Silence Of The Wolf Page 19

’’Thanks.’’ Tom turned to Silva. ’’Just get the lady whatever she\d like. I\ll have the usual.’’

’’I sure will, Tom. I\ve never seen him so down in the dumps, have you?’’ Silva whispered.

Tom shook his head, rose from his chair, and crossed the floor to where Peter sat. ’’What\s up, Peter?’’

’’My brother\s coming to town.’’

Tom had never met Peter\s brother. Peter had joined their pack years ago, after his brother had left him for places unknown. Tom had no idea what the man was like.

Not waiting for an invite, since he knew from the way Peter stared out the window that he wouldn\ give one, Tom took a seat across from him. ’’You always figured your brother was in some kind of trouble. And that\s why he would never visit. You thought he wouldn\ offer for you to come see him because he was into something illegal.’’

’’Yeah,’’ Peter said glumly.

’’So you\ e the law. If he comes here and breaks any of our rules, you stick him in jail. What with us running the place, it shouldn\ be any trouble.’’ Because the jail was shifter run, it was probably the only one in the States where a shifter could be incarcerated without that causing problems. One cell block was strictly for shifters with minor infractions and isolated the wolves from everyone else.

’’He\s bringing a mate,’’ Peter said.

Tom frowned, hoping Peter\s brother hadn\ gotten mixed up with a human and would bring a whole bunch of grief to the pack. ’’Is she a wolf?’’

’’I have no idea. He\s a loner. He\s stayed away all these years, and it makes me think he\s up to something less than legal. I just don\ want him to stir up trouble for the pack. I know my duty, but...’’

’’He\s still your brother.’’ Tom patted Peter on the shoulder. ’’I\ll let Darien know, and we\ll all provide backup to help out if he causes problems.’’

’’We loved to hunt and fish as kids before he took off and I joined your pack.’’ Peter sounded a little more hopeful, finally making eye contact with Tom.

’’So maybe you can do that again.’’

’’I don\ know what he wants.’’

’’Don\ second-guess it. Just make the most of his visit. You never know. He might be ready to settle down and want to join our pack, if he doesn\ cause trouble.’’

Peter looked back at Elizabeth. ’’What about her?’’ Now he sounded really interested.

’’Kind of a mystery.’’ But Tom\s mystery. Not any other bachelor male\s in the pack. ’’Got to get back to her. Are you all right now?’’

’’Yeah, thanks.’’

Tom glanced at the other men. They dipped their heads a little in silent acknowledgment that they could step in now and help out. Two rose from the table and walked over to join Peter.

The banker said, ’’Do you mind if we join you?’’

’’I\d like that. Thanks, Mason.’’

Reassured Peter would be okay, Tom returned to his own table.

’’Okay, so you want the usual and... Elizabeth?’’ Silva said. She brought out a pad and pen. She didn\ need to use them, but it was part of her presentation.

’’Roast beef sandwich sound good?’’ Tom asked Elizabeth, surprised she hadn\ already placed an order. Then again, she\d been watching him, studying him. He hoped she liked what she saw.

’’Sure,’’ Elizabeth said.

’’And to drink?’’ he asked.

Elizabeth gave a little snort. ’’Make it milk.’’

Silva glanced at her wrist. ’’Break?’’

’’Sprain. But I figure that milk helps to keep the bones strong if I fall down mountains in the future.’’

Silva smiled at her. ’’I\m Silva, by the way. I\m the proud owner of the Victorian Tea Shop.’’

Sam scowled as he watched them, then turned to dry more glasses.

’’I take it Sam\s not happy about this,’’ Tom said. Silva had waitressed at the tavern forever, even though with their longevity, she was only twenty-eight in human years.

’’Nope,’’ Silva said. ’’It\s time I had a place of my own. I\ll waitress over there and I\ll be the owner. Which means I can decorate it to my heart\s content. If you hang around long enough,’’ she said to Elizabeth, ’’you can come to the grand opening.’’

’’Thanks. Maybe I can come back some other time.’’

Silva glanced at Tom as if he was supposed to keep Elizabeth here a while longer, if nothing else, to ensure that Elizabeth came to her grand opening.

Elizabeth cleared her throat uncomfortably and asked Silva, ’’Do you ski?’’

Silva laughed and said, ’’I\ve only been up to the ski resort one time. I went to the ski lodge and had a hot toddy.’’ She shrugged. ’’If wolves were meant to ski, they wouldn\ have nonslip paw pads.’’ She paused before she left to place their orders. ’’You\ e staying overnight, at least, aren\ you?’’

’’Yeah. I am.’’

Silva gave her a big smile. ’’You\ve got to meet Darien\s mate, Lelandi. She\d love to visit with you.’’

’’I think we\ll see her tonight.’’

Silva glanced at Tom. ’’Good. Sounds real good. I\ll get your food.’’ She headed for the bar.

Sam shoved a tray on the counter, two sandwiches already on the plates, along with a beer and one glass of milk.

’’Why thank you, Sam. That was quick.’’

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