Silence Of The Wolf Page 14
Radcliff shook his head. ’’You notice how the brothers stick together?’’
Yeah, Elizabeth thought, and they might stick together to kick her out of the territory when Tom\s brothers learned what she was.
Tom wasn\ sure what to think concerning Elizabeth\s allegations. Skiers and snowboarders knocked others down on the slopes all the time, and it didn\ mean anything except that they were out of control and practicing unsafe skiing or snowboarding. Since she wasn\ from here, he didn\ think she\d have any enemies. Unless she\d annoyed someone on the slope, and Tom had yet to learn of it.
He fully intended to get to the bottom of this. Peter would handle it from a police perspective, while Tom would stay on top of it from a pack sub-leader point of view.
He took hold of the trace of the toboggan while Kemp took the tail rope to help guide it down the trails. The patrollers all preferred grabbing the trace rather than the tail rope to transport a patient. The lead was responsible for primary braking, choosing the best route, and any change in speed and direction. In other words, he was in charge, which was the way Tom liked it.
The tail operator usually wasn\ needed much unless the trail was particularly steep, as this one was, and then he might be required for secondary braking. He might also be needed to observe the patient\s status, though in this case, Elizabeth wasn\ in any kind of life-threatening condition. Peter pulled that duty instead of being the tail operator, trying to stay close to the toboggan and still interested in the she-wolf, Tom suspected.
Kemp was also responsible for monitoring traffic, as well as keeping the rope under proper tension and parallel to the fall line to halt the toboggan immediately if necessary.
Tom put his hand on the crossbar to brace during the steepest parts of the descent while side-slipping down the mountain. Kemp gripped the tail rope with both hands, underhanded, through the loop at the end. He matched Tom\s speed.
’’You okay?’’ Tom asked Elizabeth as he paused.
Once he got them off the expert trail, he eased them onto Fox Run, an intermediate slope.
The teens skied past them, while Peter followed behind the toboggan and Radcliff skied next to it. The ski patrollers got another emergency call and Radcliff answered it. He waved at Tom and Kemp. ’’A guy jumped off a chair on Lift 3. Possibly broke both legs. Got to go.’’
Tom shook his head.
’’Automatic revoking of ski pass,’’ Kemp said cheerfully.
Tom smiled at him. ’’You think he\d ski the rest of the season with two broken legs?’’
Kemp laughed. ’’As gung ho as some of these guys are? You never know.’’
When they finally reached Meadow Lane, one of the bunny slopes, they had to watch out for all the new skiers taking spills, running into each other, or falling without even taking a step.
’’We\ e almost there,’’ Tom said to Elizabeth, glancing back. She had closed her eyes, and he worried she might have passed out from a head trauma. ’’Elizabeth?’’
’’Elizabeth, are you all right?’’ Peter asked, getting close.
’’Yes,’’ she said, sounding annoyed. She still didn\ open her eyes.
Peter smiled at Tom. ’’She doesn\ like the attention.’’
She would get it whether she liked it or not, Tom vowed.
When they arrived at the first-aid hut, Tom came around to the right of the toboggan and unstrapped Elizabeth. He and Kemp lifted her onto a gurney that a couple of the staff brought out to them. The teens were waiting for them to give Peter their full statements.
’’This is so unnecessary,’’ Elizabeth griped, her voice still muffled by the oxygen mask.
’’Are you always like this when you\ e a patient?’’ Tom asked.
She snorted. He chuckled.
Peter took her skis and poles, and Minx offered to hold her camera. Tom wheeled Elizabeth into the hut.
’’I\ll pick up your bag at your locker and follow the ambulance to the hospital in Silver Town.’’ Tom winked at her.
She rolled her eyes. That earned her another smile.
Jake walked through the door to the hut, his expression dark. ’’I received updates about the lady as I drove over here to take your place this afternoon. Do you need me to take her to the hospital instead?’’ Jake sounded damned serious.
His brother had to be kidding!
As soon as Jake Silver took a deep breath, Elizabeth knew he was sampling her scent, checking out the wolf-coyote.
The natural instinct to do so existed in both wolves and coyotes. She wished she didn\ feel so defensive. It didn\ mean he judged her for what she was. But based on past treatment, she automatically assumed the worst.
She didn\ have any sisters, and her half brother, Sefton, had only used her as the butt of his jokes before he moved in with their uncle. Sefton had never teased her in a lighthearted way, like Jake did Tom. She could tell Jake was pulling Tom\s leg, even though he sounded so serious. He smiled at Tom with a devilish glint in his eye.
’’Cantrell sent me a short video of you,’’ Jake said to Tom.
Tom looked clueless. Thinking it was the pay-for-view video of her and Tom kissing, Elizabeth felt her cheeks heat all over again.
Jake was as rugged looking as Tom, but his eyes and hair were darker brown. He was tall and commanding, equally in control. She wondered if their brother Darien appeared much the same. She could easily imagine humans getting them mixed up.
When Jake turned his full attention on her again, his expression grew wary, like he was looking out for his brother\s best interests. A warning. Don\ mess with the Silver pack unless you want to face down some angry wolves.