Gregori did not look at him but stared out into the storm. The child she carries is my lifemate. It is female and belongs to me. There was an unmistakable warning note, an actual threat. In all their centuries together, such a thing had never happened. Mikhail immediately closed his mind to Raven. She could never hope to understand how Gregori felt. Without a lifemate, the healer had no choice but to eventually destroy himself or become the very epitome of evil. The vampire. The walking dead. Gregori had spent endless centuries waiting for his lifemate, holding on when those younger than he had given in. Gregori had defended their people, lived a solitary existence so that he might keep their race safe. He was far more alone than the others of his kind and far more susceptible to the call of power as he had to hunt and kill often. Mikhail could not blame his oldest friend for his possessive, protective streak toward the unborn child. He spoke calmly and firmly, hoping to avoid a confrontation. Gregori had held on for so long, this promise of a lifemate could send him careening over the edge into the dark madness if he felt there was a danger to the female child. Raven is not like Carpathian woman. You have always known and accepted that. She will not remain in seclusion during this time. She would wither and die. Gregori actually snarled, a menacing rumble that froze Shea in place, put Jacques into a crouch and had Mikhail shifting position for a better defense. Raven pushed past Mikhail’s strong body and fearlessly laid a hand on the healer’s arm. Everyone else might think Gregori could turn at any moment, but he had held on for centuries and she believed implicitly that he would no more hurt her than he would her child. Gregori, don’t be angry with Mikhail. Her voice was soft and gentle. His first duty to me is to see to my happiness. It is to see to your protection. Gregori’s voice was a blend of heat and light. In a way it’s the same thing. Don’t blame him for having to make adjustments for what you consider my shortcomings. It hasn’t been easy for him, or for me, for that matter. We could have waited to conceive until I’d had time to become more familiar with Carpathian ways, but that would have taken more time than you have. You’re far more than a close friend to us— you’re family, a part of our hearts. We weren’t willing to risk losing you. So we both pray this child is a female and that she grows to love and cherish you as we do, that this is the one who will be your other half. Gregori stirred as if to say something. Do not say anything! Mikhail hissed in the healer’s head. She believes the child will have a choice. Gregori bowed his head mentally to Mikhail. If Mikhail chose to allow his wife the comforting if false thought that the female child would have a choice in such a matter, then so be it.
Christine Feehan