"Listen up, please." Jacque spoke loudly to make sure she reached the ears of those at the very back. "Some of the Romanian males are checking to see if any of the vehicles are still in working order. We need to divide everyone up into groups so we can take as many as we can at a time down to the village. It’s about a ten mile drive."
Jacque watched as the other packs began to break up into groups. She looked over at Sally and winked. "That, my gypsy friend, is how you do it."
Sally rolled her eyes. "How kind of you to take time to teach me, oh wise wolf princess."
Jacque's smile faltered. "That sounds like something Jen would say."
Sally wrapped her in a firm embrace. "He will find her. There is nothing, and no one, that will stand in his way."
"I don’t doubt that. My worry is what he'll find when he does." Jacque wiped a tear that slipped down her face.
Crina and Cynthia wrapped their arms around Jacque and Sally, and Jacque could feel comfort flowing from her pack mates. My pack mates she thought, and for the first time, she truly felt like a member of the Romanian Grey Wolf pack.
"I would tell you not to worry, love, but I know that's not fair to you. What I will tell you is that I'm here for you." Fane reached out to her, no doubt having felt her grief.
"Thank you, wolf-man. There will be time for tears later. We've got to get our pack to safety."
"I knew you were going to make an amazing Alpha," he told her as Jacque felt his lips on her forehead. Warmth seeped into her as Fane used their bond for more than just words.
The girls stepped back from the embrace and Sally grabbed Jacque's hand, looking over at Cynthia and Crina. "Come on, let's do this. Jen would kick our butts if she thought we were standing around not – as she would say – getting our asses in gear."
"She does have a way with words." Jacque smiled and they began to separate their pack into groups to travel to the village – and hopefully to safety.
"Rachel?" Jen's voice was weak as she spoke, and growing weaker.
"I know that you don't know who I am, but you can trust me. I'm on your side," Rachel tried to reassure the girl at the bottom of the cavern. "Gavril, my mate, is going to jump down and get you. Please don't be afraid of him."
Jen chuckled weakly. "You should meet my mate, then you wouldn't worry about me being afraid of yours." Her words were strained as she tried to speak around the pain that wracked her broken body.
Rachel turned as she saw the sky light up in the direction of the large estate south of them.
"We must hurry. I can't shield us much longer," she told her mate.
"I'm coming down," Jen heard a gruff voice announce, which was quickly followed by a soft thud.
Jen tried hard to be unafraid, but when a strange wolf jumps into a hole you've been pushed into, you tend to be afraid of everything.
"I won't hurt you," the voice told her.
"I don't think you're going to be able to avoid hurting me if you're going to move me." Jen cringed at the thought of being moved or even touched, for that matter.
Gavril knelt down in front of her. "I know you can't see me, but I can see you. You are losing blood from that head wound. I'm going to take off my shirt so you can apply pressure to it to help stem the flow."
Jen nodded, knowing he would see her response. She heard some rustling and then felt soft fabric against her head. She reached up with her good arm and pushed the shirt firmly against her scalp.
"Okay, I'm going to lift you now. I know it's going to hurt and I apologize," Gavril told her gently.
"Not your fault." Jen's voice came out hoarse and shaky.
She felt his arm come around her back and the other arm slip under her knees. As he lifted her from the ground, Jen bit her lip to keep from crying out in pain, so hard that she drew blood. The pain was so intense that, though she tried to fight it, her exhausted brain shut down in an attempt to escape the hurt her body was enduring.
Gavril bent at the knees and jumped from the cavern with one powerful push, landing gently in front of his mate.
"She's passed out," he told Rachel.
"I'm surprised she is even alive after that fall." Rachel gently pushed Jen's blonde locks from her face. "She's a pretty one." She took a deep breath of Jen's scent, "and she's a dormant."
"Come, Rachel," Gavril urged. "We mustn't linger. The witch is near and she cannot discover you."
"It's going to take a lot to heal her," Rachel admitted as they started off in the direction of their home. "She said she has a mate. He's going to want to know where she is."
"We have to be careful or he will lead Thad's witch straight to our door," Gavril warned his mate.
"I understand that, love. But you know as well as I do that he will tear this mountain apart to find her."
Gavril didn't respond. He knew how dangerous a mated male could be when his mate was injured. His first priority was to Rachel, to keep her existence a secret. The only thing that the Serbian Alpha, Thad, wanted more than a mate was a healer, and his mate was the most powerful healer in the history of their species. He had to protect her at all costs, even at the cost of one dormant's life.
Jen's head swam as the darkness began to recede. She tried to open her eyes, but they wouldn't cooperate. She felt pain course through her body – someone was carrying her.
"Decebel." She reached out instinctively.
"Jennifer!" Jen smiled to herself as she listened to the worry in his voice. Why was he worried if he had found her?
"You found me." Jen made it a statement rather than a question.
"No, baby. I haven't found you. Why would you think that?"
"But you're carrying me. I can feel you."
"Jennifer, who has you?" Decebel's voice was full of fear and anger.
Jen was trying desperately to remember what had happened, how she had ended up being carried… The girl, her mate – she began to get glimpses in her mind.
"Her mate, he jumped down. He put his shirt on my head." Jen's voice faded as she tried to think.
"He?" Even through their very new mental bond, Jen could hear the anger lacing his words. "A male has you? He doesn't have a shirt on? Jennifer, think! Who are the female and her mate?"