"Shh, love. We will figure it out."
Then as if realizing it for the first time, she looked at him in horror. "Someone has to get her from him."
Fane nodded. "Yes."
"He will kill anyone who enters that room."
Fane looked to at his father, who nodded.
"We are probably going to have to put Decebel down, Jacquelyn."
Jacque gasped. "You mean like a dog? You're going to euthanize him?" The outrage she felt was not only in her voice but a fire in her eyes.
"He isn't safe, Jacque." This came from Vasile. "He will not be safe to anyone anymore. The light that Jen brought to him is gone. His wolf will be out for blood – anyone's blood. He just wants vindication for his mate. And it would be natural for Decebel to die with her. That is the way of our species and the only reason he isn't already is because the Blood Rites weren't finished."
"You can't just kill him. It's not right."
"We aren't human." Vasile said firmly. "Jacquelyn, you are my son's mate and my daughter-in-law, but you are also pack and I am your Alpha. You will not challenge me."
Jacque felt Vasile's power rush over her and her head bowed in submission. She was not feeling submissive, but her Alpha had spoken and there was no fight his words.
"Luna, it will be alright." Fane tried desperately to comfort her.
Jacque's head snapped up and she growled at her mate, "Jen is dead! Nothing will ever be alright again."
The room was quiet, Jacque's words echoing loudly in the silence. Jacque started to stand from Fane's lap, needing to get out of the suffocating atmosphere, when she heard booming laughter come from the room where Jen lay.
Immediately everyone stood. Jacque was in the lead and when she turned the knob, felt that it was locked. Fane moved her aside and turned the knob firmly. The lock snapped and he flung the door open, not knowing what to expect. One thing was for sure – it wasn't what he found.
Jacque stepped in and saw Decebel standing loosely, ready to attack anything that threatened the girl standing behind him.
The girl was Jen.
Jen peeped around Decebel, smiling, and with a nervous voice said, "Surprise."
"You were dead." Jacque's voice was shaking with anger, and hope as well. "I watched them do CPR on you and then I watched Decebel – he wouldn't let anyone near you. You were freaking dead, JENNIFER ADAMS, and all you can say is 'surprise'?"
Jen tried to push Decebel out of the way but he wouldn't move.
"Decebel, they aren't going to hurt me. Move."
Decebel stepped aside to let Jen stand beside him. When she stepped in front of him to get closer to Jacque, he wrapped a strong arm around her waist and pulled her against his chest.
Jen rolled her eyes but focused on Jacque.
"I will explain everything, Jac, I promise. Please don't be angry."
"We were sitting in there, sick to our stomachs with grief. I'm trying to figure out how to tell your parents that their little girl is dead and then we hear Decebel laughing. Hell yes I'm angry. When were you going to let us join your little 'hey, I'm alive' party?"
Sally stepped around Jacque and stared at Jen. She didn't say anything, she just stared. Jen didn't move. Jacque was angry, she didn't want Sally mad at her as well.
"You're okay?" Sally asked quietly.
"Yes, Sally Sue, I'm okay."
"I couldn't save you." Sally's eyes dropped to the floor, her shame evident in the slump of her shoulders.
Jen tried to get out of Decebel's grasp, but he still wouldn't budge. She looked up at him and, using their bond, growled, "Let me go to her, Dec. She needs to know it's okay, that I'm okay."
"If any of the males touch you, they forfeit their lives."
Jen blew out an exasperated breath and he finally let her go.
As she moved toward Sally, she looked around the room, making eye contact with each male as she spoke. "Attention shoppers, just a brief announcement, crazy ass werewolf on isle three. Those with an abundance of testosterone, don't touch the merchandise and you might walk out of here intact."
Jacque tried not to laugh because she was angry, but it was impossible not to because the look on Decebel's face was priceless.
"Duly noted." Vasile spoke for the group.
Jen wrapped her arms tightly around Sally and she felt her sweet, tender friend begin to cry.
"I tried, Jennifer. I tried, but you wouldn't breathe."
"It's not your fault Sally. You aren't God. Healer or not, you can't fix everything. And you have to be okay with that or you'll drive yourself crazy."
Jacque stepped up and wrapped her arms around both girls, "You know the world has gone to hell in a hand basket when Jennifer Adams is the voice of reason."
Everyone chuckled tentatively, not wanting to disturb the fragile peace that had descended.
Jen pulled back and looked at her two best friends. "So are you done being mad at me, Jacque? And have you finished blaming my untimely death on yourself, Sally?"
"Sure, why not?" Jacque teased.
"I'm good," Sally added.
"Okay, peeps, we gots lots to discuss. I'm calling a pack meeting." Jen looked over at Vasile with a wink. "No offense, A, but I gotta lead this one. I'm in the know, and you all are in the need to know."
Vasile looked over at Decebel. "You okay?"
He nodded once. "I apologize for earlier."
"Not needed, Beta. Your mate had been taken from you, and in a cruel twist of fate you weren't allowed to follow because the Blood Rites weren't completed. I would have done what was necessary."
"And for that I will always be in your debt." Decebel bared his neck to Vasile in submission and respect.
Jen turned to her mate, took his hand, and began pulling him in the direction of the door.
"Okay, everyone kosher? Let's call this meeting to order."
Decebel rolled his eyes. "Glad to see that a little dying didn't take the smart ass out of you."
"Did you honestly think a little thing like dying would adjust my attitude?" Jen smirked at him as they all took a seat in the large room by the fire.
"I would hope not, because then you wouldn't be my Jennifer. I don't want someone who always does as they're told, or just goes with the flow. Where's the fun in that?"