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|Sacrifice of Love(Grey Wolves #7) by Quinn Loftis|
“What does he want?” Sorin asked.
“To punish me,” Cypher answered without pause. Cypher didn’t know what he expected from the males when he answered. Perhaps they would tell him to hand himself over so that his brother’s wrath would be satisfied and then maybe he would leave everyone else alone. But he knew they were too smart to believe that his brother would stop with only him. He had, after all, already killed Vasile, or at least attempted to, simply to display his power. Therefore, he wasn’t at all surprised by the patient looks they gave him as they waited for him to elaborate.
“His mate died many, many years ago and he blames me for her death,” Cypher continued.
Decebel’s eyes narrowed as he watched the king. “Blames you, or your actions?”
“The lack thereof,” Cypher told him. “His mate made a decision to act as an ambassador to another supernatural race and I warned her not to, but she was determined to do what she wanted.”
“Aren’t they all?” Fane growled under his breath. Grumbles of agreement floated across the room and Cypher gave them questioning looks.
“Ignore their grumbling Cypher,” Vasile interrupted the noise, “their women have deserted them.” Dirty looks were shot his way but he ignored them and concentrated on Cypher.
“She went anyways and was killed,” Cypher continued. “It is my brother’s belief that I could have stopped her, and I am inclined to agree with him.”
“Were you willing to tie her to a tree and put her under constant guard?” Decebel asked. “Because unless that was the action you were prepared to take, then your brother is a bigger fool than I have already determined him to be. Surely you know, now that you have a mate, there is no forcing our women to do anything they do not want to do, nor is there any stopping them once they have made up their minds.”
“I understand what you are saying Decebel,” Cypher told him, “and Lilly has argued the same point, but it is hard for me not to take some of the blame.”
“It is in our nature to feel responsible for the lives under our care,” Vasile said, “but if we are to be effective leaders, then we must learn from the past and then let it go. Why is your brother not acting on his threats from the night of the battle with the witch?”
“I’m not sure,” Cypher admitted. “My first thought would be that he wants us to become complacent. I think he figures that as more and more time passes without him taking any action then we will become lackadaisical in our watchfulness.”
“And your second thought?” Sorin prompted.
“That he doesn’t even know what he wants to do.”
Costin frowned as he leaned forward in his chair. “You think that after all these years of brooding over the death of his mate, he doesn’t have a plan?”
Cypher thought about it for a minute before he answered. “No, I think that maybe circumstances have changed and now he has to revise whatever plan he had originally devised.”
“What circumstances changed?” Fane asked.
“Lilly,” Vasile answered before Cypher could speak.
Cypher nodded. “Exactly.”
“That’s not all that has changed,” Wadim spoke up. “We are united. The supernatural races are working together. That’s a pretty big freaking change.”
“Freaking?” Cypher’s brow rose at the historian.
“Hey, you’re mated to an American. Just wait. She’ll have you saying all kinds of weird sh—,”
“Wadim,” Vasile’s voice was sharp as he interrupted him.
Cypher chuckled, but his eyes were sad. “Yes, they do say some of the strangest things.”
“I asked you here because I want to talk about how we move forward now,” Vasile told him. “I don’t feel it is wise of us to just wait for our enemy to attack. I think that if we want to end this quickly, then we will have to be the ones to make the first move.”
“You realize that if you pursue him, he will retaliate swiftly? He is very versed in dark magic and he basically has no morals.”
Costin laughed. “So basically he is Mona with a…,”
“Bloody hell, what is with you males?” Vasile growled. “You’re mates haven’t been gone a full day and all of the sudden you can’t keep from saying something foul?”
Cyphers eyes snapped up to Vasile. “Where have their mates gone?”
Vasile glanced down at his shirt and brushed away invisible lint, cleared his throat, shifted in his chair, and crossed one leg over the other before finally folding his hands in his lap and then meeting Cypher’s gaze once again. “Our mates have gone with yours, of course.”
Cypher’s gaze traveled over the room. His eyes took in the tense shoulders, clenched teeth, and semi glowing eyes. He had known something was wrong the moment he walked into the library. Now that he knew what that something was, he had to hand it to the wolves, they were handling it rather well.
“Lilly was here?” he finally asked.
“Courtesy of our nosy fairy,” Decebel told him.
Alston shook his head with a small smile on his lips.
“Perizada brought Lilly here?” Cypher didn’t know whether to be angry that the fae had disobeyed him or happy that she had thought to bring her to see Jacque.
“She felt like Jacque had a right to say goodbye to her mother,” Vasile explained.
Of course she had a right to say goodbye to her child, Cypher thought. He hadn’t even thought to ask her if she wanted to see Jacque before she left. “So you all know why I sent her away?” Cypher stood from the chair and walked slowly toward one of the windows on the far side of the library.
“We know that you made a difficult choice, and you will make more before this whole thing is over.”
Cypher turned slowly and saw that all of the males were now standing. Their faces were grim, but the looks in their eyes told him that they understood the choice he had made.
“So why did you send your mates with Lilly?”
Growls rumbled through the air and Vasile let out a toothy grin. “We did not send them king; they sent themselves.”
Cypher chuckled. “Of course they did.” His face sobered then. “She is well?”
“She was ticked off when we saw her last,” Costin told him with a smile. “But she wasn’t in the clutches of a psycho dark warlock, so I guess you have to pick your poison.”