"You're mine, beautiful healer, which means I'm yours," Costin told her firmly.
Sally tried to slow her breathing, but feeling him so close, the intensity and the confidence in his words – it was all overwhelming.
"Oh boy," she finally got out.
"Oh, sweet Sally mine, now that is an understatement."
Jen watched Decebel as he spoke to the Serbian pack. The confidence he wore like the most comfortable pair of jeans was intoxicating. She should be paying attention to what he was saying, but her man was hot and that was distracting.
"I can hear you, you know?" She heard the smile in his voice as he spoke through their bond.
"Like it's news to you. You know I drool over you on a regular basis." Jen rolled her eyes when he looked up at her from where he stood. She froze when his eyes began to glow.
"Decebel, you can't look at me like that in public."
"Why not? You're mine. Do you need a reminder?" He raised a single eyebrow at her in challenge.
Instead of answering, she turned and walked away, knowing it would drive him crazy. She made a beeline for the room they had claimed in the new mansion that the Serbian pack – her pack – had taken up residence in. It had been only two weeks since the battle, or WWF, as she and Jacque were calling it – Wars with Fur Balls. One thing she had learned, the fur balls didn't play when stuff needed to get done. Things had been moving quickly since it was decided that Decebel would be Alpha of the Serbian pack. They had decided a fresh start was needed and sold the previous pack mansion. They bought a new one on some land that was much closer to the Romanian pack, which was something Jen had pushed for. So far everyone had been very nice. A little timid, but the vibes that Jen was getting were those of relief. It was like the Serbian pack had been starved for affection and safety, and constantly drenched in fear. They had not respected Thad, they had followed him only out of fear, or at least the surviving wolves had.
Decebel had made it very clear that he was their Alpha and he would protect them, provide for them when they needed, and teach them to thrive. Jen was still nervous, but excited at the same time. Rachel had been over helping Jen meet the other females and get things settled. It was still up in the air who Decebel's Beta would be and which healer would come to their pack. So many decisions to be made, so many difficult things ahead of them. But, as Jen walked down the long corridor toward the room Decebel and she had claimed, the only thing she could think of was her mate and how much she needed to be in his arms.
She'd nearly made it to the door when a strong arm swept her off her feet. She let out a breathless laugh as Decebel swung their door open and slammed it behind him. He tossed her on their king-sized bed and let out a low growl when she bounced up onto her hands and knees, ready to jump away.
"Jennifer," he growled in warning.
"Yes, Alpha?" Jen's words dripped with sweetness.
"Don't make me chase you."
"Ahh, but you love the chase."
He moved slowly toward the bed and Jen saw something in his eyes that gave her pause.
"Not tonight, baby. Tonight I need you right now."
Jen walked on her knees to the edge of the bed, meeting him there. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her tight.
"All you have to do is tell me. Whatever you need, Dec, it's yours." Jen leaned forward and kissed him gently on the lips. She could see the worry in the lines on his face and the stress that tensed his muscles.
"I just need you, Jennifer. Always you." He kissed her possessively, firmly letting her know she was his and he was hers.
"All yours, my love," Jen whispered in his mind.
"Thank you, Jennifer. Thank you for loving me."
Jen pulled back, startled by his words.
"Like it's a hardship," she teased, then sobered. "You're the best thing that's ever happened to me, Dec. Never doubt that. Never doubt my love for you."
"You have no idea how much you mean to me. How much joy you have brought to my life." He stepped back from her and walked to the bedside table. Pulling open a drawer, he looked over his shoulder at her. "I have something for you."
Jen smiled. "For me?" she asked brightly.
He nodded. He pulled out a small, white velvet box. Jen's breath caught.
"I wasn't exactly prepared when we bonded and married, so I didn't have this to give you. You wear my marks on your skin, you bear my bite on your beautiful neck. Now I would ask you to wear one more thing to show the world you are mind."
"Decebel, I'm like a walking billboard for you, my sweet fur ball." She couldn't hide her excitement at the sight of the little box.
He sat on the bed and pulled her into his lap.
"This is for you, my precious one," he whispered as he handed her the box.
Jen held her breath as she pulled the lid up, the hinges stiff with newness. She let out a small whimper at the sight before her. She looked up into his eyes and, to her surprise, they were moist with unshed tears. Her own weren't so shy as they rolled down her cheek.
"Thank you, it's perfect." Her voice was soft as she pulled the ring from it cushioned resting place. He took the ring from her and gently slipped it on her left ring finger. Jen held it out to examine it. It wrapped around her finger like a vine, with all the matching points of the markings on her skin. Decebel had had a platinum ring made in a replica to the marks on their skin, marks that would fit together like a puzzle piece, completing the design the way Decebel completed Jen and the way Jen completed him.
"I don't know what the future holds, Dec. I know it's going to be rough and dangerous and filled with tons of smart ass comments via yours truly. But as long as you will stand with me, as long as you are here with me, I can deal."
Decebel smiled at his mouthy, blunt, yet fiercely loyal mate.
"There is nothing in this life or the next that can keep me from your side." Decebel's lips were so close to hers that they brushed when he spoke. "I love you, Jennifer."
Jen closed her eyes as she let his words pour over her and through her. She pressed her lips to his and let her actions speak for her.
Their life together was just beginning and the world of the Canis lupis was changing. Jen had defeated death and fate would demand a price; a powerful Alpha had been defeated and a new one instated; an evil witch was on the loose with a vendetta on her hands; history was seeping its way up through the dusty cracks of time, the result of which was a mystery yet to come. They were preparing for the worst, just as Peri had said – preparing for the worst, hoping for the best.