Chapter 25

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Dante was on cloud nine. He was quickly falling head over heels for his charming, bashful little mate. Even with their limited communication leading up to this point, she had won him over with her sweet and kind manner, her willingness to jump right into pack life, and her bewitching charms. But now that she was trying to speak to him, and overcome yet another damper her life had saddled her with, it was like a whole new world had opened up for them. He couldn't wait to hear her voice again. To hear her say his name, and tell him what she was thinking, and provide her thoughts and opinions on everything from her favorite foods to her suggestions on improving pack life. His mind quickly traveled to all the experiences he would get to enjoy with Jade as his Luna. Thoughts he had kept locked up, not sure what to even imagine, before she had begun speaking.

Jade snuggled in next to Dante, loving the feelings that she was experiencing as their bodies touched. She breathed in his scent, which helped to calm and steady her. That was the first time she had spoken out loud in front of another person in almost 7 months. She had been incredibly nervous, but when Dante was kissing her, saying his name felt almost natural, she couldn't have been more excited with the affect that it had had. She could tell that Dante was pleased to hear her speak and to say his name, and it lit a flame of home in her chest. She had all but talked herself out of being fit to be his Luna, but having broken that first barrier of speech, and seeing how happy it had made Dante, she knew she would be able to continue her efforts, and that she just might be able to prove herself worthy after all.

The two sat like that for a while, just comfortable in each other's embrace, breathing in the comforting scent that they brought to each other. The fears and concerns they had both felt a bit ago, having been pushed aside and forgotten.

Alpha, we've got an issue, can you come to your office? The mind link was from Jackson.

Ok, I'll be there in a minute Dante replied, not wanting to end his time with Jade.

"Jackson needs me" he said quietly, as he shifted Jade off his lap and to his side.

She nodded, and he stood to leave and walked toward the doorway where he paused. He looked back at her, walked quickly over and kissed her, one more, quick peck on her beautiful lips.

"You should get some rest" he said to her. "Sleep well" he said as he opened the door to leave.

"Goodnight" she whispered to him, looking him in the eyes.

"Goodnight" he said back to her, with a huge grin on his face. Then he stepped out of her room, and gently closed the door behind him.

Dante tried to regain his composure as he walked toward his office to meet up with Jackson. He knew he wouldn't be able to hide from Jackson that he had been making out with Jade, her scent was all over him, but he felt a little sheepish, walking into his office to get work done, when all he could think about was Jade.

As expected, Jackson knew immediately that Dante had been with Jade, and he smirked at him, and raised his eyebrows suggestively.

"Mind your own business" Dante dismissed him, "what's going on, why did you need me down here?"

"A couple of things" responded Jackson, following Dante's lead and getting right down to business. "First, George has confirmed the 19th as a date to meet, and has accepted the neutral location we suggested. However, he said he has concerns about our intentions and will be bringing 'additional support' with him, in the event we choose to make trouble." And Jackson used air quotes with his fingers when using the term 'additional support.'

"What is that supposed to mean? And did he indicate who would be providing this 'additional support' that he mentioned?" Dante snarled a little.

"I think they must know we're onto them, and it's likely they've found another pack to back them up. Not quite sure what motivation another pack would have in helping, unless it's whoever helped in the first place, so they're only willing to assist, in order to protect themselves."

"Well" considered Dante, "that could be a good thing then. If nothing else, whatever pack shows up to help, it should give us insight into the outside help that was used in the first place. Whichever pack they bring will immediately be at the top of our list."

"Yeah" mused Jackson, "but that means it will basically be a trap. They aren't going to go down quietly, and essentially we can expect a war" he said gravely.

"I think you're right" Dante finally responded. "We need to prepare for a full-on assault. First thing tomorrow, we'll map out the meeting spot. We need to figure out where to hide all of our troops, what direction we want to come in from and where we can expect them to position themselves. I'm afraid this is going to get ugly. I'm going to have to meet with the Council before this goes down too. I'll need to fill them in on all of our suspicions as well as give them a heads up on what we think we're walking into."

"It's going to be a long week" Jackson said gloomily. He was an amazing warrior and a loyal Beta, but he didn't enjoy battle. He hated killing other werewolves, even out of necessity."

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