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Den of Sorrows (The Grey Wolves #9)

By:Sara Grey

Den of Sorrows (The Grey Wolves #9)
The Grey Wolves series
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Prologue
“Some say there is no sweeter joy than being reunited with a friend after time apart. I would beg to differ. I’m pretty sure I could find something much sweeter than Sally’s big, brown-eyed mug. Like my mate, for instance, covered in chocolate and holding a blindfold with a wicked gleam in his eye. Wait, did I just say that out loud? My bad. What I meant to say was, Welcome home, Sally.” ~Jen
“Three children are dead, Vasile. Three!” Alina snarled. His mate stood in the middle of a room splashed in red. The walls cried out with the blood of innocents. The sounds of horror that had no doubt filled this room some time earlier now filled the Romanian Alpha’s mind. It was a room that should have only seen purples and pinks and only heard nursery rhymes and giggles. But now it was a tomb. Death had come to the room of the Marshal triplets, and it had not left empty-handed.The blankets were pulled back on each of the beds, as though the girls had simply been getting up to get a drink of water. The bodies were not violently slung or haphazardly thrown onto the floor. Despite the presence of blood splattered everywhere around the room, this wasn’t a thoughtless act or an impulsive crime. It was meticulous. It was deliberate. It was meant to be seen, as though the killers had known they would have an audience.
The three bodies of the little girls were sitting around a small play dinner table. They were posed as though having a tea party, complete with cups, saucers, and a tea kettle. The vase in the center of the table held three flowers. Blood coated the flowers, and its weight caused them to bow over, appearing to weep over the bodies sitting before them. Each of the girls held something in their laps that made it abundantly clear just who the audience was. Rosie, Jill, and Bethy each held a stuffed wolf in their delicate cold hands.
“The parents are untouched, still sleeping in their beds,” Perizada of the fae said as she appeared in the room.
“They’re not dead?” Vasile’s head snapped toward the high fae? He lowered his voice, wondering how they hadn’t woken the couple when Alina had let out her cry.
Peri shook her head. “There’s magic at work on them. They aren’t in a natural sleep.”
“What does that mean?” Alina asked, her eyes still wide with shock and her body trembling with the rage coursing through her. Vasile had only seen his mate lose her control a handful of times in their long life together; he had a feeling he was going to see it again very soon.
“It means someone, at some point, taught these damn devils how to wield black magic,” Peri bit out through clenched teeth.
Vasile’s own wolf was howling inside of him at the injustice of what they saw before them—innocent little lives ended way too early, and way too horrifically. The world had always been a dark place, but it seemed that the amount of darkness was increasing lately. After centuries of fighting, sometimes winning, sometimes losing, Vasile felt as though he and his wolves might not be enough to quell the onslaught—not this time. He lowered his head and whispered a fervent prayer to the Great Luna to watch over the souls of the three children killed that night. He asked her for wisdom and guidance and the fortitude to withstand whatever it was that they would be facing.
“There’s more,” Peri said suddenly. “But it’s not something we need to discuss here.”
“More?” Alina breathed.
Peri let out a tired sigh. “It’s bad.”
Vasile’s wolf growled within him and the human had to fight to control the rumble from exploding out of his chest. “Remove the magic from the humans. Call the authorities with an anonymous tip. And for mercy’s sake, get this damn room cleaned up. We can’t have the human police finding the girls in such a state. There would be too many questions and that’s the last thing we need right now.” 
His mate started toward the bodies and he snarled, “Mina.”
“Don’t, Vasile Lupei,” she barked back. “I will hold them each one time, because the last thing their precious forms should have on this earth should not be the touch of violence. It should be one of love.”
He watched as she picked up the first girl. Alina carried her over to the bed and laid the still form gently into it. She pulled the covers up and pressed a kiss to the girl’s forehead. Vasile’s heart broke a little more as he listened to his mate begin to hum the lullaby she use to sing to their son when he was but a pup. She repeated the gesture with each of the other two girls, and when the three of them were tucked back in, his mate knelt at the foot of the last bed and bowed her head.
He walked over to her and placed his hand on her shoulder. She shook and her thoughts bombarded his mind. She wanted justice, she wanted restitution, but most of all she wanted what he couldn’t give her. She wanted them back—alive, happy, singing, playing, and having tea parties. Alina wanted Bethany, Jill, and Rosie to have birthday parties, pillow fights, sleepovers, and broken hearts from boys who didn’t return their crushes. She wanted them to have scraped knees, bad haircuts, arguments with their mom, and cry sessions with their best friends. Her heart ached with a level of pain that only a mother could feel.
“This isn’t right, Alpha,” she whispered through the tears that she could no longer hold back. “They shouldn’t have had to go through this. We failed them. We, who have the strength to protect them, failed.” She took a deep breath and let it out slowly and then stood. When she turned to face him, Vasile wasn’t surprised to see her wolf eyes glowing back at him. “Tell me it won’t happen again.”
“I can’t,” he admitted.
“Then what can you tell me?”
“I won’t stop until I lay their murders’ carcasses at your feet.”
“What if there are hundreds, thousands, even?” Alina asked through narrowed eyes.
“Then, perhaps, you had better stand in a large field with lots of room, because there will be many bodies laid before you.”
“It won’t bring the girls back.”
“No. But it will prevent more from dying in such a way. That is all I can give you.”
A final tear slipped from her eye and she gave a slow nod. “Then that will have to be enough.”
Peri worked her magic as the alpha pair dealt with their pain. She focused on removing the horrific scene while trying to keep her emotions under control. Her own anger and hurt over the deaths matched that of Alina’s, even though she had no children of her own. Peri knew how precious the young were. They were the hope of the ones who had gone before them and screwed the world up. The younger generations of any race had the ability to fix the things that had been broken and change the things that needed to be changed. To see them taken before their time was to see hope begin to dwindle until nothing but despair was left in its place. She’d given some thought to the idea of Lucian and her having young, but Peri didn’t know if she could justify bringing new innocents into the world. Then again, if good people didn’t bear children, would there be any hope at all for the future generations?
Pushing all of those thoughts aside, Peri continued her task, and once it was finished, she pulled out the cell phone her mate insisted that she carry in case something happened and he couldn’t get to her. She dialed the emergency number humans used when they needed help. “Yes, I need to report some suspicious activity. I was driving by a house on Emerson Street and saw a man climbing out of a window. He ran in the opposite direction of my car but he was dressed in dark clothing and seemed to be frantic.” She paused and listened to the emergency operator. “No, I don’t live on the street. I did note the address as 6517 Emerson Street. No, I’m not there any longer. Thank you.” She hung up and had been careful to keep the authorities from being able to track the cell phone to their location.Peri turned back to the Alpha pair. “We need to go.” She held out her hand to both of them, and as soon as they touched her, she flashed them back to Vasile’s office at the pack mansion in Romania.
She took several slow breaths, steeling herself for the things she needed to tell them. “You should probably call Decebel and let me go get him and anyone else you might want to utilize for this problem.” She looked up at them and knew that the fear and pain was written all over her face. “I will help you when I can, but I have two brand-new healers in the snare of a demented high fae. I will need Lucian and the other pack males until Volcan is defeated. You are on your own in this. Though I think it would be wise to keep it as quiet as possible.”
Peri waited while Vasile called Decebel, Fane, Costin, and, to her surprise, Cypher, the warlock king. Once he was done making the calls, he gave her a solemn nod and she flashed, off to gather each of the males. She didn’t ask why he hadn’t included any of the females. Jen had a young infant and Jacque was expecting. News of children being murdered, drained dry by vampires, wasn’t news they could really deal with at the moment.
Chapter 1
“Over and over I have made it clear that we must remain united. It has been proven time and again throughout history that peoples and races that worked as a team, united by a common goal, were more likely to succeed than those that broke apart. Now more than ever I need the people I’ve come to rely on most to be able to stand firm, shoulder to shoulder. I need them to be willing to protect one another, defend one another, and, if necessary, lay down their lives for one another. The world needs them, once again, to stand between it and evil. I am asking so much of them, maybe too much. But then, if not us, who?” ~Vasile Lupei

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