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|Sacrifice of Love(Grey Wolves #7) by Quinn Loftis|
“Do you remember the first time we shaved our legs?” Jacque asked Sally, though she knew she wouldn’t, couldn’t answer. “We were eleven and Jen had told us that she refused to be seen with hairy beasts and if we wanted to remain her friends then we would have to become Schic chicks. You had asked her what the crap a Schic chick was and she had tossed a pack of disposable razors at us and then refused to let us out of the bathroom until we had shaved. I don’t think I had ever seen you that mad. You were as pissed as a wet cat.” Jacque laughed out loud. “Jen had asked you what the big deal was and you had told her that it should be your decision when you were ready to shave your legs and then Jen had told you that anything related to beauty was always to be deferred to her. I swear I thought she was going to shave your legs for you.” She ran her fingers through Sally’s brown hair as she looked out into the dark forest. Her mind wandered back to happier times.
Jacque felt the tears as they slowly slipped down her cheeks. She wondered if she would ever be able to smile again, and if so, how? She thought about the other girls and about her mom. Oh crap, my mom. Please don’t let my mom die, she told the Great Luna. Please, I don’t think I can handle losing her. Jacque squeezed her eyes closed and leaned her head down until her forehead touched Sally’s. She was still warm, though not as warm as someone whose heart still beat, but warm enough to know that her life had only just been taken.
“I’m so sorry, Sal. I’m so sorry this happened to you,” she wept. She wept for her friend; she wept for Alina and for Vasile and Costin. She wept for Jen who didn’t know about the deaths. And she wept for the loss she knew was yet to come. She wondered if it was possible to die of pain, to die from too much loss, and as the sobs wracked her body, she decided that it just might be a possibility.
“So we know that Reyaz has rigged this so that one of the females will sacrifice themselves for us,” Sorin growled, “and there isn’t a damn thing we can do to stop it.”
The group paused as the wolves took in deep breaths, trying to catch the scent of any of the four females still hidden.
“There has to be a way to stop him. There has to be a way to protect ourselves so the females don’t feel they have to make the sacrifice,” Adam spoke up as he pulled Crina close to his side. She had tears glistening in her eyes and he rubbed circles on her back, attempting to comfort her.
Peri flashed to where they had stopped and pulled the fae stones from her pocket. “We might have a way to do just that.”
Alston stepped next to her. “They show up now? Why not two deaths ago,” he nearly yelled. Peri saw that it hurt him nearly as much as it hurt her to lose those under their protection.
“You know I don’t know the answer to that,” she snapped back, “and asking questions like that isn’t going to bring them back.”
“Elle and Lilly are that way,” Sorin said and his eyes narrowed in the direction he pointed. Part of him wanted to take off in a dead sprint, to get to his mate as quickly as possible, but a part of him was terrified of getting too close and having her put in a position where she felt she had to sacrifice herself for him or anyone else.
“Thank goodness one of you has come to his senses and isn’t running off after his mate without a freaking thought in the world,” Peri grumbled as she handed out the fae stones; one to Cyn, one to Alston, one to Adam, one for herself and the fifth she gave to Thalion. She would have preferred to have a healer to give it to, but Vasile hadn’t wanted Rachel to come, and well, the other healer wasn’t available either, but she didn’t want to think about that.
“Okay, so here’s the plan. We’re going to cast a protection spell with the stones, one that causes us to be invisible. Even Elle and Lilly won’t be able to see us. So once we see them, well, we’ll figure that part out once we get there. Everyone with a stone get in a circle and everyone else get inside of the circle. We have to move as one.” Peri looked at Sorin and then at Cypher. “You two Neanderthals do not go charging in after you women. I swear I will zap your asses if you do.”
Once everyone was in position, Peri looked at Alston and gave a slight nod. They both began chanting softly until the stones began glowing. Eventually, they shimmered and their outlines grew fuzzy, though they could still see each other.
“Okay, we’re good. No one else should be able to see us. Sorin, point the way,” Peri told him.
They moved quickly and silently through the heavily wooded area. Soon they saw the two women when they were half a mile away. They also saw the cliff that they precariously stood on.
“What the hell?” Cypher said with wide eyes. “How is there a cliff in the middle of a forest that has been well-nigh without a hill?”
Peri narrowed her eyes and sought out the truth of the forest, the truth of what she knew. There had never been a cliff in the dark forest. There wasn’t so much as a mole hill. When she believed that with everything inside of her, she saw the truth. Lilly and Elle weren’t on a cliff at all; they were just on the forest ground with trees around them, just as the group was.
“It’s an illusion,” she told them. “You have to believe, really believe that it’s an illusion.”
“We all have to,” Alston said. “It’s not enough for a few of us to realize that it’s fake. In order for them to no longer appear to be on a cliff’s edge then we must all see the truth that they are indeed just standing in the forest.”
They all stared silently at the women and the cliff that wasn’t there, all attempting to get their brains to reject what their eyes saw. It was easier said than done.
As Peri stood staring at the girls, she saw Lorelle appear beside them. Her eyes narrowed as she watched her sister talk to them and then point in their direction. That piece of crap she called a sister was telling Lilly and Elle that they were here, hiding under the protection spell. Both of them looked in the direction Lorelle pointed and she could tell they were trying to see the invisible figures. She didn’t know what Lorelle was up to, but she knew without a doubt it wouldn’t end well for them.
“They have a protection spell over them,” Lorelle told Lilly and Elle.
“How do we know you aren’t just screwing with us?” Lilly asked.
“No, she’s right, I can see them,” Elle said. Once Lorelle had pointed them out, Elle was able to see past the fae magic. She saw all of them and it wasn’t a pretty sight. Peri looked like she was going to murder someone. Costin and Vasile both looked utterly defeated. Crina was silently crying and Fane seemed distracted. Sorin has staring at her with narrowed eyes and a look of determination. She knew for certain that he knew of the sacrifice. He knew that Reyaz had planned it so that both she and Lilly could not survive. One of them would have to die.