"Come back. Now." Decebel was using the same voice Vasile used when he didn't give his wolves a choice but to obey.

"Don't do that Alpha mojo on me, B. It won't work. I'm your mate, your equal."

"After everything we've been through in the past weeks, all the hell, you leave me. You go out unprotected into a world where an evil witch and a corrupt Alpha are focusing all their energy on wiping us out. Why would you do this to me, Jennifer? How could you do this?"

Jen was biting her lip and felt blood seep into her mouth. She hadn't even realized how hard she was biting until the metallic taste hit her tongue. She cringed and closed her eyes as the memories of her pain assaulted her mind, brought on by that small reminder.

"Don't. Don't use memories to try and soften me." Decebel thought she was trying to manipulate him yet again. Now that just ticked her off.

"I wasn't trying to use my memories of the most amazing thing to ever happen to me against you. Didn't we just have this discussion last night? I told you I got it, I heard you, and I apologized. The images hit my mind because of the blood currently in my mouth." Jen winced as she realized that might have not been the brightest thing to say.

"Blood!" Decebel's voice was a deep growl. "Why are you bleeding, Jennifer?"

"I bit my lip because you are freaking me out. I feel like the worst mate in history, like I've betrayed you or something when this has nothing to do with you or us. This is bigger than us."

She felt Decebel's hands on her face.  She knew if she had been in front of him right then  his lips would be so close to hers that she would feel his warm breath across her face.

"I didn't mean to imply that I felt betrayed, love. But I just got you back. I've lost you twice and I can't lose you again. I wanted to hold my wife, my mate, for the first time all night last night. I wanted to wake up and the first thing I saw be your beautiful face. But instead I woke up realizing I couldn't move, and you weren't beside me, not even in the house. Can you please try to see where I'm coming from?"

Jen took a deep breath. She knew that she and Jacque were doing the right thing. In her gut she knew it was what they were supposed to do. But that didn't make it any easier to hurt her mate, to disappoint him and scare him.

"I can only begin to imagine how upset you were and are. Decebel, I have to do this. Jacque and I have to do this. I can't explain it but I just know that we are the ones who are supposed to get Rachel. Please trust me. Please know that I love you so much that at times I think my heart will explode. We'll be fine. We're moving quickly and being quiet."

Jen heard him snort.

She bristled. "I am capable of being quiet."

"I'm sure you are, baby," Decebel placated her. "If this is something you think you need to do and you've already left without me, there isn't anything I can do about it now, since I'm bound to this damn bed.. But never again, Jennifer. Never again will you go off into danger without me. You told me that if I didn't save your friends you would never forgive me. That was a line you drew. Well, I'm drawing one now. I won't be able to forgive you if you willingly place yourself in danger with no regard as to how it will affect me. My love for you is unconditional, Jennifer, that will never change, but there has got to be mutual respect for each other's feelings. You have got to meet me halfway. Can you do that for me?"

Jen wiped the tears that were trailing down her face. Her hand was trembling and Jacque had come up and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. She tried really hard to keep the tremble out of her voice when she responded, but she could never hide from Decebel.

"Yes. I can meet you halfway."

She heard Decebel growl. "Baby, I didn't mean to make you cry. Damn!" He growled in frustration.

Jen knew that Decebel was very upset and holding on by a thread because he rarely cursed when in her presence, be it physically or through their bond. She could imagine him lying in their bed, held immobile by invisible binding. His jaw was probably clenched so tight his teeth were on the verge of breaking and his eyes would definitely be glowing. Yeah, Jen had no problem seeing her mate in her mind, unable to protect her, unable to get to her.

"I'm okay, Decebel." Jen pulled herself together, knowing that if she didn't it would only make things worse on him. "Really, I'm okay. I'm sorry that I put you in this position and for scaring you."

"You just make sure you come back to me, whole and untouched. I'm thankful that the bond is complete because now I can go with you if the worst were to happen, but I would rather be here together – alive together. So, Jennifer Anghelescu, you better bring your stubborn ass home to me."

Jen couldn't help the smile that spread across her face when he used his last name with her first. It felt right; it was right.

"I already told you, you're stuck with me. I'll be back before you know it, dancing on that last little nerve of yours. I love you, B."

"And I you, love. Do not block me from your mind at any point." Jen smiled again when he added, albeit begrudgingly, "Please."

Jen looked over at Jacque, who still had an arm wrapped around her.

"So, how'd your furry prince take it?"

Jacque shook her head, closing her eyes. "Not good. Not good at all. What about you?"

"Well, he told me he loves me."

"That's good," Jacque interrupted.

"Then he told me if I ever do something like this again he will never forgive me."

"Ouch," Jacque muttered.

"Understatement, Thelma."

"We seem to have a lot of those." Jacque pulled out the LT again and nodded in the direction they needed to go. "Let's head out. There's nothing we can do about it now."

"Do you think Peri will leave them bound?" Jacque asked.

"She'd be stupid not to. If Decebel gets loose before we're back he'll come after me. I could feel his resolve, Jacque. I've never heard him that mad, or felt his anger and fear like that. No doubt, if she lets him go, he will be crashing through these woods like a wolf possessed."

"I have to say that Fane would be right on his tail. No pun intended."

Jen laughed. "Oh, come on, you should always claim a pun like that when it comes at the fur balls' expense."

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