"I don't understand it either, and I'm sorry if my behavior is distressing to you. But I'm not going anywhere. Where you go, brown eyes, I go. I need you to trust me, Sally mine, I won't hurt you."

Sally pulled back abruptly, as if he had slapped her. "But that's just it, Costin. You will. You will hurt me. You won't mean to, but one day you will find your true mate and I will be kicked to the curb. I'm not strong like Jen and Jacque. Once my heart is given, I can't get it back. Once it's broken, it's beyond repair. How can you expect me to risk that for some crush?"

Costin snarled at her. "It's not some crush, Sally Morgan!" He had taken a step closer without even realizing it. He and Sally were so close their bodies were nearly touching. Both took heavy breaths, trying to contain their anger.

Costin lowered his voice when he spoke again. "It's not some crush. I don’t know what it is. I don’t understand why it's happening now. What I do know is I've never felt this for anyone and my wolf won't let you go, even if I wanted to – which I don't"

Sally lowered her eyes and shook her head. It was obvious nothing she could say would deter Costin from her. Part of her was glowing because of that, the other part was wallowing in darkness, knowing that soon all of her would be consumed by the darkness of a broken heart and broken dreams.

Without another word, Sally turned away from Costin and took a seat back in the chair. She looked over at Jacque, then at Jen. Jacque's face was one of confusion and pain for her friend; Jen's face, however... Jen's face was full of mischief and something more. Sally looked at her a little longer, trying to weed out what Jen's little wheels were turning in her mind. Then Sally realized it. It was knowledge. She had the smirk of someone who knew something that others did not. Much to Sally's confusion, she didn't really know if she wanted to know what that was.

Chapter 24

Peri turned to call Elle to her, only to realize the young Fae had disappeared.

"Excuse me for one moment," Peri told the group. She stepped out the front door and closed her eyes, reaching out to the council of her people. Her eyes snapped open when she received the information she needed. Her lips were tight as she pushed the door back open and entered the cottage.

"It appears that my people have need of Elle. I was going to send her to get Rachel and Gavril, but that obviously isn't going to happen. I must send some of you."

Vasile stood. " I will go."

"No." Peri spoke before Vasile's words were all the way out of his mouth. "You must not be compromised, Vasile."

"Can't you cloak us somehow?" Jacque asked.

Jacque noticed that Peri's lips did the tightening thing again and her eyes were glowing slightly. "It seems our friendly witch has been at work while we have been across the veil. She has put a tracking spell on the Alps."

"Meaning?" Jen encouraged.

"Meaning anything or anyone possessing magic will produce a trail for her to follow."

"But aren't all werewolves magical?" Sally's brow furrowed.

"Yes, but dormants and half bloods won't carry nearly as much magic on them as a full-blooded wolf."

This time Decebel dumped Jen out of his lap as he shot up off the couch before he even registered moving. "Don't even say what you are thinking."

Jen glared at Decebel as she pulled herself up off the floor.

"Okay, I'm going to forget you just dumped me on my ass since I can clearly see you are royally ticked off." Jen was standing on her tiptoes, trying to get in her mate's face. Decebel simply wrapped a big arm around her and pulled her out of the way, pushing her behind him.

"Jacque and Jen have the best chance of going undetected. Once they are with Rachel and Gavril, Rachel will be able to provide some small cloaking."

Every male in the room bristled at what Peri was suggesting.

"You want me to send two of my females into the forest – alone?" Vasile spoke slowly and his eyes began to glow. Alina placed a hand on Vasile's arm, trying to calm the Alpha.

Fane stood up and pushed Jacque behind him just as Decebel had done to Jen. Jen looked over at Jacque from behind Decebel and rolled her eyes. Jacque nodded her agreement with the sentiment.

"Maybe the decision should be up to the females in question," Jen announced from behind the wall that was her mate.

"No." Fane, Decebel, Costin, Sorin,  and Vasile all spoke at one time, all in various states of amusement at Jen's comment.

Jen and Jacque were now good and pissed.

Jacque pushed her way around Fane as Jen did the same to Decebel. Each girl rounded on their mates and the room was silent as the two couples engaged in what appeared to be staring competitions. In reality, they were speaking to one another through their bonds.

"It's not happening, Jennifer. You can glare, rant and rave, cry, or stomp your foot all you want. You are not leaving this house."

Jen growled. A true growl. It only caused Decebel to smile.

Jerk, she thought to herself.

"Foreplay, baby, foreplay."

This time Jen did stomp her foot. She let out a snarl and turned to face Peri and Vasile.

"Jacque and I can do this. We aren't some helpless damsels in distress. If we aren't producing enough magic for the wicked witch to tail us, then we should be fine."

Decebel snorted behind her. "Fine? Mate, it's freezing out there. And werewolves aren't the only ones in the forest, or have you forgotten there are other things that go bump in the night?"

"You are very close to sleeping on the couch. Just want you to know that." Jen smiled to herself when she felt his shock and then his frustration at her comment. Score one for the mated/married chick who shouldn't, but could use sex as a weapon. Jen knew it wasn't nice, but, desperate times.

"That won't work on me, Jennifer. I'm not an eighteen year old virgin who is dying to get in his woman's pants."

Jen spun around so fast that her hair slapped any in the vicinity in the face.

"Did you really just say that?" Her hands had gone to her hips and her shoulders were pulled back.

"Oh man," Sally whispered to Crina, who had been sitting quietly beside her. "I've seen that look. You do not want to be on the other end of that look."

"You need to understand who you are mated to. I won't be manipulated so you can have your way. S-"

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