Silence Of The Wolf Page 10

The skier had to be a man, as hefty as he was slammed into her, knocking her down the steep incline.

Heart in her throat, she cried out. She lost her camera on impact. Fell. With her ski poles looped around her wrists, she threw her gloved hands out, trying to stop herself. The shove made her topple onto her side, crashing into the first of the moguls that didn\ slow her fall.

Elizabeth continued to tumble down the slope. She feared smashing her head against the compacted snow and breaking limbs her own, not the trees\. Briefly, she fretted about her camera, finding it, concerned it might be ruined. Even the worry about a spinal injury flashed through her mind as she continued the downward plunge.

She did not see her life flashing before her eyes. All she saw were snow and intermittent flashes of blue sky and more snow. Elizabeth felt panicked, unable to stop her forward roll.

She still held on to one pole, having lost the other and both skis. Slamming against one mogul after another, she finally hit one hard enough to stop her. She didn\ remember losing consciousness. Her breath had been knocked out of her, though, and her wrist and back hurt.

’’Miss, are you all right?’’ someone hollered down to her from the top of the trail, sounding far away. A youthful male voice.

She didn\ know how far she\d rolled until she stopped. She thought she\d tumbled all the way to the bottom of the mountain where she couldn\ roll any farther. But no such luck. She was still way up on the very steep incline amid all the bumps, staring up at the blue, blue sky.

Unable to catch her breath, she tried to calm her racing heart.

She wished she could have gotten up quickly on her own, somehow managed to make it the rest of the way down the slope, and none would be the wiser.

Now she was afraid that whoever had discovered her would make a big deal of this.

’’Minx, you can\ go down this way,’’ the kid hollered.

’’I\ve been skiing since I was three. I\ll get her camera. You guys go see to her.’’

Her camera. Elizabeth tried to turn her head, but her back hurt.

’’Come on, Anthony. You know Minx never listens to us. If she breaks her neck, we can say we told her so.’’

’’Ha, ha, very funny,’’ Minx said.

The ground vibrated slightly beneath Elizabeth as the boys\ skis swished on the snow, then one stopped way above her, and the other came into view.

’’I\m just getting her skis to warn others of danger down the slope, Cody.’’ Anthony quickly joined Cody, yanked a cell phone out of a bag, and called ski patrol.

They were as tall as grown men, so she figured they were older teens.

Elizabeth closed her eyes, knowing full well Tom would soon get word of this.

’’I\m okay,’’ she said, even though she felt terribly winded. She didn\ feel she\d broken anything, but her wrist hurt. And she couldn\ seem to catch her breath so she could rise to a sitting position.

She wanted to lie here, soak up the sun that the two boys now blocked, and get her bearings. Their faces wore frowns as they looked her over.

’’Doesn\ look like she\s got any visible broken bones,’’ Cody said.

’’I secured the area,’’ Anthony said on the phone. He\d crossed her skis upright in the snow to warn skiers above that a safety issue existed below them.

The boys were gray wolves. She hadn\ seen or scented the girl yet and hoped she wouldn\ get hurt on the slope while looking for Elizabeth\s camera. But she was glad the girl was searching for it and hoped it was all right. At least no one else was on the trail. Thank God.

’’I\m all right,’’ Elizabeth said. ’’I... just need a moment.’’

’’Hot damn, she\s a wolf,’’ Anthony said.

She frowned at him. No one mentioned the wolf word. Or in her case, coyote, either. Not in public.

As if he read her mind, he grinned. ’’No one around to hear me but us wolves.’’

And one part coyote.

’’She\s the one Tom must have brought up to the ski resort. All the guys are talking about her,’’ Cody said. ’’And the kiss.’’ He grinned big time. ’’Cantrell said he caught them on his phone video recorder, but he won\ share unless you pay for it. A few other guys took shots with their cell phones, too. They\ e sharing for free, sending emails to the pack.’’

Her whole body warmed, and she suddenly felt feverish. She couldn\ believe the word had spread that fast. Or that anyone had bothered to catch their actions on camera. Sure, she knew that a pack shared information to protect themselves, but still... She thought Tom had been exaggerating.

’’Where do you hurt?’’ Cody asked, crouching down in front of her.

Everywhere. She would be fine once she got off this black slope, if trying to ski downhill didn\ kill her.

’’She\s having trouble concentrating, unable to answer questions,’’ Anthony said into his cell when Elizabeth didn\ answer right away. ’’She\s the one Tom brought up here.’’ Anthony grinned, put his hand over the phone, and said, ’’You\ e a celebrity. You\ll have the entire ski patrol checking you out.’’

With mortification, she felt like she was having a hot flash, and she was sure she could melt the mogul she rested against into a puddle of water.

’’I\m fine,’’ she said, trying to sit up. ’’I\m not having trouble concentrating. Just breathing.’’

’’No, just lie still,’’ Cody said, his hand on her shoulder. ’’You might have a spinal injury.’’ He turned to the other boy. ’’And tell them she has shortness of breath.’’

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