Silence Of The Wolf Page 17
Elizabeth said, ’’Did you check my camera?’’
’’Yeah, I\m sorry. It\s not working. I\ll have Jake look at it.’’
’’Great,’’ she said unhappily.
As they exited the building into the biting cold, she looked so miserable, her chin pointed down as she stared at the snow-shoveled walkway to the truck, that he felt badly for her. He hoped a good meal would make her feel a little better.
’’Do you think you can handle lunch?’’ he asked.
’’My stomach is growling, if that\s any indication that I have an appetite and can eat just fine.’’
’’How do you feel about eating out? Or would you prefer that we get some food at your room?’’
’’I\ll be fine. Really, Tom. I can dine out. No special treatment. Thanks, though.’’
’’All right. I\ll take you to Silver Town Tavern for lunch. When we\ e done, we can return to your room, and I can apply the ice pack on your back. That will help keep the swelling and bruising to a minimum.’’
She looked at him with one of those almost smiles that said he\d pushed it in trying to get close and personal. But they\d already been close and personal, and if she hadn\ been injured, he\d want to sample more of her kisses. Without an audience and especially without Cantrell around to use his phone video recorder!
He raised his brows. ’’It\s the least I can do after not being there for you when you were hurt.’’
’’I\m sure I can manage.’’
’’Doc\s orders. One of us has to stay with you until we\ e certain your condition doesn\ deteriorate.’’ Tom knew she shouldn\ stay by herself in the event she had incurred some head trauma. She couldn\ even turn her head without wincing and groaning.
When she didn\ say anything, he glanced at her. She smiled at him.
’’That is the best pickup line I\ve ever heard. You are so bossy. Did you know that?’’
He chuckled. ’’I\m free all afternoon. We can eat, then we\ll drop by your place, and you can try to sleep while I apply the ice pack to your back.’’
’’All right. I\m sure if I oppose any part of your plan, you\ll disagree.’’
’’What part of the plan would you object to?’’
She rolled her eyes and then tried flexing her fingers, wincing a bit at the sore muscles in her wrist.
’’It\ll get better,’’ he continued. ’’By tomorrow, some of the edge will be off, courtesy of our wolf...’’ He paused, wondering if she was the same as them because she had mixed coyote blood. He had no idea if coyote shifters healed faster.
’’Yes, I heal quickly also.’’ Her words were clipped.
He\d hit a nerve, and that made him want to know so much more about her. What was her history with the coyote and wolf packs? Why was she so touchy about her coyote roots?
Maybe he should have been a psychologist like Lelandi. Darien would have a fit if Tom even considered such a thing.
One psychologist in the family was more than enough to drive Darien nuts.
Elizabeth glanced around at the quaint old town with its covered wooden walkways that led from one building to the next. The town would look like a scene from an old Western movie if it weren\ for the carved grizzlies and wolves guarding the businesses at strategic locations. The grizzlies stood six feet tall with their teeth bared and their long claws stretched out, while the wolves looked on with watchful eyes, their mouths clamped shut and their expressions leery.
A couple of chairs rocked in the breeze as if ghostly figures enjoyed the view of the abandoned, two-story timber hotel across the street. Snow-covered mountains provided a majestic backdrop. Large dusty, dark tavern windows peered onto the street, and Elizabeth envisioned wary patrons watching her approach. A newcomer. Everyone would wonder why she was in Tom\s company. Unless the word had already spread through the entire town.
She looked at the hotel\s dusty windows, pausing for a moment to consider a spot that someone seemed to have wiped a bit clean to peer out.
’’A new family purchased the hotel,’’ Tom said, noticing Elizabeth\s focus. ’’They plan to renovate it.’’
’’In a similar style, based on the town as it is?’’ She loved seeing old places renovated but that still featured the original architecture of the period. It gave the town character.
’’You bet. And they\ e keeping the same name.’’
’’That\s nice.’’ As spooky as it looked, she wondered about the hotel\s history. ’’Is it haunted?’’
’’Oh. What if ghost busters want to come to town to learn about the hauntings and discover something more paranormal? Like... wolf shifters running the place?’’
He shook his head and guided her along the wooden walkway. ’’We\ll keep mum about the ghostly happenings.’’
’’But visitors might not.’’
’’Only wolf pack members will serve on the staff. If guests say they saw ghosts, it\s their word against the owners and staff who work there.’’
’’Wow,’’ Elizabeth said. ’’I like the way your wolf town works.’’
He smiled at her comment. ’’We only hire wolf shifters for key jobs. The humans are none the wiser, and it keeps them from running our town.’’
As they walked along the boardwalk, the boards creaked like they suffered from arthritis, announcing their arrival loud and clear. Tom opened the tavern door for Elizabeth. Her eyes adjusted to the lower lights inside. Amber glass lights dangled from brass rods hung from a ten-foot-high ceiling and cast a golden light over dark oak tables and an antique bar. Antique mirrors covering the wall behind the bar made the place appear even larger. Dark wood ceiling fans were suspended but stationary. The tavern was comfortably cool already.