“Never again will we sleep apart,” he whispered into her hair and then pressed a kiss there. “I love the way you feel against me, the way your scent covers me. Never in a thousand years could I have imagined the joy of having a true mate not just anyone but you, my precious Alina.” He used their bond and she knew it was because it was an intimate form of communication. It was completely theirs alone. Their bond exposed them to one another, revealing all of the emotions and the depth they contained for each other.
“Skin on skin, Vasile,” she whispered boldly. She knew he wanted her to be honest with him about what she needed and so she would. In that moment she needed the healing power of touch that only her mate could give. She felt him unbutton the back of her night gown and then slip his hand beneath it. Her breath caught in her throat as his large palm spread across her back. He rubbed her gently, sending shivers throughout her body, and when she felt his touch change to his fingertips tracing the markings that ran up her spine, she could not hold back the soft moan.
“Your markings are beautiful.” His warm breath blew across her hair and face as he spoke. “I saw them when you were leaning over the bed, and I wish I could say that I gave you your modesty and looked away, but I will not lie to you. They captured my attention the second I saw them, and had you not been sick I would have touched you then.”
She felt the heat of her blush, and only the curiosity she had about his markings had her not burying her head in his chest to avoid looking at his face. Instead she pushed back and up on her elbow to look at him. Alina gently tilted his head to the side baring his neck, something he would have never allowed for anyone else, and stared at the beautiful markings that now traveled up his neck, down his right arm, and across the right side of his chest all the way down to his waist. It was truly incredible. When she looked back up at his neck, she felt her wolf perk up, and Alina knew her eyes had begun to glow. Her wolf wanted to bite him, taste him, and mark him. Though the bite would fade, just knowing it had been there was enough.
“You drank my blood,” Vasile suddenly told her. “You were lying there so still and I knew the only thing that would help was my blood and so I gave it to you. But as I held you, unsure of whether or not you would survive, I knew I could not live without you. I should apologize but I cannot because I would do it all over again.”
“You completed the bond?” she asked, though she was pretty sure she had known before now. She had felt how strong their connection had become, something only the sharing of blood or bodies would cause.
He nodded as the hand that was not on her back reached up and traced something on her neck. “I bit you here,” he said as he gently tapped her neck. “I only took a little blood because you had lost so much already, but it was enough.” He paused and then added silently, “You taste incredible.”
That time Alina did bury her face in his chest and he chuckled at her modesty. “Sleep, my love,” he told her. “When this is all done there will be time enough to savor each other. Your wolf will have to be patient a little longer,” he teased.
She pinched his side which only made him laugh more. She tucked herself in as close as she could without actually crawling into his skin. There, protected in the haven of his arms, she slipped quickly into sleep.
The dark shadows of night concealed Nicu’s presence as he moved silently around the exterior of the castle. His ears were pricked, drawing on the hearing of his wolf, listening for any sound of conversation. As he came around the corner just below where he knew the library to be, he heard voices. He stopped and looked up at the small balcony that extended out from the room. The drapes were drawn closed so he could not see in, which meant they could not see out. Nicu leapt effortlessly to the ledge and pulled himself up and over, never making so much as a whisper of sound.
“So you killed her parents, and you might have killed her as well?” Emilian’s enraged voice carried through the balcony doors.
“She had markings, and since no male in the village had claimed her, there was only one explanation. Vasile was indeed her true mate. I thought you did not want their bond completed because it would make him stronger.” Serghei’s voice had Nicu biting back a growl.
“We could have used her as leverage to draw him out you imbecile,” Emilian paused. “Do you know if he came for her?”
“I left as soon as her parents were dead.”
“Whether she is alive or dead is of no consequence now. Vasile is smart, but his anger will make him act quickly. Take four wolves with you back to the village. Do not let yourself be known, and see what you can find out. Do not engage him in any way if you see him,” the Alpha warned. The low guttural growl made it clear that there would be dire consequences if Serghei disobeyed.
Nicu did not wait around to hear more. He had to get back to the village and warn Vasile. He dropped back to the ground and turned for the cover of the forest. He let his wolf take over and ran as hard as he could, knowing he had to beat Serghei and the other wolves. He would not stop until he was standing in front of his Alpha.
Emilian paced the library, finally alone after dealing with the idiot pup who had been so stupid as to leave Vasile’s mate behind. She would have been the perfect bait. But he could not dwell on it; other plans would have to be made to deal with the former Alpha. The problem was so many of the dominant wolves were out of control that getting them to fight for him might prove difficult.
He rolled over possible solutions in his mind. Finally, like the breaking of the dawn, one came to the forefront. It just might work, he thought to himself. He would announce a pack tournament, non-lethal of course. Since so many young wolves were vying for higher ranks in the pack, the dominants would flock to the competition, including Serghei. Then he would openly invite the winner to challenge him for the title of Alpha, removing all doubts about who should lead the pack. Because of Vasile’s dominance, every wolf present would want to challenge him. He did not think that even one such as Vasile could continually best every wolf in the pack. Whoever was left standing would have to immediately fight him for the Alpha title or risk being forever labeled inferior by his pack mates. No matter who was left standing, they wouldn’t have enough strength left defeat him, especially since he didn’t plan on fighting fair.
Romanian Proverb # 19
Vorba dulce mult aduce.
Good words cost nothing and are worth much.