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|Sacrifice of Love(Grey Wolves #7) by Quinn Loftis|
She felt Sally’s hand press gently to her stomach and warmth began to radiate from it. It began in her abdomen then traveled outward, down her hips and thighs to her feet and toes, and up to her chest, shoulders, neck and head. The warmth made her relax even further, and she felt cradled in the arms of something greater than herself. She thought of Decebel and wished desperately that he could be with her, that he could be the one running his fingers through her hair. She longed so desperately for him and her mind tumbled back to a memory that made the warmth grow stronger.
He had been sitting on their bed and she had just come back from spending time with Jacque and Jen.
He turned to look at her and her heart melted all over again.
“Hey,” she said in an almost shy manner.
“Hey yourself,” he said back. His eyes danced with mischief and she knew he was in one of his playful moods, a mood only she got to see.
“Did you have fun with your friends?”
She nodded. “Yes. Did you have fun beating other wolves up?” she had asked him several times to let her come watch him spar with the others, but he was adamant about not letting her go. She had discovered, through doing a little eavesdropping in his mind, that he didn’t want her to see all the half-dressed guys. He had no clue how beautiful he was; how utterly perfect he was. She had told them that those other guys weren’t even in the same atmosphere as him, that he was on a totally different universe compared to others. He didn’t see it. He didn’t see how she saw him.
“Come here,” she told him.
He rose and turned to face her as he crossed his arms in front of his chest. “Feeling confident today?”
“Why wouldn’t I feel confident? I’m mated to you. That must make me pretty dang special.”
He walked towards her with a sly smile, his gait so confident and sure. When he was finally standing in front of her he lifted his hand to brush her hair from her face and then cupped her cheek in his large, rough hand. “I don’t think you have any idea how special you are to me, Jennifer. But I will spend my life trying to show you.” He leaned down and pressed his lips to hers, slowly, gently, until his hand slid back behind her head and pulled her closer. His other hand slid under her shirt and grazed her side where the marks, that testified that she was his, traveled from her hip to under her arm. He pulled away just briefly to whisper against her lips. “You are indeed mine and nothing will ever take you from me.”
Her mind returned to the present when she opened her eyes and saw Sally leaning over her with her eyes closed and her brow scrunched up, concentrating. She tried not to hold her breath as she waited for her gypsy friend to do her thing.
Sally pushed her consciousness into Jen and sought out the fast fluttering heartbeat. She was amazed at the little life growing inside of her friend, how perfect every little part was. Sally honestly didn’t have a clue what a baby should look like at seven and half months, but Jen’s baby was fully developed. Sally noticed that her lungs looked small, but from what she could remember from health class, those were what took the longest to mature. As she watched the perfect little life moving in the safe little home, she felt honored to get to be a part of it. Her little hands were moving; one had even made it to her mouth. Her toes curled and her foot flexed. Amazing was the only word that Sally could think. Amazing, amazing, amazing, and she knew that if she could cry she would have tears streaming down her face. This perfect, amazing life was set to end the minute she took her first breath. She would have no first moments after that. No first smiles, or first noises, no first roll over or first crawl. Her life was over before it would even begin. How could that possibly be the payment for Jen’s life, to take something so innocent in place of someone else. She wondered if the Fates would consider a different sacrifice, a different life in place of the child’s. There had to be another way. As she pushed warmth and hope towards the child, letting her know just how loved she was, she vowed then and there that Jen and Dec’s baby would live. She would allow no other outcome. She was the healer of their pack, the one meant to protect and care for the wolves. As such, she could not allow a new life to be taken from them.
“Do you hear me little one,” she whispered into her mind, “you are loved, and no one will take you from us.”
Sally slipped her consciousness slowly from the child and then back out of Jen, pulling herself back into her own body. As her eyes opened she blinked several times to regain her bearings. Finally, when she felt like she had her wits about her, she looked down at Jen.
“I’m not sure how a baby should look at seven and half months, but from what I could tell she has all her parts, her lungs looked small, but other than that she is absolutely perfect.”
Jen’s eyes filled with tears as she pulled herself up and flung herself into Jacque’s arms. She wept for the news that her child was healthy. She wept for being trapped in a horrific place, away from any form of medical help, and she wept for the loss of her mate. It was just too much. And for once, she didn’t have anything smart to say; she didn’t have a joke or sarcastic comment; all she had was a broken heart and an empty place where her mate’s spirit should have been. She heard the sniffles behind her and knew that the others were crying right along with her. They felt her pain; they knew her fears and they would stand by her through it all. That realization only made her cry harder. She didn’t know how long she sat there holding onto her best friend, but she was so grateful that Jacque just let her get it out. And then finally she took some deep breaths and the tears subsided.
“Um, guys, not to interrupt this difficult moment, but we sort of have company.” The waver in Crinas’ voice and the fear that caused it had everyone turning to face her. The eyes of every one of them widened and multiple gasps rippled across them.
“Could someone explain why there is a massive white wolf staring at us from about twenty five feet away? Which I will add is not near far enough for me.” Lilly attempted to move in front of Jacque and the others as if she had a chance in hell of protecting them against a wolf that large.
“He’s not just a wolf,” Alina answered and her voice was filled with what sounded like shock, sadness, and guilt.
“He’s a were?” Jen asked as she wiped the last of the tears away.
Alina nodded as she continued to stare at the wolf. He lifted his nose into the air sniffing, and suddenly he froze. His head slowly lowered and his narrowed, glowing eyes landed on Alina. He took a slow step towards them as his lip lifted in a snarl.