"You're right," Jen interrupted,  "I'm glad you pointed it out to me. Since you are so experienced with the opposite sex, then there is no way me withholding it from you would bother you because you have memories of those other hussies to keep you warm at night. Thank you for that, my sweet mate. Since I know now that unlike other men who desire to be with their women," Jen sneered the word out, "you aren't easily swayed, I will have to find other things that might get rhis through your thick, flea-infested skull: I will not be dictated to, I will not be controlled, I will not be treated like some 18th century woman who walks two steps behind her man and only speaks when spoken to."

"Jennifer." Decebel took a step towards her.

"No, Decebel. Do not use that tone of voice with me. I'm your mate, your wife, your equal." She finished her words through their bond. "And I won't forget your words, my love. I won't forget your lack of eagerness for your woman."

"Jennifer, baby, I didn't mean I don't want you." Decebel's words fell on deaf ears because his mate had turned her back and blocked his thoughts.

The group spent the day resting and avoiding the elephant in the room. The males didn't want the females to go, the females wanted to stick hot pokers in the male's eyes. Yeah, it wasn't tense at all.

As darkness fell, one by one they all found their beds they had been sleeping in and called it a night. Throughout the day, Jen and Jacque had met eyes with Peri in looks that each understood were an unspoken message. Jen casually walked into the kitchen to get a drink before going to bed. Peri walked past and muttered, "Go into the bathroom, I will get you out." Jen didn't question how, she just got moving.

When she walked past Decebel, he stood and followed her. As they entered the room they would share, Jen thought about how she should feel weird that she was married now and her husband would be sleeping in her bed. But, she supposed, she was too angry to feel weird.

Married. The term passed through her mind. How the bloody hell am I going to tell my parents? Jen really didn't want to think about that right then, considering she had much bigger things on her plate.

Decebel took off his shirt and tossed it on one of the empty chairs. Jen let out a slow breath and tried not to drool at the well-toned body of her mate. She made a mental sigh of relief when he began to climb into bed with his pants still on. Saved by the Levi's, Jen thought to herself with a snicker.

Decebel spoke and she was surprised to hear true hurt in his voice. "Why do you continue to block your mind from me?"

"I'm mad at you."

"So every time you are mad at me you will block me?"

"I don't know. I'm sure your punishments will vary. Variety is the spice of life."

Decebel growled at her, then quietly said, "It hurts. When you block me, it hurts me."

Jen closed her eyes at his words. She didn't want to make up yet, didn't want to feel bad for hurting him. But she did.

She climbed into bed next to him but didn't lay down. She sat with her legs crossed and looked at him. He lay on his back with his arm across his face, blocking her view of his eyes.

"Decebel, look at me." Jen tugged at his arm.

He allowed her to pull it away from his face but still didn't meet her eyes.

Jen got up on all fours and placed a hand on either side of his face so that she looked directly down at him. If he didn't want to look at her now, he would have to close his eyes. He didn't.

"I'm sorry," she said, genuinely meaning it.

Jen started to sit back up but Decebel put a hand on the back of her neck and pulled her face closer to his. He pressed his lips firmly against hers and they both sighed at the contact. Jen hadn't realized how empty she felt from not touching him all day. She leaned into him, taking the weight off her hands so she could run her fingers through his hair. Decebel growled and wrapped his arm around her, pulling her close to him. As she submitted to his kiss, she opened their bond as well and felt his relief sweep over her. She really had been hurting him. That was the last thing Jen wanted to do to her mate. Tease him, yes. Drive him crazy, absolutely. Make him sexually frustrated, duh. But never hurt him.

"I'm sorry," she told him as she deepened their kiss. She opened her mouth when she felt his tongue brush against her lips and for the first time in her life Jen wanted to act on all the things she joked about.

Decebel pulled back. As much as he wanted his mate, now was not the time. He'd caught some of the thoughts drifting through Jennifer's mind and knew they needed to stop. He needed to stop.

Decebel watched as hurt formed in Jennifer's eyes when he pushed her back.

"Baby, this isn't rejection." He chuckled at her forlorn look.

"Then what is it? Did you really mean what you said? I mean," Jen waved her hands at him to stop him from interrupting, "I know you aren't a virgin, we've already barked up that tree. But did you really have to throw it in my face, Dec? Did you have to make me feel like my own mate doesn't desire me?"

Decebel rubbed his face as he let out a deep sigh. "Jennifer, if you had any idea how much I desire you, you would probably be frightened to be alone with me. I want you – in every way. But I don't want you to use my need for you, my desire for you, against me. Not when it's to get me to disregard your safety."

He watched as she processed his words. Decebel played with a strand of her long hair and waited for her to speak.

Jen sat there, staring at her oh-so-handsome mate and chewed on his words. He did want her, and based on that kiss his desire was evident. But he didn't want her to manipulate him. She realized then that she needed to get to the bathroom so Peri could get her out. So no manipulation, fine. She could do that. He didn't say anything about being sneaky.

"Okay." She started to climb off the bed but stopped abruptly when she realized Decebel hadn't let go of her hair.

"Okay?" Decebel looked at his mate suspiciously. "That's it?"

"Yeah, you're right. I shouldn't use sex to manipulate you. It's childish. I can admit when I'm wrong Decebel, geez. It's just it happens so rarely that it kind of catches me by surprise."

Decebel chuckled but still wasn't convinced that everything was okay with her.

Jen could tell that Decebel wasn't buying her sudden agreement, so she crawled back up on the bed and as he propped himself up against the headboard she climbed into his lap. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him softly.

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