Jen was taking her turn in the cave when she heard a howl pierce the pre-dawn darkness. She ran outside. She knew that howl, would know it anywhere.
Soon she stood out in the forest with the others, holding her breath. She squinted, trying to look through the trees for her mate. When a bat would dive at her it was nearly second nature to raise her arm in the air with the knife clasped in her hand. Then, like an avenging angel, Decebel in his wolf form tore through the trees with Fane on his heels. They both lunged into the air snapping at the bats and tossing them from their mouths as they crushed them one after another. Jen watched in awe as her mate's strong form moving with such agility for one so large. Deciding that they would be out here forever fighting off these stupid bats, she whistled. When everyone looked in her direction, she motioned toward the cave. It was going to be a tight squeeze, but they would make do.
"Come on, fur ball. We need to talk," she told Decebel as she headed into the cave, followed closely behind by Jacque and Rachel.
The three wolves trotted inside and Adam and Elle brought up the rear. They cast some sort of fire shield at the opening of the cave that kept the bats from entering.
"Hey, that's pretty freaking handy." Jacque motioned to shield.
"Being Fae has its perks." Adam winked.
Fane growled at the him and stepped in between Jacque and the Fae.
"Chillax, wolf-man," Jacque told him out loud. "He's on our side and he and Elle saved our bacon, so don't go threatening him."
"Are you unharmed?" Fane asked her gently as he continued to eye the unknown male.
"I'm fine. Just tired. Adam is also fine. He's just a flirt."
"Well then, I shall teach him how not to be," Fane snarled.
Jacque rolled her eyes at her mate and tugged hard on his tail. Fane snapped his head around and growled at her. She raised her hands in surrender. "Behave if you don't want your tail pulled." She glared at him.
Jen sat down on the ground, her body aching all over. Decebel came over and sat down right in front of her. In his wolf form, with her seated, his head was taller than hers even with him sitting on his haunches. His eyes met hers and he lifted a lip in a snarl.
"You will never leave me again," he told her through their bond.
Jen leaned into him and wrapped her arms around him. Decebel let out a low grumble in his chest.
"I'm sorry, Dec, I really am. I'm so tired. Can you change so you can hold me?"
"There is nothing more that I would love to do than hold you, but I have no clothes to put on once I change. We need to discuss what Vasile has asked us to do."
Jen released his neck and sat back a little. She looked at each wolf and then the others.
"Okay, I understand that you guys will be naked when you change. So we girls will look the other way while we all talk because, frankly, I'm too tired to repeat everything Dec tells me and I'm sure Rachel and Jacque are just as exhausted. We all in agreement?"
Everyone nodded their heads and the wolves each let out subtle woof-like noises. Rachel, Jacque, Jen, and Elle all stood and faced the back of the cave while the men phased.
Jen nearly jumped out of her skin when she felt Decebel's lips on her neck and his arms come around her.
"Crap, man! I survived the stupid BAWBs and the bats and you're trying to scare me to death?"
"Sorry, baby. I couldn't just stand there looking at you and not touch you. You've been gone two days. I didn't know -" Decebel was growling again. "Never again.," was all he could finish with.
Jen turned and wrapped her arms around his neck. She looked into his glowing amber eyes. "I think we've established that I am never to pull this kind of stunt again. Anything else you want to say to me, babe?"
Decebel leaned down and kissed her gently. He nuzzled her nose with his and whispered, "I love you."
Jen smiled. "Much better."
Adam cleared his throat and Jen looked around Decebel to see that Fane had Jacque in his arms and Gavril had Rachel in his. She winked at Decebel and then pushed him until his back was against the wall. Then she turned in his arms again so her back was against his chest.
"Now nobody can see your manly bits," she told him with a smile.
Decebel chuckled and shook his head. Each of the other couple assumed similar positions and finally everyone was facing each other, but all important body parts were covered.
"Now that the reunions are done and everyone has so graciously clothed themselves with their mates -"
Adam was interrupted with three low growls. He held up his hands and smiled. "Kidding. Geez, I forgot how touchy Alpha males are," he said, looking at Elle.
"What's the plan, Dec?" Jen asked.
Decebel pressed his nose into her hair and took comfort in her scent before he spoke.
"Vasile has asked us to meet him in the village back at the Tavern. Before I left, he mentioned that he might call in the other packs for their aid against the witch and Thad."
Jacque stiffened. "Is he going to call my dad?"
Fane pulled her tight against him. "Probably, Luna."
Jacque nodded, knowing that if Vasile was willing to endanger the other packs, it was because there was no other way.
Elle stepped forward and kept her eyes averted from the males as a show of respect as she spoke. "I think the girls need to rest before we leave, even if just for a few hours. Adam and I can keep watch here at the entrance."
Decebel nodded his agreement. "We can spare a few hours for them to sleep."
Jen's head fell back against Decebel's chest as she let out a slow breath. "Thank goodness."
On that note the males phased back into their wolf forms. Jen curled up on her side, laying her head against Decebel's warm wolf body. Jacque and Rachel did the same and all were asleep in a matter of moments.
Half a world away, Dillon Jacobs kissed his mate before he boarded the chartered jet.
"I love you," Tanya told him firmly.
"I love you too, Luna. I know you want to come but I need you here with the pack." Dillon brushed her hair back from her face and placed another gentle kiss on her forehead.
"No, you just need me away from danger."
Dillon chuckled. "Well, that too. I will stay in touch," he told her as he tapped his forehead, indicating their bond.
"Just keep Jacque and her friends safe."