Though her world is crashing down around her, Sally holds out hope. The Great Luna is not sitting idly by. She has commanded the Fey council to call upon the packs—all of them. And though Cypher looks for a way to open the Veil for Desdemona, he struggles to protect Lilly and the wolves at the same time. Peri, the ever-courageous High Fae, and a contingent of the remaining females of the Romanian and Serbian packs, push on through the rough Carpathian Mountains. Though they are bound to the human realm, they continue to search for a way to cross over to the land of the Fey. Meanwhile, in reluctant obedience to the Great Luna, the Fey council sends representatives to the far corners of the globe, meeting with the pack Alphas. The Fey must convince the Alphas of every pack to lay aside their petty territorial squabbles and battles of dominance. If they refuse, both the humans and the supernatural races will fall at Mona’s feet. Sally holds to a shred of hope. Though Vasile, Decebel, and their pack mates endure the torture of the In-Between, living their worst nightmares over and over, Sally holds. Though she knows that it is only a matter of time before their wolves take over, she holds. Sally knows that if the males die, then so too will their mates who have performed the Blood Rites, including her best friends Jen and Jacque. Yet she holds. If the males lose themselves to their wolves and turn feral, so too do their mates. Still she holds. Though Vasile, the strongest Alpha in their history to unite the wolves, is lost beyond the Veil, Sally holds. Though Decebel, the only other wolf besides Vaile strong enough to unite the packs, suffers beyond the Veil, Sally will hold. No one is left to unite their race, and defeat Desdemona. Yet Sally still holds. She holds out hope that the Great Luna will not abandon them, cannot abandon them. Throughout the centuries, the Great Luna has always provided a gypsy healer to the packs, especially in times of great need. Now Sally is that healer. Sally fears what role she has to play in the defeat of Desdemona, but she will play it. Though heaven and hell unite against her, she WILL play it. For too long the supernatural races have lived in separation, warring amoungst themselves, allowing trivial power plays and selfish disputes to keep them from uniting. That separation has made them weak. Now, being summoned as a collective force to the same land, will they come? Will they come in numbers greater than have been seen in centuries? Will they destroy each other and save Mona the trouble, or will they finally unite and fight as one
“How long must we hope; hope for help, hope for redemption, hope for retribution, hope for evil to finally lose. Because to be honest I’m ready to knock hope to the curb and tell her to step aside while I kick some wicked witch behind. See, I can keep from cussing if I want to, so bite me bitches.” ~ Jen “I told you she would be beautiful,” Decebel held their baby girl in his arms and stared down at her with more adoration than Jen had ever seen in anyone’s eyes. He seemed even larger than usual, holding such a tiny person in his arms. “Duh, she came from me, what else could she possibly be?” Jen snorted. Decebel looked up from Cosmina and smiled at her. “She is half mine you know?” Jen let a wicked smile cross her lips, “As far as you know.” Decebel let out a low growl. Jen knew he couldn’t retaliate while he held their daughter. Jen pumped her fist in the air. “Oh, heck yeah! You are going to hold her all the time because you can’t do jack when she is in your arms you big teddy bear.” Decebel stood slowly, looking every bit the predator he was. He walked over to the frilly, yellow bassinet that stood at the foot of their bed. It was hideous but Jacque and Sally had been so proud of it so Jen endured its presence, but rolled her eyes every time she looked at it. He laid Cosmina down in it gently and caressed her little cheek with a finger. Then his face lifted and his eyes, uh, make that glowing eyes, Jen added to herself, met hers. Jen made a huge tactical error when she saw the hungry look in her mate’s face. She took a step back. Never, ever retreat from a predator, it simply makes them all the more excited to chase. “Did it dawn on you Jennifer, that maybe I could just put her down?” Jen tried to speak, but only a squeak emerged. She cleared her throat and tried again. “Of course it dawned on me,” she said, flippantly. “I was just counting on the fact that you never let her out of your sight.” Jen cursed herself when she picked up her foot to take yet another step back. Decebel grinned and it was her turn to growl. She was not prey. She would not behave like prey. But, as she watched her mate crouch down in an attack stance she decided that maybe today she was prey, and prey ran like hell when someone wanted to eat them. “Jennifer,” Decebel purred. “Are you offering yourself up for lunch?” His gleaming smile that was all canines had her shivering. She took another step back and felt the door knob in her back. Victory she thought. She knew that Decebel would not leave their little Cosmina alone to chase after her. Decebel must have seen the triumph in her eyes, because just as she turned the knob and jerked the door open, he lunged with a huge snarl. Jen took off like the hounds of hell were on her tail and really, what else could you compare Decebel too? She heard her mate growl, and then in her mind she heard,“Chicken.” “Maybe,” she responded. “But, this chicken lives to fight another day.” She heard Decebel laugh and felt the familiar butterflies of desire stir in her. Damn wolf she thought. “You have to come to back to our room sometime Jennifer, you can’t run forever.” Jen rolled her eyes, “I’m not running. I’m…simply choosing to take a long detour.” “Don’t be too long. I need you.” Jen heard something change in his voice, a sort of desperation that was totally out of character for him. It seemed to be channeling through their bond. “Dec, you okay? Is Cosmina okay?” “Cosmina?” he said her name slowly as if he’d forgotten it. “Decebel talk to me.” “I’m trying. I keep telling you that I would save you if I could. I keep trying to get to you, but you just keep dying and screaming and then our baby is born and she’s so little and not breathing. I’m trying baby, I don’t want him to touch you again, but I can’t get to you, I can’t save you. NOT AGAIN, I CAN’T WATCH THIS AGAIN. JENNIFER!” Jen’s eyes flew open as she gasped for breath. She blinked several times and slowly sat up. “A dream,” she muttered, “It was a bloody dream.” But not that last part. Not Decebel calling for her. That had been real. She could feel him, feel the heat of the hell he was enduring caress her skin and scorch her soul. He had somehow contacted her in her sleep and part of her wanted to fall back asleep so she could go to him, tell him she was fine. Well not really fine, she was pissed, but otherwise unharmed. She wanted to reassure him that she was coming for him and she would shred the gates of the In-Between down to rubble to get to him. The other part wanted to kill something, anything. Her wolf was restless and constantly paced inside her. Mate, mate, mate was a mantra in her mind as her wolf pined for him. It was maddening, and yet comforting, because she wasn’t alone in her pain and fear. But, her wolf was able to do something that Jen was not. Jen’s wolf didn’t have emotions messing with her brain. Her wolf was focused on two things; get their mate, protect their pup. She would do anything for those two things. There was no crying, fear, or anger. Only determination to reclaim what was theirs. Our mate, she heard her wolf in her mind he is ours, and we will kill the one who took him. Damn straight, thought Jen, we will kill her and then stick her head on a spear in the middle of the battle field for all to see what happens when you mess with the females of the Canis lupus. Blood thirsty, much? Maybe a little.
Chapter 1 “A Warlock King, a Fae, and a human walk into a bar…no really, it’s not the beginning to a great joke, or maybe it is, but we really did go into a bar. The question is, would we come back out?” ~ Lilly Lilly walked behind the Fae named Cyn and the Warlock King, Cypher, AKA her mate, according to him, though the jury was still out on her end. She followed them into a seedy looking bar at the very edge of the forest in the Balkan Mountains, were the Warlock’s lived. Perizada of the Fae, whoever that was, had sent Cyn to them. That’s all they knew, because that’s all Cyn had told them. Cyn had appeared and stood in the forest knowing that it would alert Cypher to her presence and she had waited. When he finally appeared she’d stated simply, “Perizada of the Fae has sent me to you. I am Cyn, Guard of the Council.” That was it. No elaboration, no hey I’m here to lend a hand, just: here I am, deal with it. Cypher had narrowed his eyes at the Fae guard, but didn’t question her. Lilly however hadn’t been quite so trusting. Although, Lilly had thrown the Spanish inquisition at her, Cyn had simply ignored her. Now here they were, walking into this bar, full of shady looking characters. According to Cypher, there was a guy here who knew a guy that might know another guy that could help. “Do you really think this is a good idea?” Lilly whispered up to Cypher. “I mean seriously Cypher, a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy. Do you honestly believe it’s going to be worth all the work to find the guy at the end of the rabbit hole?” Cypher looked mildly amused at her questioning, which made her want to stomp on his foot. She didn’t, but it took every bit of her restraint. “We aren’t in Kansas anymore Little One, you are going to see some things, hear some things and,” he said, before she cut him off. “If you finish that with do some things I might just slap you, Warlock King or not, and how the heck do you know a reference to The Wizard of Oz?” Lilly raised her brow as she looked at him, waiting for whatever possible explanation he could have for that one. Cypher winked at her, which did strange things to her stomach that she didn’t want to think about. “As I was saying, things are different here and information is found in the most unlikely places because the people who have that information usually do not want to be found. And, I like human movies. I’m not a total recluse.” “That really isn’t comforting or encouraging in any way you know. Not the recluse part, but the people who don’t want to be found bit, that’s a little unsettling.” Cypher shrugged at her annoyed look and turned back to the bar when the bar tender finally acknowledged them. They spoke in a tongue that Lilly didn’t understand and she was pretty sure it wasn’t any form of human language. Even speaking the strange language, Cypher still sounded commanding and confident. It didn’t dawn on him to think that someone might not jump up to do his bidding, but then again maybe no one had ever told him no. Lilly smiled to herself and thought: there’s a first time for everything. Oh, King of mine. Finally, after several more minutes of the back and forth between King and bar tender Cypher turned and walked out of the bar. Lilly started to say something, but then realized that Cypher had taken her hand and was tugging her behind him. She quickly caught her footing as she stumbled behind him and looked back, over her shoulder to see that Cyn was pulling up the rear. Once out in the cool night air, she pulled her hand from his and threw them up in the air in exasperation. “So?” She asked. “That was it? That really seemed a little anticlimactic.” Cypher shook his head at her and motioned towards the forest. She followed him into the dark foliage and was quickly swallowed up by the trees. After walking in silence for several minutes, Cypher stopped abruptly and turned around. Lilly expected him to answer her question, but instead he glared at Cyn. “Why did Peri send you to me?” Lilly rolled her eyes, oh now he asks. Cyn looked around the forest causing Lilly to look as well. “You may speak freely, I’ve taken care that no one will hear,” Cypher told the Fae. “She has heard that the witch has come to you with a proposition for your help. She also heard that you were in possession of a certain human.” Lilly’s mouth dropped open and a sound of indignation slipped out. “In possession? Are you kidding me?” Cypher held up his hand to stop her, but never took his eyes from Cyn’s face. “Lilly is my mate.” “So says the barbarian Warlock King,” Lilly muttered. Cypher looked at her from the corner of his eye, “I don’t recall you complaining about the intimacy between us earlier and as I told you I have never shared such intimacy with another female.” “Could we please refrain from discussing our intimacy in front of others?” The blush that stained Lilly’s cheeks made Cypher smile and he reached out and gently brushed a finger across her face. “You are such a breath of fresh air little one.” Lilly let out an unladylike snort as she crossed her arms across her chest gave him her best I am not affected stare, which was the biggest load of crap she had ever fed herself. Cypher looked back at Cyn. “As I was saying, Lilly is my mate and therefore not a prisoner if that is what Perizada is thinking. As for the witch,” Cypher stepped back until his back was leaning against a large tree. Lilly could tell he was trying to pick his words carefully, indicating to her that he did not fully trust Cyn. “She did come to me and there was an offer presented. At this point, she believes that I am going to help her. I have to tread carefully, because I have sworn a blood oath to her.” The Fae took a step back and for the first time Lilly saw emotion cross her face. Lilly turned to Cypher with a frown on her face. “You haven’t mentioned a blood oath to me. What exactly does that mean?” Cypher shook his head. “It’s not important right now.” Lilly rolled her eyes at the warlock King. “You have got to be kidding me. You just told this Fairy,” “Fae,” Cyn interjected. Lilly slid the Fae a sideways glance, “A technicality,” she growled. She looked back at Cypher as she continued. “You just told her that you swore a blood oath and the stoic Cyn actually showed some human emotion, and it looked an awful lot like fear. So, forgive me if I kind of think it is freaking important.” A flirty smile turned up on Cypher’s lips. “So you are worried about your mate?” Lilly let out a frustrated huff, throwing her hands up in the air. “I told you that I care for you. I don’t understand it, but there it is so yes I’m worried about you.” Cypher stared silently at Lilly for a few tense moments, and then finally relented. “A blood oath is a contract that binds my word to the one asking for a deed. It prevents the one accepting the contract from backing out.” “So what happens if you do back out since you’ve done this blood oath thing?” “The witch can put me or any of my race in the In-Between and she could possibly kill you. I’m not real sure on the whole you part because again I don’t know the ramifications of you being my mate.” Lilly pinched the bridge of her nose as she felt a headache coming on. “And, you didn’t think maybe I needed to know this?” Cypher shrugged, “There isn’t anything you can do about it so why worry about it?” Lilly shook her head at the warlock King. She knew that nothing she could say would help it make sense to him. There were no words to tell him that she wanted to know these things so that she could help him endure these burdens. In the brief time she had known him, she’d seen how the responsibility of his race was wearing on him. It was a lot, even for one with shoulders as broad as his, to bear for so long. Wasn’t that what a mate was for? Okay yes, she was still on the fence about the mate thing, but she knew that she cared about him and she didn’t want to see him come to any harm. She would figure out the whole mate thing when the time came to make a decision. “Fine, I won’t worry about it.” She finally told him. Cypher raised a single brow at her, “That’s it? You aren’t going to growl and snarl at me?” “I’m not a wolf you know,” she purposely added a slight growl to her voice in hopes that it would bring about that devastating smile he had, that she loved so much. She wasn’t disappointed. Cyn made an impatient shuffle with her feet, reminding them of her presence. Cypher looked back at the Fae. “I have no intention of helping the witch, but I may not have a choice. If it comes to opening the Veil or Lilly’s life then I will have to open the Veil and hopefully get it closed before too many demons escape.” “Nope, not gonna happen.” Lilly said, shaking her head, “you aren’t going to sacrifice the safety of the world, or my daughter, for my life. My daughter is grown and married and I know she will be taken care of. I’ve had a great life, though not a very long one, but that’s okay. I won’t let you choose me over several other races.” Cypher barely acknowledged her when he responded. “Well, it’s a good thing it isn’t up to you then.” Cyn spoke before Lilly could respond. “Peri wants you to open the Veil.” Cypher pushed off from the tree and suddenly standing before them was the warlock King, in all his Kingly glory. He towered over the Fae guard, who looked rather small when compared to Cypher. “What did you say?” Cypher’s voice was low and threatening. Cyn didn’t blink, didn’t step back, or cringe the way most smart people, who valued their lives, would have. She simply answered his question. “She wants you to open the Veil.”
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The last few days have been the darkest of Sally’s life. After experiencing the joy of finding her mate, she now suffers the pain of losing everything she holds dear. Both the Romanian and Serbian packs have been captured, ripping Sally’s soul mate away from her almost as soon as she had found him. Her best friend and the emotional glue that usually holds Sally together, Jacque Pierce, lies writhing in a restless coma, having been put down by Desdemona’s dark magic. Jennifer Adams, the unshakable one, has revealed to her friends and her mate that she is pregnant, but the Fates have marked her unborn baby for death. Though she rails against the darkness, deep inside Jen knows that Decebel’s baby must die as payment for her own life, and the knowledge is tearing her soul to pieces. Cypher, King of the Warlocks, has claimed Jacque’s mother as his mate and agreed to help Desdemona open a door that would release a horde of demons from beyond the Veil.
Though her world is crashing down around her, Sally holds out hope. The Great Luna is not sitting idly by. She has commanded the Fey council to call upon the packs—all of them. And though Cypher looks for a way to open the Veil for Desdemona, he struggles to protect Lilly and the wolves at the same time. Peri, the ever-courageous High Fae, and a contingent of the remaining females of the Romanian and Serbian packs, push on through the rough Carpathian Mountains. Though they are bound to the human realm, they continue to search for a way to cross over to the land of the Fey. Meanwhile, in reluctant obedience to the Great Luna, the Fey council sends representatives to the far corners of the globe, meeting with the pack Alphas. The Fey must convince the Alphas of every pack to lay aside their petty territorial squabbles and battles of dominance. If they refuse, both the humans and the supernatural races will fall at Mona’s feet.
Sally holds to a shred of hope. Though Vasile, Decebel, and their pack mates endure the torture of the In-Between, living their worst nightmares over and over, Sally holds. Though she knows that it is only a matter of time before their wolves take over, she holds. Sally knows that if the males die, then so too will their mates who have performed the Blood Rites, including her best friends Jen and Jacque. Yet she holds. If the males lose themselves to their wolves and turn feral, so too do their mates. Still she holds. Though Vasile, the strongest Alpha in their history to unite the wolves, is lost beyond the Veil, Sally holds. Though Decebel, the only other wolf besides Vaile strong enough to unite the packs, suffers beyond the Veil, Sally will hold. No one is left to unite their race, and defeat Desdemona. Yet Sally still holds. She holds out hope that the Great Luna will not abandon them, cannot abandon them. Throughout the centuries, the Great Luna has always provided a gypsy healer to the packs, especially in times of great need. Now Sally is that healer. Sally fears what role she has to play in the defeat of Desdemona, but she will play it. Though heaven and hell unite against her, she WILL play it.
For too long the supernatural races have lived in separation, warring amongst themselves, allowing trivial power plays and selfish disputes to keep them from uniting. That separation has made them weak. Now, being summoned as a collective force to the same land, will they come? Will they come in numbers greater than have been seen in centuries? Will they destroy each other and save Mona the trouble, or will they finally unite and fight as one?