Silence Of The Wolf Page 15

Jake didn\ have to worry about her intentions. Joining a gray wolf pack here or anywhere was out of the question because of what she was. She had to admit that she found it refreshing to see a pack run their own town and ski resort, instead of hiding among humans and pretending to be just like them. She also liked how protective Jake was of his brother.

Long ago, she\d learned that she just didn\ fit in anywhere. Men human or otherwise were a definite hazard to her health. Case in point: whoever had pushed her down the black-diamond slope had meant to injure her. Why? For taking a few pictures of the mountains? Of a skier in action?

What if the skier hadn\ wanted her to capture him on camera in action or any other way? She frowned at that. She realized that even if her camera was broken, she did have the card with the pictures of the man who had ridden the lift with her, if he was the other guy\s ski buddy.

She had a flash of recall. She had taken a backward shot to capture the interesting vista from the lift, and she was certain the man on the chairlift behind her would be in the picture. Maybe blurred. She couldn\ remember exactly what she\d been focusing on.

’’I got pictures of them,’’ she said.

Tom asked, ’’Of whom?’’

’’Of the man who pushed me down, if he rode the lift behind us, and the other who might have been with him. I don\ know how good the photos will be.’’

Jake glanced at her camera, his face brightening at once. ’’You\ e a photographer.’’ As if he suddenly recalled what she was doing up there.

She felt like laughing. Now it didn\ matter who she was or what she intended if she liked photography, she had an in with Jake. ’’I write for a newspaper.’’ She took decent pictures, but she didn\ want him to think she was a professional photographer.

Tom frowned. ’’We\ll check out the pictures after Doc Weber runs some tests on you.’’

She hoped the pictures would reveal something useful. But now she had a new problem. She had to get hold of North and make arrangements to meet him somewhere else at a later time. She wouldn\ be able to return to the ski slopes this afternoon.

***

Jake had to be kidding about taking care of Elizabeth. Jake had a mate, whom he adored, so Tom knew his brother wasn\ interested in the she-wolf. It seemed more like a case of him trying to give Tom a hard time. Or maybe Jake was worried that Tom would show interest in the wrong she-wolf. He wondered what video Jake was talking about, particularly since his brother couldn\ hide the hint of a smile that surfaced when he mentioned it.

Now Jake appeared every bit as interested in her camera and the pictures she\d taken, and nothing else mattered.

’’I already offered to go with her,’’ Peter said. ’’Tom\s not budging. Although I also want to get a look at those pictures if this was foul play instead of an accident. And Cantrell\s video, if anything important is on that.’’

’’I agree about the pictures, Peter.’’ Tom gave his brother a sideways glance, wondering about Cantrell\s video. ’’I\ll take care of your ski rentals, Elizabeth. After I\ll get your stuff from your locker, I\ll meet you down at the hospital.’’

’’I need to get up the mountain,’’ Jake said and slapped Tom on the back. ’’Keep me posted on the little lady.’’

Tom squeezed Elizabeth\s hand with assurance. ’’I\ll see you real soon.’’

He caught Jake\s eye, saw the way his brother watched them, and shook his head. Tom loved his family, but he hadn\ realized what it would feel like for him to be under the magnifying glass and not them when it came to interest in a woman.

Cody, Anthony, and Minx quickly took Elizabeth\s ski rentals in hand and offered to turn them in. Thanking them, Tom headed for her ski locker where he could pick up whatever she\d left there. He hoped the man who had run into her had only done so because he was being a jerk, instead of doing so on purpose.

***

When Tom arrived at the hospital, the waiting room was empty, mostly because wolves didn\ get sick often and healed quickly on their own. Humans were the only ones who needed much care, but the town had a sparse human population. The receptionist, a middle-aged widow, smiled at him. Maggie was dressed in her usual black and white kitty-cat scrubs. Everyone teased her about wearing cat scrubs when she was a gray wolf in a pack of mostly gray wolves.

’’Hi, Tom. Thought you were on ski patrol today.’’

’’Just this morning.’’

’’Did you need to see the doctor?’’ Maggie rose from the chair.

The news would get all over town when he told her he\d come to check on Elizabeth. ’’I\m waiting to hear what Dr. Weber has to say about Elizabeth Wildwood.’’

’’Elizabeth Wildwood.’’ Maggie\s tone of voice and smile said it all she figured he had something going with the wolf-coyote. ’’Do you want to have a seat?’’

No, he didn\ . He just wanted to learn about Elizabeth\s condition as soon as possible. ’’I\ll just walk back.’’

Before he reached the hallway to the exam rooms, Maggie said, ’’She\s pretty. Not from around here. Is she moving to town?’’

’’No.’’ He wanted to end the discussion without another word.

’’Ah. So... there\s nothing to the video.’’

Tom paused. ’’What video?’’

’’The one that Cantrell took. Didn\ you know about it? He\s charging ten dollars a view. Everyone who\s gotten word of it is paying for it. Even your brothers, I heard.’’


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