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|Out Of The Dark(Grey Wolves #4) by Quinn Loftis|
"Why are we whispering?" Sally added.
"Because you can bet your gypsy behind that eagle ears out there is listening to every sound I make. So bring yourselves closer, this is important."
"First, you need to know that Decebel got his memories back."
"WHAT?" Jacque sort of whisper-hollered.
"How?" Sally asked in a louder voice.
"Shhh.” Jen batted her hand at them. “He loves me," she said in a 'duh' sort of tone.
"Just like that? He went from 'we will make the best of it' to 'now I love you'?"
"I don't really know how it happened, I was asleep. But when I woke up he was sitting there staring at me like I was the best thing since sliced bread. And I knew. I knew he recognized me. I don't know if I have ever been so relieved in my life."
"I'm so happy for you, Jen. You've been through hell and I can't imagine what it would be like for your mate to not know you." Jacque said soberly.
"Well, it was crap, that's for sure. But I have more important things to discuss."
"More important than Decebel loving you?" Sally looked incredulous.
Sally and Jacque both huddled close to Jen, attempting to keep from touching her, but at that moment Jen didn't care about pain – she needed her friends' support in this. Jen grabbed both their wrists and pulled them even closer.
"I've made a decision," Jen whispered to her two best friends.
Jacque and Sally held very still as they waited for Jen to continue. They could see on her face that this decision left a very rotten taste in her mouth.
"This sounds perilously close to a declaration we're going to think is impetuous and idiotic," Sally whispered roughly, raising an eyebrow.
Jen shushed her as she rolled her eyes. "I'm serious. Once you guys hear my reasons I think you'll understand."
"That right there tells me we are wholeheartedly gonna think you're full of shit," Jacque growled as softly as she could.
Jen didn't realize she was fumbling with the blanket in her hands until Sally laid her hand over them, stilling them. She looked up and clenched her jaw, her eyes narrowed, and though she was very weak, she tried to come across as firm and confident. Based on their looks she wasn't fooling them. Deciding there was nothing more she could do to show them she meant business, she spoke softly, but firmly.
"I'm not going to complete the mate bond and I'm not doing the Blood Rites."
Jacque and Sally, who had been leaning forward in order to hear her, stood up abruptly, as if a strong wind had forced them back. Both girls' mouths fell open. Jen waited and waited...and waited some more. Just when she thought they'd both had aneurysms, Jacque broke the silence by laughing hysterically.
"Shhh." Jen waved her hands in the air trying to get Jacque to shut up. "Shut your pie hole, wolf princess.”
Sally looked from Jacque to Jen and then joined in. Both girls laughed until they had tears streaming down their cheeks. Jen finally gave up trying to shut them up and just waited until they regained their composure.
"Oh, man," Jacque said, wiping the wetness from her face. "Good times, Jen. Good times."
"Why the hell were you two laughing at me like a third nipple had sprouted on my forehead?"
Jacque snorted. "That's pretty funny, too, but the first thing was classic."
Jen waited for an explanation.
This time Jacque didn't whisper. "If you think the man who spent the past few weeks going through hell is going to let you get away so easily, you have not been paying attention." Jacque pursed her lips. "After finding out you were dying and beyond his reach; after going against his very nature and protecting the pack before his mate; after spending those weeks with most of his life forgotten, his mate forgotten, therefore half of his soul missing; after all that, you really think he's just going to smile, pat you on the back, and say 'have a nice life, Jen'?"
Jen started to protest but Sally held a hand up to stop her, and it was she that continued the rant Jacque had started. "Through the bond, he felt you – a stranger to him, nevertheless he was undeniably drawn to you. He felt you slipping away and, even though he didn't understand what you were to him, he knew that he would die before he let you pass from this world to the next. I watched as he saw Costin carrying you through the forest. I watched as he was prepared to kill anyone who came near you. He helped me do CPR on you, he cleaned you, clothed you, and never left your side. He fed you his blood, he sang to you, he brushed your hair, he talked to you, and Decebel – that huge, brooding, emotionless brute – as he watched you lay on that very floor, " Sally pointed to where Jen had lain dead, "lifeless, he still didn't give up. Crying, he refused to let you go. He told you he would not lose you and he didn't. So if you think after all that he's just going to take this lying down, then you are making that hair of yours proud, as you more than fulfill the role of the dumbass blonde."
Jen was shaking her head from side to side as a tear slipped down her cheek.
"If we bond and something happens to me, he will die." Jen's voice was soft, broken. "I can't handle the idea of something happening to him because of me. I still want to be with him, but I don't want his soul bound to mine. I won't be responsible for his death."
"Normally, Jen, I would bet on you any day of the week. But this time," Jacque said, shaking her head, "this time I bet on the wolf."
Jen cringed as she felt a sharp pain in her heart. Not a physical pain, exactly, but every bit as brutal.
All three girls looked at the doorway when they heard a low growl. Decebel stood there, his huge shoulders blocking the entire opening. His eyes were glowing, his breathing was labored, and he looked like he had murder on his mind.
Jacque looked from Jen to Decebel and a wicked grin spread across her face.
"Sally, get me some popcorn. This is payback for all the times Jen stuck her nose in my business with my mate." Jacque's grin was downright feral.
Jen dropped her head. It was then that Jacque realized just how much of a toll this decision had taken on her friend.
"It goes against nature, Jen. You both will suffer." Jacque ran her hand down Jen's blonde hair as she looked into her blue eyes. "He was created for you. Let him love you. Let him take care of you. If you deny the bond it will rip your heart in two."