Both girls stood on either side of Jacque with their arms crossed, an obvious wall of solidarity against Lucas.
Lilly walked into the living room and took in the scene. She looked at Jacque and saw the red marks that were now appearing on her arms from where Lucas had grabbed her. Lily's mouth tightened in anger.
“I think it’s time for you to go now, Mr. Steele,” Lilly told him with forced politeness.
Lucas turned his gaze on Lilly, who took an involuntary step back. He drew in a deep breath, obviously trying to compose himself. Then he looked at Jacque. “I have challenged Fane for the bonding ceremony. If I win, you will be mine. Nothing and no one will keep you from me.” And with that he turned to walk out the front door.
All four of them followed him out to watch him go, and when they got out the door they saw Fane jump from his second story window and take two bounding steps and land right in front of Lucas.
“Oh S@#T! Jen hollered
“I second that,” Sally said
“I third it,” Jacque said, eyes so wide they threatened to pop out of her head.
Fane saw Lucas lunge for Jacquelyn before she could put the wall up between their minds, and the rage he felt called his wolf out. He was nearly completely phased when he heard Sara downstairs. That was enough to pull him back and keep from becoming a huge, black, snarling wolf in his bedroom. It wasn’t enough, however, to keep him from growling like a dog with rabies. The anger he was feeling was tangible; it was making it hard for him to breath.
Lucas had touched his mate, he had put his hands on her in a threatening way, and by doing so had violated the challenge rules. That meant that Fane would be allowed to see Jacquelyn for the duration of the two days they had to wait until his father arrived. Because he was Jacquelyn’s true mate, challenge rules said he could protect her if the challenger caused physical harm to the female.
Before that thought was even complete in his mind, and without any thought to who might see him, he leaped out his window into the front yard and jumped right in front of Lucas Steele. Sometimes life just threw you a bone when you needed one.
Lucas crouched low, immediately growling. “If you touch me you forfeit the challenge.”
“Sa patesti ce este al meu (you harmed what is mine),” Fane growled.
“Oh crap, he’s talking in Romanian. That means he’s pissed doesn’t it? They always talk in their native tongue in the movies when they’re fixing to kick somebody’s a-” Jen tried to finish, but Jacquelyn slapped her hand over Jen’s mouth and shook her head from side to side.
“Let me translate for her,” Sally said. “Shut the #@$% up, Jen!”
“My bad,” Jen whispered once Jacque had uncovered her mouth.
Fane could not remember a time when he had been so angry. He could feel his wolf pushing to come out, to defend their mate.
“Ai violat regulile provocare (you violated challenge rules),” Fane growled.
He knew he needed to calm down but when he glanced over and saw the red marks on Jacquelyn’s arms, his wolf won. He phased in the blink of an eye and had Sorin not lunged in front of him, he would have torn Lucas Steele’s throat out.
He felt a hard object throw him back and let out a grunt as he hit the ground. In an instant, he was back on all four feet, head low, eyes narrowed, and teeth bared. He was taking slow, calculated steps to place himself in between Lucas and his mate. He saw Jacquelyn step back when he got near her, and it hurt to know she was afraid of him in his wolf form.
He continued to move forward, pushing Lucas farther away, and was preparing to lunge again when he heard Sorin yell,“Fa ne nu ating de el! (do not touch him).”
Fane stopped in his tracks, he didn't move closer but he continued to growl and glare at Lucas.
“As Fane has said, you have violated the challenge rules by causing harm to Fane’s mate, therefore it is Fane’s right to stay with her while we await the arrival of his Alpha,” Sorin informed the wolf.
“I did not harm the female!” Lucas snarled.
“Hey, flea bag, the female has a name!” Jen spat at him.
“Jen, now is not the time, hon. Keep your trap closed,” Sally said through pursed lips.
“Oh right, sorry. I just get so carried away. I’m good, carry on.”
Sally and Jacquelyn rolled their eyes.
Lucas must have decided during that little interlude that he needed to be more diplomatic, because when he spoke the second time it was quite a bit nicer.
“I did not mean to cause Jacquelyn harm. I do not think red marks on her arm constitute a so-called violated challenge,” he told Sorin.
“What you think does not play into what simply is. It is time for you to take your pack and leave. You will be notified immediately when our Alpha arrives,” Sorin said in finality, and just to punctuate that he was done with the conversation, he called Fane to him. “In privinta, mea print, va rog sa veniti. (With respect, my Prince, please come).”
Fane gave Lucas one more snarl for good measure and trotted over to where Jacquelyn stood. He put his head against her thigh and nudged her backwards.
“You gotta be kidding me. You’re bossy even when you're in wolf form,” Jacquelyn told him, rolling her eyes. He nudged her a little harder. Finally relenting, she turned to go back toward the house.
“Come on, girls. Show’s over…for now anyways.”
Sorin waited outside until Lucas and his wolves had driven off.
Once in the house, everyone filed into the living room, which had quickly become the “meeting” room. Jacquelyn knelt down in front of Fane and ran a finger down the center of his muzzle. Fane closed his eyes and a low hum came out of his throat.
“You were great out there, you know?” she whispered to him.
Fane opened his eyes and they just stared at each other for a minute. Then Fane licked Jacquelyn smack on the face. “EWWWW! You have GOT to stop kissing me in public. Really, it’s getting out of hand,” Jacquelyn told him, wiping her face. Fane simply looked at her with his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth in a goofy grin.
“Fane, I think we need you back in your human form, please,” Sorin told him respectfully.
Fane turned and trotted up the stairs to Jacquelyn’s room. “I don’t know what he thinks he is going to find up there unless he likes his pants super tight and ten inches too short,” Jacquelyn told Sorin.