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|Just One Drop(Grey Wolves #3) by Quinn Loftis|
"Um, if you aren't her mate that's not a good thing, Casanova," Jacque reminded him.
Sally nodded in agreement, scrutinizing Decebel. "Let's just hope that she finds her mate at Mate Fest so she can get over you."
Decebel took a step towards Sally. Fane stepped around Jacque and laid a hand on Decebel's chest, stopping him. "Easy, Beta."
Decebel closed his eyes taking slow breaths, leashing his wolf. Then Sally's words worked past the jealous fog. "Mate Fest?" he questioned.
Sally grinned. "Jen deemed it."
"Naturally," Decebel muttered with a slight smile.
Decebel made his way to Cynthia's office after the pack meeting. He needed to share this new development about Jennifer's scent changing and see what the good doctor had to say about it.
The door to the infirmary was already open when he arrived. He walked in to find Alina and Vasile sitting across from Cynthia's desk.
"Decebel." Vasile inclined his head.
"I'm sorry, Alpha, I didn't mean to interrupt. I can come back," Decebel told him, backing out of the room.
"Actually, I would like to talk with you about what happened in the meeting."
Decebel cringed mentally, remembering how he had snarled at Stelian for daring to worry about Jennifer's fate.
"Of course.” He stepped back into the room and grabbed an extra chair. He brought it over and sat next to Vasile's.
Vasile stared at his Beta for several moments before he spoke. "Is she your mate?" he finally asked.
Decebel let out an audible sigh. "I don't know, Vasile," he answered in a rare show of vulnerability, shown by using his Alpha's first name. It let Vasile know that Decebel needed his friend's guidance just as much as his Alpha's.
Vasile nodded. "Explain."
"I don't hear her thoughts, my markings are the same. She hasn't mentioned that she has any marks on her body. That said, my wolf has claimed her." Decebel ran his hands through his hair, the frustration evident in his tense jaw as he continued to speak. "I've been battling him for the first time in over a century. No matter how much I remind myself that there aren't mating signs, my wolf doesn't care. He has claimed her and he wants her."
"So other than how you feel about her, there is no evidence that she could be your true mate?" Alina asked him gently.
"Well, actually..." Decebel looked over to Cynthia, who had been silently listening to the conversation. "While I was sitting next to her in the meeting I caught her scent." He paused.
Cynthia perked up. "And?" she asked.
"It's changed," Decebel told her. "It's very faint but I swear I could smell the mating scent on her."
"What did she smell like?" Vasile asked carefully. Decebel knew Vasile only asked because he would have another wolf scent Jennifer to see if what he smelled matched what Decebel did, but he still bristled. Asking another wolf what his mate's scent was to him was like asking a human man to pass around his wife's lingerie. In other words, it was extremely personal.
"Before, she always smelled like warm vanilla." Decebel thought back to the meeting, when he had breathed it in so deep. "But today there was a hint of cinnamon. It was just barely there, but it was intoxicating." Decebel's words softened as he thought about Jennifer's scent, remembering how it had stirred his wolf.
"Interesting," Cynthia murmured. "How long have you been back?"
"A couple of days. Why?" he questioned.
"Since you've been back, when you're around Jen would you say the encounters are intense?" she asked, ignoring his question.
Decebel chuckled. "You could say that. Again I ask, why?"
"Before you came in I was discussing with Vasile and Alina what I had found just before the pack meeting. I came across a documented case of a dormant wolf being mated to a full Canis lupis." Cynthia glanced down at some papers then back at Decebel. "It’s actually journal of an Alpha from over a century ago."
"That’s good, right?" Decebel asked apprehensively.
"Well," Cynthia paused, "it’s good because now we have something to sort of...gauge the progression of a mating between a dormant and full. But it has the potential to be dangerous."
"Dangerous?" Decebel interrupted, not liking the idea of something causing harm to Jennifer. "How can this information possibly be dangerous?"
"Let me explain to you what was documented and then I will go into how it applies to to you and Jen," Cynthia began.
"I’m listening," Decebel told her as he sat up straighter in his chair. His wolf perked up, which really threw him for a loop since his wolf usually kept quiet unless on the hunt or in battle.
Cynthia gathered together the documents she had printed off and began to read.
"I met my true mate today. Not for the first time, but it was the first time the bond had appeared. I had always been strangely intrigued by her, but let it go as curiosity because of her mysterious air. I was caught completely off guard when I heard her thoughts for the first time. She was in danger, serious danger. I heard her cry out for help – in my mind. I started running, without regard to where I was or what I was doing. All that my wolf could think was that we had to get to her, had to save her. I ran for what seemed like forever and finally I broke into a clearing. There, tied to a post, my mate stood.
“Tears streamed down her face, making the bruises that marred her cheeks shine. I felt the blood in my veins begin to heat. My heart sped up and my eyes, I know, were glowing as rage poured into me, fueled by my wolf's need to protect our mate. Her clothes were torn, disheveled rags. Her hair was covered in dirt as if she had been dragged on the ground. She made no sound out loud as her tears continued to flow, but her mind was a turbulent storm of fear, anger, betrayal. She turned and looked straight at me. My breath caught as glowing azure eyes locked onto his. It was instinct to reach out to her mind."I’m here, Rachel,” I reassured her. “All will be well." Her eyes widened, the only indication that she’d heard and recognized me. Then they closed. Tears clear as diamonds and numerous as raindrops from a summer storm covered her fear-filled face once again.
The crackle and flash of orange flame finally shook me from my shock and I realized there were men and women all around. Several were lighting wood and hay they had stacked under her, my mate. They were going to burn her alive. Any control I had snapped, the pull of the horror I was witnessing being the final tug. I lost it. For the first time in 200 years I lost control of my wolf. My phase was instantaneous. I lunged forward, taking down any who dared to block my path. I made no distinction between male or female. As far as my wolf was concerned they were all guilty and would suffer the wrath of an Alpha. Screams filled the air as one by one I destroyed those who hadn’t run in fear, but instead in their stupidity thought they had a chance against me.