“How can you stand before your pack as Alpha?” Alina spat at him.
“Mina.” Vasile’s shoulders slumped in defeat. “I’m sorry, Mina. I failed you.” He knelt before her and waited for the words he had always feared, words he knew would cause him to destroy the world.
“I can’t love a man who can’t take care of his own, Vasile.” This version of Alina glared down at him with such vitriol it made him sick.
Vasile’s wolf howled and clawed at his insides, trying to get free. He refused to lose his mate. Nothing – heaven, hell, or anything in between – would take her from him, not even by her choice.
“You are mine!” he snarled. Of course, this Alina didn’t respond. She wasn’t real.
Suddenly she was gone and his Alina stood before him. “Vasile...” Her voice was tentative and lost.
Vasile stumbled toward her as he stood. He took her in his arms and held her close, breathing in her scent.
“You left me. Why did you leave me?”
“Shh, Mina,” Vasile soothed. “I’m here, I didn’t leave. I’m here.”
Alina fell apart in his arms; the wetness from her tears caused his shirt to stick to his skin. She plead for him to come for her, to bring Fane with him and never leave her again.
Vasile, Alpha of the Romanian Grey Wolves, begged his mate's forgiveness, forgiveness that he knew would not come from this Alina. For every tear she cried he cried more. For every broken sob she emitted his heart tore in two. Everything in him knew this wasn’t really his mate, but everything told him it was. He had to fight it. He couldn’t give into the wolf, he couldn’t give into the horrifying possibility that he and his would be doomed to suffer their fears for eternity.
He had to remember his mate, his true mate, and know that she was waiting on him, was expecting him to come through this a whole man, not a broken wolf.
Adam, Sorin, Gavril, and Drake were also going through their own personal hells in The In Between, each man suffering over and over their deepest, darkest fears. And as they endured in what they felt was solitude, little did they knew they were mere feet from each other.
A devastated Sorin watched as the mate he had just found turned her back on him.
Adam stood before an enraged Crina, cringing as she told him just what she thought about being mated to a Fae.
Gavril sobbed as Desdemona cut his mate's still-beating heart from her chest. Her screams pierced his heart.
Drake stared into the darkness, darkness so bleak and alone that the arms of death called lovingly to him.
So on and on they endured. They seethed, they howled, they wept and cried out at things that weren’t really before them. Their wolves raged inside of them, seeking a way out of the man, but they held on.
Mona opened her eyes after seeking out the In Between in her mind. The pixie King had contacted her when he captured the males and she had been nearly as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. She wanted to see the great Vasile broken, the mighty Decebel a blubbering idiot, and stared in satisfaction as she watched them. She couldn’t see what they were seeing, that was their reality, but she could see their reactions to it.
“Music to my ears,” she told the empty house she was staying in while she waited for Cypher to fulfill his end of their bargain.
“Wolves wailing like just weaned pups. I should video tape them and send it to their mates as presents. It will be the gift that just keeps on giving.”
Mona began to pace as she thought about what was to come. She was to meet with Cypher in a matter of hours and he would be opening the Veil to the underworld. With the demon horde under her command, she would be able to wipe the wolves from the face of the earth. She would take the two healers and with their blood be more powerful than any other being, even the Fae.
Looking at the clock, she noted that it was still several hours until her meeting. As much as she detested resting, she decided she was going to need energy to wipe out the wolves. She kicked off her shoes and laid down on the floral couch and found it surprisingly comfortable.
“Who says there’s no rest for the wicked?”
She grinned to herself as she drifted off.
Lilly lay on her back on a couch in one of the many sitting rooms of the huge mansion. Cypher had been gone all day and late into the night. She knew she had angered him with her accusation, but he hadn’t denied it, so she figured part of his anger was probably directed at himself. She stared at the ceiling, her mind trying to come to terms with what her heart was feeling.
“Okay,” she said to the empty room, “I’ll admit it. I have feelings for a warlock. There, I said it.” She rolled her eyes at herself as she thought about how silly she must look laying on her back, talking into the empty room about her feelings for a warlock. A freaking warlock.
“You forgot to mention the King part.”
Lilly jumped at the sound of Cypher’s voice, causing her to roll off the couch into an unlady-like sprawl on the floor. She glared up at him as he stood over her.
Cypher walked over and reached for her hand. She reluctantly placed it in his and he pulled her up from the floor, directly against his body. She let out a gasp but didn’t have much time for more than that before his lips were against hers. Lilly wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. She separated her lips at his urging and he licked his tongue across hers and she groaned passionately.
Cypher picked Lilly up into his arms, never breaking the kiss, and sat her down on his lap as he sat on the couch. He raised one hand, gathering her hair in it and used it as an anchor to guide her head as he kissed her.
Lilly was beginning to get lightheaded and pulled back to take some deep breaths. She closed her eyes and leaned her forehead against his.
“You’re – the – enemy.” She panted as she spoke.
Cypher released her hair and stroked his hand down the length of it.
“Shh, little one. No, not your enemy, never your enemy.” He kissed her forehead tenderly and waited for her to open her eyes and look at him.
When she finally did he saw the fear and confusion in them.
“I won’t hurt you Lilly,” he told her firmly.
“What about the rest of the world?” she asked him.
Cypher let out a deep sigh. He started to turn his face from hers, but Lilly was having none of it. She placed both her hands on either side of his face and held his gaze.