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|Just One Drop(Grey Wolves #3) by Quinn Loftis|
Victor, Alpha of the Bulgaria pack, stood at the front of the room. Raising his voice so everyone could hear, he announced, "If everyone would please take their seats so we can get started. The quicker we get the business over with the sooner we eat."
A group of males at a table to his left all beat on the table and gave loud whoops at the mention of food.
Victor motioned for them to quiet down and waited a few more moments to allow everyone to get seated.
Jen went to reach for her chair at the table that had a sign in the center with elegant script that said Romanian Grey Wolves Pack. Before she could pull it, another hand reached past her and quickly slid the chair out.
Jen turned abruptly, caught off guard by Damion's sudden appearance.
"I'm sorry, Jen. I did not mean to start you."
Jen couldn't help the grin. "You mean startle me."
"Oh. Um, yes. Startle you," Damion repeated. He backed up just a step and, without shame, looked her up and down.
Well, Jen thought, let's not be shy then. She knew what he saw. The black top she picked out was off the shoulder on one side, so one arm and half her back was left completely bare. It was encrusted with crystal rhinestones, which began at the top and continued on down, growing sparser as they went. The other arm was sleeved and came to her hand at a point and had a loophole for her middle finger to slip in. Her hair was up in a twist, beset by crystal rhinestone dangly earrings. She wore her, and her best friends', signature low-rise Lucky Brand jeans and there was a hint of flesh revealed when she moved. Black, high heel boots completed her ensemble.
"You look stunning," he told her as he took her by the hand and lifted it to turn her in a circle. "Let me get the whole effect."
Jen couldn't stop the blush that she knew was rising clear from her bare shoulder to the tips of her ears. When she was facing him again Damion grinned, and it was one of those easygoing grins that you can't help but smile back at. So she did.
Then, as if just remembering what he was doing, he motioned to her chair,."Please, have a seat. I just wanted to come by and make sure you were okay after this afternoon's -" he paused, and Jen beat him to it.
"Disaster?" she offered.
"Exactly. Your Beta was very upset."
Jen snorted. "Understatement. I'm fine. No matter his temper, B would never hurt me."
"Yeah. It's not for what you might think, although I am tempted at times. B for Beta," Jen told him with a wink.
Damion grinned and pushed her chair in as she sat down. He leaned over her shoulder, too close for her comfort. "Save me a dance tonight, won't you?"
Jen was so tense at his nearness that she finally just nodded to get him to move back. He straightened up and walked away just as Decebel arrived.
"What did he want?" he asked Jen, then looked at her for the first time. His eyes glowed immediately. Score one for the little man, Jen thought. Decebel recovered quickly. "What are you wearing?"
"Let's deal with both of these absurd questions one at a time, fur ball, because they each deserve equal amounts of grief. First, Damion asked me to marry him and have his babies. Lots and lots of babies," Jen told him with a completely straight face.
Sally nearly choked on the gum she'd been chewing and Costin, who was standing next to Decebel, began to cough.
"I'm considering it," Jen addressed Sally. "I mean, what do you think, Sal? It's not like I've had any other offers and who knows if I will ever find my true mate. Gosh, if I can even have a true mate, that is."
Sally was trying desperately to keep a straight face. "Well, you don't want to rush these things, Jen. After all, you are only eighteen."
Jen tapped her chin as if to really think about it. "That is true. But if I hook up with Damion now, just think of all the little flea catchers we could make together. Think about how some would have my blonde hair and his – OWWWW!" Jen yelled.
Her head snapped around to look at who had pinched her. To her utter surprise it was Alina, and there was a gleam in her eyes Jen had never seen.
"Jen, tone it down just a little, okay?" Jen knew this was her Luna speaking, not Fane's mother. It was her first glimpse at Alina really putting her foot down.
Jen nodded and turned to look at Decebel. The smug look on his face erased all chance of toning it down. "And second, I'm wearing what was hung in my closet. Which was bought and paid for by this pack, and I look awesome. So unless the words that are fixing to come out of your mouth are, Jen, you look awesome, or Daaang girl, you are hot – I would even accept, I like your shirt, Jen – unless it's along those lines, I strongly suggest you just keep that muzzle of yours closed."
She turned back towards the table, looking anywhere but at Decebel, who had taken a seat next to her. She could feel the anger pulsing from him; it was nearly tangible. She wondered if anyone else was picking up his vibes as strongly. Whatever, she thought, I'm done dealing with him for today. Jen decided right then that she was going to have fun tonight, and that was that.
Jen maneuvered to look at the front of the room along with everyone else, when a tall, lean man began to speak.
"On behalf of the other Alphas who helped arrange this historic meeting, I want to say thank you to everyone for coming. My name is Victor. I am Alpha to the Bulgaria Pack. My mate is Adrianna." He indicated a tall slender woman who stood briefly from her seat and gave a small wave.
"As your Alphas have told you, the purpose of this Gathering is to allow unmated Canis lupis the opportunity to meet others whom they otherwise might have never met. Let's face it, the odds are stacked against us when it comes to finding our true mates. Some have been looking for centuries, to no avail. It is our sincerest hope that many of you will indeed find your true mates among those here." Victor paused as another man walked up to the front. "I want to introduce you to Thad. He is the Alpha to the Serbia Pack, and the mastermind behind The Gathering."
Thad thanked Victor and turned to address the room.
"We understand that we took a risk in bringing so many unmated males and putting them in such a confined area with females. Rest assured we have taken measures to protect everyone and those who do fight will request a proper challenge. The challenges made will not be to the death, but to submission. We did not come here to lose pack members. Make no mistake, there will be severe consequences for those who do not control themselves and their wolf." Thad looked over to Victor's mate and motioned for her to join him. "Now I will turn it over to our event coordinator, Adrianna."