“She asked me why I was following her,” he continued quickly. “I tried to flash out but she was preventing it with a spell. So I decided distraction was the best course of action.” He flashed Peri with his heart-melting smile, a twinkle in his eye. “So I put the moves on her.”

Peri shook her head. “You put the moves on her?” she asked indignantly. “And it worked?”

Adam clutched his chest as if he’d been stabbed. “Perizada, ouch. You wound me with your skepticism at my seductive abilities.” He took a step towards Peri, his eyes going into bedroom mode. “Shall I demonstrate how persuasive I can be?” His voice, dropping low, was a caress against the skin. Elle shivered and shook her head to clear her mind and pull herself from the spell he seemed to weave.

Peri stood still, seemingly unaffected.

“So that worked, is what you’re trying to tell me?”

Adam let out an exasperated sigh as he went from Don Juan to agitated Fae in the blink of an eye.

“Yes, dammit, it worked. I distracted her enough to get her mind off the spell and onto more interesting venues. She even said please,” he told them with a cocky grin.

Peri was quiet for all of two seconds and then busted out into body-shaking laughter. She was able to compose herself several moments later, and wiped the tears from her eyes.

“Oh, man, I would give your left kidney to have seen the look on her face when she realized she’d been fooled by a man, and a Fae at that.”

“So glad that you feel comfortable enough with our relationship to pass out my organs,” Adam told her dryly.

Peri waved him off.

“So, please tell me you did more than just try to make skunk head think you wanted in her pants.”

“We definitely have more for you,” Elle began. “She met with the warlock King.”

Peri groaned. “That’s what I was afraid of.”

“But we listened to the whole conversation,” Adam added grimly. “It wasn’t good, Peri.”

“She is asking Cypher to open the veil to the underworld. And in return for his help she is promising him a mate.” Elle paused for emphasis. “A human mate – one who is familiar with the supernatural world.”

Peri’s eyes widened at Elle’s words, the meaning of them hitting her hard in the chest. She knew Desdemona was desperate, knew that there was no light left in her, and still it surprised her, the depths that her depravity had indeed reached.

“Are you guys thinking what I’m thinking?” Peri asked her comrades.

Adam nodded solemnly. “That bloody hell is going to break loose and the wrath of an Alpha, his son, and two packs are going to descend on Mona and the warlock King when they find out that Lilly Pierce has been traded to be the king's mate? Cause that’s what I’m thinking.”

“I know that we should inform Jacque and Vasile of this, but I think that if we allow Mona to think that she is still in control and that her plans are still unknown to us, then we have a better chance of catching her by surprise.”

Elle looked at Peri like she had lost her mind. “You want to let Mona get her hands on Jacque’s mother?”

“Lilly is Mona’s ticket to Cypher. She isn’t going to hurt her,” Peri assured them.

“What about the King? Will he hurt her?” Elle asked nervously.

“It’s been a very long time since I’ve had dealings with the warlock King, but if he is even a quarter of the male he used to be then he will treat her just as preciously as the wolves treat their mates.” Peri stared off into the distance, remembering something from long ago. “King Cypher and his clan were once a mighty race, strong, and very magical. They, like the wolves, are getting closer and closer to extinction. The King is old, though he doesn't look it. He should have been mated long before now.”

“If I didn’t know better, I would think you were hoping this thing between Lilly and Cypher would work out.” Adam narrowed his eyes at Peri.

“I want what’s best for the supernatural beings and the humans. If somehow the Fates have determined that Lilly is what’s best for Cypher and Cypher is what’s best for her, then who the hell am I to say otherwise?”

“You said otherwise when the Fates decided it was Jen’s time and you brought her back,” Adam so helpfully pointed out.

“Sometimes the Fates get it wrong, but it’s only once a millennia. So the chance of them getting Lilly’s fate wrong is virtually nil,” Peri snapped.

Adam and Elle stood silently and watched their leader as she collected her thoughts. They trusted her, even if she did seem bat shit crazy sometimes.

“Okay, I’m going to keep tabs on Desdemona, but I’m going to let this play out for now.” Peri’s face grew tight as she continued. “Now, there’s something else I need to talk with you two about.”

Adam stiffened at the sudden change in Peri’s demeanor.

“I have found out some very good, albeit very unsettling news. Wadim was visited by the Great Luna.” Peri paused as she crossed her arms across her chest. “She has decided to step in and assist her wolves.”

Elle broke into a smile and Adam let out a deep breath.

“That’s great.” Elle beamed. “Now we might really stand a chance.”

Peri’s face did not change. Her lips did not move at the sight of Elle’s smile and she didn’t look relieved, as Adam did.

“She feels that the Fae are being reclusive stuck-up asses and has decided that if they will not voluntarily get involved, she will give them the proverbial shove.”

Adam’s brow furrowed as he looked first at Elle, whose smile had begun to slip, and then back to Peri.

“She has made the Fae compatible true mates to the Canis lupis.”

Elle let out a squeak while Adam cursed under his breath.

“True mates?” Elle asked once her brain started firing again.

Peri nodded. “I just want you two prepared. You have been protectors and advocates for the wolves. The Great Luna has seen this. It wouldn’t surprise me if she picked one or both of you to start this extraordinary change.”

Peri watched the two Fae as they processed the information. She had wanted to prepare them before they joined the pack groups, just in case. She understood that it was a huge bomb to drop on them, but it was also a very good thing. The Great Luna had given both species a gift, and she really hoped that they would see it that way.

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