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|Out Of The Dark(Grey Wolves #4) by Quinn Loftis|
Vasile smiled. "Hello, Perizada. You are well?"
Peri chuckled. "As well as can be expected in such times."
"Fair enough. Sally, how is Decebel?"
"Not good. His wolf is struggling to be free." Sally began to explain everything from the time they'd left until the current moment.
"So we're waiting on Gavril and Costin to return with Jen," she finished.
Jacque realized Sally must have put her phone on speaker as well when they heard Cynthia's voice loud and clear. "How is the curse going to be broken when Decebel doesn't know his mate and therefore doesn't feel love for her?"
There was quiet across the line.
"Sally, you said his wolf recognized her scent on Gavril?" Vasile broke the silence.
"That may be enough to help pull Decebel's emotions to the surface. His love for her isn't gone, it's just buried under that curse."
"What about blood?" Jacque asked. "What if they exchanged their blood? Would that maybe bring the bond back together, and in turn trigger Decebel's feelings toward Jen?"
"It's a possibility, and it probably wouldn't be difficult since his wolf still claims Jen," Vasile agreed.
"We also found out the witch's name. It's -"
"DO NOT SPEAK HER NAME!" Perizada's voice broke through the phone and filled the room as if she stood before them.
"You mustn't speak her name where it can be heard out here," she spoke calmly. "Vasile, surely you have explained the power in a name. We mustn't put her name on the wind and draw her attention."
"What do you mean put her name on the wind?" Crina asked, speaking up for the first time.
"A witch practices dark magic and calls on the elements to do so – earth, water, wind, and fire. She can use the wind to send out her will and call on others. If her name is spoken in the open, you can bet she will hear it."
"My bad," Jacque muttered, then added, "So, wait. Peri, you know who she is?"
"Of course I know who she is. I have been seeking her out for centuries. Her power grows and her evil knows no bounds. She must be destroyed, but there is only one way that can happen."
"How?" Jacque asked.
"The time for that revelation has not come."
While they waited for Gavril and Costin to return, Jacque told the others about the tables Wadim had shown her and the story behind them. Crina brought up the fire and how the witch – name not spoken – had somehow gotten to Wadim. They continued to talk long into the night, finding comfort in finally being reunited with their pack.
After several hours and still no Costin and Gavril, Vasile ordered everyone to get some sleep and for Sally to call them as soon as the others returned. Jacque wiped tears away as she said goodbye to her friend, then let Fane pull her into the shelter of his arms.
"They are safe, Luna," he whispered.
"They won't be safe until they're back here with their pack." Jacque followed Fane to their bedroom, and with no more words crawled into bed, curling up in his arms. Sleep was a long time in coming as they both waited for the phone to ring.
(Eleven days from day of departure)
Sometime in the early morning of the next day, Decebel let out a low growl from his place against the tree. Cynthia jumped up and Peri stood looking into the early morning haze. Sally sat up from her makeshift bed, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
Suddenly Gavril and Costin emerged from the forest, a battered and weary Jen in Costin's arms. Decebel jumped to his feet, lunging toward Costin. His eyes were glowing and the growl coming from him was all wolf. Costin looked at his Beta and realized the wolf had finally won.
"Sally, back away," Costin told her. Sally had begun to move toward Decebel as he surged forward, stumbling from his weakness.
"His wolf is in control. Decebel has left for the holidays," Costin told her firmly. "Cynthia, pull Sally back."
Cynthia obeyed without question, keeping a cautious eye on Decebel.
Decebel growled at Costin, his lip lifted and his sharp, long canines showing as he spoke. "Mine."
Costin nodded. "Yes, she is yours, but she is hurt. You have to be gentle with her."
Decebel tried to take Jen from Costin but he would not relent. Costin lowered his eyes in submission but spoke firmly. "Let me lay her down, Beta. You would not forgive yourself if you dropped her."
Costin moved slowly to the pallet where Sally had been laying and gently laid Jen's limp body down and covered her with a heavy blanket.
Decebel pushed Costin back firmly. "Don't touch."
Costin bared his neck to his Beta. "I mean her know harm and I do not want her for my own. She is very sick."
Decebel crouched down next to Jen, and in a tender way Sally had never seen in any man, he brushed her hair away from her face. He leaned down and pressed his nose against her neck, breathing deeply over and over. He ran his hands tenderly through her hair and then over her arms. He pulled the blanket back and ran his hands down her legs. Sally was confused – the action wasn't sexual but it was very possessive.
"What is he doing?" Sally asked Costin.
"Putting his scent on her. She has my scent and Gavril's scent. Two males on her, it's probably driving him mad."
Decebel struggled for control and he was losing. His wolf knew her. As soon as Costin had come into view, Decebel hadn't had a chance against his wolf. It took everything in him to keep from killing Costin when he saw his mate in his arms. Now, as he looked down upon her unmoving body, so weak and vulnerable, he knew his wolf wouldn't let her out of their sight.
Decebel turned to Peri with his glowing eyes and menacing stare. "Fix her." His voice was deep and guttural, not human at all.
"We must get her and you to a safe place. We need to cross the veil." Peri turned to Gavril. "I will contact you when it is time for you and Rachel to come. Until then, stay out of sight. She must not be captured, no matter what."
Gavril nodded, then looked over at Decebel, who was kneeling next to his mate. "Forgive us, Beta. We meant no harm toward her."
"You know you can't reason with his wolf, just make it right. That's all the apology he will need."
Gavril nodded once then turned and took off in the direction he and Costin had emerged from.