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|Sacrifice of Love(Grey Wolves #7) by Quinn Loftis|
“From the night I took her as my mate, marked her and made her mine, I believed that when she left this world, I would go with her. I found peace in that because I knew that I didn’t want to live a life without her, didn’t want to experience anything life had to offer without her by my side. And yet here she is in my arms, no breath in her body and still my heart beats.” ~Vasile
Vasile held his mate’s lifeless body. He clutched her to him desperately as he tried to come to terms with what he had just watched. She was gone. She had been standing there looking at him with such longing it had hurt, and then he had seen in her eyes the need to protect, and he had known what she was going to do. He had tried to get to her first, intent on begging her to stop, but he knew there would have been nothing he could have said. He was too wrapped up in his grief to notice that it was silent around him. The battle was over, and had been over the second Alina had taken her own life. He leaned down and gently kissed her still warm lips and her scent wrapped around him like a loving embrace, and though his heart still beat, he swore he felt it shatter into a million pieces. He threw his head back and howled. He poured his grief and pain into it and fought to keep it from swallowing him whole. He knew he still had to fight, the other females needed him, though all he wanted to do was curl up around his mate and join her in death, and he would, soon.
Fane ran to Jacque and grabbed her, pulling her to his chest. He was sure he was crushing her, but he needed to feel her, needed to know she was still alive. He pulled back and kissed her roughly and then backed up, grabbing her hand and pulling her over to where his father held his mother. He knelt down next to them and leaned down to kiss her on the forehead. The heartache in his father’s howl broke his own heart, and seeing his mother lying there, pale with death, made him throw his own head back, and one by one the other wolves joined him and his father’s cry for justice.
As the howls subsided, Fane gave his mother a final kiss and then stood. He turned to look at Jacque. “I love you; I love you,” he told her over and over again as he pressed his forehead to hers.
Tears filled her eyes as she glanced down to his mother and then back to him. It broke his heart all over again. He pulled her tight against him. “It will be alright,” he murmured. He felt her shake her head against him.
“No, Fane it won’t. Not this time. I love you and I am so freaking glad to see you, and I’m so, so sorry.” He felt her body shudder against his as her tears began to fall and she pulled tighter against him.
“Vasile, we must move,” Decebel told his friend gently.
Vasile let out a warning growl.
“We will come back for her. We will not leave her, but we have to get the others,” he told him.
Vasile looked down at his mate. He knew she would want him to go and would expect him to go help, but he didn’t want to leave her. He felt someone watching him and looked out into the forest. Twenty feet away sat a white wolf, a wolf he knew. His mouth felt dry as he stared into the eyes of his brother, a brother who was supposed to have died in this very forest centuries ago. Vasile realized that seeing his Mina die must have shattered his hold on reality. He knew it must be some sort of delusion, a need to know that someone would be watching over his mate while he was away, until he could come back for her for the final time. “You will keep her safe,” he told the wolf. “You will protect her for me, brother, until I can come back for her.” The wolf bowed his head to him and Vasile knew he would do as he asked, he would protect the body of his beloved, and he would be forever grateful to this ghost of his brother.
He gave Alina a final kiss on the lips and pulled her close. “I will be back for you, and then I will join with you, as it should be.” He laid her down gently and watched as the white wolf walked slowly towards him. The others watched the wolf warily and, had Vasile been in his right mind, it might have seemed odd to him that they could see his delusion, but as it was, he couldn't care less. The wolf, which looked just like his brother’s wolf, lay down next to Alina and placed his huge head gently down next to her own. He let out a small whine and scooted his large body closer to hers and Vasile felt something ease inside of him.
“Let’s go,” he growled. He looked into the forest and saw that Peri, Sorin, and Skender were already running, obviously already having picked up on a scent. With a last look at his mate’s body, he too turned and took off into the forest.
Costin looked over at Sorin. “Smell them?”
Sorin nodded then looked at Adam. “Your mate and Sally,” he told the fae who didn’t have the nose of a wolf.
Adam’s shoulders tensed and his eyes began to scan the distance. “Which way?” he asked.
Costin pointed to the right of them and then took off again. Suddenly Peri screamed. “STOP!” Everyone came to a jarring halt just at the edge of a dark fog that weaved its way into the forest ahead of them.
“What is that?” Jacque asked.
“Evil,” Skender said in answer.
“Whatever it is, Sally is on the other side of it, so I’m getting through it one way or another,” Costin said as he paced back and forth in front of the line of fog.
“Okay, before we go into this freaky fog, can I please address the elephant in the forest?” Peri spoke up. “Did anyone else notice how the zombies back there all collapsed after Alina made the sacrifice?”
“Sacrifice?” Vasile snarled.
“Stand down wolf,” Peri warned. “I mean no disrespect to your grief but I believe this is important. As soon as Alina took her life, the battle ended.”
“Reyaz said that we would only be able to save one of them,” Thalion said.
“Bloody hell,” Jacque whispered, “he expects them to sacrifice themselves.”
Costin cursed and took off into the fog.
“Dammit, what is with you damn wolves running off after I’ve specifically said to stop!” Peri snapped as she too took off into the fog. Without thought, everyone else ran right behind them.
Sally stood, staring off into the fog. She could feel something was coming and her stomach felt as if it was going to climb up out of her throat. Her hands shook at her side and her palms were damp with sweat. She wanted to be brave; she needed to be brave, and if she had to call on her inner Jen to do so, then that’s what she would do.