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|Sacrifice of Love(Grey Wolves #7) by Quinn Loftis|
“I know, Jennifer. I knew the minute I did it that I shouldn’t, but I didn’t know what else to do,” he fought to keep his voice calm and low as he tried to make her see, make her understand. “All I could see was you watching our child die in your arms. Over and over it played in my mind and I didn’t know how to fix it. It is my job to keep you safe, to protect you from the ugly things in this life and yet this life, our very existence, is what continually brings the ugly things straight to our doorstep.”
He slumped down onto the edge of the bed as he felt the fight rush out of him. “I didn’t want to leave you, baby. I was dying a little more each day and my nights were constant torment with no rest. You weren’t here in our bed and that was my fault. Your voice didn’t fill the empty air and that was my fault.” Decebel looked up at her, his eyes locking on hers, beckoning her to come to him, to forgive him, and to accept him. “I love,” he paused as he caught his breath, “I love you, and I am sorry that I deceived you. Please love, please forgive me.”
Jen looked on as her mate wilted before her. This was a man who had faced an impossible situation, with no good solution, and he had chosen what he felt was best for his family, the lesser of two evils in his mind. She couldn’t say that she wouldn’t have made the same decision in his place. She felt her anger seep out of her, leaving only fear. Fear was what truly fueled her rage. She was terrified of losing him, of facing life without him by her side. When she realized that his plan had been to die in place of their daughter, her life had flashed before her eyes. She saw everything. She saw what her life would be without Decebel in it, and there was a huge hole inside of her. There would still be joy because of Thia, but following that joy would always be the anguish of not having Decebel to share it with.
“There is nothing to forgive, Dec, not really. I know why you did it, and it makes me love you more.” She walked over to him and closed her eyes when his arms came around her and pulled her against him. Her wolf rumbled her approval of the strong mate that belonged to them, a mate able to provide and protect them.
“Don’t leave me, Dec, not ever again.” She felt a tear slide down her cheek and opened her eyes to meet his amber ones.
“Never again,” he agreed. He leaned forward and pressed his lips to hers and then peppered her jaw line with kisses, down her neck to the mark he had given her. He heard her breath catch and felt her body tense in expectation. “My mate, my wife, my love,” he whispered against her flesh, his warm breath causing her to shiver. He chuckled, pleased by her response to him.
“Shut up and bite me already,” she growled breathlessly.
“As you wish,” he murmured and then sank his teeth deep into her flesh.
Jacque climbed out of the shower, exhausted but clean, which was something that she felt needed to happen immediately once Adam had flashed them back home. She needed to wash away the darkness that clung to her like a sticky film. It leached the joy from her and was a constant reminder of the things that had transpired that day.
“Feel better?” Fane asked as she came out of the bathroom wrapped in a robe.
“Cleaner at least,” she told him with a small smile.
“Are you going to call your dad?”
Jacque shook her head. “Not right now. I need some time. I feel like my nerves are exposed to the elements; everything is just so raw.”
Fane nodded. “I know what you mean.” He ran his hand through his hair and clasped the back of his neck and with a huff of skepticism he said. “I thought I was going to lose you and all I could think about was how I would take my life so that I could be with you.”
“Fane,” Jacque hurried to him and grabbed his face and pressed her lips to them. He immediately responded to her and kissed her back. His hands came up and caressed her face, down her neck and shoulders, and rested on her hips. He pulled her against him with a deep growl. He took comfort in her touch; he found solace and peace in her love. “I’m here now, we’re here,” she told him as she tilted her head back so he could kiss her neck down to her collar bone.
Fane pushed the robe aside bearing her shoulders and then pushed it away completely. Her skin was soft under his hands and flushed under his gaze. He smiled at her and knew she felt the depth of the love that shone in his eyes. “You’re here,” he whispered as he picked her up in his arms and walked to their bed. “You’re mine,” he laid her down and covered her body with his own, protecting her, claiming her, loving her. “I am so thankful that I moved in across the street from you, Jacquelyn. I am so incredibly thankful that you took me as your mate, your husband, friend, and lover,” his voice dropped and grew husky, “and I will spend the rest of our lives showing you just how thankful I am.”
Jacque welcomed her mate, his passion, and his love. She soaked it up as a parched plant soaks up water, and she returned it with her own. There was still much to do, and she was sure they would be needed again to stand up to evil, but tonight they would rest. Tonight they would celebrate their victory, their survival, and new life.
“Do you need anything?” Costin asked her for the fifth time since they had gotten home. She was tired but otherwise completely okay. His mind was still having a hard time grasping on to this fact since he had watched her die, held her still body in his arms, and felt the horror of it in his soul only a few hours ago.
“Costin love, I’m alright. I feel perfect, just tired,” she told him―again.
He smiled at her and pressed a kiss to her forehead. He fought the urge to pick her up and wrap her in his arms, to take her away from anything that could harm her ever again. He knew that wasn’t realistic, but that didn’t stop him from wishing it could be.
“How about a shower, a story, and then bed?”
Sally looked at him curiously. “A story?”
Costin grinned and his deep dimple flashed at her. “It’s about this amazing gypsy who loved her people, and her mate, so much that she gave everything up for them. Now, shower,” he pointed to the bathroom, “story after."
Costin pulled Sally onto his lap as they sat on the couch. Her wet hair stuck to his face. As he nuzzled her neck, his wolf let out a growl of contentment.
“Okay let’s hear it,” she teased him.
Costin took a deep breath and let it out before he started his tale. “Once upon a time there was a gypsy healer. She had been blessed by the Great Luna to minister to a pack of Canis lupus, healing them when they were injured or sick and protecting them when no one else could. She was brave, strong, honest, and breathtakingly beautiful.”