Sally screamed as the engine exploded; the smell of gasoline permeated the air. She suddenly felt part of Jacques body go slack and she realized the explosion had pushed Jen forward and onto her stomach. Both of her friends were unconscious and laying on the ground next to a burning vehicle.

“MS. PIERCE!” Sally yelled. When she didn’t get a response she turned, looking for Jacque’s mom. Finally she saw her through the haze of smoke billowing from the burning vehicle, sitting and staring into the flames, her face as blank as a freshly painted white wall. “LILLY! GET UP AND GET YOUR BUTT OVER HERE AND HELP ME!” The urgency and desperation in Sally’s voice snapped Lilly out of her shock and she ran over, realizing what was happening.

“Grab Jen’s arms, flip her on her back, and start pulling as fast as you can. Don’t worry about her skin, it will heal. We have to get them as far away from that vehicle in case it blows again.” Lilly jumped into action, finally realizing that the stuff had hit the fan and she had to pull it together.

“Okay, okay, let's do this,” Sally said as she grabbed Jen and flipped her on her back and began to pull and walk backwards as fast as she could.

Lilly grabbed Jacque by the arms and began to drag her back away from the flames as well. When they had finally gotten a good distance away, they fell down next to the two unconscious forms. Sally immediately checked to see if Jen was breathing. She was, but it sounded labored. Both girls were severely burned, but they were alive, and at that moment that was all that mattered. Sally could hear sirens blaring and figured somebody who had seen the smoke must have called 911. The sirens seemed really close but that wasn't what she saw first. Suddenly through the smoke Sally saw a form racing towards them, moving faster than she thought possible. Fane came to an abrupt stop in front of Jacque’s prone, still form. He knelt down next to her and, taking a deep breath, he let out a mournful howl of sadness and fury.

Chapter 5

Fane was sitting quietly next to Jacquelyn as the ambulance, fire trucks, and police came blaring onto the scene. He didn’t dare touch her for all her burned skin. The ache in his chest felt as if a sharp wire had been wrapped around his heart and was being pulled tighter and tighter. He hadn’t even heard his father walk up, nor did he realize when the rest of the pack had arrived. Not until he heard Decebel’s deep growl did he finally snap out of his grief. Fane’s eyes jerked up as he saw the huge wolf kneel down next to Jen’s unconscious body. She was only in a sports bra and every inch of her exposed skin was burned, red, angry, and blistering. Fane didn’t know what to make of Decebel's behavior but that could be dealt with later, after Jacquelyn and Jen were taken care of.

Fane walked beside the gurney the EMTs had loaded Jacquelyn's damaged body on. He wasn’t letting her out of his sight. He didn’t care that he wasn’t a family member as the EMTs kept telling him, he was riding with her, and once he let them see the wolf in his eyes they quit arguing with him. Fane heard his father tell Decebel to ride with Jen. Fane could only assume that he had picked up on Decebel’s earlier show of emotion and decided to use it to his advantage for now. After all, a good Alpha always utilized his wolves to the best of their ability. Fane could only hope that his Alpha was utilizing the other wolves to figure out exactly what had happened. Sally and Lilly were being taken in another ambulance and Fane saw his mother climbing in to ride with them.

Fane’s father walked up to him just before they closed the ambulance doors. “I will follow you to the hospital. Sorin, Skender and Boian are going to stay here and see if they can get some idea of what happened and if it was truly an accident or not.” Fane simply nodded. His wolf was on the surface and Fane did not trust himself to speak for fear that he might let lose the barely contained rage that boiled close to the surface. In truth, at this moment anyone near him was in potential danger. That’s what you get when an Alpha’s mate is injured. The EMTs shut the ambulance door and a few moments later Fane felt the vehicle begin to move.

The ride to the hospital was tense, the air thick with Fane's fear and anger. Being in the small enclosed area without much room to move if he needed to defend his mate was making the wolf restless. The EMT who was riding in the back with Jacquelyn and Fane kept shooting Fane nervous glances. Humans often knew they were in the presence of predators when around werewolves, even though they didn’t know werewolves existed. When they finally arrived at the hospital, Fane was more than ready to get his mate out of the enclosed box and into a more defendable place.

The EMTs lowered the gurney to the ground and began rolling Jacquelyn quickly into the ER. They had a mask over her face, providing her life-giving oxygen to her deprived lungs. Her face, despite the burns on the side that had been closest to the flames, was ashen. Her arms hung limp at her sides and were covered in blisters from the flames that had raked over them. Fane felt a growl rising in his throat again and only kept it in check when he felt a hand come down on his shoulder and his Alpha’s power roll over him. His wolf submitted immediately. Fane continued to follow the gurney that carried its precious cargo and even continued on when they rolled her into the operating room. Just as he stepped into the room a hand came up on his chest, pushing him back. His response was swift. He snarled at the one who would dare come between him and his mate. Fane’s father was there in an instant. “I apologize for my son’s behavior. That is his fiancé’ and he is really worried,” Vasile told the doctor who was still brave, or stupid enough to have his hand on Fane’s chest.

“I understand he is worried but he cannot be in here, it’s a sterile environment. As soon as we have information you will be the first to know.”

“Thank you,” Vasile told him as he grabbed Fane by the arm, pulling him out of the operating room. Vasile let out a low growl, pushing his power into Fane to force his obedience. Fane reluctantly backed out of the room, never taking his eyes off Jacquelyn’s still form until the doors closed and he could see her no more. Just then they heard a loud crash and a ferocious growl down the hall. Vasile backed Fane against the wall and glared at him, using his Alpha power he told him, “Stay.” Fane’s wolf met Vasile eyes for three counts before they finally dropped in submission. With that, Vasile turned and took off, moving towards the vicious snarls. He came around the corner into another operating room to find Decebel crouched in front of Jen’s body which lay still on the gurney. “What the hell?” Vasile growled. Decebel was snarling uncontrollably, his eyes glowing gold. Several humans in blue scrubs stood in front of him in defensive postures trying to explain to him that they were trying to help her and had to touch her in order to do that. Decebel wouldn’t budge. His wolf was in control. Vasile stepped forward, gently pushing one of the blue dressed humans out of his way. He growled at Decebel and just as with Fane pushed his Alpha power forward. “Stand down Decebel, they have to help Jen.” Decebel didn’t move, he turned his head slightly giving a small view of his neck but it wasn’t total submission. “DECEBEL, MOVE. NOW!” Vasile snarled, throwing power at his Beta. Finally, with the Alpha order given, Decebel had no choice but to move out of the way. It was almost as if an invisible force was pushing him aside to allow the medical staff access to Jen. As soon as he was out of the way the humans moved into action quickly and efficiently, like a well oiled machine. Decebel watched, shaking with suppressed rage as they stuck Jennifer with needles and put a mask over her face that he assumed would give her oxygen. As soon as they started cutting off her clothing he snarled and turned, pushing Vasile out of the room, pulling the doors closed behind him.