Sally watched tiny bodies emerge from the darkness. They hung from the tree limbs or stood on them, but in every instance they made sure to stay above eye level. One by one they appeared, several of them, waiting. They were human in appearance, but they had an ethereal beauty. A soft glow seemed to create a halo around them. Sally thought she saw wings, but couldn’t be sure because they seemed to come and go almost as if they were flickering off and on.

Costin let out a low growl. Vasile stepped toward the largest of them. He was no more than a foot in height and was lithe in form. He had short dark hair, high cheekbones, and eyes that were an iridescent green.  He stood regally, his chest puffed out, shoulders drawn back.

“You have chosen a side, pixie King?” Vasile asked.

The pixie tensed but quickly schooled his expression.

“It is nothing against you or yours, Alpha wolf.” The pixie King’s voice was surprisingly deep for such a small being.

“That is where you are wrong. Her magic is hurting mine. Your choice is causing harm to what is mine.” Vasile’s eyes were beginning to glow and his voice was guttural.

“Careful, great Alpha,” the pixie King warned. “You are in my realm now.”

“You cast your magic against my daughter-in-law and son, you seek to trap my pack, my brothers, and then you tell me to be careful?” Vasile snarled and took a menacing step forward. “Maybe you, pixie, should be careful. It has been a while since my wolves have had any good meat, and pixie is looking awfully appetizing.”

An orchestra of hissing rippled across the trees where the pixies perched and hung. The King hopped down to a lower branch, getting closer to Vasile.

“We’ve come for the males. We can do this the easy way and you can come with us, or you can make this difficult. It is up to you, Alpha.”

Decebel snarled and lunged toward the nearest pixie. He stopped short when he heard Jen scream in pain, reaching her just as her form hit the cold earth.

“Jennifer, love, talk to me.” Decebel brushed her hair from her face and kissed her gently.

Meanwhile, Costin lunged forward and grabbed a pixie in his now-phased hand. He growled.

“What have you done to her?” he asked as he pointed to Jen.

It was the pixie King who answered.

“It’s what will happen to all of your women if you do not come with us.”

Costin threw the pixie from his hand and it hit a tree and crumpled.

Almost simultaneously, Sally screamed in pain. She folded in on herself, trying to stop the sharp stabbing in her abdomen.

Costin snarled, “STOP THIS!”

One by one the females fell – Rachel, Alina, Cynthia, Elle, Crina, and even Peri.

Vasile lunged for the pixie King and out of nowhere a spear appeared in the pixie’s hands. He parried Vasile’s lunge and Vasile just barely sidestepped the jab.

The other males jumped into action. Adam began wielding his Fae magic, tossing bolts of power at every pixie he could see. He hit as many as he missed. They were fast, dodging left and right and engaging with their own war tactics – which mainly included hand-to-hand combat.

Adam managed to put a shield over the males. He tried to help the females, but whatever the pixies had done, he could not undo.

Gavril had phased into his wolf form and held nothing back when he got his teeth on a pixie. It was not pretty, but with every whimper he heard from his mate the more feral his wolf became.

Drake and Costin teamed up and fought back-to-back, but with every pixie they dispatched another five literally came out of the woodwork.

Lightning crashed to the ground and thunder rolled through the charged night air.

“ENOUGH!” the pixie King yelled in a booming voice.

The wolves froze – not because they wanted to. The King was holding them with his magic.

“Enough of this, Vasile, Alpha of the Romanian pack. Say your goodbyes to your women. You cannot win against us and I will not continue to let you kill my people. Say your goodbyes and then pass through the portal. If you refuse, I will continue to torture your women in front of you.”

As soon as the King stopped talking the wolves were able to move again.

Decebel made to lunge once more and Vasile caught him.

“We must pick our battles, old friend,” Vasile told him quietly. “Go to your mate.”

Decebel didn’t move for several moments. Then he nodded once and turned to Jennifer.

Costin knelt down beside Sally and pulled her up into his lap.

“Are you still hurting?” he asked gently.

Sally nodded with a tremble on her lips. “Please don’t go,” she whispered to him.

Costin closed his eyes and pulled her close.

“I have to, Sally mine. I don’t want to, but I won’t watch them torture you. It would kill me.”

Sally tried to stop the tears from falling, knowing she needed to be strong for him, but the more she tried to stop them, the more they fell. She looked up into his eyes and leaned forward, pressing her lips to his. When she pulled back, she saw the glistening wetness in his hazel eyes.

“I’ll be back. You can’t get rid of me this easily,” he tried to tease, but the effect was lost in the pain that filled his voice.

“I’m coming for you, Costin,” she told him with conviction. She gathered herself and straightened her spine.

Costin shook his head. “Don’t. I need to know you are safe.”

“Too damn bad,” she snarled. “You are mine and no damn crazy ass pixie is taking what’s mine without a fight.”

Sally heard Jen’s weak voice from behind her saying, “I second that motion.”

Costin smiled at his mate and closed his eyes, letting out an exasperated sigh.

“I love you ,Sally Morgan.”

“Bet your hot butt you do.” Sally tried to keep the catch from her voice.

Costin and she stood, and then he wrapped her in his arms.

Decebel pulled Jennifer to her feet and placed his hand gently on her stomach.

“Are you alright?” he whispered.

Jen looked up into his too-handsome face.

“She’s fine,” she answered his real question, covering his hand with her own, speaking of their unborn child.

“We will find you, Decebel.” She held up her hand before he could argue with her, “I don’t want to hear it. You are my mate. I’m carrying your child and I’ll be damned if I’m going to go through this pregnancy without having you around to make miserable as I get fat. So get used to the idea. I’m going to find you and when I get my hands on that witch I’m going to gut her.”