Peri wouldn’t look at either of them, but she just stared down at Thia, smiling when she grasped her finger in her tiny hand.
“Lucian?” Jacque finally spoke after several minutes of shocked silence. “You’re mated to Lucian?”
“No!” Peri growled. “There has been no mating.”
Jen grinned. “There’s a bond though isn’t there? You guys can totally talk to one another. SHUT UP!” Jen exclaimed as she clapped her hands. “Wait, do you have markings? I mean his changed so you must have them now.”
Again, Peri refused to look at them.
“Peri, you can’t run from this forever,” Sally said gently.
“I’m not running,” Peri disagreed. “Okay, so I am hiding; I know better than to run from a predator. But hiding is a fae specialty.”
“So you aren’t interested in him at all?” Jacque asked. “You don’t find him the least bit attractive?”
“I didn’t say that, but you all know that there is no way I can be mated to a wolf. It would be like setting gun powder next to an open flame.”
Jen made an exploding motion with her hands as she said, “Fireworks, baby.” She smiled at her, “You’re telling me you’re scared of a little fireworks?”
“I haven’t told you anything you, brat. You keep putting words in my mouth.”
“Well, I feel it’s my duty as your friend and designated know-it-all to tell you that there are a few females in my pack who are totally not scared of fireworks.” She shrugged. “I’m just sayin. You got this hot wolf walking around clueless about anything and everything in this new world, and these chicks are more than happy to share their knowledge, if you know what I mean.”Peri’s lips tightened as she listened to Jen tell her things she didn’t want to hear and didn’t want to be upset about, but she was anyway. She stood stiffly and handed Jacque the sleeping child gently and then stepped back from the girls. Her emotions were all over the place and she didn’t want to inadvertently hurt anyone. She looked at Jen and steeled herself for the words that she knew she didn’t mean but had to say because they were true.
“He deserves a wolf mate, someone not jaded by the world or bitter from seeing too much death. He’s been through much and will need someone with patience and a gentle touch and we all know I have neither of those things. He should choose someone else.”
“Peri you know that’s not how it works,” Jacque argued. “The Great Luna has matched you two. You’re missing half of your soul. You have probably always felt something was missing. Now you know, and there is only one man who can give it to you.”
Peri shook her head. “Well the Great Luna got it wrong. I can’t be anyone’s mate. You’re telling me that he has half of my soul, right?” The girls nodded. “That means I have the other half of his, and I can tell you that if that’s the case, then he got screwed because what little bit of soul that was in me has been shattered. So you see, he has to have someone else.”
The three girls jumped when the library door suddenly flew open and crashed into the wall. Jacque tightened her hold on Thia and looked down at her to make sure she was alright. She was still sound asleep. Good thing she’s gotten used to males who have absolutely no manners and are basically like bulls in a china shop, she thought as she watched the wolf at the door walk coolly into the room.
He was big, he was angry, and he was looking right at Peri.
Jen grinned to herself. “Dec you’re totally missing this. Bring me some popcorn. Lucian has that look you get in your eyes when you’re pissed at me, so we might see some action.”
She heard Decebel’s annoyed growl through their bond which only made her smile wider.
Peri stared at Lucian as he walked into the room. He was bigger than she remembered and, as it pained her to admit, was incredibly hot. She didn’t think she was too bad herself. I mean someone her age should be, well, dust, and she didn’t look a day over twenty, okay twenty-five, but Lucian was in a whole other league.
His eyes glowed and his presence filled the room, making it feel incredibly crowded. He took several more steps toward her and then stopped. He was within touching distance. A couple steps closer and he would totally be in licking distance. Stop it Peri, she snarled at herself. She kept the bond that had opened between them the moment their eyes had met in the forest, when the Great Luna had restored her life, closed tight. That sort of intimacy freaked her out and, frankly, she was tired of being freaked out.
“There is no other for me,” Lucian told her in his oddly formal way. She reminded herself that he was centuries behind them in social knowledge and that only meant that his dominance and chivalry were going to be off the stinking charts. “You are my mate; you are exactly what I need and exactly what I want. Whatever it is inside you that you feel is broken, it is my duty and my honor to mend you, and where I am broken, you will mend me. That is what it means to be mates, Perizada. You have been alone for a long time, as have I. You do not have to be alone any longer.”
“Bloody hell,” Jen whispered, “how do you say no to that?”
“Right?” Jacque and Sally said at the same time.
Peri just stood there looking up at Lucian, at her mate, and then finally said the only thing she could think of, “I’m so screwed.”