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|Fate and Fury(Grey Wolves #6) by Quinn Loftis|
It was Jen’s singing that finally broke the silence as the words to Leaving on a Jet Plane–Jen style of course, rang out into the gradually lightening forest.
“All our crap is packed, we’re ready to go,
We’re standing here moving too slow,
I hate to tell you all to get in gear.
But the dawn is breakin’, it’s early morn,
The troll is waiting, he’s scratching his horn,
If you going any slower I will die
If you kiss me I’ll kick your ass,
Shove you into the grass,
Let’s just get the show on the road
‘Cause we’re leaving, coming or not,
Can’t leave our men left to rot.
O’Crap, we need to go.
By the time Jen was finished with her rendition of the song, the urgency was still there, but instead of the solemnness as its company, now hope had taken root.
“I don’t know how you do it,” Peri said, shaking her head.
“It’s simple,” Jen told her. “You just pick a song and go with it. I believe my versions are always better than the originals.”
“That’s just because you use explicit words in yours and questionable content,” Sally chuckled.
“That is definitely a bonus.”
They were all finally packed and ready to go. They stood staring at each other, and steeling themselves for what was to come.
“I have another song for this moment, shall I share?” Jen asked.
A collective, “NO,” rang out among them.
Jen held her hands up in surrender, muttering under her breath. “Good grief. Let a prego chick down gently.”
The group had just begun walking when they heard a small whimper coming from the direction Jacque occupied. They all froze, waiting in rapt silence to hear it again. After a few moments, they heard what sounded like another whimper. Sally and Rachel were the first to reach Jacque’s side, and they both instantly laid their hands on her. They closed their eyes and tried, like they had so many times before, to push through the shield that was keeping them out of Jacque’s mind. But, there was no resistance this time. They slipped right in and what they saw amazed them. They saw a cage with a writhing, living darkness trapped inside. It was as if Jacque had pushed the evil from her mind and locked it up. Sally and Rachel called to her, drawing her back from the place where her wolf had taken her to protect her. Slowly, they felt her coming to consciousness until finally she opened her eyes.
Jacque looked up at eight pair of eyes staring, hopefully, down at her. She drew in a painful breath, her lungs stretching under the amount of air filling them. She blinked to clear her blurred vision and attempted to use her voice, which had lain dormant for so long.
“Hi,” she croaked.
Then the inevitability, that was Jen, broke in. “That’s all you have for us, hi? Really Jac, we’ve been lugging your butt around for more than a week and all you can say is hi.”
Jacque smiled up at her friend and her eyes sparkled. “I missed you too Jen.”
Jen winked at her. “Well, you woke up just in time. We have a black ops assignment and you need to start pulling your weight.”
“And, so the military lingo begins,” Crina muttered.
Peri pushed around Jen so she could examine Jacque more closely. Rachel and Sally continued to try and expel the evil that was still inside Jacque's mind, although it was contained. They chanted in a language the others did not know and pushed with the magic drawn from the nature around them. Peri laid her hand on Sally’s shoulder and shared her own magic with the healers and it was enough. Jacque’s eyes closed and she let out a breath that seemed to have been frozen in her lungs. She felt the evil dissipate and the murkiness that had been filling her insides fade away.
She started to stand, but was stopped when Peri put a hand on her shoulder.
“Hold on there, wonder woman. Take a few minutes to get your bearings.”
She handed Jacque some Fae bread and a bottle of water. Jacque looked at the bottle and grinned. “Where exactly did you get a bottle of Aquafina water?”
Peri shrugged. “I have my ways.”
Jacque gulped the water, allowing it to wet her dry throat and cottony mouth. She could feel it following the path of her esophagus. It was cool and refreshing and helped her body rejoin the living. She took a bite of the Fae bread and remembered that it was supposed to give them energy that they would not otherwise possess on their own. Within minutes, she felt its effects. Finally, she stood, her legs a bit shaky, and her muscles stiff from disuse. She grinned as she watched all of her friends hold out their arms, waiting to catch her if she fell. The symbolism in that thought was profound and hit her like a herd of elephants. These women, her pack, and friends, had been there for her when she had fallen. They had caught her and eased her to the ground instead of letting her fall to her demise. They had cared for her, wept over her, talked with her even when they thought she couldn’t hear. Yes, she thought as she looked at their eager faces, outstretched arms, that they would always catch her.
She waved them off. “I don’t need eight mother hens cramping my style.”
Reluctantly, they backed up and gave her some room to move. She took a couple hesitant steps forward and when she didn’t fall over, took a few more. She stretched up on her toes, reaching her arms up in the air feeling her muscles resist against the motions. She felt good, better than good. She felt ready to get her mate back.
Peri saw the fire beginning to emerge in Jacque’s eyes and knew what was coming. She held up her hand to stop the inevitable. “Let’s give it a little while, let you get used to moving and being conscious again. You won’t be any good to us if you just fall over while we’re in that hell hole.”
Jen stepped forward and held up her hand. “I’d like to point out that if she just fell over like a fainting goat, for one second I’d laugh. That's all.”
“Thanks for the positive thoughts, Jen,” Jacque said, dryly.
“I’m always there for you babe.” Jen grinned.
Jacque’s eyes met Peri’s and there was a fire that lit them burning with unwavering determination. “We aren’t going to wait any longer, Peri. They have been in that place for long enough. My mate is not going to rot in that terrible place, because I’m some pansy that can’t pull it together after being asleep for a few days.”