Jen held Decebel’s stare and though part of her really wanted to crawl in a dark hole to hide from his anger, she knew it wasn’t really her he was angry at.

“How many different ways do I have to tell you no? How many languages would it take to make you understand that you will not be going anywhere near males that I do not know and do not trust?” Decebel’s eyes were glowing, though that was sort of a normal thing for him now, so Jen didn’t take that to mean he was at his breaking point just yet.

“Do I really have to pull out the, but everyone is doing it card? All the other mates will be there, backing their men up. How am I supposed to feel if you leave me here? What kind of Alpha female does that make me look like?”

“A PREGNANT ONE!” Decebel snarled. “There isn’t a male wolf there who wouldn’t be doing the exact thing that I am Jennifer. You are precious to me, our child is a miracle, and I will not put either of you at risk.”

Jen met his eyes as she stood and walked towards him. She didn’t notice Fane and Jacque slip out. Her attention was for her mate only.

“Don’t you get it?” She asked. “Did you ever stop to think that maybe I don’t want to be away from you, that I can’t be away from you?”

Decebel’s eyes widened and she saw that he really had never considered why she was so adamant about going, other than not wanting to miss out, which admittedly was usually a reason Jen wanted to participate. But, this was something else altogether and it made her sick to admit it.

He took a step towards her and cupped her face in his large hands. Her eyes were tearless, but he had been a fool to miss the terror that hid behind her ever present strength. Decebel forgot that it usually took an act of despair to get Jennifer to admit to anything that she would view as a weakness and because of that, he often didn’t treat her with the care she needed.

“I’m not fragile, Decebel,” she told him, having seen his thoughts. “I’m just struggling with everything. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” She was frustrated, because she felt so out of control. She felt weak, because when she closed her eyes she saw their faces, felt their hands. Mona’s curse still reverberated through her mind. She knew it was gone, but it still held power over her and that, above everything, angered her. But, if Decebel was with her, if she could see him, touch him, feel his touch, and then she was okay.

“Okay,” he told her, as he pulled her into his arms, “okay baby, you come with me, but you don’t step a foot away from my side.”

Jen nodded against his shirt as she buried her face in his chest. She was slightly disgusted with herself for needing him the way she did, but she was giving herself a pass because she was pregnant, and she was going to play that card anytime she began to feel crazy, weak, or desperate.

“I need you the same way. Are you disgusted with me?” Decebel asked her.

She looked up at him and, as usual, his good looks were nearly painful to look at. His amber eyes glowed possessively at her as his hand stroked up and down her back.

“You’re a dude, you’re supposed to need me,” she reasoned.

Decebel chuckled. “If we’re going to go with that logic then I think you would win in the needs category.”

“Why, because I’m a nympho?” She narrowed her eyes at him. “Are you complaining?”

Decebel leaned down and kissed her gently, enjoying the privileges that came with being a mate and husband. “I would be happy to show you how not complaining I currently am.”

Jen laughed. “I think we’re supposed to be meeting in the gathering room remember? Just a second ago you were all ready to go ape shniz on some dudes.”

“Ape shniz?” Decebel smirked.

“I’m trying to curb the tongue since we’re going to have a rugrat running around repeating everything I say.”

Decebel smiled wickedly at her. “I’m sure I can find a way to keep your tongue busy so there is no chance of slipups.”

“I totally walked into that one,” she laughed.

“Totally,” he agreed, as he pulled her to their bed.

“Dec, really we’re supposed to go, like, now.” Jen struggled, uselessly against his hold.

“I told you when I took you as my mate that you would always come before the pack, before all others. Look at me and tell me you don’t need me.” Decebel watched her closely.

Jen looked down at her feet in a very uncharacteristically submissive act. Decebel tugged again and this time Jen went without a fight.

“I totally did not admit anything,” she told him as he kissed her.

“I know baby. I’m glad to take one for the team until you’re ready to admit that you need me with the same desperation that I need you.”

Jen laughed. “Take one for the team, that’s classic.”

“Jennifer,” Decebel growled as he tugged at her shirt.


“Shut up.”

Jen started to speak but snapped her mouth shut when Decebel’s hands did what they did best.

“What do they do best beautiful?”

“I forgot, I think you should remind me.”

Decebel soaked up his mate’s laughter like a plant soaks up the rain after a long drought. For that sound alone, he would be late to any meeting no matter the importance.


“Fane, are you alright?” Jacque watched her mate as they stood in the gathering room. It was slowly filling up with more and more males and Fane’s posture grew more tense with every minute.

“I’m fine Luna.”

His face, his voice, his whole everything, told Jacque he was lying. He was anything but fine.

“Why won’t you talk to me?”

Fane turned and looked at her, glowing blue eyes bore into hers.

“This is not the time for words. Stay near me please.”

Jacque knew that look and that clipped tone. Fane’s wolf had taken over. She took a step closer to him and placed her hand on his back. He subtly leaned into it and that gave her a small amount of peace. He had grown exceedingly distant as the day had worn on and, to her surprise, hadn’t even tried to keep her from coming with him. She had tried several times to engage him in conversation, but each time he had simply grunted at her or given her one word answers. He hadn’t been mean to her, and he had been just as touchy as normal, if not more so, but Jacque and her wolf could feel that something was off in their mate and it was rubbing them the wrong way.