Darkness has descended on the Transylvanian Alps. Four packs of the powerful Grey wolves – in a rare show of cooperation – had joined together here in an effort to help their pack members find true mates. Then they were betrayed by one of their own – an Alpha hell-bent on becoming the most powerful of the Canis lupis. And though the wolf’s assassination attempt on the currently-reigning Romanian Alpha failed, his plans to get Decebel, the Romanian Beta, out of the picture were coming together even as his treachery was discovered. The wolf fled, leaving destruction, death, and a missing mate behind him. Unbeknownst to the other packs, the wolf has employed a witch to finish the deadly job and help him gain another tool to increase his power. A curse of devastating proportions will cripple Decebel in a way that may dissolve his fragile bond with Jennifer. Meanwhile, injured and alone, Jen has been fighting for her life. She had come to terms with her fate, accepting that she would not share a life with Decebel, until help came in the most unexpected form… Vasile will have to use all his resources – including Sally, the new gypsy healer of the Romanian pack – to discover a way in which to destroy the witch, lift the curse from Decebel and reunite him with the one woman who makes him whole, and solve a mystery that’s been surrounding the Romanian pack for 300 years.
Chapter 1 What do you do when your Alpha was nearly assassinated and is now out of commission; you’ve killed a pack member; your mate is dying and beyond your reach; and the house you are standing in has gone up in flames – all in the last two hours? Yeah, Decebel thought. Hell if I know either. As the mansion burned and smoke filled the spaces that the flames had not, Decebel and the other males in his pack continued to search around the premises, making sure that no one was left inside. Decebel and Fane finally reached the suite where they’d last seen Vasile and Alina. Much to their relief, the Alpha and his mate were gone. Hopefully, that meant they’d gotten to safety. Decebel looked into the adjoining room. The dining table still rested there, perfectly set, food half-eaten, glasses half-filled. Only the two glasses spilled on the floor were out of place – Vasile’s and Alina’s – surrounded by the poison that had almost killed them. Just goes to show that there’s never a dull moment in the life of a Canis lupus. “I can’t smell anyone, but that doesn’t mean anything. The fire and smoke would cover any scent,” Decebel told Fane. “We need to get out. Now.” Fane urged his Beta. “Is your mate safe?” Decebel responded. Fane nodded. “She says Vasile and Alina are safe as well. It appears that all of our pack made it out, as well as Jacque’s father. And she says to tell you that if we don’t get our furry butts out of here right now she will personally…,” Fane paused and, cringing, shook his head, “it’s better if you didn’t know. I say we just heed her warning and get out.” Fane and Decebel took off at a run, heading for the front door of the mansion, which was quickly becoming a death trap. The flames burned ever hotter, melting plaster, scorching beams and consuming anything else in its path. Several times the two had to jump over flames and duck under falling boards. Finally, they pushed through the front door, still surrounded by smoke-filled air. They kept running. Their lungs cried out for fresh oxygen, burning with each breath. Fane flew straight into Jacque’s waiting arms. Decebel couldn’t help but notice with a twinge of jealousy, reminding himself that his own mate was cold, lost, and hurt. He wanted to howl at the injustice of it. He’d finally heard the voice in his head that he’d been longing for—Jennifer’s voice. No sooner had he heard her distress call than she had been taken from him. He gritted his teeth and put his anger to a positive use, checking over the rest of the pack. He saw Vasile and Alina seated in front of a tree, leaning against the large, rough trunk. The ground around them had been swept free of snow in an attempt to keep the Alphas as dry as possible. He headed straight for them, pausing on his way to touch his pack mates, sending reassurance through a simple act. “How are you feeling, Alpha?” Decebel asked as he crouched down in front of Vasile and Alina, who was finally awake. Decebel tried to keep a submissive stance as he knew it was difficult for his Alpha to be seated on the ground while everyone else was standing. “Getting stronger, thanks to Sally.” Vasile’s eyes briefly shimmered with moisture as he looked over at the soot-covered brunette who – to every one’s astonishment – had been revealed as a gypsy healer. “Are you regaining your strength as well, Luna?” Decebel addressed his female Alpha in a rare show of formality. Alina nodded and gave him a small, reassuring smile. “I will live another day, as long as Vasile needs someone to keep him in line.” Decebel chuckled. “Thank goodness for that.” His smile faded quickly as his wolf stirred, reminding him that he needed to be searching for Jennifer. He shook his head, trying to clear the fog. He did need to search for Jennifer, but he had promised her that he would get her friends to safety first. That meant getting them as far away as possible from whatever magic fueled that unnatural fire. He looked back at Vasile. “That fire… It moved like it was alive, like someone was controlling it, maneuvering it.” Vasile nodded. “We need to talk to Sally. As a healer, she should be sensitive to magic, especially dark magic.” “We need to get our pack to safety first,” Decebel told him carefully, making sure that it didn’t come across as an order. “I agree, Beta. I trust you to make that happen.” Decebel called Sorin over. “I need you to get a head count of our pack. Advise the other Alphas to do the same,” Decebel’s voice was commanding. It was time to get things in order and get out of the open, where they were most vulnerable. Sorin nodded and moved quickly through the crowd to an open area. He made the announcements and then began calling out pack member names. Skender, Boian, Fane, Jacque, Costin, Crina, Sally, and Cynthia formed a circle around Decebel. He noticed the humans shivering in the cold, but none were complaining. Their faces were covered in soot, their clothes were singed, but determination filled their eyes as they waited trustingly. “What’s the plan, Beta?” Skender asked. Dillon walked over from his own pack, stepping next to Jacque. “Whatever I can do to help. My pack is at your disposal.” He told the Romanian Beta. Decebel nodded, but did not respond verbally. Jacque gave a brief smile to her father and then turned her attention back to Decebel. “We need to get out of here,” said Decebel. There’s a village we drove through about ten miles down the mountain. We should see if there’s a place we can stay there. We need to check and see if any of the vehicles are salvageable.” Decebel began giving orders, needing to stay busy, building a plan in his mind towards fulfilling his promise to Jennifer. The sooner he did that, the sooner he could start searching for her. “Males, you check out the vehicles. Females, organize our pack into groups to ride. Ask the other packs to do the same.” Without a word, all the wolves turned from Decebel to carry out his orders. “Can I please have your attention?” Sally tried speaking above the murmuring pack, teeth chattering. No one heard or bothered to pay her any mind. Cynthia and Crina grinned at her sympathetically. Jacque smiled. “Step aside, healer – how can you even speak with your chops going to town like that? Let me show you how it’s done.” Sally did the mature thing and stuck her tongue out at her best friend, which was made all the more difficult by the teeth-chattering. Jacque stuck her thumb and middle finger in her mouth and let out an ear-piercing whistle – which was even more piercing for the wolves, with their sensitive ears. Silence fell and all that could be heard was the crackling of the fire that continued to rage, giving the only light to the dark night. “Listen up, please.” Jacque spoke loudly to make sure that she reached the ears of those at the very back. “Some of the Romanian males are checking to see if any of the vehicles are still in working order. We need to divide everyone up into groups so that we can take as many as we can at a time down to the village. It’s about a ten mile drive.” Jacque watched as the other packs began to break up into groups. She looked over at Sally and winked. “That, my gypsy friend, is how you do it.” Sally rolled her eyes. “How kind of you to take the time to teach me, oh wise wolf princess.” Jacque’s smile faltered. “That sounded like something Jen would say.” Sally wrapped her in a firm embrace. “He will find her. There is nothing, and no one, that will stand in his way.” “I don’t doubt that. My worry is what he’ll find when he does.” Jacque wiped a tear that slipped down her face. Crina and Cynthia wrapped their arms around Jacque and Sally, and Jacque could feel comfort flowing from her pack mates. My pack mates she thought, and for the first time, she truly felt like a member of the Romanian Grey Wolf pack. “I would tell you not to worry, love, but I know that’s not fair to you. What I will tell you is that I’m here for you.” Fane reached out to her through their bond, no doubt having strongly felt her grief. “Thank you, wolf-man. There will be time for tears later. We’ve got to get our pack to safety.” “I knew you were going to make an amazing Alpha,” he told her as Jacque felt his lips on her forehead. Warmth seeped into her as Fane used their bond for more than just words. The girls stepped back from the embrace and Sally grabbed Jacque’s hand, looking over at Cynthia and Crina. “Come on, let’s do this. Jen would kick our butts if she thought we were just standing around and not – as she would say – getting our asses in gear.” “She does have a way with words.” Jacque smiled and they began to separate their pack into groups to travel to the village – and hopefully to safety. “Rachel?” Jen’s voice was weak as she spoke, and growing weaker. “I know that you don’t know who I am, but you can trust me. I’m on your side,” Rachel tried to reassure the girl at the bottom of the cavern. “Gavril, my mate, is going to jump down and get you. Please don’t be afraid of him.” Jen chuckled weakly. “You should meet my mate, then you wouldn’t worry about me being afraid of yours.” Her words were strained as she tried to speak around the pain that wracked her broken body. Rachel turned as she saw the sky light up in the direction of the large estate south of them. “We must hurry. I can’t shield us much longer,” she told her mate. “I’m coming down,” Jen heard a gruff voice announce, which was quickly followed by a soft thud. Jen tried hard to be unafraid, but when a strange wolf jumps into a hole that you’ve been pushed into, you tend to be afraid of everything. “I won’t hurt you,” the voice told her. “I don’t think you’re going to be able to avoid hurting me if you’re going to move me.” Jen cringed at the thought of being moved or even touched, for that matter. Gavril knelt down in front of her. “I know that you can’t see me, but I can see you. You are losing blood from that head wound. I’m going to take off my shirt and place it against the wound. See if you can apply pressure to it to help stem the flow.” Jen nodded, knowing that he would see her response. She heard some rustling and then felt soft fabric against her head. She reached up with her good arm and pushed the shirt firmly against her scalp. “Okay, good. Now, I’m going to lift you. I know it’s going to hurt and I apologize,” Gavril told her gently. “Not your fault.” Jen’s voice came out hoarse and shaky. She felt his arm come around her back and the other arm slip under her knees. As he lifted her from the ground, Jen bit her lip to keep from crying out in pain, so hard that she drew blood. The pain was so intense that, though she tried to fight it, her exhausted brain shut down in an attempt to escape the hurt her body was enduring. Gavril bent at the knees and jumped from the cavern with one powerful push, landing gently in front of his mate. “She’s passed out,” he told Rachel. “I’m surprised that she is even alive after that fall.” Rachel gently pushed Jen’s blonde locks from her face. “She’s a pretty one.” She took a deep breath of Jen’s scent, “and she’s a dormant.” “Come, Rachel,” Gavril urged. “We mustn’t linger. The witch is near and she cannot discover you.” “It’s going to take a lot to heal her,” Rachel admitted as they started off in the direction of their home. “She said she has a mate. He’s going to want to know where she is.” “We have to be careful or he will lead Thad’s witch straight to our door,” Gavril warned his mate. “I understand that, love. But you know as well as I do that he will tear this mountain apart to find her.” Gavril didn’t respond. He knew how dangerous a mated male could be when his mate was injured. His first priority was to Rachel, to keep her existence a secret. The only thing that the Serbian Alpha, Thad, wanted more than a mate was a healer, and Gavril’s mate was the most powerful healer in the history of their species. He had to protect her at all costs, even at the cost of one dormant’s life. Jen’s head swam as the darkness began to recede. She tried to open her eyes, but they wouldn’t cooperate. She felt pain course through her body – someone was carrying her. “Decebel.” She reached out instinctively. “Jennifer!” Jen smiled to herself as she listened to the worry in his voice. Why was he worried if he had found her? “You found me.” Jen made it a statement rather than a question. “No, baby. I haven’t found you. Why would you think that?” “But you’re carrying me. I can feel you.” “Jennifer, who has you?” Decebel’s voice was full of fear and anger. Jen was trying desperately to remember what had happened, how she had ended up being carried… The girl, her mate – she began to get glimpses in her mind. “Her mate, he jumped down. He put his shirt on my head.” Jen’s voice faded as she tried to think. “He?” Even through their very new mental bond, Jen could hear the anger lacing his words. “A male has you? He doesn’t have a shirt on? Jennifer, think! Who are the female and her mate?” “Quit growling at me, damn it! Oow! Crap, that hurts.” Jen cringed as she felt her body being jarred. “Baby, I’m not growling at you. I just need you to try to remember. Do they mean you harm?” Decebel tried to soften his voice. “I don’t think so. It hurts, Dec. I can’t think. I just want to sleep for a while.” Jen’s voice began to fade. “Jennifer, stay with me a minute longer.” Jen loved the sound of his voice, the deep timbre of it. She nearly groaned when she felt his lips on hers and his fingers caressed her face. “How are you doing that?” she asked him, her voice breathless through their bond. “It’s the bond. I just imagine touching you and somehow you feel it.” “Oh, the possibilities.” Jen grinned inside. Decebel chuckled. “Hmm, that’s the sound I like to hear.” Jen imagined running her fingers through Decebel’s soft, dark hair. She heard him growl in her mind. “I have to find you, love. Try and think. How did they get you?” “Have you wondered what our babies would have looked like?” Jen asked absently as she frowned inwardly, trying to picture the future she might have had with her wolf. “Baby, this isn’t really the time to discuss our babies. Let’s focus on who is carrying you so that I can get you back. Then we can make babies.” Jen groaned and felt the arms around her tighten, which brought a gasp from her. Decebel must have sensed her pain because she felt his worry. “I’m okay. It just hurts.” Jen actually felt a smile spread across her face. “So you want to make babies with me?” This time when Decebel laughed she swore that she could feel his hands run down her sides to her hips. “Only you would want to discuss making babies at a time like this.” “Well, you have to admit that it’s a better topic than my nearly being killed and now being kidnapped. Seriously, Dec, I’d much rather think about us making babies.” Jen felt another jolt of pain shoot through her – it took her breath away. She felt her consciousness begin to fade. “I love you, Decebel. Even if we never make babies, I love you.” The last thing she heard before the world disappeared was Decebel’s deep, determined voice. “I love you too, baby. I’m coming for you.”
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Author(s): Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Darkness has descended on the Transylvanian Alps. Four packs of the powerful Grey wolves - in a rare show of cooperation - had joined together here in an effort to help their pack members find true mates. Then they were betrayed by one of their own - an Alpha hell-bent on becoming the most powerful of the Canis lupis. And though the wolf's assassination attempt on the currently-reigning Romanian Alpha failed, his plans to get Decebel, the Romanian Beta, out of the picture were coming together even as his treachery was discovered. The wolf fled, leaving destruction, death, and a missing mate behind him. Unbeknownst to the other packs, the wolf has employed a witch to finish the deadly job and help him gain another tool to increase his power. A curse of devastating proportions will cripple Decebel in a way that may dissolve his fragile bond with Jennifer. Meanwhile, injured and alone, Jen has been fighting for her life. She had come to terms with her fate, accepting that she would not share a life with Decebel, until help came in the most unexpected form... Vasile will have to use all his resources - including Sally, the new gypsy healer of the Romanian pack - to discover a way in which to destroy the witch, lift the curse from Decebel and reunite him with the one woman who makes him whole, and solve a mystery that's been surrounding the Romanian pack for 300 years.