On the fourth ring the call was answered.
“Vasile,” his voice came through loud and clear.
“Vasile, it’s Lilly Pierce.”
Vasile was quiet for a minute. “Lilly, I do not recognize this number, but I do know it is not an American number. Where are you?”
Lilly had decided that if Jacque was alright she wasn’t going to let them know just then what she had gotten herself into.
“Is Jacque alright?” she asked, skirting around his question.
Again he was silent. Blasted man knows how to make someone squirm, she thought to herself.
“Jacque is fine.”
Lilly could tell there was something off in his voice, something he didn’t want to tell her.
“You’re sure, Vasile? She is safe?” she asked, careful not to provoke him.
“I am sure. My real concern is, are you safe?”
Lilly could practically see Vasile trying to use his Alpha mojo on her. Thankfully, she was human.
“I’m great, but I gotta run. I will call to check on Jacque again, alright?”
“Alright, Lilly. Please know that if you need us, we are here for you. Please call if you are caught in any sort of trouble.”
Lilly did not miss the play on words. She didn’t want to get them involved if she didn’t have to. Now, she wasn’t sure what Mona the witch had up her sleeve, but Lilly wasn’t stupid. If she had brought her, the mother of a mated female, all the way to Romania, then the wolves were definitely involved. She just needed to figure out how they fit into the puzzle.
“I hear ya loud and clear, Vasile. I can’t talk just now, but I will call again.” Before he could say anything more she ended the call.
“Everything alright?” Cypher asked, much closer behind her than he had been when she started the call.
She turned around to find him less than a foot away from her. Her breath caught and she found herself drowning in his beautiful, warm, yellow eyes.
Lilly closed her eyes and shook herself, trying to clear her head.
“Yeah, Jacque is fine,” she said out loud and then thought to herself, That’s one thing off my mind. Now I just need to eat and then find out why you are hell bent on keeping me.
Cypher continued to look into her eyes. She felt like he was looking into her soul and she was afraid that he would be able to see how her affected her. Come on, Lilly, she told herself, who falls for someone who has abducted them?
She broke eye contact and let out a breath she didn’t realize she had been holding.
“So I smell bacon,” she told him as she skirted around him.
Cypher’s lips quirked up in a crooked smile, as if he knew that she was trying to keep him from seeing her real feelings.
“Yes, there is bacon and an omelet,” he told her.
“You make omelets?” she asked him, obviously surprised.
He sat down on a stool at the island in the middle of the kitchen.
“Believe it or not, we have internet and know how to use it,” he teased.
Lilly picked up the plateful of food that he had left on the counter for her and blushed. “Right, internet. I knew that.” She took the stool across from him.
She took a bite and smiled. “OMG, Cypher this is good. Like really good.”
Cypher did the whole crooked smile thing again.
“Internet, Lilly. I even know how to read.”
“I’m sorry. I’m not trying to imply that you aren’t capable of learning new things or, ya know, stuff,” she told him, another blush creeping up her neck.
They sat in silence as Lilly finished her breakfast. She found it much easier to eat now that she knew that Jacque was safe. Now she just had to get to the bottom of what Cypher and the wicked bitch were up to.
She wiped her mouth with the napkin he handed her.
“Thank you. That was really good.”
“I’m glad you enjoyed it. I like feeding you,” he told her with unabashed honesty.
Lilly decided that she was going to have a permanent blush on her face as long as he kept saying things like that.
“So how about we get down to business,” she told him boldly.
“What business would that be?” he asked.
“What are you and Mona up to? Why did she want me?”
Cypher looked away from her. She could see he was battling something inside. He wanted to tell her the truth, but maybe not all of it.
“My race is dying,” Cypher told her. He still didn't look at her. “The Fae have retreated from the realm and taken the magic with them, thus those of us made primarily of magic are slowly growing weaker. There is one thing that all the supernatural races have in common – the males are stronger with a mate. I’m old, Lilly. I don’t even know my exact age, but I’ve seen more than millennia, all of that time I have been without a mate. My race, unlike others, can take a mate that is not of our kind. We very rarely have contact with humans so I’ve never looked for a human mate. Then I met you.”
Lilly coughed out a laugh. “You didn’t really meet me, Cypher, you kidnapped me.”
This time Lilly laughed unencumbered. “A technicality – nice, as my daughter would say. Anyway, what does Mona want from you that she went to all the trouble to find you a mate?”
This time Cypher actually turned away from her.
Uh oh, she thought. It must be bad if he can’t even look me in the face.
“I know you can’t possibly understand the responsibility I have to my people.”
“Try me,” Lilly shot back.
His head whipped around at the snap in her voice. His eyes met hers and his lips quirked slightly at the challenge he saw in her eyes.
“They look to me to take care of them, to make sure we continue on.”
“I get that. You’re kind of like the Alpha of a wolf pack,” she told him.
He growled, “Not even close. There is only one of me. There are many packs and many Alphas to care for each. I am the King of my people. There is no one who shares this burden, no one to take care of them if something happens to me.”
“Look, I may not be the queen of some race, but I’m a mom. I know what it’s like to be responsible for another.”
Cypher scoffed. “You are a mere human. You cannot possibly know of the burden I speak of.”
Lilly stood up, pushing her stool back so that it nearly toppled over. Cypher moved faster than she had ever seen someone move and caught the stool before it could fall.