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|Just One Drop(Grey Wolves #3) by Quinn Loftis|
Vasile's eyes softened and he smiled gently. "Unfortunately, Crina, this is out of my hands. We have been invited and if I refuse it would be considered an act against our species."
The she-wolf named Crina huffed and sat down. "Well, that's a bitch." The room vibrated with low chuckles at her words.
Jen grinned and turned to Sally and Jacque, who were grinning as well. "I like her," she told them.
Decebel overheard Jen's words and looked at her. "I don't think you and Crina should hang out, Jennifer."
Jen cocked her head to the side, her lips pursed. A wave of jealousy rushed over her. "She an old flame, Decebel?"
Decebel sat up straight, clearly caught off guard by the question. "No," he answered flatly.
Jen's eyes narrowed dangerously. "A current flame?" She didn't even recognize her voice as she growled at the thought of Decebel with another woman.
Decebel watched as Jennifer bristled while waiting for his answer. Then it dawned on him – she was jealous. He couldn't stop the chuckle that slipped past his lips. He saw her body tense and realized that laughing wasn't the smartest move he could have made.
"Of course not," she spat at him. "I just think with as much as you flirt with me, if you are involved," the word came out like it was repugnant to her, "then you need to take your flea-infested self elsewhere."
"And if I'm not involved? What then?" he asked softly, almost a challenge as he looked into her eyes.
Jen stopped breathing at the heat in his look. She was mesmerized as she watched his eyes begin to glow. Amber met her blue ones and she felt herself being drawn closer to him.
"Jennifer," Decebel whispered her name. "What if I'm not involved?"
His hand on her leg finally brought her out of her trance. She took a gulp of air as she realized she was getting light headed from lack of oxygen. She shook her head and looked at Decebel in shock. "Bloody Hell!"
She abruptly stood as the whole room turned to look at her. Jen didn’t know what had just happened but she knew she had to get as far from Decebel as she could right at that moment. She couldn't think clearly when he was around, and she sure as hell couldn't think when he looked at her like that, and said her name in that voice, and touched her… Crap, she thought. I'm so screwed.
Decebel stood to follow her but Sally grabbed his arm. She didn't even flinch when he snarled at the one who would keep him from following Jennifer.
"Sit. Down," Sally said firmly to the furious Beta.
The room was deathly quiet when the door slammed shut behind Jen. All eyes were on the group in the corner. Decebel eased back into his chair and met the stares of the other wolves. One by one they submitted to their Beta and looked away.
"As I was saying," Vasile continued. "All unmated members will attend The Gathering. The mated pairs who will attend have already been informed."
"What about the dormant American?" a male wolf in the middle of the room asked.
Decebel snarled. "She is not your concern."
"Decebel!" Vasile growled.
Decebel bared his neck at his Alpha in submission. "My apologies, Alpha."
Vasile looked back at the other wolf. "The answer to your question, Stelian, is that any and all with wolf blood of any amount are required to attend. Jen is a dormant, but she is a member of this pack. An unmated member," he amended. Decebel growled at the words. "And as such, she will participate just like any pack member." Vasile nodded for the wolf to be seated.
The meeting continued on for another hour with questions and frustrations being voiced. Through the entire process Vasile was patient and answered each question, but was unbending and firm. He made it very clear that his pack would attend and that any males who found themselves in an altercation would be dealt with harshly. The room broke into laughter when he said that he wanted it clear that this was not an opportunity to hook up and scratch an itch.
"We are there to seek out true mates. Do not disrespect someone else's mate by putting your hands, mouth, or any other part near what does not belong to you just because you are attracted to them. I will not punish any wolf who challenges another male because he was stupid enough to touch another's mate, even if she hadn't been mated at the time. Do I make myself clear?"
"As you say, so shall it be," the room said in unison.
Jacque grinned at Sally. "Jen would have been all over that. 'Any other part near what does not belong to you'," she repeated Vasile's words. "She's going to be ticked off that she missed an opportunity to embarrass Decebel."
"Totally," Sally agreed.
Fane lightly slapped her thigh. "Luna, behave."
"Make me," she challenged as she leaned back, causing him to growl low in his chest.
Vasile finally dismissed the meeting. As Jacque stood, Fane whispered in her ear, "I suppose your challenge will have to wait since you want to find out what caused Jen to leave so abruptly?"
Jacque smiled at her mate, but before she could answer Sally spoke. "I know why she stormed out of here."
Decebel's and Jacque's heads both whipped around. "You do?" they both asked at the same time.
Fane raised an eyebrow at Sally's words.
Sally in turn eyeballed Decebel. "Jen never really learned how to use an inside voice. So, Decebel, why don't you share how she asked you if you were involved with Crina, and how you never really gave her an answer but instead taunted her, and then nearly made her hyperventilate with desire."
Decebel's head cocked to the side, his eyebrows drawn together. "How -"
"I would say it's a gift, but really I'm just nosy as hell. And damn, boy, the look you were giving her nearly had me in a puddle."
"Shut up!" Jacque squealed. "Are you telling me Jen stormed out of here because he got her all hot and bothered?"
Sally was grinning from ear to ear. Decebel looked like he would be perfectly happy if the universe would just swallow him whole.
"She was angry when she left," Decebel defended. "She left because she was mad."
"Yeah, mad because she's got it bad for you, Sherlock," Sally told him, rolling her eyes.
"Really? She likes me?"
Jacque laughed at Decebel's cocky smile.