Sally gasped at the overwhelming sensation and grabbed onto his arms for support. Her head slowly rose to look at Costin. Intense, glowing hazel eyes pierced her.
“You -” She tried to speak, but the revelation that had just hit her had robbed her of breath. She tried again. “You love me.”
Costin tenderly cupped her jaw and ran his thumb gently across her bottom lip. “More than anything in this life or the next.”
“But, I mean, you seriously love me.” Sally was trying to grasp the reality of what she had just felt. Her eyes were wide in awe as she looked at the man who was her mate.
“I’ve been trying to tell you that, Sally-mine. Do you believe me now?”
Sally slowly nodded her head and then her lips tilted up in a small smile. “Thank you,” she told him.
“It is my incredible honor to get to love you,” Costin told her sincerely.
She closed her eyes once more and opened herself up to him. She wanted him to know how she felt, and now that she had no doubt about how Costin felt about her, she opened the gates to her heart.
Costin pulled Sally tightly into his arms. He felt the wall between them crumble and Sally finally letting him in. Though his love was a crashing wave, her love was no less fierce. It came more in the form of a unswerving river that flowed steadily out of her. As water filled any opening, so Sally’s love filled every empty place in Costin. Any space, no matter how big or small, was now flooded with it.
When he opened his eyes, it was to Sally’s sweet smile. Her beautiful brown eyes looked at him in adoration.
Finally, he thought.
Sally’s eyes widened. “Did you just speak out loud? I didn’t see your lips move.”
“No, what did you hear?” he asked.
“You said, 'finally'.”
Costin grinned. “That was in my mind, love. It appears our bond has opened all the way.”
Costin’s smile widened as he used their new mental bond. He repeated her earlier words. “You love me.”
Sally smiled back at him. “I do.”
“Say it, please.”
“It?” Sally teased.
Costin groaned and growled at her through their bond. “You know what I mean, woman.”
Sally laughed and pulled him close. She pulled his face down close to hers and leaned in so her lips were next to his ear.
“I. Love. You.” She let her warm breath brush his skin as she spoke and felt his hands tighten where they gripped her hips.
“Good. We will do the bonding ceremony and blood rites tonight.”
Sally squeaked out, “What?”
Costin only laughed as he helped her off the table and led her by the hand out of the room. “Come on, my sweet. I have plans for you,” he teased wickedly.
“Tick-tock, tick-tock, little wolves. Do you feel time slipping away from you? Do you feel the urgency to pursue me, the one who plans your destruction? I am coming, little wolves. Tick-tock, tick-tock; I am coming for you. And one by one you will fall. One by one the wolves will be silenced.” ~Desdemona
Mona had waited long enough in the In Between. It was time to put her plan into action. She left the sanctuary in a flurry of smoke and called to her faithful steed Octavian. Using back roads and staying off the beaten path, she pushed Octavian as hard as he could run, heading for the border of Bulgaria. She had been told by a helpful little warlock that he had a clan located just beyond the border. Apparently there was someone there who could tell her what she needed to know. Though she made it a point to never trust anyone, she had no clue where to start looking for the information she needed, so she had decided to make an exception just this one time. Of course, she had threatened to choke the little warlock with his own intestines if he was lying.
Mona rode through the Carpathian Mountains, the cold winter beginning to become a memory as spring started to emerge from its long rest. Mona rolled her eyes at the life flourishing in the forest, the blooming plants and trees bearing fresh new leaves. It gave her a bit of satisfaction knowing that Octavian’s dark hooves killed every living thing on the ground which they landed. The evil that filled her could no longer be contained and was leaking out into the areas around her. She laughed a soul-cringing laugh that bounced off the rocks and trees, creating a disturbing echo. Once she left the cover of the forest, she tried to avoid major towns or cities. She didn’t rest at night, and only stopped briefly to water Octavian. Yes, she was an evil witch, but even evil witches needed to make sure their mode of transportation was properly cared for.
Time slipped away as she rode on. Mona’s thoughts were consumed with the plan she was concocting. She had done some research while she had been in the In Between and discovered that she might have the ability to raise an army like no other. The Fae weren’t the only ones with a veil, turns out that the veil leading into the underworld had a doorway, one that had been closed and sealed long ago because of the evil that lay behind it. She needed to know more. She needed to make sure that she could control the darkness that she planned to unleash – the darkness that would orchestrate the ultimate destruction of her foes.
Mona finally crossed the Bulgarian border and followed the Yantra River into the Balkan Mountains. The warlock had told her that the one she needed to speak to would find her and that she just needed to make herself known. He said that the mountain and the trees would let them know of her intentions and to be wary. So once she entered the forest she brought Octavian to a slow walk and kept her eyes moving constantly, roving over the landscape around her. After several hours she felt a presence; it was nearly as evil as her.
“Show yourself, brother of the craft.” Desdemona spoke confidently into the silence.
After several seconds a tall figure emerged. He was shrouded in a deep green cloak that blended well with the lush forest around him. His hair was black as night and he had pointed ears – his face was close to human in form although his nose was sharper in appearance and his lips were so thin they were nearly nonexistent. Most strikingly, his eyes were almond-shaped, a little more separated than a human's, and glowed an eerie yellow like that of the harvest moon. . He was strong of stature with a broad chest and long powerful legs.
Even with the unusual features he was dazzling. Mona thought she might have found him attractive if she cared for that sort of thing – which she didn’t. He carried a sword across his back, and various other knives decorated his form.