"I mean as your mate. I mean, the signs are there, the pull is there, and there is really nothing you can do about it. You're just stuck with me."
Decebel drew her closer to his body. "Jennifer, when I was created my perfect counterpart was created as well. The one woman who could complete everything in me that is incomplete. There was no need for a choice because you are perfect for me. I don’t want you to doubt what I feel for you because we are fated to be together. What I feel is real and true and stronger than anything I have ever felt before. I wouldn't change us, change you, for anything in the world." He tipped her chin up to look into her eyes. "I love you, Jennifer, all of you."
Jen smiled up at her mate, understanding what he meant about feeling complete. For the first time in her life she felt whole.
"I wouldn't change you either. I love you, Decebel." Jen's face was full of vulnerability when she pressed her lips to his. As she pulled back, she laughed and her eyes widened when she saw the images Decebel was sharing with her through their bond.
"Let me show you how I love you," he whispered to her as he continued to send images her way.
"Are those promises?" she asked as she ducked her head and looked up at him through lowered lashes.
He nodded and rolled her on her back. He spent the rest of the night fulfilling the images he had shared.
27 days post-curse
"All I'm saying is that we should really consider buying stock in Frontline. I mean, it makes sense. Think of how many of us turn furry. The potential for fleas is astronomical." Jen was going on and on while they sat in the upstairs bedroom they shared in the tavern. Jen and Jacque were sprawled across one bed, while Sally laid on her stomach, propped up on her elbows in an adjacent one.
"Jen, I'm going to say this really slow so that you will understand me," Jacque began, but was interrupted by Sally.
"No, don't say it slow. That won't help. What you need to do is add a reference to sex and some profanity. Then she will totally get you."
"Good call, Vern." Jacque gave Sally a fist bump and turned back to Jen. "Listen up, you flea-obsessed bitch. First of all, we are in Romania where it is freaking cold, there are no fleas. Second of all, Decebel would not want to roll in the sheets with you if you smelled like Frontline. Let go of the fleas, Jen, embrace a flealess attitude. Damn."
Sally was cracking up. Jen sat there, looking at Jacque with her head cocked to the side.
"Well, alright then, Jac. Tell me how you really feel. And, seriously, don't hold back on my account." Jen rolled her eyes.
"See? Told you she'd get it," Sally said in between giggles.
"Jacque, Jen and Sally," Vasile hollered from down stairs. "Meeting room, now."
The three girls jumped up and hurried down the stairs. Jen pulled out her phone and saw that it was already late afternoon and would be getting dark soon.
As they entered the meeting room, the girls saw Fane, Decebel, and Costin standing behind three empty chairs close to where Vasile stood. They walked quickly to the chairs and took their seats.
Jen felt Decebel's breath on her neck as he leaned down to whisper in her ear, "It's almost time."
A chill rolled through her at the thought that within a couple of hours they would be on a field, battling for their lives and the lives of Sally and Rachel. Thinking of Rachel, Jen realized she hadn't seen much of her in the past few days. Sally had mentioned a couple times that Peri had them studying spells, but also that they weren't allowed to discuss them. Vasile's deep voice pulled her from her thoughts.
"The location that I and the other Alphas, along with the help of our Betas, is fifteen miles from here, in a valley between the mountains. We will go in our wolf forms. Peri, Sally, and Rachel will come separately. Peri and I have discussed the fact that Desdemona will know we are coming as soon as we phase and start running through the Alps. I am under no illusions that we will catch her by surprise. You all need to expect her to use anything she can against us. The weather, the animals under her command, and the Serbian pack. I wish I could tell you to go in there and fight honorably, but Thad has proven he has no honor and Desdemona is a witch, evil to her core. They will fight dirty and so must we."
Jen snorted. "No worries, Alpha. I've got no problem throwing a little dirt in my opponents eyes."
"Or kicking them while their down," Jacque added.
Vasile actually smiled at the two females. "Good. I expect you to use all your resources. Stay together, don't let them separate us." He looked at Peri, who stood toward the back of the room. "Were you able to get the help we requested?"
Peri nodded. "Elle and Adam will be with us. That is all the council would allow."
Vasile narrowed his eyes, obviously not pleased with her answer. "That will have to be enough, then."
He looked around the room one more time. His eyes settled on each Alpha, a silent thank you for their assistance. Then, taking a step toward the door with Alina's hand in his, he growled, "Let's go."
All followed Vasile and his mate out of the Tavern and into the cold night air.
Jen and Jacque stood silently, watching their pack and the others begin to phase as they walked into the forest.
Dillon stopped next to Jacque and pulled her into a hug. "Fight dirty," he grumbled into her hair. Jacque pulled him tight and nodded. When she moved back and looked up at him, she could see the emotion behind his green eyes.
"We got this, dad," she tried to tease him and lighten the moment, but squeezed his arm at the same time, letting him know she understood. She didn't want anything to happen to him either.
He looked at Fane and Decebel, who stood beside the girls. Dillon nodded once and then took off at a swift jog and phased in mid-stride.
"Man, I want to be able to do that." Jen sighed dramatically. The girls, new to phasing, still had to undress and concentrate when they did it.
"Let's do this, ladies," Decebel told them as he and Fane turned their backs so Jen and Jacque could undress.
Once the girls were both in their wolf forms, Decebel and Fane both phased and – after nuzzling their mates briefly – they took off after the rest of their pack.
As they ran through the forest, the cold air whipped through their fur as they dashed around trees and through bushes. Even with the many wolves that ran through the Alps this night, the forest was silent.