Silence Of The Wolf Page 25
While Tom drove them to Darien\s home, Elizabeth pulled her phone out of her backpack to call North. She had to tell him she wouldn\ be at Bertha\s B and B tonight. She paused. What if somehow North\s knowing where she stayed was the reason the burglars had broken into her room? What if they had seen her leave the B and B with Tom and had followed her to the resort?
What if they were working for her uncle?
She chewed on her lip. She hated all this second-guessing.
She called North\s number, and he picked up.
’’Call you back later,’’ North said abruptly, then hung up on her.
She stared at the phone. The break-in might not have anything to do with North, but she sure didn\ like him not taking her call. Was her Uncle Quinton visiting North? Questioning him about her?
’’Anything wrong?’’ Tom asked.
’’Um, no.’’ She had told the truth. There might be nothing wrong. She shoved her phone back into her pack. At least she hoped that was the truth. She didn\ want Tom and his pack involved in this business with her and the red pack.
When they arrived at Darien and Lelandi\s two-story log home, Elizabeth guessed it had to be about ten thousand square feet, large enough to accommodate pack gatherings. Smoke curled from two chimneys. Snow piled on the windowsills and icicles dripping off the roof made the house look like a warm place to spend the winter season.
An unwanted feeling of sadness slid through her as she thought about not having a pack to belong to or someone to watch her back as she watched his or hers. She quickly quashed that notion. She\d been perfectly happy and much safer since she\d hightailed it out of the southeastern part of Colorado and settled in Texas.
Tom escorted her into the house, stopping only to remove the parka draped over her shoulders, and then led her into the living room where he introduced Lelandi. All smiles, she greeted Elizabeth, her hand outstretched. She was gentle, as if she was afraid Elizabeth would break. Elizabeth smelled that Lelandi was a red wolf who didn\ seem to have any animosity for her, despite the fact that Elizabeth was part coyote. That open-mindedness was so foreign to Elizabeth that she couldn\ fathom it.
Her red hair secured in a bun, Lelandi had on the professional navy-blue business jacket and skirt she wore for seeing her psychology clients. Her eyes were clear green, unlike Elizabeth\s more blue-green, but the two women looked similar in terms of height and hair color. Elizabeth was finer boned, probably due to her coyote ancestry.
’’You really didn\ have to go to all of this trouble for me,’’ Elizabeth said, feeling more like an intruder in the family business than anything.
’’Nonsense. Usual fare. Think nothing of it. We\ e delighted to have you stay with us.’’
The welcome was in Lelandi\s voice, though Elizabeth also heard something else a pack leader\s declaration: You will stay with us for your protection. Elizabeth was used to being independent and on her own, so she wasn\ sure how to feel about that.
The whole home was warm and welcoming, with soft velour couches and chairs, pale yellow painted walls, and a massive stone fireplace where a fire crackled and red-orange flames spiraled upward. An extra cushiony beige carpet was underfoot, and dark, polished wood beams crisscrossed a high ceiling.
But something more than its physical appearance made the home inviting.
Elizabeth could sense the feel of family here, unlike in her own home. She felt safe there from her pack, but she realized there was something to be said for having a family. Her home was isolated, singular, and if she admitted it to herself, lonely.
A blue-eyed blonde came out of another room and greeted her, smiling broadly and with her hand extended. Another red wolf. Elizabeth was astounded to see two of them here. Maybe red she-wolves, in particular, appealed to this group of grays, she thought.
’’I\m Carol McKinley, a nurse. I\ve been told you\ve had a rough time of it, so if you\ e ready, I\ll take you up to your room. You can lie down for a bit until we eat dinner.’’
Lelandi smiled. ’’We\ll see you a little later. Get some rest, Elizabeth.’’
Again, the pack leader had decided. Not that Elizabeth didn\ appreciate the ’’offer.’’ She was all too glad to lie down for a while.
’’Thanks.’’ Elizabeth glanced at Tom. He dipped his head, letting her know he approved of the idea.
She didn\ really need his approval, but she wanted him to know she cared about his feelings. When did that get to be an issue?
He ran his hand over her shoulder in a tender caress. ’’Feel better,’’ he said emphatically, his gaze on hers.
’’I\ll be a hundred percent before you know it.’’
He smiled a little at that, and she wasn\ sure if he thought she was joking. ’’I will,’’ she insisted, then headed for the stairs with Carol.
’’You will,’’ Carol said, repeating Elizabeth\s words like a mantra. ’’Half the fight is taking a positive stance.’’
’’The other half is having genetics that help us to heal faster,’’ Elizabeth said.
Carol laughed as they climbed the stairs. ’’I have to admit that\s the thing I love best about being a wolf. I\m a red wolf, too. Newly turned.’’
’’Oh.’’ She wondered if Carol wasn\ used to everyone knowing what everyone was just by smell. She didn\ know what to say to Carol about having been turned, since Elizabeth herself had turned a human and that had worked out very badly. Taking her mind off that scenario, she tried to look at the photographs of mountain wildflowers hanging on the walls.