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|Sacrifice of Love(Grey Wolves #7) by Quinn Loftis|
“Hmm, hmm,” Jen cleared her throat from behind Costin and Fane. Jacque and Sally looked around their mates at the same time and their faces broke into huge smiles. They started to rush towards Jen, but Decebel stepped in front of her to block her.
“Slow and gentle,” he said sternly, “she’s just given birth.”
Their gasps replaced their smiles and then their attention was immediately on Thia. Decebel held her proudly as they oohed and awed over her.
Jen stepped around Decebel and watched as her friends caressed their child and her heart swelled with love and thankfulness. Sally looked up and smiled at Jen. “She’s incredible.”
Jen wiped away a tear and nodded. “Yeah, I’d have to say we did good.” She winked at Decebel and then held her arms open. This time Sally and Jacque moved slower as they wrapped each other in a hug. Lilly too came over and wrapped her arms around all three girls and whispered in Jacque’s ear. “I love you, I’m so, so glad you are okay.”
Jacque pulled back and looked at her mom. She watched as Cypher came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her protectively. It filled her with warmth inside to see her mom happy and loved.
“I’m so much better than okay, mom, and holy crap, it’s good to see you,” she said as she threw herself into her mom’s arms. Lilly let out a small laugh as she pulled her daughter close.
“It’s good to see you too,” she looked at Sally and Jen then, “all of you.”
Jen looked around, her brow furrowed, and she looked at the Great Luna. “Where is Peri?”
The room was immediately silent as they watched the goddess.
She smiled at them. “She is well, and she told me to tell you three that she would be by very soon to see you.”
“I totally just gave birth in a cave, and she has been brought back from the dead and she can’t show her undead face to tell me how awesome my kid is?” Jen asked dryly.
“She said she needed to deal with some things,” the Great Luna said vaguely.
Jen didn’t miss the way Lucian’s jaw tensed.
“Uh uhm, I see,” Jen eyed Vasile’s brother and grinned when he frowned at her.
“Jennifer,” Decebel warned as he caught on to her thoughts, and then he nearly lost his balance as he realized their bond was whole and strong again. Jen’s eyes met his when she felt him in her mind and she let out a sigh of relief. But then, as quickly as the relief had come, it was replaced with annoyance and anger.
“You’re not off the hook, you know,” she narrowed her eyes at him. “We are going to be having a serious conversation, and I have a feeling it isn’t going to end well for you.”
Decebel flashed his devilish smile at her. “Is that a promise?”
The Great Luna stepped forward to the center of the group and looked at them all with love and hope. She bathed the cave in her light, filling them with purpose and renewed strength.
“The deaths brought on by the evil that lived inside of Reyaz were not appointed. It was not their time. Therefore, I stepped in and took back what was mine. These lives restored still have much to give in this life, much to do. Cynthia, my precious child with a heart so full of remorse over her past, chose to give her life in the place of another. It was not her time, but the Fates agreed to it, and I allowed her the free will to choose. There is no greater gift than do die for another, to sacrifice yourself so that another will not suffer. And Cynthia gave this gift to Thia, to Jennifer, and to Decebel. This child is blessed and great things await her."
“Once again you have stepped up to defend those who needed you. You took the narrow path, one filled with danger and fear, and you didn’t give into the need to run—to keep yourself safe. I’m so very proud of you and I love you all. Rest now for a time; rest in my peace and love. Rejoice in your triumph. Celebrate the lives brought back to you and live each day so that you can lie down at night with no regrets. And should you have regrets, know that forgiveness, mercy, grace and the promise of a new day are my assurance to you.”
When she had gone, her peace flowed through them. There were hugs, and tears of happiness and sorrow.
“I don’t know about the rest of you, but I need some hot chocolate,” Jen spoke over the other voices.
Jacque and Sally smiled at her.
“Make mine a double,” Alina spoke up from behind them.
“You heard the woman,” Jen turned to Adam. “Fairy Peri isn’t here for me to abuse. I guess you will have to do until she returns. So fairy boy, you and your posse get us home.”
Adam’s lips quirked up as he looked at her. “I’m going to let that the whole fairy boy slide since you just gave birth and all.”
“Dude, you know who my mate is? There will be a whole lot of sliding.”
Adam looked over at Decebel who was cooing to his daughter in a very un-Decebel like fashion. He looked back over at Jen. “Forgive me if I’m not shaking in my boots.”
Jen smacked Decebel’s arm. “Hey, figure out a way to coo and look menacing at the same time please; my happiness on being able to belittle others depends on it.”
Decebel rolled his eyes, “Sure baby, I’ll get right on that.”
He watched her as she moved slowly around their room, straightening this and that, and each time she passed the basinet she would pause and stare down at their Thia. She would wait a few heartbeats to watch her breathing and then she would move on. She had been doing this for the past eight hours since they had returned from the cave. She was exhausted and her emotions were raw and plain as day on her face.
“Jennifer, come here baby,” he told her softly, not wanting to disturb Thia. He wanted his little one to get much needed rest because he knew he wouldn’t be able to hold off the eager packmates and friends for long. They would want to see the first werewolf child born in a very long time.
Jen turned to glare at him. Though she was so tired and her legs threatened to give out on her at any moment, she had to talk this out. “You are so lucky that we have an infant in this room. You will have to thank your daughter later for saving you from my wrath,” she wanted to say she was joking, but she wasn’t, not this time. “How could you Decebel? You forfeited your life. You willingly had our bond broken; you pushed me away when I needed you most. I can’t even begin to tell you how hurt and angry I am. I love you, god how I love you and I thank the Great Luna that you are alive and safe, but that does nothing for the anger that I feel right now.”