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|Blood Rites(Grey Wolves #2) by Quinn Loftis|
The three wolves joined Jen and Sally. Uncertain of where to sit they all sat right on the floor in front of the bench seat Jen and Sally occupied.
"So are we playing hold 'em?" Skender asked Jen.
Sally snorted as Jen continued to deal the cards. "Hold 'em's for sissies," Jen teased with a wink. "We're playing something a little less civilized."
"What would that be…exactly?" Sorin asked his eyebrows raised and his lips slightly down cast.
"Strip poker, of course," Jen said innocently while all three wolves coughed into their hands. "But remember," she added with a wicked look directed at the brooding wolf sitting behind the other wolves, "no touching."
The low sound that rumbled from Decebel's chest had the other wolves cringing. "Jennifer,” Decebel growled in warning.
"Fine. Strip poker is out, go fish is in." Jen glared at Decebel. "Who invited you to this party, anyways? Can't your invitation be revoked?"
"That only works with vampires, Jennifer." His eyes narrowed.
"Well, it would be a little more convenient if some things were universal in the supernatural world," she snapped.
"Some things are universal. For instance, there isn't a being in existence that couldn't possibly want to take a bite out of your mouthy hide." Decebel winked at her as she sat in mid-shuffle, her mouth dropped open. Sally reached over and pushed Jen's chin up, effectively snapping her mouth closed.
"Jen, how 'bout I just take over the shuffling, k?" Sally cautiously took the deck of cards from her while Jen continued to glare at Decebel.
Fane lay next to a sleeping Jacquelyn as the quiet hum of the plane engine hummed like a lullaby and noticed how much she seemed to have improved after taking his blood twice. The bruise on her cheek had faded to the soft green color they get just before they disappear. He hadn't looked at her back again to see if the claw marks had begun to heal. Fane didn't know if she would have scars or not since she was only half Canis Lupis.
She looked beautiful lying next to him. He gently picked up a lock of her hair and brought it to his face. The soft strands against his skin were like silk and the scent he breathed in from them was like little piece of heaven to him. He couldn't begin to express his thankfulness and joy at having her back with him.
The plane gave a jerk as it ran into turbulence, the disturbance causing Jacquelyn to stir. Fane watched as her eyes fluttered open and then collided with his own. His breath was drawn from his lungs at the softness and love that he saw reflected in Jacquelyn's beautiful emerald eyes. He saw her eyebrows draw together as a questioned formed on her pink lips.
"Why did your parents only have one child?" she asked him.
Fane took a deep breath as he thought about her question. "They tried to have more but my mother kept losing the pregnancies."
"Oh, Fane, I'm sorry. That must have been hard for her." Jacquelyn took his hand and brought it to her lips as she gently kissed his palm.
"You should know, just in case in the future you want to try, it is difficult for our kind to conceive. We don't know why, but it's not common for mates to have more than one or two children."
"Maybe Cynthia could help," she told him as her eyes brightened.
Fane smiled at her forever optimism, but then his eyes narrowed. "Cynthia has a lot to answer for."
"Oh, Fane." Fane watched as Jacquelyn's face softened. "I know what she did was wrong but I understand that she was hurt and angry. She got me out of there and she could have died fighting Logan so that I could get away. Please don't hurt her."
He tilted her chin up so he could look into her eyes. "You really forgive her, even after all you endured?"
Jacquelyn nodded as she searched his face."I forgive her," she said simply.
Fane closed his eyes briefly and pressed his lips gently to hers. "I will discuss it with my father."
He watched her lips turn up and her eyes lighten. "Thank you, wolf-man."
He inclined his head to her, never taking his eyes from hers.
"Jacquelyn, how did things go with your father? I didn't listen in on your conversation with him when you parted ways." Fane's eyes softened and his mouth turned up in a reassuring smile.
"It was okay. He really felt like he needed to get home and talk to his mate about everything. Apparently she doesn't know a thing about me. I'm glad I got to meet him. I'm glad that I know he cares about me but he isn't who I need right now. The time for me to have a father has passed, Fane, and Dillon understands that. He is happy for us and that means a lot to me, but it's my mate that I need now."
Fane leaned forward and kissed her forehead gently as her words seeped into his heart.
"Can I ask you a question?" she asked when he pulled back.
"I could deny you nothing, Luna. Perhaps you will allow me to look at the marks on your back to see if they are healing as quickly as the bruise on your face while you satisfy your curiosity," he bartered.
She rolled onto her stomach and let him pull her shirt up so he could examine her skin.
"Do you ever wonder if the Canis Lupis want a king or Alpha? Do you think that they have ever wanted to be, like, a democracy?"
Fane chuckled as he ran his fingers lightly across the claw marks that were now red slashes, the skin already closed.
"Where did this question come from?" he asked as he pulled her shirt back down.
She rolled back onto her side, her eyes down cast sheepishly. "I'm just really scared that your pack isn't going to want me as their female Alpha. What if they would rather be a democracy than have a half-breed as a leader?"
"There are flaws in your logic, my love." Fane relaxed on his back, his arms folded behind his head. "First, Canis Lupis, like our cousins the natural wolves, thrive under the leadership of an Alpha. Because of our violent and dominating nature we need the leadership and direction of one that is stronger and more in control than each of us. Without an Alpha there would be chaos and anarchy. We aren't human, Jacquelyn, not even you. We would not survive if we tried to live as humans do. The pack will respect you and follow your leadership. You are strong and that is what they look for in a leader. This also explains why a democracy wouldn't work, why Canis Lupis could not elect a leader. Wolves only follow the strong; the leader has to prove he can lead. His strength cannot be based on others' opinions. He has to be able to demonstrate that he is the most dominant and most capable to care for the pack. The female Alpha, by nature's design, comes into this position naturally because she is mated to the Alpha. You were chosen by fate to be my Luna and because of that it proves you are strong enough to lead, strong enough to take control when others would try to bring disarray into the pack."