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|Out Of The Dark(Grey Wolves #4) by Quinn Loftis|
Night fell over the Tavern and the moon boldly lit the sky. Jen and Jacque said their farewells as they headed out the door with Peri, Fane, and Decebel.
Jacque had spoken with her father and he was about as receptive as Fane and Decebel had been. She gently reminded him that she was an adult and it was her choice. He hadn't said anything more, but his face remained in a permanent scowl.
Peri led them out into a clearing near the opening of the woods. She had told them she would be cloaking them so the witch would not disturb the ritual if she happened to be seeking them out. Which she most likely was.
Jacque and Jen both wore a simple pullover shift, but – thanks to Fae magic – were being protected from the cold.
Peri directed Fane and Decebel to stand with their backs to each other to give their mates privacy from the other male. The girls each stood in front of their mate and waited for Peri to tell them what to do next. They watched as the fairy closed her eyes. Her lips began moving with silent words. The air around her began to shimmer and in each of her hands a large basin of water appeared. The water had a purple tint to it.
Peri handed Fane a basin and then Decebel.
"Remove your shifts," Peri told Jen and Jacque. "Then, males, you will pour the potion over your mate. The potion will last until all of her has been covered."
Jen pulled the shift over her head and, though it was the first time she had been truly naked in front of her mate, she boldly looked him in the eyes.
Decebel's lips lifted in a crooked smile. "You're beautiful," he told her through their bond and without hesitation began to pour the passion vine potion over her.
Jen had expected it to be cold, but the water was surprisingly warm. It flowed over her head and down her face to her shoulders, arms, chest, and back – all the way to her toes. Her skin felt like tiny pins were pricking it all over. Jen watched her skin begin to shimmer and felt something in her pushing. Just like when she had completed the Blood Rites, she could feel her wolf, only it was much stronger. The water finally stopped flowing and she looked up at Decebel.
Peri then instructed them to take the blood of their mate.
Decebel stepped close to Jen and leaned down so she was able to reach his neck. She kissed him once on the lips and then down his jaw to the same place she had bitten him during their bonding. The stirring in her was getting frantic and she was beginning to feel restless, like she couldn't stand still. Her teeth lengthened and her mouth opened.
When she sunk her teeth into Decebel's flesh, she let out a low moan as his sweet blood hit her mouth. Decebel wrapped his arms around her small waist.
"I will never tire of you taking from me what you need," he whispered breathlessly in her mind.
Jen swallowed several large gulps and somehow instinctively knew when to pull back. Decebel's eyes were closed and his lips slightly parted.
"D-d-decebel..." Jen's voice was unsteady as she looked to her mate for help.
Decebel opened his eyes, which had begun to glow amber. The glow intensified as Decebel looked into the glowing blue eyes of his mate. A low growl emitted from his chest as his own canines lengthened. Then Decebel's wolf pushed forward, seeking his mate.
"Mate," Jen heard Decebel's wolf boom into her mind.
Jen let out a soft whine and backed away from Decebel. She shuddered as something deep inside her, something primal, reached out.
"Jen, don't fight it," she heard Peri say, but her voice sounded far away.
Decebel stepped toward Jen and growled again. He was calling to her, calling to his mate.
Jen closed her glowing eyes and felt a coldness flow over her from head to toe. For a moment, she felt like she was floating – then she landed on the hard ground. On four legs.
Jen's eyes snapped open at the realization. Her vision was so clear and her hearing was beyond amplified – she could hear animals scurry, birds' wings flapping, voices coming from the Tavern, and a heartbeat that sounded familiar. She felt a nudge in her side and turned her head to see Decebel in his huge wolf form.
"Bloody hell, Dec. I'm a wolf." Jen was relieved that she could still feel him in her mind.
"You're a beautiful wolf. You have a white star shape on your muzzle."
Decebel gave her what must've been the wolf version of a smile. Jen took a step back.
"Okay, don't ever do that again. That was creepy.”
Decebel chuckled in her mind.
"How do you feel?" he asked her as he rubbed his head against her neck.
"Amazing. I can't even describe it. I just want to run and kill someth- Okay, that's a little disturbing."
A black wolf and a smaller grey one – who had emerald eyes that looked like they were lined in kohl – stepped in front of them.
Jen realized it was Fane and Jacque. She stepped toward Jacque and nudged her, then leaned down on her front paws, sticking her butt in the air and wagging her tail. She wanted to play. Jacque mimicked her pose and took off to the right when Jen pounced. Decebel and Fane sped off after their mates, flanking them on either side in protection. They ran through the snow, dodging under bushes and fallen trees. Jen relished the wind blowing through her fur and the cold air rushing into her lungs. The only thing that came even close to this exhilaration was kissing Decebel.
"I guess I'll have to try harder if I'm going to be competing with you wanting to be in your wolf form running instead of kissing your mate," Decebel teased, having heard her thought.
"I'm sure you can find ways to persuade me to stay in my human form. I can't believe I'm saying that – human form. That's just wicked crazy."
Jen and Jacque ran until they were panting in exhaustion. Peri watched over them while they became accustomed to their wolf forms and smiled, having the hope in her heart that she desperately needed to feel.
Late into the night, Jen and Jacque shared their experience with Sally and Costin, who shared the room with the two couples. They had pulled the beds to the center of the room and placed them in a circle, creating a flower shape so they could all lay with their heads toward the center and talk. Decebel and Jen had squeezed onto a single bed together. He lay on his back with one arm behind his head. Jen was sprawled across his chest, facing the others while Decebel used his free hand to run his fingers through her hair. He listened to her voice as she laughed about him chasing her and nipping her heels. He loved hearing her so happy, so worry-free, if only for this short moment in time.