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|Fate and Fury(Grey Wolves #6) by Quinn Loftis|
The pack ran as one, unified in the common goal of protecting the most precious thing in their lives. Fane’s heart beat with the every step and he breathed evenly with control. A control that he didn’t really feel he had. He knew that his wolf was keeping the man from coming apart. The wolf did not think with emotions, but with logic and instinct. It knew several things that needed to be dealt with. The man couldn't touch his mate, the witch cursed her, and in the current situation, she was in danger. Those things he could fix. He couldn’t fix the damaged bond between them that the man had caused; he couldn’t heal her battered emotions so he did not worry about those things. Fane let the wolf do the thinking for the time being because the wolf knew what needed to be repaired first. He felt her hands tighten in his fur and heard a small whimper escape her lungs. Like a whip being smacked across his flank, the sound spurred him to move faster.
For a brief time, it appeared that the rest of their journey back to the Romanian pack mansion would be much easier than their journey had been thus far. Peri attempted to be positive, hopeful that they would have smooth sailing back to the mansion. Just then, a bolt of lightning struck the ground very near them.
“Oh come on!” Peri yelled into the forest.
Thunder boomed across the dark sky and the ground shook. The wolves’ steps stayed true. None of them stumbled or fell, even when the sky opened and the rain flowed down in sheets. Visibility became nearly nonexistent and the pack was forced to slow their speed.
“Is this all you have? No originality, Mona. Storms must be your specialty!” Peri was yelling. Though the rain drowned her voice out, Peri knew the witch could hear her. As if in response to Peri’s challenge, the temperature dropped, changing the rain to skin slicing sleet. The wolves stopped, fearing the skin of their mates would be ripped from their bodies if they continued running. The wolves laid the women down, covering them with their bodies. They eyed each other warily as they sheltered their mates from the icy onslaught.
The sleet stopped abruptly and the wolves heard a loud whoosh. Despite the freshly wet ground and foliage, flames roared across the ground. The fire circled all around them, flames so high that they could not see past them. The wolves positioned themselves in a circle facing towards the fire so that every angle was covered. Their teeth were bared and low growls rumbled through out them. Peri paced around the wolves trying to think, to draw up a memory of what she knew of dark magic. An idea formed, just out of her grasp. When she opened her eyes and saw that the fire was closing in. The wolves were becoming more and more agitated. Peri squeezed her eyes shut and concentrated as hard as she could. Finally, it hit her; dark magic could not control elements unless the element was already present. Mona could create the rain because the clouds held water. She could create lightning because of the static electricity in the clouds. She could adjust the temperature because she could control the wind that was already present.
Peri smiled to herself. In order for her to be able to conjure fire, Mona would have to have a flame to begin with and last time that Peri checked, snow didn’t burn. Therefore, the flames before them were merely an illusion, and a good one at that.
Peri whipped around to face Vasile. “It’s not real,” she told him. “The fire, it won’t hurt us because it isn’t real.”
Peri knew that the instinct of the wolf to avoid fire would keep them from running through it, unless Peri could prove it. She turned and ran towards the flames, and as the heat from them grew hotter, she thought for one heartbeat that she might be wrong, but then she was through the fire without so much as a singed hair. She turned and ran back through and much to her surprise, saw Vasile leading the others towards her. Their need to get their mates to safety must have been overriding their fear of the flames. Vasile stopped around eight feet from the flames. He watched them dance and flicker for a brief moment before taking a running lunge. He passed through the fire and, like Peri, emerged safely on the other side. In less than a minute, all of the others had passed through the fire as well. Without another pause they were off and running through the storm once again.
The storm raged on, and still the wolves ran.
Skender saw them first. He was standing in the field where the packs had been training. Something had drawn him out, a restless energy in the air that crackled around him. He knew that Dillon had followed him out but had stayed back, a silent shadow.
“Dillon,” Skender didn’t raise his voice, he knew the Alpha would hear him, “are you seeing this?”
Dillon stepped up beside Skender and looked in the direction that Skender motioned to with the nod of his head. Up on a hill across the field, he saw the wolves slowly step from the cover of the trees, their mates clinging to their backs. Dillon and Skender watched from where they stood, but made no movement to come any closer. They saw Peri step out as well, standing closest to the large, black wolf that Skender recognized as Vasile. Dillon scanned the line of wolves using his enhanced eyesight until he finally spotted her prone from on Fane’s wolf. Dillon started to walk forward, heedless of the danger, his need as a father overriding his commonsense. Skender grabbed his arm before he made it more than a few steps.
“Not yet,” he said, simply.
Dillon nodded and stepped back, but his eyes stayed on his daughter and the wolf that carried her.
Peri appeared to be talking to Vasile and his response was a snarl. Peri threw her hands up in a manner that told them she was clearly irritated. She started towards them, leaving the wolves standing on the hill. Dillon growled irritably. It was taking the Fae forever to walk to them, knowing that she could have run or flashed to them.
Peri finally reached Skender and Dillon. When she noticed Dillon’s posture and demeanor, it took everything in her not to slap the look right off his face.
“I’m going to say this one time, Dillon Jacobs, Alpha of the Colorado pack. I have had it with possessive, overprotective, controlling wolves. If you growl, snarl, bare your teeth, or snap at me I will personally make sure that every time you are in your wolf skin you have the uncontrollable urge to hump any leg that comes your way. Are we clear?”
Dillon gave a curt nod and waited for the Fae to continue.
“We have a very precarious situation. The wolves you see up on the hill aren’t quite sane at the moment. We have been through quite a lot as we ran for our lives through the forest and they are tired, wet, cold, and carrying mates who are still enduring their own personal hell on top of being cold, tired, and wet. It is imperative,” Peri paused meeting their eyes, imploring them to understand just how serious the situation was, “that there be no other wolves in their presence or line of sight. It’s going to be bad enough that there are going to be scents of unknown males all over the frickin’ place. Let’s not give the pissed off wolves any excuse to make an example out of someone.”