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|Sacrifice of Love(Grey Wolves #7) by Quinn Loftis|
Alina blinked several times, confused by his question. “Dark wizard?”
“Yes, the one who brought the fae with him.”
“Oh, you mean Reyaz. He isn’t a wizard, he’s a warlock,” she told him, “he wants to kill us.”
“Revenge. He wants to kill Cypher’s mate because his own mate died and he blames his brother,” Cynthia answered.
“Okay, so is anyone else wondering why we’re just spilling our guts to this Neanderthal?” Jacque whispered.
“Dude, shut it. This is the most interesting thing to happen since Sally had her dirty dream.” Jen said.
“It wasn’t a dirty dream,” Sally muttered defensively.
“Just keep telling yourself that Sally, whatever makes you feel pure and innocent, but we know the truth.”
“Is there anyone searching for you? Do they know you are missing?” Lucien asked.
“Our mates know,” Alina answered. “They are probably frantic by now.”
“Why did they let you out of their sights?”
“And there it is, the butthead gene that they all share,” Jen said without trying to keep her voice down.
“At least they’re consistent,” Sally commented.
Jen started to reply but once again felt her stomach cramp and nearly fell to the ground. Cynthia caught her and eased her down and the other girls gathered around her protectively. Cynthia pressed on her abdomen to feel which direction the baby was turned and kept the frown to herself when she felt that she was dropping into the birth canal, preparing for delivery.
“What is wrong with her?” Lucian's urgent voice broke through the murmurs and Lilly turned to answer him.
“She is pregnant and getting very close to her due date, and the bond between her and her mate is nearly broken, so she is in a lot of pain. In fact, every mated female here is losing the bond with their mates and are in a lot of pain, though they hide it well.”
Lucian continued to look at Jen and the women hovering around her, but he still spoke to Lilly. “Why are you telling me this? Why are you not worried that I will somehow use it against you?”
Lilly looked at him thoughtfully. She took in his bedraggled appearance, and the obvious neglect of his health. His body was so lean, unlike the werewolves she knew. She watched as he looked on at Jen. Worry was written on his brow and the need to do something showed in the way he bounced lightly on the balls of his feet. “You are not a bad man,” she finally told him, “you may have been in a bad situation for a very long time, but if you were evil, it would have overtaken you long, long ago.”
“I may not be evil, but there is darkness inside of me and where there is no darkness, it is empty, just waiting for the darkness to fill it up.”
Lilly was caught off guard by his candidness and a swell of compassion rose in her heart for this man who had been alone for so long in such a desolate place.
When Jen was finally able to sit up and breathe without crying out in pain, they all gathered in a semicircle facing Lucian who sat ten feet away from them. He was still very leery of them, but at the same time it was apparent that he was starved for companionship.
“What happened to you, Lucian,” Lilly asked, getting right down to it.
“I volunteered to fight the witches and Volcan, along with some other warrior wolves.”
“Why did you survive and no one else?”
“I don’t know.” He ran his hand through his shaggy hair. The motion looked so unpracticed and new. Many of his movements were that way, like he was relearning how to use his body in his human form.
“Okay,” Lilly said calmly, “How have you survived? What have you been eating?”
This time his eyes widened in shock as he looked at the females. “I don’t know that either.”
“Have you been alone the whole time,” Elle asked.
He nodded. “Yes, until Reyaz and the fae showed up, it was only me.”
Elle sensed there was something he wasn’t telling them. She didn’t feel as though he had ill intent towards them, more like he didn’t quite trust them yet to bare his soul.
Alina was about to ask him another question but he jumped to his feet, moving so fast they barely saw him. “He’s coming,” he told them with wide eyes, “he must not know about me.” He turned and, just as he had done before, he became one with the darkness of the forest.
“Hello ladies,” Reyaz smiled at them, but it was not a happy smile. It was a smile that a child gave to the piece of cake sitting before him covered in thick, rich icing. Needless to say, it was creepy.
“Hello Clarice,” Jen whispered in her best Hannibal Lector voice. Sally elbowed her but then whispered. “Silence of the Lambs.”
“The hunt will begin soon so I need to get you all in your places. I have set up a nice little game for your males and they are trying to figure out where you are as we speak so that they can begin the hunt. So, Lorelle will do the honors of taking you each to your resting place, no pun intended.” He chuckled at himself and it made Sally want to stab him with something very sharp over and over again. The violent thought should have bothered her, should have, she thought, but didn’t.
“Don’t worry, you won’t be alone. You will go in pairs. That way you will have someone to talk to while you wait.”
Lorelle appeared out of nowhere and grabbed Elle and Lilly and then was gone so quickly that it took the others a second to realize what had just happened.
“Mom!” Jacque screamed just as all the others joined her in calling out after Elle and Lilly. She turned to scream at Reyaz, but he too was gone. More quickly than they could have imagined, Lorelle was back and grabbed two more, this time Cynthia and Jen. Next, it was Sally and Crina and last Jacque and Alina. No matter how they tried to hang on to each other, Lorelle pulled them apart and flashed with them before the others could retaliate.
When the clearing where the females had once been was empty, the white wolf stepped out from the forest and stared at the spot. He let out a low growl, then threw his head back and howled like he had done so many times, only this time there was someone to hear.