The wolf settled slightly. Sally could feel the Wolfsbane moving, seeking out the poison, almost as if it were a living being.

Rest now, Alpha. You are protected, you are loved. Sally pulled back and climbed down from the bed. She felt her body sag, not realizing how draining the healing had been. She looked at Decebel. "It's working. I don't know how long it will take until he wakes. They need to be protected and guarded."

"There will be no less than four wolves with them at all times. We will rotate in shifts so that everyone will get time to rest." Decebel turned to Fane. "I assume you want to stay?"

Fane nodded as he held his mate.

Decebel turned to the other pack members. "Skender, Boain, Sorin, you will take first watch with Fane. I have to figure out where the hell my mate is." He turned to Sally. "Come," he commanded gruffly.

Sally straightened, gathering her strength she followed the Beta out.

"Where is she?" Decebel asked her once they were in the hall, away from prying ears.

"She went with me and Marianna into the woods to find the Wolfsbane. We split up and I made it back first. I figured they would be right behind me," Sally explained quickly. She watched the Beta struggle to control his wolf.

"I'm going to check her room. Will you please get Cynthia and Crina and look for her as well?"

Not waiting for her answer, Decebel turned and quickly walked in the direction of Jennifer's room.

Decebel knew before he opened the door that Jennifer wasn't in her room. He entered anyway, needing her scent to surround him. He walked over to the bed and sat down on the edge.

Only hours ago he had lain in this bed, holding her, kissing her, showing her how much he loved her and wanted her. How had this day gotten so screwed up so quickly? He felt his chest tighten as darkness seeped in. His Alpha was sick and the pack was weaker for it, his mate was missing, and his wolf was on the verge of rage.

Decebel's hands shook as he took Jennifer's pillow and pulled it to his face. He pulled in a deep breath and took a small amount of comfort from the warm vanilla and cinnamon that seeped into his very being.

His mind wandered to a time long ago when his heart had been held by another woman, young and full of life and spunk just like his mate. Cosmina had been a joy to all around her and he had lost her. He hadn't thought his heart would ever heal from the loss of his sister. But then he'd met Jennifer, his mate. She filled the hole in him and poured life where death had slowly begun to take over. Now he didn't know where she was, didn't know if she was okay.

Decebel's heart broke and his wolf pushed forward as a mournful howl poured from the very depths of his soul. As he took slow breaths, trying to calm his wolf and pull himself together, he could feel his wolf reaching, seeking the bond between them that had yet to truly solidify. His shoulders slumped.

“Have you any idea how long I’ve waited for you?” His mind reached of its own accord.

“I’ve only just found you and now I’m losing you.”

Then in the silence Decebel heard her.

Chapter 31

Jen could feel something warm and sticky running into her eyes. She reached up to wipe it away and a sharp pain pulled a gasp out of her. It was pitch black, she couldn't even see her hand in front of her face.

“Crap,” she growled. She realized then that she'd probably broken her arm. She moved experimentally and felt a stabbing pain in her side. Jennifer thought for a second, trying to remember what little she could from ER.

Okay, pain in the side, hard to breath. Probably broke a rib, maybe punctured a lung. Excellent.

She rolled to the side and was able to raise her other arm to her head. She felt a gaping wound, one that was pouring blood down her face and into her eyes. She tried to apply pressure, knowing she needed to try to stop the flow. She was weak, and getting weaker.

“Have you any idea how long I’ve waited for you?”

Abruptly, Jen sat up and nearly screamed from the pain that ripped through her body. Not possible, she thought.

“I did not just hear that,” she spoke into the darkness. She closed her eyes and waited to see if she would hear more of the voice that she needed to hear as much as she needed air to breathe. Her heart pounded in her chest, her breathing was shallow, and despite the cold, she could feel sweat trickle down her neck.

“I’ve only just found you and now I’m losing you.”

She let out a slow breath, savoring the sound in her mind. Finally, she thought as tears streamed down her cold cheeks, mingling with the blood that continued to flow. Finally.

“Decebel?” she sent hesitantly.

“Jennifer?” Decebel’s voice was urgent, firm.

“You can hear me?” she asked him, still unable to believe that they were speaking through their thoughts. She had dreamed, wished, hoped, and longed for this to happen.

“Bloody hell. Yes, I can hear you. Where are you? What happened?”

“I don’t know where I am,” she told him, trying to remember what had happened. “It’s dark...and cold. The ground feels like rocks and dirt.”

“Jennifer, what happened?” he asked her again.

“It’s Marianna, Decebel. She made some sort of deal with Thad. Decebel –” her voice grew stronger as she began to remember what happened, Marianna pushing her into a hole in the earth. Pouring urine on her, now that was something Jen could honestly say she would have never had happen her life. My how her expectation of life had suddenly changed. “Fane and Jacque, they’re in danger. Thad wants them all dead. You have to protect them.”

“I have to find you,” Decebel insisted.

“No! You have to protect them. If something happens to Fane, Jacque will die. The same with Vasile and Alina. Decebel, you have to make sure they are safe,” Jen pleaded.

“I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU TO DIE!” he roared at her through their bond. “Do

not ask this of me, Jennifer. I will not lose you. I can’t.” The last came out as a near whisper.

“Decebel, we aren’t bonded. If something happens to me you can go on and have a life. Jacque can’t. If Fane dies, she goes with him. That’s not acceptable. I will not take her life for mine, do you hear me?”

Tears streamed relentlessly down her face as she tried to make him understand that she wouldn’t be able to live with herself if something happened to Jacque or Sally.