Alex said, "He never said anything about you being weak or lacking skills. He did say you were strong willed and very powerful."

"If I was so powerful then I wouldnt have gotten so injured..." she said sadly

"You are joking right?" asked Gregori. "Even I get injured in battle. You held your own beautifully from what I heard."

Liliana jumped and dipped her head in respect to him "I do not deserve such praise from you " she said softly trying to stand up to formally greet him but was having trouble

"Stay where you are," he said. "You haven't fed properly in couple days, so you may feel shaky. And I actually did lose a hand. If not for my friendship with Mikhail, I would have only one hand right now. Even the best of us get hurt, Liliana. Each scar is a badge, showing that we survived. Do not diminish their value with needless guilt."

She managed to stayed even though he told her not to and respectudully greeted him "thank you for your care....I know you have been having family problems and yet you still came....thank you I not.....deserving" she said and started to sway as sweat started to bead her head

Gregori made her sit down and said, "You lost a lot of blood. It took a lot to save the baby. That's why you feel weak. Now, we can finally focus on you. I want you to feed from your lifemate while I examine you and your child."

Liliana looked like she got paler as her eyes grew "wait my what?! No thats not possible...I cant be" she looked at Alex with fear in her eyes

"It's true," said Alex. "That's why I nearly killed the one who almost took your arm. I almost lost myself to the demon in me because of it. I failed you twice. I will never do so again, Liliana. I didn't get to you in time to save you, and in my rage that he nearly took you and our child, I let go of your spirit. It is I who is weak, not you."

"You didnt fail me..." she said and then looked at Gregori "How is this possible....Its too soon...I wasnt even ovulating" she said and he could see the fear in her eyes

"I believe that there was some left over magic after Suziana was born," said Gregori. "This has allowed you to do what no other before you has. Now, let me examine you and the child."

Still shocked she let Alex help her lay down so gregori could look at her "Alex can you leave the room please....I want to be alone with gregori for a moment" she said knowing he would feel her need to do so

Alex kissed her and said, "I'll be next door with Suzi. She will want to know you are alright."

He left and Gregori looked at Liliana. "What do you want to talk about?" he asked.

She looked at him "My hurts to move....what...what is the damage Gregori and this it magic born?" She said in a worried tone "Suzi...was using dark magic...I fear ...."

"You will need to work hard to regain the use of your arm," he said. And the child is not magic born, nor has Suziana used dark magic. From what I saw, left over residue from Suziana taking in and expelling the dark magic, she left behind enough of the safe magic to allow you to conceive again a year later. She gave you a gift, Liliana, and not something to be feared. No magic was used in creating this child."

She nodded "thank you for your help.....please after this do not worry about me and go be with your family" she said looking away from him, obviously bothered by something

"You are my family," he said. "Alex is my brother, so that makes you my sister. Anya and Anastasia needed time to be alone together anyway. They have a lot to make up for. Now, talk to me, little sister."

"Im not ready for another child gregori.......I need to start train and getting the use of my arm back....I cant do that if im pregnant..." she said with sadness in her chest

"Focus on getting back the use of your arm for now," he said. "Then, after the baby is born, you can resume training. Manolito and MaryAnn have volunteered to care for this child as well, so that Suziana can know her sibling. One thing at a time."

She shook her head "I cant....Im not ready...." she said panic setting in

"You will be fine," he said with a smile. "None of us are ever ready for surprises like this. Do your best and everything else will work out."

"Im not ready! I cant fail another child gregori....what kind of mote cant raise her own child.......even my own family thinks so....even if they dont say it I know thats why they made me give up suzi to tem....pkease greori take it....I dont want it...." she said out of panic

Gregori growled and said, "I will not kill this child because of your groundless fears, Liliana. And you did not fail Suziana. We as a people decided that you and Alexandru were too young and too inexperienced to protect her by yourselves. That is why you were told to train. Your family knows that you are capable of caring for her, but they want you and your mate to be a stronger couple. You both are still green when it comes to relationships. In two years, you, your mate, and both your children will be living in the same house together, with two parents mature enough to protect them. It's time to grow up, Liliana. Stop looking at the obstacles and start overcoming them."

She growled "its not ground less! if it wasnt for you I would have lost Suzi remember...I was never meant to be a mother ....I only wanted to be a hunter and thats not a job for someone with kids...." she said looking away from him, he would then realize her true fear, she feared she would have to give up being a hunter to be a mother and a lifemate to the prince, otherwise she would put them all at risk "I cant........"she said gripped the sheets

"Well, if you don't hunt, who's going to keep the future prince and his heir safe?" asked Gregori. "Anya may become his second in command as I am for Mikhail, but you will be the protector of your family. Alex may be able to fight, but he is to become the vessel for our people after Mikhail goes into the next life. If he dies, the whole of the Carpathian people die. You will always be a hunter, Liliana. The only time Alex is allowed to hunt is when you are with child. But beyond that, you hunt and protect. Do you understand?"

"what if I never produce a male? no heir...."She said in a worried tone

"If such a thing should happen," he said, "then Stefan or one of my sons would be the next prince or produce one."

She sighed "dont mind me...go deserve it" she said getting up slowly "I think...Im going to go take a bath..." she said though to him something wouldnt feel right

"You will do well to not keep things from me," said Gregori, holding her in place.

His power was intimidating to saw the least , his tone alone made her want to listen to him "dark one indeed...." she said in a whisper looking away from him

"Talk, Liliana," he said. "I will not leave you until tell me what you are hiding." He leaned in close. "And this is a far cry from why they call me the Dark One, little one. Don't tempt me in showing you."

Her heart stated to pound feeling the power surge in him "I-I....did something bad" she said unable to resist his demand

"What did you do?" he asked.

"its a little fuzzy but...Ithink I asked someone I shouldnt have for help when I was....Hurt" she said looking away from him and closing er mind to him wich the dark one would not like

Gregori growled and said, "Tell me. Or let me into your mind and show me."

"I-I dont know I just remember a wolf...a black wolf and something else.... a smell....blood and something else..." she said biting her bottom lip "but I remember chanting...a language I didnt understand but the was like I felt them, like they were living things"

"Show me," Gregori said.

"its scrabbled...let me get my thoughts together first..,"

"I'll sort through it later. Show me now."


Shelbi paced back stage while Desari got ready.

"Calm down," she said with a smile. "You're making me nervous."

"What if he doesn't show?" Shelbi asked.

"The way you talk about him, he must be special," Desari said.

"I feel like I know him but I've never met him," Shelbi admitted.

"Just sing for him," said Desari. "That's what I do, sing for Julian. Now, go get on stage. Time for your official debut."

Shelbi got on stage to the roar of a crowd. She began singing a song just for her pen pal.


Donny and Jan walked in with the rest of the fans. They stood near the stage so they could help if anything went wrong. Donny had an uneasy feeling about the whole thing.

Jan soaked up her words like they were his own breath, he watched her in awe

"Out back," Donny whispered to Jan, sniffing the air. "A vampire. I can smell him, but I can't sense him otherwise. Let's go."

Jan sent out the call to the others, including the band about the vampire and followed Donny

Two people were going towards the vampire. Shelbi came out before anyone could stop her. She gasped.

"Tio Andre! Tia Maria!" Shelbi yelled.

The vampire felt triumphant. He left the couple, releasing them from his control, and went for Shelbi, who screamed. Jan had just enough time to put himself between Shelbi and the vampire. Jan felt pain unlike anything he had ever experienced before. He fell to the ground, looking near death. Danny went to him. Something in Shelbi snapped and she began to sing one of her battle songs. The vampire stopped, shocked. Everything reacted to the woman's voice, and he couldn't drown her out. She began to attack him, unknown skill filling her. As the others came out, they could have sworn they were seeing an ancient hunter before them, not the passionate and caring woman they traveled with.

The couple went to Jan and the woman said, "You are her young man, si?" Jan nodded. "You must help her. She... she can't stand someone being hurt in front of her. She has seen her father and three friends taken from her violently, bullying and the like. She needs to know you are well. Sing for her. I know she wrote to you. My sister told me about it. Shelbi talks about you. Sing."

Jan forced himself to sit up. Danny was shocked. With a fist size whole in his chest, he should have shut down his heart and lungs, but he didn't Barack went to his son and helped him stand. Jan began to sing.

Just as she was about to give the killing blow, Shelbi stopped. She looked at Jan. She saw the pass around his neck and ran to him. She hugged him, crying. She didn't know why.

"You're okay," she said. "You're okay."

Jan smiled and said, "Just a scratch. As long as you are safe, Mi$$y, I'm fine."

"My name is Shelbi," she said. "Shelbi Tortuga."

"Janovich," he said.

Barack finished off the vampire. He changed the memory for the human couple but he didn't have the heart to do it to Shelbi. He looked at Darius, unsure of what to do.

"take them inside" darius said as he finished getting ride of the blood and evidence

Shelbi helped Jan into the RV. She didn't know why they weren't going to the hospital. Her aunt and uncle weren't allowed on. Syndil rushed in to help. She hugged Jan to her briefly before getting the herbs together.

"Are you sure you're alright?" Shelbi asked. "Shouldn't we go to the hospital?"

"Ill be fine....they will care for me better then a hospital would" he said holding her hand "you being here makes me feel better already" he said with a soft smile

She began crying. She just met him, yet she felt as if he were taking a part of her. Before she could stop herself, she kissed him. She didn't know when it happened, but she had started to fall for a man she had never seen because of his letters. If this was the last and only time she would ever see him, she had to show him everything in her.

Jan almost lost control for a minute as he wrapped his arms around her, ignoring the pain it brought, his hunger was fierce but he kept himself under control, enjoying her kiss

Barack had pull Shelbi from Jan as he said, "He needs to heal. Go see your family."

"I can't leave him!" Shelbi said. "I won't!"

"Darius, she is acting like a..." he started to say, then stopped. "Janovich, you talk to her. She's your woman, you deal with her."

Jan sighed, he wanted to get this over with, he was sure she would leave after she knew, he pushed his way into her head and in a span of a few minutes told her about his people and that she was his lifemate

Shelbi held her head for a moment and said, "Now, I refuse to leave even more. I'm staying right here. And no one will make me leave for any reason!"

HE stared at her in shock for a moment "did you not hear what I said? the not being humans....the way we live?" he said in disbelief

"So?" she said. "I also saw the loneliness and the gray world you lived in! I will not leave you! I just found you!"

He looked away from her, tears in his eyes "I do not deserve such words...I have done terrible things Shelbi....things that would make you look at me like I was a monster" he said in a uneven tone

"You think I'm a saint?" she asked. "You saw what I did out there. I'm not exactly an angle, Jan." She looked him in the eye. "I'm not leaving you, so get over it."

He dreaded what he had to do but she deserved the truth, once more he pushed into her head and showed her everything he did to julietta

Shelbi paled. She felt sick. To his surprise, she hugged him.

"I'm sorry I didn't find you sooner," she said. "If I had, you wouldn't have felt such hopelessness. You weren't in your right mind, and she will see that one day. I'm not saying it was right, but I am saying that it wasn't really you who did that. If you had been in your right mind, you would have never hurt her. Fear makes us do awful things... like hurt our best friends."

He couldnt believe wat she was saying, he didnt deserve her even more now, he told everyone to leave tem, once they were gone, he made her look at him "please forgive me....I cant hold back anymore...not after what you just said" he said and said the binding words to her

She said, "Idiot, I said I wouldn't leave you, not that I wanted to be claimed. Well, too late now." She kissed him. "I'm going to go get Darius and the others. Then..."

He grabbed her and pulled her to him once more, kissing her deeply

She moaned but pushed away. "You are hurt and this isn't helping. I'll get Darius so that..."

He kissed her again, this time more passionately

Shelbi moaned loudly. She had to make him stop. If she didn't... Her hands drifted over his wound.

He flinched but didnt release her, he grabbed her hand and laid her on her back with him covering her with his body

"Jan," she said, "we can't. You have a hole in your chest."

"its ok because you have my heart so Ill be fine" he said kisisng her neck

"I want you healed," she said, gasping. "Please?"

He groan and got back his self-control "go...hurry woman before I devour you right here" he said moving off of her

Shelbi moved quickly. She opened the door, but looked back just before leaving. Darius and Syndil went inside. Without him around her, she could think. She touched where he had kissed her neck, feeling it burn. Someone touched her shoulder. She looked up and saw Julietta.

"Hey," she said. "You okay? I thought you were still hiding from everyone because of the pain."

She grabbed Shelbi's wrist and started to run, making her follow, When they were a bit aways away in the woods she stopped "you need to trust me on know what we are....something bad is coming...soon and no one will be able to deal with it but you....let me convert you will need to be a full Carpathian to protect Jan from what is to come" she said in a sincere tone

Shelbi said, "Please, let go of me. I've already scared enough of your family tonight." Then it hit her. "What will I need to protect Jan from?"

She shook her head "there is no time....its now or never...." she said and groaned in pain "please hurry you have to decide now, I cant remain in this form long...hurry and decide, if you want to save jan and everyone then let me convert you"

"Then do it," Shelbi said. "Like I'm going to abandon everyone here just because I'm scared out of my mind and worried about Jan."

"NO matter what you can not tell them what we speak of tonight and that I was the one that converted you....say you were will make sure they are on guard which is what we need..I'm sorry for the pain your about to feel" she said and bit deep in her neck, she quickly did three blood exchanges, when the first wave hit she picked her up and brought her near the RV, compelling her to crawl to the RV and left

Shelbi crawled towards the door. She screamed when the next wave hit her.

Jan shot up when he heard her cry, it took two males to hold him down so they could finish healing him, he saw desari run for the door towards the screams

Desari gasped. There were bite marks on Shelbi's neck and blood on her mouth. She was going through the conversion. "Darius!" she yelled out.

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