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|Sacrifice of Love(Grey Wolves #7) by Quinn Loftis|
Alston bowed his head to Vasile as a show of respect. “We are here to help, and they will guard it well.”
With a renewed sense of purpose, the males made their way out of the mansion and into the coming night.
Reyaz watched from the cover of trees as the males filed out of the mansion. The tension in their shoulders and purpose in their strides told him all he needed to know. They were searching for him. A smile spread across his face as he thought about the wild goose chase he had planned for them. Part of him wanted to tell them not to bother, they wouldn’t find him. And they needn’t worry about not knowing where their females were; he planned to tell them. They would never be able to rescue them, and he felt it a much more fitting form of torture that they know exactly where their mates were being held captive, yet unable to do a thing about it. He hadn’t originally planned on bothering with the wolves, but they were meddlesome, and he figured it was better to deal with them now. That way, in the future when he was ready to remove the species that had his mate’s blood on their hands, the wolves would not be there to stand in his way. Now all he needed to do was decide what to do with the females: what order to kill them in, where to kill them, and what method. There were lots of options and tons of possibilities.
As soon as the males had disappeared into the forest, he made his way to the front door of the mansion. He took out a folded piece of paper and slipped it in between the double doors. He mumbled a few words then smiled at the knowledge that they would only find the paper when it was time, when the game was in motion. And then he was gone as if he had never been there.
Peri paced the room restlessly as Wadim rustled through papers and books. The musty smell permeated the air and only served to remind her of the daunting task before them.
“You could stop pacing any time now,” Wadim said without looking away from the book on his lap.
Peri’s head snapped around to look at the historian. For lack of anything witty to say she snapped, “Why do you wear those stupid shirts?”
Wadim looked up, attempting to look offended but missing it by a mile. “Hey don’t hate on the shirts just because you feel like the girls being taken is your fault.”
Peri ignored him and read the shirt out loud. “‘When in doubt, pee on it.’ What does that even mean and I swear if you hike your leg anywhere is this room I’ll nail your paws to the floor.”
“Has anyone told you that you need help? Like serious therapy, years of it with lots of medication thrown in,” he chuckled at his own words as he went back to searching through the book.
“What are you looking for?” Peri asked as she resumed her pacing.
“Anything,” he paused as he flipped the page, “something, heck I don’t know. But there has to be something that might point us in the right direction. There has to be some place that would cause the bonds to break, and that someplace would be saturated in power, dark power. Think Peri,” he implored her. “You out of all of us know this world and the other realms better than anyone. Where could he stash them that would guarantee that they wouldn’t be able to reach out to their mates?”
Peri rubbed her forehead in frustration as she sifted through her many lifetimes, searching for what Wadim described. The closer she came to figuring it out, the faster her mind seemed to push away whatever it was that might be a possibility.
“I got nothing dammit!” She slammed her hand down on a stack of papers and a cloud of dust rose into the air.
“Okay, well, pull up a chair and start turning pages. Pacing a hole in the ground isn’t going to help us find them.” His voice wasn’t unkind as he motioned towards a chair across the room. “Start with those books,” he pointed to the shelves behind her, “and I honestly don’t know what to tell you to look for. I guess just any instance in history when a place might have been used to house evil.”
Peri pulled out a stack of books and began flipping through, her eyes moving quickly over the page pulling out words and then discarding them just as quickly. “This is going to take forever,” she huffed.
“Well for once in our long lives, forever isn’t a luxury we have.”
Time ticked by and it seemed the hours past quicker and quicker. Still they were no closer to finding an answer than when they both sat down.
“Wait! Wait!” Wadim suddenly yelled.
Peri jumped up so fast that the stack of books in her lap tumbled to the floor and she tripped over them trying to get to him to see what he was shouting about.
“Did you find something? What is it? What does it say?” her words flew out of her mouth in rapid fire.
“Oh, my bad, never mind.”
Peri saw the small smile on the wolf’s lips.
“You just jerked my chain didn’t you?”
He started laughing and had to wrap his arms around the books in his lap to keep them from falling. “I’m sorry but the tension was just too much; we needed a quick break.”
Peri smacked him across the back of the head before heading back over to her chair. “I swear, one of these days I’m going to have wolf pelts adorning my whole house, and I’ll make sure yours is the one at the front door so everyone will step on you on their way in.”
It was midmorning the next day when, group by group, the males returned back to the Romanian mansion. Vasile told them all to get some sleep and when they argued, he reminded them that if they were delirious with exhaustion they would be no help to their mates. They saw the truth in his words, though that didn’t stop them from grumbling as they went.
Decebel called his pack and spoke with his fourth to see how everyone was doing. He felt like he was neglecting them, but he didn’t know how to change that at the moment. His mate would always come first, and he hoped that they would understand and that he would be an example to the other males who had yet to find their mates. He pushed the worry for his pack from his mind and felt the despair of the emptiness inside of him. He fought the overwhelming desire to kill anything and everything. The feeling of helplessness was beginning to suffocate him and he didn’t know how he was going to sleep with such agony raging inside of him.
He laid down on their bed and her scent enveloped him. He rolled to his side and pressed his face into her pillow and memories of her flooded his mind. The first time he saw her he had been captivated by her and his wolf had surged forward with the need to claim her. She brought indescribable joy to him, and though she drove him crazy, there wasn’t a thing about her that he would change. She filled the empty places inside of him, and she loved him when he knew he was so undeserving of that love. His heart ached in his chest and his muscles burned from the pain that seemed to be constantly radiating throughout him. His body called out for his mate. The bond was nearly gone and yet man and wolf still felt the intense need to be close to her. If she died, mate bond or not, he would follow her. There was nothing in this life for him without her here to share it. As he continued to breathe her scent deep into his lungs, he felt the exhaustion take over and pull him against his will into a deep sleep. Instinctively, he reached out for her, needing to hear her voice before the unconsciousness took him, and still there was nothing but a black void where she belonged.