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|Just One Drop(Grey Wolves #3) by Quinn Loftis|
Jen nodded once, then began helping Crina forward. Sally and Marianna followed as Costin led the way.
Two hours into dinner, Thad was finally ready to pass out the drinks. The attendees brought out two trays. He walked over and began handing them out. The last glass, he handed to Vasile.
Thad raised his drink. "I want to toast to a new era for our species. Our time is now. Hopefully many of our pack members will find their mates and we will be able to bear pups once again. To each of you."
A ripple of agreement flowed through the room as they each took a drink from their glasses. Thad kept an eye on Vasile to make sure the Alpha drank enough of the wine to be effective. When he saw him drain it, he had to school the smile that flashed across his face.
Vasile looked over at his mate and smiled. "You look beautiful, Mina."
Alina blushed. "Still the charmer, my Alpha."
"Alw -" Vasile tried to finish the sentence, but he suddenly felt a tightening in his chest and was finding it difficult to breathe.
"Vasile." Alina's voice was worried as she pulled her mate's face up to look at her. She gasped when she saw the wolf staring back at her.
"Poison," the wolf told her, and his eyes rolled back in his head as he collapsed.
Alina only had a moment to realize what had just happened before she herself couldn't breathe. It was like something was crushing her chest, bearing down on her. Everything went dark and she, too, fell to the floor.
Gasps and hollers broke throughout the room as Victor hurried to the fallen Alpha's side.
"There is a pulse but it's weak." Victor looked at Thad. "Quick, find the doctor Vasile brought with his pack."
Thad nodded once and turned to whisper in his pack member's ear, who then hurried out of the room.
Thad looked back to where Vasile and Alina lay motionless. He had to force himself into action so as to appear to care. He helped Victor and Dillon lift the Alpha and carry him into the adjoining suite. Dragomir picked up Alina's limp form and laid her gently beside her mate.
Agnes and Adrianna both had tears running down their cheeks as they looked on. The group watched as Vasile and Alina's forms began to convulse.
"Somebody help them," Agnes sobbed. Dragomir wrapped his mate in his arms and whispered gently to her.
Dillon, who had backed up to the door, was nearly knocked over when Fane, Decebel, Sorin, Cynthia, and a slew of females came rushing into the room.
Jen came to an abrupt stop when she saw Vasile and Alina lying on the large bed, their bodies convulsing. Her hand covered her mouth as her eyes filled with tears. Sally pulled away from Marianna – some invisible force pulled her towards the bed.
As Sally got closer, Fane turned and snarled, but Cynthia pushed him out of the way.
"Let her through," Cynthia growled.
The entire room plunged into silence as Sally, in a trance-like state, approached the bed. She climbed up beside Vasile and placed her hand over his heart. His body calmed immediately.
"What the..." Murmurs wound through the room as mouths dropped open and eyebrows rose.
Sally leaned over Vasile and placed her forehead against his. She closed her eyes and her breathing became deep and slow, as if she had fallen into a deep sleep.
“I guess we have confirmation,” Jen whispered in Cynthia's direction.
"What is she doing?" Fane growled at the doctor as he watched Sally.
"She's a healer," Cynthia said in awe. "The first gypsy healer in over a century. In our pack."
Those old enough to understand the significance of her words lowered themselves to one knee.
Jen tugged on Decebel's sleeve. His eyes were glowing and she could see sweat had broken across his brow. "Why are they kneeling?"
"It is a great honor to be in the presence of a healer. Other packs will kneel out of respect."
After what felt like forever, Sally finally sat up. She turned to Decebel.
"His body has been poisoned with an herb. It's common in these parts. Moonseed." Her eyes were unfocused as she spoke.
"How? Who would do this?" Decebel snarled as he looked around the room. He wondered if he looked hard enough he'd be able to see their guilt.
"That doesn't matter right now," Sally continued in a low voice. "He needs the antidote. He is fading fast, and Alina even faster. He needs Wolfsbane. It will counteract the poison."
Marianna stepped forward. "I know what Wolfsbane looks like. I can go get some, it grows on the mountainside."
Jen looked at Jacque and Fane, saw the horror and fear in their eyes. She was so sick of people hurting those she loved. Decebel walked up to the bed as Sally climbed down to allow him closer. While he was distracted, Jen slid over to Marianna.
"Come on, I'll go with you," she whispered in her ear.
Marianna looked at her and a small smile appeared. "Okay." She nodded and they both backed slowly and quietly towards the door. Not one person glanced their way. All eyes were riveted on the fallen Alpha and his mate.
Marianna and Jen hurried through the mansion.
"We're going to need a flashlight for you," Marianna told her and made a quick detour.
"Where are we going to find flashlights?"
"There's a shed just out the far west doors. I'm crossing my fingers that there's one in there."
Marianna kept glancing at Jen from the corner of her eye, sure that she'd be able to pick up on her guilt. They made it out the door and headed straight for the shed, which had light glowing on the front of it, illuminating the entrance. They both hurried in and began rummaging through shelves.
"Gotchya." Jen grinned, holding up a large industrial flashlight. She flicked it on and shined it around the room.
"Perfect," Marianna agreed. "Okay, let's go before Decebel realizes you're gone."
They left the shed and headed to the front of the estate, hurrying to make it out of the gates and onto the dark mountainside. Both girls shivered as the cold hit them – neither had thought to grab a coat in their haste. Marianna knew that Thad made sure to have all the Wolfsbane close to the mansion destroyed, so they would have to walk a good ways out to find it.
"HEY! Wait up."
Jen's and Marianna's heads turned to find Sally running after them, her own flashlight in hand. Of course Sally would think to get a flash light – she was always prepared.