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|Out Of The Dark(Grey Wolves #4) by Quinn Loftis|
"Oh, of course. Where else?" Sally muttered sarcastically as Costin finally relinquished his hold on her. She glared at him as they began to walk.
"Why did you hold me back?"
"Because you needed to be protected from yourself in that moment. I told you, it's my job to protect you."
"Even from myself?" Sally rolled her eyes.
"Especially from yourself." Costin winked and grinned, completely non-plussed by her snarkiness.
"Yeah, well, who will protect me from you?" Sally muttered under her breath.
Costin heard Sally's muttered question and the pain in her voice as she stomped past him to follow Peri. His brow drew together as he thought about her words. The only explanation he could come up with for such a comment was that she was developing feelings for him.
It worried him that he felt so strongly for her even though she wasn’t Canis lupis. He shook his head at the thought. It didn't matter. Sally was his, and she would just have to accept that. If he were being honest with himself, he would admit that he enjoyed the thought of making her come to terms with their inevitable relationship. But then again, where was the fun in being honest with oneself?
Eight days after the fire, Jacque, Fane, Sorin, Crina, and Wadim all sat in various places around the burned room. The smell of smoke still lingered and soot still covered the walls. Jacque groaned as she rolled onto her back, holding a book above her face, reading intently. Suddenly she sat up.
"I think I've got something."
The other four stopped what they were doing and turned their attention on the red head.
Jacque began to read:
"The year was 1605 and the Fae had instituted the Great Purge. The witches were overpopulated, taking residence on continents all over the world. More than in any time in history, the balance was off. It needed to be restored. The task fell to the Fae, who were the most powerful of all the supernatural's. Perizada, the high fairy, decreed war on all witches. She sent out her people with the command that there were to be only four witches to each continent. What the Fae did not expect was for the witches to fight back. It had always been accepted that the balance must remain and when too much evil filled the world, for it to be purged.
“The Fae are steeped in magic. Their very beings are magic. The witches, however, conjure magic. It is unnatural and only accomplished at the expense of another's blood. And so, the Great Purge was a massacre. The Fae wiped out the witches in a matter of days, at a great cost to themselves. The supernatural world held its breath as it waited for the repercussions of the balance once again being thrown off.
“Days passed and nothing happened. Perizada met with the Alphas of the packs, searching for any problems that might have occurred as a result of the purge. Nothing. It was decided at the meeting of the Alphas that the only explanation was that evil had not been eradicated. A witch, somewhere, somehow, had survived. "
Jacque sat and stared at the book as she continued to skim.
"Is there anything more?" Crina asked.
Jacque shook her head. "That's the end of this volume. She closed the book and looked on the spine. Volume III, it read. "I need volume four."
They all began searching through the books on the floor and the shelves.
"Got it," Sorin announced a minute later. He handed the heavy tome to Jacque.
She opened it and began skimming. Everyone waited. Finally she snapped it shut.
"Nothing! No name, just mentions of an unknown witch leaving her mark across the world."
"What was her mark?" Fane asked his mate.
"Supernatural deaths. And don't think I'm not noticing that there is a whole slew of “sups” out there that you didn't bother to mention, wolf-man." Jacque glared.
Fane held up his hands. "If I remember correctly, Luna, you told me you wanted to stick with just werewolves."
Jacque growled. "And since when do you give me what I want?"
Fane chuckled. "I'm learning."
She rolled her eyes and continued to sift through books and papers.
For several hours they continued to search for information on the witch. Every now and then, one of them would run across something and read aloud to the group and then continue on in silence. Night had fallen by the time Jacque decided she could no longer ignore her aching stomach.
"I'm starving. Anyone else ready for some food?"
"I'm with you," Crina said as she stood up from her spot on the hard floor. She stretched her arms over her head and let out a loud yawn.
The others muttered in agreement and all headed back to the surface of the mansion.
"So,Wadim, you don't remember this witch's name that survived this purge?" Jacque spoke in between spoonfuls of the hot soup Jacque and Crina had thrown together.
"I feel like I should remember it, but it's just not there." His voice was thick with frustration. He had been trying to fill the blank spaces in his mind since the day the others had arrived, but nothing helped.
Jacque shook her head and growled. "I swear, if I ever get my hands on the wicked witch I'm going to witch-slap her."
Crina snorted at Jacque's change-up of the phrase, nearly sucking her drink up her nose.
"Good one." She smiled at Jacque.
Jacque winked with a chuckle. "It was weak, but I'm trying." She looked over to Fane. "Has your father heard anything from the others?"
"No. When I spoke with him earlier he said things have been quiet. Although, he said every now and then he has been feeling some pain seep through the pack bond to him. He thinks it has something to do with Dec and Jen. Something has happened, but there isn't anything he can do. He didn't say, but I can tell he is getting restless not being able to take action. His wolf is agitated with the pack being so divided."
"Well, I'm going back down to do some more searching before I call it a night," Jacque announced as she finished her meal.
"Luna, I think you need rest. We have been going through book after book. You need a break."
"I will take a break when I find that witch's name," she snarled at him, which was not like her at all. Snappy, yes – snarly, not so much.
When Fane stood and growled at her, stepping close, she took a few steps back.
"Don’t," she whispered. "Don't pull that Alpha crap on me, Fane. Not now."