“Because what?” Jacque couldn’t help but ask.
Fane’s head snapped up and then he cried more. “Luna, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Please know that it killed me. I didn’t tell you because I needed your reaction to be real, so that Lucas would believe he had won.”
Jacque sat in stunned silence. She couldn’t believe it, she just could not believe it. It was the second time that night that she was in shock about something she was so sure would never happen. Her emotions were at war. Part of her was like, Who gives a flying flip because he’s alive. He’s here and he can hold you like Dorian had earlier…oops. Damn, I’m always doing that.
Fane caught that thought. Dorian had held his mate, held her close. He started to growl but abruptly stopped when Jacque sat up, leaned forward and kissed him. She wrapped her arms around him and pulled him down.
Fane’s arms wrapped around Jacque’s waist and when he pulled her tighter she let out a sharp yelp.
“What’s wrong? What’s happened?” Fane asked her, frantically running his hands over her.
“It’s nothing, just a little sore from the against-my-will retreat tonight. I got a few bruises from being restrained, that’s all.” Jacque told him, playing it off.
When his hands ran across her stomach she winced, even though she tried so hard not to. Fane growled and slowly raised the hem of her shirt and exposed her stomach. His growl got much, much deeper. “What the hell happened to you, and who the hell did it?” Fane growled out.
“Fane, it’s nothing. It's -” Jacque tried to explain, but was cut off when Fane snarled at her.
“It’s NOT NOTHING! You have a bruise as dark as night and as wide as a 2x4 across your stomach, Jacquelyn.” Fane paused to think about what he had just said and then it hit him. “Whose arm is that, Jacquelyn? Don’t argue with me, Luna. Whose arm is it? You can tell me, or I will discipline each wolf down there instead of just the one.”
Jacque sat back up and to Fane's surprise, pushed him. He was caught off guard and actually fell off the bed onto the floor. Fane looked up at her in shock.
“Listen up. Your pack restrained me so that I would not get killed trying to kick Lucas’ ass. I was trying to kick his ass, in case you forgot, because you didn’t tell me you weren’t really dead. So, you aren’t going to discipline anyone. You are going to accept that I have a bruise across my stomach, my arms, my shoulders, my shins because YOU chose to keep ME in the dark. Are we clear?” Jacque was breathing hard from her outburst.
Fane lowered his head then looked up at his mate. “Crystal,” he told her and grinned.
“Good. Now come back up here and show me how sorry you are,” Jacque told him playfully.
Fane crawled back onto the bed. He pulled the hem of her shirt up once more, exposing her stomach. He suppressed the growl, and then kissed the bruise from one end to the other, taking comfort in the feel of her flesh.
“Okay, stop that. It’s tickling me,” Jacque told him as she laughed.
Fane pulled her shirt back down and gently wrapped his arm around her. He laid his head on her chest and listened to her heartbeat, it was music to him.
“Fane,” he heard Jacquelyn say his name.
“Hmm,” he answered.
“Why is your leg not broken?” Jacque asked, sounding confused.
“My father healed my major injuries. He can use power that he draws from the Pack to heal his wolves. I only have bruises and cuts now,” he explained.
“Oh, that’s nifty.”
Fane chuckled. “Yes, it is most definitely nifty.”
Fane raised his head and looked into her eyes. She was so beautiful. Jacque stared back and shuddered at the thought of losing him. It almost killed her when she thought he had died, she truly had not wanted to go on.
“I’m so sorry, my love, for doing that to you. I don’t deserve you, your forgiveness, or your love,” Fane told her through their bond.
“Oh, shut up. What you did, yes it was horrible for me, but it was necessary for you in order to win. I would go through it again if I knew you would be alive in the end. You deserve more than I can give. I just hope you’ll take what I can give you – just me,” Jacque told him.
“I love you, Jacquelyn Pierce, my mate, my love, meu inimă (my heart). I want you to be all mine, with no way for anyone to challenge me.”
Fane leaned down and kissed her. Jacque moaned which made him growl. Before things could go much further, Jacque remembered the bonding ceremony and blood rites.
“Hey, wait,” she said, pushing at him.
“You do remember you thought I was dead, right? Now I’m not, and now you can have your way with me because, you know, I’m not dead,” Fane told her and began kissing her neck.
Jacque giggled and pushed him away again. “No really, wait. When are we supposed to do the bond thingy and the whole blood sucking?”
“Vampires, not werewolves, suck blood, love. It’s tomorrow, which is not right now, and because I am living in the now and not the tomorrow, I want to reconcile with my mate as wolves do,” Fane told her, leaning down again, and once again was stopped by her hand.
“Oh, we’re reconciled, we’re good to go, no problemo,” Jacque rambled on.
“Yes, Fane?” Jacque said in her most innocent voice.
“You want me to say it, don’t you?” Fane asked her.
“Yep, out loud, not in my head,” she told him
Fane growled but acquiesced. “I don’t mean reconcile as in taking things seriously. I mean through touch.” He laughed when she squeaked at that.
“I will not touch you anywhere you don’t want to be touched.” And then mischievously he said, “However, just name the location and I will comply.” He pulled out of her reach when she tried to thump him for his last comment. When she simmered down, he leaned over again and kissed her.
Jacque turned her head, exposing her neck. Fane rumbled in his chest. Jacquelyn called it purring, and he smiled. He leaned down and kissed her neck, sniffing her skin, imagining the blood rites ceremony, knowing that his mark would be right there.
Jacque picked up on his thoughts. She added creatively to it and giggled wickedly when she heard Fane whisper in her mind.