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|Just One Drop(Grey Wolves #3) by Quinn Loftis|
Marianna, who sat on Jen's left, nudged her and nodded in the direction of the doors. They watched as a man, a very large man, walked into the gym. He stopped in the very center and his presence immediately brought the room to silence. Jen looked closer and realized it was Skender. It was then that she realized she hadn't seen him or Boain since arriving at The Gathering.
That's odd, she thought.
"Did you notice Skender and Boain have been MIA since we arrived?" she asked, leaning over to Jacque.
Jacque nodded. "I hadn't thought about it 'til seeing him just now."
Jen watched as Jacque's face took on that weirdness it got when she talked to Fane through their bond. She thought, Note to self: practice using bond while looking in the mirror. That way she could make sure she kept a normal face when and if Decebel and she ever got to that.
"Fane says that Vasile has both of them leading a couple of the activities to help minimize the risk of Decebel getting in a situation where he could offend the other pack females."
"How could he offend them?" Jen asked.
"If he flat out refuses to participate with a female in a solo or group activity, it's considered a slap in the face."
Jen nodded as she turned and glanced up at the one who occupied her every thought. He was looking at her, as he often was when she looked at him. She smiled and the slight upward curve of his lips would not have been caught by just anybody. But Jen was learning his subtle expressions. In their current situation, he was trying to keep from holding up a sign that said: “I'm after Jennifer Adams,” but at the same time he didn't want her to forget what he'd said.
He wanted her.
"Welcome Serbia pack," Skender announced. "My name is Skender and I'm a member of the Romanian pack. I will be leading today's lessons." Then, turning to the bleachers where the two female groups sat, he pointed to the right. "We welcome the females from the Bulgaria pack."
All of the guys clapped respectfully but their eyes were wild and eager.
"We also welcome the females from the Romanian pack."
Again the males clapped.
"That would have been the perfect entrance," Crina muttered, referring to the cheer that had been thoroughly shut down my Decebel.
Spoil sport, Jen growled inwardly at him.
"Today the males will be teaching self defense and some combat moves. The Alphas feel it is important that all members of the pack know how to defend themselves. Those of you who have already been training will be paired up with an advanced instructor." Skender looked past the TFFs and pointed again. "Decebel, why don't you and Crina come down and demonstrate some of the moves we will learn today."
As Decebel made his way down the bleachers, he walked right behind Jen and the other girls. As he passed her he ran a finger lightly on the nape of her neck, so quickly that nobody picked up on it. She smiled.
I want you. She heard his voice in her mind and wished it wasn't just a memory.
It was then that Jen really understood why Skender had been made leader. He knew that Jen would feel less threatened if Decebel sparred with one of the females from their pack. She was thankful for that, but knew it was only a brief reprieve because he was majorly advanced at fighting. He would be placed with a non-pack member at some point, but definitely never with Jen as she had as much self defense skill as she did in basket weaving. That would be a gigantic none.
The girls watched as Decebel and Crina made some impressive combat moves and then demonstrated some basic – what Jen considered “get the hell out of dodge” – moves. These were moves designed to disable an attacker long enough to book it to safety.
When the demonstration was done Skender started calling out names, announcing the pairs. He explained that every twenty minutes the females would rotate clockwise to spar with a different male.
Great, Jen thought. It'sKarate Kid speed dating.
She heard Decebel's and some girl's names called. She didn't even look to see who it was. She couldn't. Instead she started muttering, "I want you. I want you. I want you."
Jacque looked at Jen, shaking her head at her best friend's weird tactics. "Well, if you insist," Jacque responded. "Although, Fane might get a little jealous."
Jen shot her the finger.
"Why are you muttering that? You've gone from 'not an option' to 'I want you.' What gives?"
Jen looked at Jacque and Sally, who watched her questioningly. "He told me to remember, when he has to be with the other girls, that he wants me. I can't look at him with another girl. I wish it wasn't such a big deal but I've never been so screwed up over a guy."
"He's not just any guy," Jacque told her.
"Maybe," Jen said softly.
Sally smacked her leg. "Don't talk like that. It's obvious he's crazy about you, like certifiably. Trust him, Jen."
Jen nodded and her head snapped up as her name was called. She looked over to the mat Skender had indicated, where a tall guy was standing. He grinned at her and the look in his eyes made her feel like he was trying to see her soul. It made her feel naked and vulnerable, and there was only one wolf she was okay with making her feel like that.
She started down the bleachers. "This is going to suck."
Marianna gave her an encouraging smile. "Hang in there, dormant."
"Thanks, she-wolf." Jen tried to smile back, but it didn't reach her eyes.
Decebel watched as Jennifer walked over to the wolf she'd been paired with. He nearly snarled when he realized it was the guy he had taken the phone from last night. That pup had been recording the girls' dance. He ripped his eyes away, trying to get his wolf under control.
It didn't escape his notice that Jennifer hadn't looked at him a single time since he'd been paired with the short brunette in front of him. The girl smiled tentatively and Decebel had to force his lips to turn up. By the look on her face it didn't quite make it to a smile.
"Let's get this over with," he muttered as he stepped towards her. She looked ready to run, and as Decebel began to walk her through basic self defense moves he could feel her trembling. He wished he could bring himself to care enough to at least try to put her at ease, but it was taking every ounce of willpower for him to not go throw Jennifer over his shoulder and carry her off to perform the Bonding Ceremony.