciplined.
My moral compass may have had its own unique settings, but I lived by that code and the rules of the Hunt unerringly. Only once had my own personal code conflicted with my loyalties to my brothers, and that incident had been buried centuries ago.