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|Just One Drop(Grey Wolves #3) by Quinn Loftis|
“Bonded or not, Jennifer, you are my mate. What you ask goes against everything I am. I cannot put others in front of your well being. You ask for a river to reverse its flow and the fires of hell to freeze over. It isn’t possible.”
Decebel’s voice was becoming more and more of a growl as he tried to make her understand that as her mate, he would not abandon her.
“I understand. This is hard for me, too. I love you, Decebel. I’ve loved you from the moment I met you. I love you bossy, mad, gentle, affectionate... I love you any way you come to me. I want us to have a chance, and I have to believe that the fates aren’t so cruel as to only give us this one. I have to believe that if we aren’t together in this life, then in the next.”
Jen tried hard to make her voice strong. She wasn’t going to pretend that the idea of never seeing Decebel again didn’t hurt worse than any pain she had ever experienced. She would rather be back in that burning car, feeling her flesh be seared, than think there was no chance to be with him. “If I have to, then I will believe enough for the both of us. But Decebel, if you come for me, I will never forgive you, mate or not. If you love me, clichéd as that is, you will protect those I love. And if this life is over for me, then live for both of us, and I will wait for you. I will see you again. I will kiss you, I will touch you, I will love you, Decebel. If not on this side, then on the other.”
Decebel’s shoulders shook at the force of emotion that rolled through him. Not since his sister had died had he felt such grief. Only this was worse, a thousand times worse. Jennifer didn’t get it. Though they weren’t yet bonded by blood, their connection was strong. Already he felt his soul tearing in two at knowing there was a possibility he would lose his mate.
“How can you ask this of me? Please, Jennifer. Don’t.”
"To late," he heard her whisper.
Decebel took a deep breath. He hated himself for it, but he relented, knowing she would accept nothing less.
“I love you. I will keep them safe, but I will come for you. You will live, do you hear me? You will live. LIVE ! Pentru mine, iubitule. Te rog traiesc (For me, baby. Please live).”
“It's so cold... Decebel? Take care of those I love. That means you.”
Decebel felt her growing weaker, could feel her mind shutting down. He felt so helpless. Once again he was unable to save the one he loved. He squeezed his eyes shut and fell to the floor. Their bond had finally opened, and for a few brief moments he had felt her. Felt all of her. Now there was only darkness.
He momentarily gave himself over to the wolf that pushed and snarled to come forward. His eyes glowed, his claws extended digging into the carpet as he felt the pain pour over him. His canines lengthened as he tilted his head back and howled.
Standing, he shook with rage and wrenched the door open and walked out into the hall. He caught a scent that nearly made him phase. Marianna, he thought. Welcome home, pack mate.
Decebel took off at a run, following her scent. It led him straight to the room where his Alpha and his mate laid at death's door. The wolves in the adjoining suite separated as Decebel stormed through. He ripped the door from its hinges as he pulled it open.
Fane, Skender, Boain, and Sorin all came forward, snarling, preparing to defend their Alpha. When they realized it was Decebel and saw the look in his eyes, they all backed down and bared their necks. His eyes scanned the room and fell on his prey.
Marianna stood next to Sally, tears streaming down her cheeks. He walked over to her slowly, letting her watch her fate come near.
Decebel grabbed her around the throat and lifted her from the floor, her back against the wall.
"WHERE. IS. SHE!" he growled into her face.
Marianna squeezed her eyes shut as she tried to fight the compulsion in her Beta's voice.
Marianna knew if she told Decebel what he wanted to know, Thad's wolves would tear her limb from limb. She knew because that's exactly what Thad had told her would happen. She didn't know why she had come back – she should've just left – but she thought that would make her look guilty. It obviously hadn't mattered.
She knew Decebel would kill her, but he would be merciful and make it quick. Thad would torture her. She bit her lip until it started to bleed, struggling to breathe as her Beta's hand tightened.
"Answer me, Marianna."
"I can't, Beta. He'll kill me," she whispered.
"You are already dead. You were dead the moment you hurt my mate, the moment you dared to touch what is mine. You were dead the moment you agreed to lead her to her death "
"You won't torture me. Please." Marianna opened her eyes and looked into Decebel's. "I just wanted to be with him. Vasile wouldn’t let me."
Decebel's eyes widened as her words sunk in. "You did this for a human? For a man who is nothing to you?"
"I LOVE HIM. He is something to me." Marianna shook with her pain and grief.
"If you will not speak, then I have no further use for you," Decebel told her calmly.
Marianna nodded, accepting the fate she had chosen. She looked into Decebel's eyes once more, knowing it was the last thing she would ever see.
Let it be known this day Marianna broke pack law and hurt one of her own. Attempted to murder my mate and betrayed her Alpha. That is why she dies this day," Decebel looked at the female he had watched grow from just a pup." Decebe's eyes softened briefly, "This is not easy for me. We cannot allow betrayal in the pack. A pack is only as strong as the loyalty that holds it together. "
He jerked his hand sharply to the side, breaking her neck before she could continue. He wouldn't drag her death out and he didn't want to hear her excuses. Not while his mate lay dying.
"Is everything okay? I thought I heard -"
Decebel turned at the sound of Thad's voice. Thad's eyes widened in shock as he looked from Decebel to the crumpled body at his feet. In that moment, he knew he'd been found out. As Decebel snarled and lunged, Thad phased in mid air and ran straight for the glass window, throwing himself through it.
Decebel stopped mid-stride when power wrapped around him.
"Decebel, come to me."
Decebel felt his Alpha's power surrounding him, offering him strength and comfort. He tried to fight it, but even in Vasile's weakened state he was strong. He turned, legs moving without his permission. He approached Vasile's bedside and lowered himself on one knee.