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|Sacrifice of Love(Grey Wolves #7) by Quinn Loftis|
“Our enemy has been defeated,” he began. He had to reach deep for the strength to sit there and speak when all he wanted to do was return to his mate, to join her. “It cost us much, but then the cost of freedom is always great. We will mourn the loss of those we love so dearly and we will honor their memories. The mate bonds have been broken and so Costin and I have lost our mates and not our own lives. Costin may make his own decision. But after we have buried and mourned, I will join my mate as is my right and my desire.” He looked over at Decebel and Jen and attempted to smile. “I hate that such a miracle as the birth of your child is tainted with death and sorrow, and I want you to know that I am overjoyed for you. We must honor Cynthia for her sacrifice.”
Decebel nodded and wiped a tear from Jen’s face. “We have decided to name our child Thia in honor of Cynthia. What she has done, and who she was, will not be forgotten.”
Vasile didn’t know what else to say. He wanted to offer them comfort, but he had none to give, not anymore.
“I need to convey my gratitude to you all,” Cypher said into the silence, “You all are here because of me, and I am forever indebted to you all for your help and willingness to bring my brother to justice.” Cypher bowed his head respectfully to them.
They sat in silence for a few minutes. The only sound was Jen speaking softly to Thia. She leaned into Decebel and choked back more tears as she rocked their child. She looked over at Costin and her heart broke all over as she saw the shell of a man that was left after losing his mate.
“What now?” she asked. “What do we do now Vasile?” She needed someone to tell her how to move forward, how to go on, especially now that she had a child who needed her.
Vasile stared at her, at a loss on how to answer. How do you tell someone to carry on when all you want to do is die?
“Now,” a bold voice filled the space around them, “we rejoice over new life,” the Great Luna said as she stepped into the cave. She walked towards the group and her heart hurt at the loss and pain she saw in them. “We mourn over sacrifice and we give thanks for second chances.” There was movement behind her and she stepped aside to reveal Alina, Sally, Jacque, and Lucian, all whole and alive.
It was hard to say who moved faster, Vasile, Costin, or Fane, but regardless they were each at their mates’ sides instantly.
Vasile stood so close to Alina he could feel her breath on his face. She looked up at him with eye glistening and he gently wiped away a stray drop.
“Mina,” he whispered and pulled her into his arms. He shook with the emotion of a man who had just had the world ripped from him and then given back. She pressed her face into his chest and then stood on her toes to kiss his neck. When he pulled back to look down at her, the love she felt for him was radiating off of her and wrapped him in warmth. He had been so cold from the moment he lost her and now, standing before him, she chased the cold away. “I love you,” he told her.
She smiled at him. “I know and I love you.” His eyes widened as he heard her voice in his mind and realized he felt her inside as well. Their bond was restored, her soul back where it belonged, joined with his, man and woman, wolf to wolf.
Costin fell to his knees in front of Sally and looked up into her face. He was afraid to touch her, afraid she wasn’t real, and afraid this was all some crazy delusion his mind had concocted in an attempt to cope. She smiled down at him and ran her fingers through his hair. Her scent crashed into him and the warmth from her hand drew him like a moth to a flame. He stood and took her face gently in his hands. “You’re real.”
She nodded her head and her smile grew. “I’m real, I’m here, and I’m yours.”
Costin savored the words as a lion savors a feast after a kill. He stepped closer to her and lowered his face to hers. His lips brushed against hers as he spoke. “Sally mine, I had lost you,” his voice broke on his words, bringing tears to Sally’s eyes.
“You didn’t. I’m here love,” she tried to reassure him.
He nodded and then pressed his lips to hers. His arms wrapped around her and pulled her tight against him and he felt their bond snap back into place. He groaned as the familiar sensation flowed through him and the light his mate brought to him flooded his heart and soul.
“Mine,” he growled against her lips.
“Yours,” she agreed.
Fane didn’t waste time with words as he reached his mate. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her flush against him, and kissed her hard. He poured his need, desire, pain, fear, devotion, hope, and love into the kiss. He devoured her as his hands moved up into her hair, wrapping it around his fingers and angling her head so he could kiss her deeper.
“I missed you,” he told her through their mended bond.
She sighed and gave in fully to the kiss. “I missed you too. I love you.”
“My Luna,” he whispered huskily into her mind. “I love you and I will love you still more tomorrow.”
Vasile stepped back just a little from his mate so that he could look at his brother. He tried to process what he was seeing, but all he could think was that he couldn’t believe it.
“How?” he asked.
“I survived in the dark forest,” Lucian told him simply. “I have a purpose to fulfill still.”
Vasile looked at the Great Luna and she smiled warmly at him.
“Thank you,” Vasile told her.
She nodded to him and he saw the love shining from her eyes.
Jen stared at her best friends with wide eyes. She watched as they reunited with their mates and she tried to be patient, but then patience never was her strong suite and she never pretended it was.
“Decebel, take Thia please.”
Decebel frowned at her but gently took their daughter in his arms. She pushed away from him as she stood on shaky legs. Thanks to Rachel, she was mostly healed, but she was still weak. Crina and Elle rushed to her side to help her up. There was a blanket wrapped around her waist that made moving even more difficult.
“Jennifer,” Decebel growled, “you need to rest. They can come to you.”
Jennifer waved him off. “My best friend was dead, my other best friend was off coping with that all alone, and now they are both here... alive. I’m not waiting.”
Decebel walked beside her. He was scowling at her but still being gentle as he helped keep her upright with one arm and holding Thia in the other.