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|Just One Drop(Grey Wolves #3) by Quinn Loftis|
He kept waiting for the mating signs to happen, to hear her thoughts, for his markings to change. At the same time he feared the changes. If the mating signs appeared he would have no choice. He would have to claim Jennifer, and that scared him more than anything had since the day he watched his sister die in his arms.
He thought back to that gruesome day, how helpless he had felt. Cosmina was being courted by two wolves, one of which was her true mate. After several months of more or less passive pursuit, they challenged one another. Cosmina had to be present at the challenge per pack law. Decebel had begged her not to go but she wasn't a rule breaker. Cosmina always did what was expected of her. The wolves fought and the victor took pity on the other wolf and let him live. The losing wolf had gone feral at the idea of not having Cosmina and attacked her before anyone could stop him.
A true mate would never be able to lay a hand on his mate – it went against everything inside them. Their wolf would sooner die than lift a hand against his mate. The wolf had decided that if he couldn't have Cosmina then no one could. Decebel had reached the wolf a moment too late – Cosmina's throat had been ripped and the blood poured out of her in a flood.
The rage that consumed Decebel had given him more than enough strength to kill the guilty wolf and he had torn him limb from limb. As he held his sister and watched the light fade from her eyes, she spoke her final words.
"When the time comes, brother, don't fight destiny. Let it happen even if it doesn't happen the way you think it should." And then she was gone.
Cosmina had always had the ability to know things, future things. Nobody understood it and the pack had long ago accepted it.
Now as Decebel laid on his bed, his emotions a turbulent storm inside him, he had to wonder if she had been talking about Jennifer.
He grabbed his phone off the nightstand to check the time. One a.m. He groaned. Tomorrow – or today, rather – was going to be miserable if he didn't get any sleep. As pack Beta it was his job to train the younger wolves. Even in the twenty first century it was necessary for the wolves to know how to defend themselves, in human and wolf form.
After the training he was due to attend a conference call with Vasile. Some of the surrounding packs had called and asked to speak with Vasile, but didn't specify what it was about. When Decebel had asked if he had any inkling of the topic, Vasile nodded solemnly and told him that whatever it was he didn't think it was a good thing. Although packs tried to keep peace between themselves, there were times it was easier said than done. Werewolves were extremely territorial and it didn't take much for them to get in a pissing contest – no pun intended.
With a frustrated sigh he grabbed the ear buds to his iPhone and put them in, then turned on Jason Walker's "Down." He normally listened to classic rock, but he needed something soothing to calm him tonight, something to help him focus. He closed his eyes and listened as the words of the song poured over him. As he listened, he felt like it was written just for him. With every word Jennifer's face became clearer in his mind. Her infectious smile, her eyes twinkling with mischief, the quick wit that could cut a person in half – or make them feel like the most important person in her world.
Pictures ran through his mind of his time in the States when she was in the wreck, the fear that had ripped through him when he had seen her still form on the ground. He remembered feeling so out of control as the doctors tried to treat Jen when his wolf didn't want anyone near her. He let out a low growl as his mind wandered to her little stunt with the human male, Matt. Decebel clearly remembered the name Jennifer had whispered in his ear. He still hadn't talked with her about that night, about what had happened with this Matt character. He grinned slowly to himself as he finally began to drift off. He planned on talking with her very soon about Matt, and Decebel had a feeling she wasn't going to be too pleased about it.
That just made his smile bigger.
"Jen, wake up." Sally pulled the covers off her sleeping friend, allowing the cold air to flow over her. "If you don't get up, I'm getting some water and we'll relive some of those fond memories from the hospital."
"I really think you need help, Sally," Jen mumbled. "Throwing water in my face, throwing my suitcase out of the window, and you think I'm disturbed? It's time for the wicked witch to look in the mirror and ask who's the fairest of them all."
Jen sat up and tried to rub the sleep from her eyes. "What time is it?" she groaned.
"It's nine a.m. and we are supposed to meet with the tutor in thirty minutes. Get moving. We all know how long it takes you to become a person in the morning. I swear you're as bad as Jacque," Sally admonished as she grabbed Jen's hand and pulled her off the bed, pushing her in the direction of the bathroom.
"Bloody hell, Sally. I'm up," Jen whined. As she closed the bathroom door, Sally heard her mumble, "Note to self, lock bedroom door at night to keep perky morning people out."
Jen stood in front of the bathroom mirror, a towel wrapped around her, and combed the tangles from her wet hair. She wasn't going to lie to herself and say she wasn’t nervous about today – she was beyond nervous knowing he was here. Decebel, the werewolf she couldn't seem to let go of, no matter what her mind was telling her. Her heart was giving her mind the finger.
Jen jumped at the sound of Sally banging on the bathroom door.
"Okay, sleeping beauty, let's go. You're not going to a beauty contest."
Jen snatched the door open. "Try a different Disney character Thelma, 'cause in order for me to be Sleeping Beauty I would have to be asleep." Jen's words came out a little louder than she intended, but Sally didn't seem to be phased by it.
"Okay, Jen. Talk. What's up?" Sally narrowed her eyes. Her best friend was wound tighter than a roll of fishing twine.
Jen stepped out of the bathroom and headed towards the closet. She grabbed a pair of underwear and a bra from the dresser and began sifting through clothes. Finally settling on a pair of low rise Levi's and a warm fleece pullover, she stepped out of the closet and took a deep breath. "I'm nervous. Decebel's back, as in he's here in the mansion, which means the chances of me seeing him are much greater than when he was gone."
Sally stepped up to her friend and wrapped her arms around her for a quick hug. "He's really gotten to you." It wasn't a question. Sally had never seen steady, confident Jen in such turmoil.