Jacque had tears streaming down her cheeks. Good grief, when did she become such a cry baby? The thought of Fane gone, not with her, took her breath away. She did want to bond with him, it was just a shock of it all. She felt so ashamed at her outburst, realizing it had come across that she was rejecting Fane. She turned to look at him. He stared back at her, stark honesty written all over his face. Fane wanted her, he wanted her for however long they had together. How could anyone turn that down, unconditional love?
“I’m sorry,” she began. Fane surged to his feet and roared, storming out of the front door. The other wolves whined and cowered and Alina hung her head, shoulders shaking with silent sobs. Jacque was a little confused, then the light bulb hit. Naturally, Jen was ahead of her.
“He thought you were saying you were sorry that you didn’t want him, genius,” Jen told her, sounding very put out.
Jacque jumped up and ran after Fane. She made it out the front door and saw he was nearly across the street.
“Fane! Wait!” Jacque called after him still running, “I wasn’t,” huff, huff, pant, pant, “saying I didn’t want you,” Jacque told him breathlessly. “Please, how...” Jacque took another deep breath. “Crap, hold on. I can’t breathe,” she told him. Once she caught her breath, she continued, “How could you possibly think I don’t want you?”
Fane had his back to her, head bent, shoulders slumped in defeat. He didn’t answer.
“Dammit, answer me!” Jacque yelled at him as she grabbed his arm and jerked him towards her. She saw that tears had filled his eyes but hadn’t spilled over yet. It hurt her to know she was the cause of those tears.
“Do you want me?” Fane asked her.
“Yes,” Jacque answered without hesitation.
Fane stepped forward, towering over her. She took an involuntary step back.
“Then why do you have a problem bonding with me in two days?”
“It’s not that I have a problem with it, Fane. I was just taken by surprise. You were raised knowing that one day you would bond with someone in a way that is so far beyond what humans do. I was not. It’s just a lot to swallow. But I’m good, I’m okay, I had my little fit and yes, I stomped my foot, but I’m ready to move forward,” Jacque told him, hope filling her eyes.
Fane took her hand and brought it to his lips. He didn’t take his eyes off her as he kissed her hand. Jacque’s breathing sped just a bit, noting the predatory gleam in his eyes.
“So we are good, yes?” Fane asked her.
“Nope, babe. We are great,” she answered, and stood on her tiptoes to kiss his lips. Fane growled and pulled her close. Jacque giggled and batted her hand at him.
“Stop that, wolf-man. We’ve gotta go explain to the others that I wasn’t rejecting you. Your mother was having a break down,” Jacque told him. Fane took her hand and pulled her quickly towards her house. As they entered the living room, Jacque saw that Alina hadn’t moved, but Vasile was now sitting next to her with his arm around her. At the sight of Fane, Vasile stood and stepped away from Alina. Jacque rushed to Alina and knelt down in front of her.
“Alina, please. I wasn’t rejecting Fane. I didn’t get to finish what I was saying before he jumped up and took off. I was saying sorry for the little two year-old fit I threw. Apparently I didn’t get them all out of my system as a child. I want to bond with Fane, I will bond with him right now,” Jacque started to say, but Alina’s head snapped up and she put her hands on either side of Jacque’s face.
“You can’t bond with him yet, child. Once you are bonded, your fates are tied to one another's. If Fane is killed in the challenge, you will die as well,” Alina explained.
“Hells bells, I forgot about that. Well, I intend to mate with him.” Jacque paused when Alina tried to cover a laugh with a cough and Fane rumbled low in his chest. “What did I say?”
“Well, Sherlock, you sort of threw out there that you were planning on doing the horizontal mamba with fur ball here,” Jen said, pointing her thumb at Fane.
“The horiz..” Jacque started to say, sounding confused. Then it hit her what she had said – mate not bond. Crap, she thought, blushing so badly her face was hot.
“I wasn’t talking about, I mean I wasn’t, that is to say I-” Jacque was trying really hard to correct her mistake, but she was thoroughly embarrassed at this point.
Fane walked up behind her and put his arms around her waist, pulling her against him. He leaned down to whisper in her ear. “And here I thought you were so shy,” he teased her.
Jacque pulled away quickly and put her hand on his chest as if to hold him back. “Uh uh, buddy. You back up and keep those paws to yourself. I meant to say I will bond with you once the challenge is over. Bond as in b-o-n-d. Clear?” she asked him.
And repeating what she had said to his father, he answered with a very sly, very suggestive grin. “Crystal.” Then to seal it, he winked at her.
“Holy crap. Is it hot in here, or is it just the freaking fine Romanian prince? Cuz I am so, so burning up! I mean, did anybody else see that wink and that smile? He wasn’t even doing it to me, and I’m all hot and bothered. I mean geez, man!” Jen said, fanning herself.
The three wolves on the floor were trying very hard not to laugh, but it just wasn’t working. Vasile wasn’t even trying to disguise his laughter, and Alina was beaming. Even Lilly was laughing. Well, great, Jacque thought. Everyone saw her man make a pass at her and she couldn’t even enjoy it with all these butt heads laughing. Then, because she saw the grin on Fane’s face that could only mean he was listening to her thoughts, she began laughing too.
Fane pulled Jacquelyn closer to him as he held her in her bed. The night had gone so quickly and he refused to close his eyes knowing that in the morning she would leave and he would not be able to hold her again until after the challenge. Her scent swirled in the air around him, her heart beat in rhythm to his own. Mine, his wolf told him. Yes, he agreed, she is ours. Not realizing it, he began to hum the same song he had been humming for the past two days.
“What song is that?” he heard Jacquelyn ask.
“You’re going to laugh at me if I tell you,” he told her, grinning to himself
“Why would I laugh at you?”