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|Sacrifice of Love(Grey Wolves #7) by Quinn Loftis|
“Sally, are you alright?” Crina asked quietly.
Sally nodded. “Do you feel it?”
“Yes, they’re coming,” Crina agreed.
“What do you think is going to happen?”
Crina shrugged. “I don’t know, but whatever it is we will get out of it together. Our mates and Peri can kick some major ass. It’s going to be okay.”
Sally smiled. “I’m supposed to be the encouraging one, being the gypsy healer and all.”
Crina laughed. “It’s okay to let other people encourage you every now and then.”
They both looked back out into the fog and watched as it gradually began to recede and slowly reveal the forest, and their pack, as well as a few extras.
“Sally!” Costin’s voice broke through her surprise and her eyes filled with tears at the sight of him. He ran towards her and was a mere two feet from her when he was brought up short, frozen in place.
“Costin!” Sally tried to move towards him but she couldn’t get any closer. She could walk side to side, but no matter how hard she tried to walk forward she was met with resistance that she couldn’t fight.
Suddenly laughter filled the air around them as each member of the hunting party suddenly began grasping at their throats. Wheezing and gasping filled the air as Sally and Crina looked on in horror.
“STOP! Please STOP!” Sally sobbed.
“You know what must be done,” the voice that had been laughing told her.
And just as quickly as the group had started choking, they stopped. Costin bent forward trying to pull air into his lungs, as did the others.
Peri looked at Sally sternly. “Don’t even think about it.”
The tears in Sally’s eyes began to fall as she reached into her pocket and pulled out a little blue pill. She looked up at everyone and then back at the pill.
“SALLY!” Peri snarled. “Don’t you dare! We will figure this out.”
Sally’s head shook back and forth as she looked at Costin. “He will kill you all and make us stand here and watch. The things he said he would do, they’re horrible.”
“Sally you have to trust me,” Costin pleaded.
“Healer, listen to your wolf,” Peri told her as she finally stood up, able to breathe again. “We can totally kick this guy’s—,” before she could get out the words, Peri was on the ground, screaming in pain. Sally let out a squeak of horror as she watched the fae grip her head. Blood began to pour from her nose and ears, and even from her mouth. Sally knew he was killing her. He would draw it out and make it as horrible as possible while she stood watching. Peri’s body flipped and flopped as her breathing gurgled around the blood. She glanced back at Costin. “I can’t let her die,” she told him. “I can’t; it wouldn’t be right; it’s not right.”
“Sally,” Costin’s voice came out in a desperate plea, but what could he say? Could he tell her to stand there while a friend that she loved died a horrible death? Could he really ask her to live with that?
“He will take you all one by one until one of us gives in,” she told him. She looked over at Crina and gave her a small smile. “It is my duty as your healer. I don’t expect you to sacrifice yourself.”
Peri’s screams became louder and then Sally heard the fae’s words. “Sally! Don’t!” she screamed. But she was too late. Sally had already put the pill in her mouth and swallowed. She waited and let out a deep breath when Peri’s screams of pain stopped but then were replaced by her cussing.
“Dammit Sally! I told you not to! Do you know how long I’ve been alive? Do you have any idea how many centuries I’ve lived on this earth?” Peri tried to walk closer to the healer but just like Costin, she was stuck. “ARGH!” she screamed in utter frustration and rage.
Sally felt herself getting sleepy as her breathing became shallow. She swayed on her feet and tried to lower herself slowly to the ground as her legs weakened. Her eyes met Costin’s as he lowered himself to the ground across from her. He reached out to her, unable to touch her, unable to save her and she cried for him.
“Sally,” his deep voice cut into her heart and the desperation in it touched her soul. She didn’t want to die; she wasn’t ready to die, but Reyaz had left her no option. She wouldn’t watch her friends die.
“I’m sorry, Costin,” she told him breathlessly. Her lungs were on fire and her brain was becoming fuzzy from the lack of oxygen.
“Shh, baby, don’t talk...it’s okay...it’s okay,” he told her gently. “I know why you did it; I do. I’m just not ready to give you up. I can’t give you up.”
Sally smiled, or tried to. “Stubborn,” she wheezed.
Costin couldn’t smile. He couldn’t do anything other than breathe and that was becoming increasingly difficult. It was as if his own body was responding to what her body was experiencing and, he wished with everything inside of him that he was, that he too was dying. But he knew the bond had been broken, and as her life slipped away, he would be left here without her.
Sally felt herself growing even weaker. “I’m tired Costin,” she whispered to him.
“Lay down, Sally mine, I’m here with you.”
She did as he told her and lay on her side so she could see him. Her breaths were so shallow now; she knew at any second she would take her last. “I love you,” she told him and the words were slurred but she hoped he understood. “I. am. S-s—so glad. You. Were. Mine.” her words were choppy and so soft she wondered if he heard her.
“Am yours, Sally mine, not were. I am yours in life and in death and you are mine,” he told her, “And I will join you very soon, my love.”
Sally wanted to tell him no, she wanted to tell him to live, to find love again but she was out of time. She saw his incredibly handsome face move closer and caught his scent just as death took her.
Costin gathered her into his arms as the force that had been holding him in place let go. He wanted to scream, to maim, and kill. Most of all, he wanted his mate back. He buried his face in her neck and breathed deeply, taking her scent deep in his lungs. His chest ached as he tried to hold himself together and when he heard Jacque’s hysterical screams he nearly lost it. He knew she would want to see her friend and would want to hold her, but he wasn’t ready to let her go, couldn’t let her go, not yet, and maybe not ever. His time with her had been so very short. There was still so much they hadn’t experienced together and so many things left to do and say, and yet one little pill and the evil heart of one man had ripped her from him.