“Yeah, I am just worried about all of you.” She turned her face up to look at him and the slight glow in his blue eyes called to her wolf. She wanted to be alone with her mate, needed to feel his strength surround her and submerge herself in his scent.
“If you don’t stop that line of thinking I’m going to drag you off into the forest and throw my gentlemanly ways to the curb,” Fane growled in her ear.
Jacque shivered at his words and blushed as she saw his thoughts. She slapped his hands that rested on her stomach. “Behave.”
“You first,” he parried.
She turned in his arms and looked up into his handsome face. His skin was lined with worry and fatigue and still he was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.
“I’m so glad you’re okay,” she whispered to him.
His eyes softened and he leaned down and pressed a gentle kiss to her lips.
“Because of you,” he murmured them.
His hands began to slide down her back and just before they reached her butt, she pulled them back up. Her eyes widened in surprise. “Feeling bold?”
He growled at her. “Mine.”
“Yes,” she nodded, “but now is not the time.”
Fane stepped back and grabbed her hand. He began to pull her towards the semi-privacy of the forest. “I can make it the time.” His voice was low and laced with the desire she could feel radiating from him.
Jacque pulled against his hold and he stopped instinctively at her struggle. He looked back at her as his eye narrowed.
“Fane, you know I want you. You can feel it just as I can feel it coming from you, but we are in danger and need to get back to the mansion.”
“Do you have any idea what I have been watching for the past weeks?” His words rang in her mind as he took slow, measured step towards her, stalking her.
“I can’t begin to imagine what you have been through, and I know that you need to know I’m okay, that we’re okay.”
“YOU DON’T KNOW!”
Jacque flinched at the snarl in her mind and the rage behind his words. She knew he was hurting, knew he felt out of control and for that reason she let the disrespect he had just shown her pass. He loomed over her as his body trembled with pent up hurt, anger, desire, and love for the woman standing before him.
“I’m the only one who has the right to touch you. I’m the only one who has the privilege of protecting you. I’m the only one who should know you, and I know it wasn’t real, I know it in here,” he beat his hand on his chest over his heart. “But in here,” he tapped his head, “in here I keep seeing someone else’s hands on you. Sometimes forced, and sometimes invited.”
Jacque gasped as a hand flew to her mouth. She had never considered that he might fear her actually turning to another, cheating on him, allowing another near her. So he hadn’t only watched someone force themselves on her, Fane had watched her invite another to her bed. Her stomach rolled with nausea as she saw his thoughts, saw what he had watched. She turned and ran for the forest barely making it before she began to wretch. The thought of someone else was horrendous; actually seeing herself in the arms of another was too much. She finally understood his need to claim her. In his mind, they needed to consummate their bond again.
Tears streamed down her face as she heaved. Sobs pushed themselves up through her throat and she collapsed to her knees. She shook with revulsion and tried to push the images away. The worst part was the faces of those she had willingly taken; the two men who had taken her, one who had scarred her body and her soul. Trent, the human male she had dated, but never allowed to touch her in such a way. And worst of all, males of her pack, men she considered brothers. Those faces made her vomit more and she fought to keep from passing out.
“Jacquelyn, look at me.” Fane’s voice came from a few feet behind her. He wasn’t touching her, he wasn’t comforting her, and she knew she must revolt him. That thought tore through her soul, ripped right through her and she gasped at the pain.
“Jacquelyn,” he said, more insistently.
He wouldn’t want her any more. Not after seeing that. How could he, even knowing it wasn’t really her, how could he ever move past those images. He would leave her and she would be alone. He would turn to another for his comfort and she would be forced to watch, as he loved another.
“JACQUELYN,” Fane took a step forward as he snarled. His eyes glowed bright blue and his body trembled.
Suddenly Costin and Decebel were standing between him and Jacque. Their bodies were tight with readiness, eager for battle. Fane snarled and felt himself beginning to change. His hands grew long claws and his muscles began to bulge and strain against his clothes. He felt the power of his Alpha roll over him and knew his father was preventing him from changing all the way.
“Back off, Fane,” Decebel growled.
“Who are you to stand between me and mine?” Fane met Decebel’s eyes without blinking, and held them.
Decebel took a menacing step forward and since Fane did not retreat, the two dominants were nearly touching.
“You need to cool off.”
“Get. Out. Of. My. Way.” His clipped words, betrayed the calm he was trying to portray and the shaking of his hands didn’t help either.
“You’re going to wind up hurting her and later, when you have cooled off, you will want to kill yourself for the indiscretion you committed against the one person who doesn’t deserve it.”
Fane’s eyes snapped passed Decebel when he saw movement. He didn’t hear the yell, nor did he feel the arms that attempted to hold him back when he lunged for Costin who was attempting to help his mate stand. All Fane saw were Costin’s hands on his mate, Costin’s skin touching hers and the memories came rushing back.
“Peri, is there anything you can do to keep the neurotic werewolves from killing each other?” Jen asked, dryly as she watched her mate attempt to pull a seething Fane off of Costin. Costin was holding his own, but she knew that he was holding back, because he cared for Fane. He knew that Fane wasn’t in his right mind at the moment. Jen would like to say that she didn’t think Fane would ever hurt Jacque, but she had never seen him look at her the way he had been and, truthfully, it scared her.
“Fane stop this,” Vasile’s words wrapped around his son and pulled Fane back from Costin. He pulled against his father’s hold, but couldn’t budge. He stared at Costin, challenging him, daring him to touch her again. He would kill him, Fane’s wolf decided, he had touched Jacquelyn, he had been one of the males she had willingly accepted, real or not, and Costin would have to die.