sacrifice of love Page 29

Vasile stood in the library of the pack mansion listening to the steady drone of murmuring from the gathered males. He was lost in thought after having spoken to Alina through their bond. Alina had informed him that Jen was having a rough time. He assumed it was the pregnancy and the worry about the baby’s birth, but then Alina had told him that Decebel was texting his mate instead of using their bond. He understood then that Jen was probably having more than a rough time. For her mate to withhold the intimacy of the bond would be painful on the best of days. For him to do it while they are so far apart and she with child was akin to torture. He couldn’t imagine what would cause Decebel to behave in such a manner. It was completely out of character for him. Frankly, failure to use the bond would be out of character for any wolf.

His eye’s drifted over to his former Beta and he watched as Decebel too studied the room. His usually focused eyes seemed to be restless and flighty, darting over the other males and to the doors. It didn’t appear to be as much vigilance as it was looking for a way to escape. He looked tense as he clenched and unclenched his jaw and shifted from foot to foot. Decebel was naturally a very still creature; his every movement deliberate and calculated. Just in the few seconds of watching the Alpha, Vasile could see that something was definitely off. Why hadn’t he seen it before? How could he have missed such big behavioral changes in a male he had known for over a century?  Vasile let out a tired sigh as he thought about the problems and stresses plaguing their combined packs.  Fane, Costin, and now Decebel, three males he loved dearly, were all struggling with things that they desperately needed their mates to help them cope with, and he, like a good Alpha, had sent them all away. Even though Decebel was technically responsible for Jen and Sally, he certainly would have relented if Vasile had opposed the idea. It was again one of those situations where Vasile had to ask himself, was there really any right answer?

Decebel felt his muscles twitching as he stood waiting for Cypher to join them. He hadn’t slept since before Jennifer had left and he barely had an appetite. His insides were a constant knot and anything he put in his stomach seemed to want to crawl right back up his throat again. He could feel her, just barely, but she was still there. He missed her with such fierceness that his bones ached with it. Every minute was a relentless battle with his wolf and he knew that he was walking a very fine line when it came to keeping it under control. The hardest part for Decebel wasn’t that Jennifer was not by his side. The hardest part was knowing that she was in pain, just as he was, and he was the cause of that pain. Their bond had been so very strong, and as it grew weaker with every passing hour. He could feel the life being leeched out of them both.

The Great Luna assured him that their child would be safe, but as he bit his tongue to keep from snarling out in anger atthe pain he felt pulsating through his veins, he wondered if the goddess knew just how excruciating this process was truly going to be. Jennifer was tough, he didn’t doubt that, but even the toughest of them had limits. Jennifer had a limit and he was terrified that he was very close to pushing her past hers, and that once he had, it would be too late for her to come back.

The door to the library opened slowly and the room began to quiet. Cypher stepped through and calmly looked around, giving slow nods to each male. Based on the tense and nearly painful looks on the faces of the wolves, he knew something bad had happened.

“I’ve come in peace, Vasile, to honor our agreement as allies and to help in any way that I can,” Cypher told the Romanian pack Alpha calmly. His voice was strong and carried out to the walls. It almost seemed to push away the angst and worry. He took in a deep breath, attempting to use all of his senses to see if he could understand what had happened to make the usually very forward wolves hold their tongues.

“We welcome you Cypher, King of the Warlocks. You are accepted as our guest and under our protection,” Vasile responded formally. “Have you come alone, King, or did you bring your mate?” Vasile knew he should probably leave it alone, but he found himself to be in a mood and decided to start the meeting with a little prodding. His lips twitched as he watched the usually calm and confident Warlock King squirm under his scrutiny.

“I have come alone.” Cypher said no more and he continued into the room and took one of the empty seats.

Vasile motioned to the other wolves in the room and, one by one, they took seats, all except Decebel. Vasile made eye contact with him briefly, an unspoken message that he was aware something was off with him. Vasile was about to speak when the library door was once again pushed open.

“I realize I wasn’t invited to this meeting,” Alston said as he stepped into the room, “but I was told by a little fairy that I should be present.”

“Did this little fairy happen to have a big mouth?” Decebel asked coolly as chuckles vibrated across the room.

Alston tipped his head briefly to Decebel before straitening back up. “Perizada often sticks her nose where it isn’t welcome, though often it is needed.”

“Please join us, Alston,” Vasile spoke up. “Perizada was right to contact you. I would have thought to do it myself had I not been distracted by pack issues.”

“I suppose it is good that we have nosy females who step in when we are distracted,” Alston said as he took a seat next to Sorin.

“A very good thing,” Vasile agreed. He turned back to look at Cypher and his face grew serious. “Peri brings us news that your brother has been meddling in your forest.”