After a couple of minutes she felt Fane pulling her away, reluctantly she relented. Neither of them spoke for several seconds. Jacque kept her eyes closed as her breathing slowed. When she opened her eyes to look at Fane she saw the blood running down his neck. Just as he had done, she wet one of the towels and gently wiped the blood away. Fane sat there quietly, watching every move she made. Finally Jacque couldn’t handle the silence anymore. “What are you thinking?” she asked him.

“You don’t have to ask, Luna, you could just look.”

“I know, but I want you to tell me. I want you to share your thoughts with me without me invading your privacy,” Jacque explained.

“I am your mate, Jacquelyn. We are bonded. You have every right to invade my mind, but if you want me to talk then that’s what you shall get.” He grinned at her and grabbed her hand to pull her on to the bed next to him. Fane scooted until his back was against the headboard of the bed.

When he reached to pull Jacque up against him she started to resist. “I want to be able to look at you while we talk.”

“In a moment, Luna. First let me hold you. I can feel our bond growing stronger now that we have shared our blood. My blood is in you now and you will always carry my scent. Let me and my wolf hold you and enjoy our scent being all over you.”

Jacque rolled her eyes but acquiesced to his wishes. “Your mom was right when she said you were possessive, overbearing barbarians.”

“I never claimed otherwise, my love,” Fane teased her.

He pulled her close and she rested her head on his chest, her legs tucked up against his side. Jacque felt a rumble in his chest and a smile quirked her lips as she thought about her telling him he purred.

“I do not purr, mate, I rumble.”

Jacque glanced up at Fan., “Your wolf is doing that more and more you know?”

“The bond is strong now. You will feel him and hear him more easily now. He is very smitten with you, you know?” Fane told her. Jacque laid her head back on his chest and enjoyed Fane’s hand rubbing up and down her arm.

“You were supposed to tell me what you are thinking, remember?” Jacque asked.

“I’m thinking about how in awe I am of you, of your ability to take all that has happened since we met and still smile, tease, take me as your husband and mate. You could have turned away from me, running for your life.” Fane paused for a moment and Jacque just waited patiently to see if he would say more. “I’m thinking that I am the luckiest wolf in the world to have found such an amazing mate.”

“Funny that,” Jacque said. “I was thinking the same thing about you.” She felt Fane kiss the top of her head and she snuggled closer.

Jacque held out her left hand and studied the writing on the band. She remembered the words that Fane had said were engraved on it and she felt warmth fill her. “It’s the most precious thing I have ever received, Fane.” Jacque’s voice was filled with awe at the beautiful gift he had given her. She remembered then that he had told his father that the second offering was something he wanted to give her in private. “So where is my second offering, oh wolf of mine?” Jacque asked him in the haughtiest voice she could muster as she sat up and turned to look at him.

“Oh yeah, about that,” he began.

Jacque interrupted him quickly. “Don’t you even try to act like you don’t have something, fur ball.” She slapped his leg playfully.

“Have I ever told you that you are a violent little thing?” Fane asked her as he reached to open the bedside table drawer. He handed her a box wrapped in purple paper with a simple ribbon tied around it. Jacque untied the ribbon and unwrapped the package to find a shoe box. “Um, shoes. Great, thank you,” Jacque said, trying hard to keep the confusion out of her voice, knowing she was failing miserably. Fane’s face was blank. Jacque could read no emotion on it nor could she pick anything up from their bond.

“The shoes represent my ability to provide foot coverings for you and maybe one day our children.” Fane cleared his throat and continued, fumbling along as he went. “You see, it is important that you know that you won’t be without something on your feet, so-”

Jacque held up her hand to stop Fane from going any further. “There are no shoes in this box, are there?”

Fane shook his head once. “Not one.”

As Jacque began to open the box Fane heard her mutter under her breath, “Furry little liar.” He started to say something in response but stopped when he saw Jacque’s face light up as brilliant as the sun breaking through the early morning dew. “Fane! I can’t believe you remembered!” Jacque pulled out the first edition copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstien. She held it so reverently and ran her hand across the cover.

“Open it,” she heard Fane tell her. When she pulled open the cover she could feel the binding bending for the first time, the newness of the book apparent. If it was possible her face got even brighter as she saw the hand written autograph on the cover page.

“This is so freaking awesome,” Jacque told him as she closed the book and flung herself into his arms. Fane was surprised by the motion but caught her easily and held her tight. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” he heard her whisper.

“If I had known you would react this way to a book I would have proposed with it instead of a ring,” he teased.

“The book is amazing, no doubt. But that you remembered something so random, yet so important to me means so much to me. You got skills, wolf-man. Serious, mad skills.”

Fane kissed her gently on the lips and then let her pull away from him. She sat flipping through the book and he was content to just watch her. Jacque finally looked up from the book when she felt Fane begin to rub her back. She couldn’t help the big grin that spread across her face. He was hers; she could feel the mate bond growing stronger now that the blood rites had been completed.

“Will it continue to grow stronger?” Jacque asked him.

Fane's brow furrowed as he thought and was quiet for a moment. “From what my father has told me it will be stronger because of the blood rites, but once we consummate our mating it will be its strongest.”

Jacque's eyes widened at his words, and Fane realized how that had sounded. “Jacquelyn, I’m not trying to rush you. I know you said we would make love once we were married but if you aren't ready I will wait for as long as you need. I will never pressure you. Do you believe me?” Fane asked her and desperation coated his voice.