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|Out Of The Dark(Grey Wolves #4) by Quinn Loftis|
Rachel stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Sally. "It's such an honor to meet you."
Sally looked up at Rachel when she released her from the hug. "Are you kidding me? I'm just a 17 year old kid. You've got centuries of experience as a healer. I assure you, the honor is mine."
Peri pulled the two ladies along with her as she muttered over her shoulder, "You both should be honored because you get to spend time with me. Now, get over your sweet natures and come with me. We have the demise of a bitch – I mean, witch – to plan"
Jen laughed as they watched Sally and Rachel follow Peri out of the room. "Man, that fairy is my kind of chick."
"What, a mouthy one?" Decebel grumbled as he pulled her tighter to him.
"Don't you know it."
Peri took Rachel and Sally upstairs to a room on the far corner of the tavern, away from where all the wolves had gathered. She turned and looked at both healers.
"Okay, you two. Have a seat." She motioned to two chairs that sat next to one of the single beds in the large bedroom. "We have a lot to cover and not much time. Consider this a cram session on healer history 101."
"So Rachel, I'm sure you are familiar with the story on how the Canis lupis were created, correct?"
"Sally, do you know?"
"We learned a little when we first moved in with Fane's family, but not all of it."
"Okay, I will get you up to speed." Peri went on to explain to Sally all about the Great Luna in the moon, who had decided that humanity was corrupting itself, and how she loved the wolves and wanted to prevent them from extinction, so she joined the human spirit with the wolf spirit.
"Now, you might be asking yourself where the gypsy healer plays into all this. Well, hold onto your girdle, because I'm getting there." Peri took a seat on the bed opposite the two healers and looked over their heads off into nowhere. Her face got that far away look that often slips across someone who is remembering a time long ago.
"Healers came about because the Great Luna wanted her wolves to appreciate the gifts she had given them. The ability to heal quickly, the blessing of children, the completeness of pack. A healer helps keep the harmony within the pack. The gypsy healer can mend injuries or illnesses that a wolf doesn't seem to be able to heal on their own. Also, a gypsy healer guarantees a successful pregnancy."
At that revelation Sally's jaw dropped open. "A gypsy healer can what?" She asked shakily.
"You can ensure that if Jacque or Jen ever get pregnant they will have a healthy pregnancy – one that is carried to term."
"Well, no pressure or anything," Sally muttered.
"Those reasons don't explain why the witch wants to get her hands on one or both of you," Peri continued. "Desdemona isn't truly helping Thad, she's just using that as a front. You see, the blood of a healer is powerful. Witches' magic, death magic, requires blood. There is nothing more powerful to a witch than the blood of a gypsy healer. The goodness and purity that runs in you makes your magic more powerful than any black magic. It's in your very essence. Unfortunately, like so many good things, it can be corrupted and used for evil once it's no longer inside you. That is why she wants you and will do anything to get you."
Sally was quiet as she processed all of that information. She knew that she should be worried, or maybe even scared of this Desdemona, but all she could bring herself to feel was anger and outrage that this witch would dare to hurt Sally's friends to get to her. She would do whatever was necessary to protect those she loved, and if Peri said that Rachel and her had powerful magic that could defeat the witch, then that's what they would use to do so.
"Okay, what do we need to do?" Sally asked eagerly.
"Just like that?"
"No time like the present and we can't change what is, so we might as well get busy taking care of business."
Rachel smiled at Sally, then looked at Peri with determination. "I agree with Sally. Tell us what we must do to defeat this evil."
Peri rubbed her hands together and the smile that stretched across her face gave Sally chills.
"Excellent," the fairy murmured. "Let's get started."
Decebel took Jen by the hand after Peri and the healers had left the meeting room. He tugged her behind him, leading her out of the room and upstairs. When he brought her into one of the rooms that had two rows of beds in it, shut the door and faced her, Jen saw that his eyes were glowing.
"Everything okay, B?" Jen asked tentatively.
Decebel took slow steps toward her, closing the distance between them. Jen knew better than to back up from a predator – all that did was encourage the chase.
When he was standing so close that their faces were mere inches apart, he took a deep breath in through his nose. His eyes closed and he looked as if he were savoring it.
"I was so worried about you," he whispered.
"I'm sorry, Dec. I didn't mean to worry you, but someone had to go and get Rachel."
Decebel growled. "And that someone just had to be you?" His voice was low and tight. She could feel the rage rolling off of him. "Hours before you left I had held your lifeless body in my arms, mourning you. HOURS, JENNIFER," he roared at her.
Jen squeezed her eyes closed as she felt his turmoil pass through their bond. She had not only scared him, but terrified him that something would happen to her. Decebel knew there were worse things than death.
She stepped even closer and placed her hands on either side of his face, waiting for him to open his eyes. When he finally did, she reached out to him through their bond and tried to make him feel just how sorry she was.
"I'm sorry. I didn't think. I didn't consider how my actions would affect you. Please, please, don't be angry with me."
Decebel wrapped his arms around Jen's waist and pulled her flush against his body. He leaned his head down and pressed his lips to hers. The kiss was fierce, intense, and showed just how much he needed her. One hand ran up her back and wrapped around the nape of her neck, holding her where he wanted. He deepened the kiss as he slipped his tongue in her mouth and they both let out desperate groans. He began to push her back until the back of her knees hit one of the beds. Slowly, he lowered her onto her back and blanketed her body with his own, never breaking the kiss.