Decebel lowered his head and this time he kissed her slowly and thoroughly. Jen let out a soft moan. When he pulled back and stared into her eyes, his amber ones were glowing. She smiled and laid her head on his chest.
He reveled in the joy she brought him, even when she drove him crazy. He would do anything to keep her safe, anything to keep her in her place by his side. With that in mind, a nagging thought burst in unheeded, something that had been bothering him more and more lately. The Fates had yet to summon Jennifer, but he knew something was coming. He could feel it. The frustration at knowing there was nothing he could do to stop it was enough to have his wolf pacing constantly, wanting to tear something apart, but not knowing what or where that something was.
“If you have ever felt the world melt away when the woman you know is destined to be yours walks into the room; if you have felt your soul reach out to hers, finally making you feel whole; if you tremble when you touch her from sheer awe at being the one who has that right; if the darkness swallows you and you begin to suffocate at the thought of losing her – then you will have a small taste of what it is to be bonded.” ~Costin
After the emergency meeting split up Peri pulled Sally to the side just outside the room.
“We need to talk.”
Sally looked at Peri’s concerned face and nodded. Peri turned without another word, obviously expecting Sally to follow. Sally looked over her shoulder and saw Costin watching her. He winked and nodded encouragingly, letting her know that he understood she needed to go.
Peri entered the room that Decebel had made into Sally’s workroom. To the left of the door were several beds. Across from them was a long table for Sally's herbs, and behind the table on the wall were shelves that ran the length of the room. The shelves housed jars of crushed herbs, liquids, and various potted plants with different properties necessary to Sally’s healing ability. The room had a comforting smell due to all the herbs and plants that filled it.
Peri turned dramatically, her shiny white hair whipping around her shoulders. The pale eyes that resembled peridot stones narrowed as she stared intently at Sally.
Sally swallowed loudly, unsure of what exactly Peri wanted to talk about, and so far not really liking the Fae’s behavior.
“You need to complete the bond with your mate.” Peri’s voice was firm and it was apparent that she wasn’t making a suggestion, but rather giving a command.
Sally groaned as she sat on the tall bar stool that was next to her worktable.
“I’m not ready, Peri.” Sally looked anywhere but at the Fae.
“What is there to be ready for? He is your mate, you can’t change that. What is the point in postponing the inevitable?”
Sally twisted her fingers nervously in her lap as she spoke.
“I’ve never even had a boyfriend, Peri. How can I possibly jump into a relationship – a very permanent relationship, I might add – with a guy I don’t really know? I have no experience with relationships. I mean, Costin was my first real kiss for goodness' sakes.”
Peri grinned. “Well, a kiss is a start. The rest will follow. Sally, you need to understand some things. I don’t know if anyone has explained to you exactly why a mate to a male Canis lupis is so important. If not, then I’m going to quickly enlighten you.” Peri pulled over another bar stool to sit in front of Sally.
“Without his mate, a male is in danger of the inner darkness that makes him so deadly overwhelming him. He needs the darkness to be the fierce hunter that he is, but he needs his mate to balance that darkness with her light. You are unique, Sally. The light in you is strong and pure. When a male is bonded to his mate and has that balance, he is a stronger and more focused wolf. He can control the wolf that lives inside him and he no longer runs the risk of becoming feral.
“We have a battle coming. It will be on our doorstep before you know it and we need all the strength we can get. You will be a more powerful healer and Costin will be a much more powerful wolf. Would you really deny him that? Would you deny him the peace that comes with the mate bond?”
Sally’s mouth dropped open. Peri was really kicking her in the gut.
“Wow, Peri, you sure know how to make a healer feel like a big, selfish butt head,” Sally muttered.
“My desire isn’t for you to feel like a butt head, but you need to understand the importance of not delaying this any longer. You love him.” Sally’s head snapped up at that. “It’s written all over your face.”
“I do,” Sally confessed. “I love him so much that it’s actually painful to be away from him. That can’t be healthy, Peri. Isn’t that like codependency or something?”
“You are thinking in human terms. He isn’t human and you are more than human. The bond between you two is stronger than any human relationship could ever be. You don’t have to worry that he will ever leave you, cheat on you, or hurt you purposefully. He won’t break your heart, Sally.” Peri reached out and took Sally’s hand, offering a comforting touch.
“He won’t break my heart because he’s stuck with me. Peri, have you looked at me,” Sally motioned up and down in front of her, pointing out her body, “and have you looked at him? He’s way out of my league. Like, I’m in little league t-ball as the catcher because everyone knows that in little league that’s where you put that kid and he’s in the major league and he's the best player to ever grace the game.”
Peri cocked her head to the side as she listened to Sally, her eyes never leaving her face.
“You don’t see yourself very clearly, Sally Morgan, healer to the Serbian Pack. You are beautiful inside and out. Costin could not have asked for a mate that fits him better than you. You are calm and peaceful, whereas Costin is rambunctious and playful. You both complement each other very well.”
“I just don’t want to be a disappointment to him.” A single tear slid down her cheek.
“You could never be a disappointment to me, Sally mine.”
Sally gasped at the voice that came from behind her. She really didn’t want to turn and face Costin. She was embarrassed at him overhearing her insecurities.
“I think this is my queue to leave,” Peri said as she stood. She placed a finger under Sally’s chin, pulling her face up to look at her. “You can feel your soul calling out to him. Stop denying what the Great Luna has given you and embrace the gift that your bond with your mate is.”