"I've decided that if someone spots us I will simply lead them to believe there might be a bond going on between us. That will explain any rendezvous." She shut the door behind her. "Now, Jen is under Decebel's protection and it's serious. Jen claims there are no mating signs but Decebel acts as if she is his mate."

"Well, you will just have to make sure to earn the Americans trust. That way when you finally lead them to their demise no one will be suspicious of them being with you. Does your sidekick suspect anything?"


"Good," Thad walked over to the wet bar and poured himself a drink. He didn't offer one to his guest. "I have a plan to get Vasile alone. I can't take the chance of Fane or Alina being there. I'm thinking that once the girls are out of the picture and Fane's mate is dead, I will give the appearance of wanting to help Vasile, gain more of his trust. Then it should be easy enough to take him out. It would make things easier if Jen and Decebel were bonded – take out one, the other falls. Got to love how the fates worked that one out."

Thad took a sip of his drink and, with a nod, dismissed the contact. "You know what I want you to do. Don't disappoint me."

"Yes, Alpha," she answered and turned to go.

Thad dialed his Beta as soon as the door closed. "Damion, report."

"Decebel's mated, no doubt. No male would react that strongly unless it was family or a mate."

"Hmm. Well, he might be easy enough to deal with. If Jen is suddenly missing, Decebel would probably remove himself from the equation," Thad thought out loud.

"What would you like me to do, Alpha?"

"Unfortunately you are going to, as the American's say, take one for the team. Continue to pursue Jen. Let's shake Vasile's Beta up a bit and keep him distracted."

"As you say," Damion responded and ended the call.

Thad checked his watch for the time and saw that it was getting close to the first gathering. He still needed to shower and dress.

"Planning the downfall of a pack is more time consuming than one might think." He chuckled to himself as he headed for the shower.

Fane ran his hand down Jacquelyn's back as she lay on her stomach on their bed.

"What's on your mind, love?" he asked her gently.

Jacquelyn let out a loud huff. "I just can't believe the way Decebel lost it back there."

Fane laid down on his side next to her and propped himself up on one arm. He continued to rub her back, unable to keep from touching her at any opportunity. If anyone had told him being mated would be so indescribable, he would have said they were exaggerating, but truth be told Jacquelyn amazed him. Every day he felt more and more blessed at having her in his life.

"I don't see how he can deny anymore that she is his mate," Fane admitted. "A male would only respond that strongly to his mate being touched by another."

"I don’t get it," Jacquelyn told him as she turned to look at him. "Why do y'all freak? It was an accident that she even landed in the dude's lap. Are wolves that insecure?"

Fane chuckled. "You forget, Luna, we are not human. I know it is hard to truly grasp but an animal lives in us, is a part of who and what we are. That part of us will always respond in its own nature. Natural wolves are very territorial. I think because we add our human emotions it just amplifies our wolf's traits. I wouldn't call it insecurity when we respond to another male touching our mate, more an issue of protection. You've seen the depths to which I will go to protect you."

"Very familiar, yes," she agreed with a grin.

"Well, for me it just makes sense that it's better to avoid the possibility of something happening to you. You can effectively do that by avoiding situations that open doors to those possibilities. If a male doesn't touch you, he doesn't have the opportunity to harm you."

Jacquelyn laughed at him. "I think that's a little overboard, wolf-man."

"You may, but that's why I'm Alpha."

Jacque's eyes widened. "Did you seriously just say that?" She sat up abruptly and pushed at his chest, putting him flat on his back. Jacque leaned over him. "Take it back," she growled, but still there was a hint of humor dancing in her emerald eyes.

"But I am Alpha," Fane told her, his brow drawn together.

"Maybe, but you implied that because of that you get to boss me around."

Fane ran the back of his fingers across her cheek. Jacque closed her eyes at the feel of his skin against hers. "As Alpha, I do get to give you orders,"

"Is that so?" she challenged, her eyes still closed, savoring the closeness between them.

"That's so." Fane switched to the more intimate way of communicating between them. "And right now I'm ordering you to kiss your mate."

Jacque's eyes popped open and, grinning wickedly, started to get up. Fane quickly wrapped an arm around her waist, drawing her down to his chest. "Where are you going?"

"You told me to kiss my mate," she answered. "I have to go find him, cuz my mate wouldn't be such a bossy butt."

"Bossy butt?" Fane laughed.

Jacque poked his chest. "Don’t laugh at me or I'll bite you."

Fane drew her closer and leaned up to whisper in her ear. "Promise?"

"Geez, Jen's influence reaches further than I realized."

Fane stared into her eyes, a silent challenge, daring her to do as he ordered. She moved closer and leaned down as if to kiss him, but nipped him instead and tried to squirm away before he could retaliate. But his werewolf reflexes were faster. He flipped her on her back and quickly pressed his lips to hers. When he pulled back, Jacque was grinning.

"What?" His eyes narrowed.

"You kissed me, oh great Alpha." Jacque laughed. "I win."

Fane groaned. "Why do I have this sense of dread that this is a foreshadowing of our very long life to come?"

"And you will love every minute of it."

Fane stood and pulled her up as well. "I will more than love it, Luna," he agreed impenitently. "Now, we must get ready and then go gather up Sally and Jen."

"Sounds like a plan, Stan," Jacque chimed.

"Who is this Stan?"

Jacque laughed. "We have really got to work on your lingo."

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