Silence Of The Wolf Page 27

’’By accident?’’ Carol asked, sounding surprised, maybe hopeful that Elizabeth couldn\ have done that to anyone on purpose.

’’No. We were dating. I... couldn\ court wolves or coyotes. I wasn\ welcome. So I dated humans. Anyway, this guy and I really hit it off. He loved to camp and I loved the woods, so we sort of suited each other. I was his first girlfriend who didn\ mind the grunge of primitive camping. I was swimming in a lake when I heard him screaming. A mountain lion had attacked him. The only way for him to live...’’ Elizabeth took a deep breath.

’’What happened to him?’’

’’He...’’ Elizabeth let her breath out in exasperation. ’’You know we mate for life, right?’’

’’Sure. It\s a genetic anomaly. That\s something I love about being a wolf. I don\ have to worry about Ryan straying.’’

’’Right. Well, even with that, I couldn\ keep him.’’

Carol\s blue eyes were round. ’’You\ e mated?’’

Elizabeth heard the shock in Carol\s voice. If Elizabeth was mated, so what? Unless...

She discounted that notion. No way was anything more going to develop between her and Tom.

’’We were mated. Not for long. He got himself killed over wanting someone else. Maybe changing him didn\ turn off the part of the human brain that wants someone new and different after a while. He made a deadly mistake. Once the she-wolf he became interested in realized that he was part coyote, newly turned, and mated to the wolf-coyote who had changed him, she told her brother. Her brother killed the two-timer.’’

’’Wow. He had no family to speak of?’’

’’None that was close to him. No great loss to anyone much.’’

’’You were upset about it, though.’’ Carol removed the ice pack.

’’At first, sure. I saved his life, and I truly had cared for him. He loved being a wolf. He just didn\ realize he was part coyote. I thought it was the perfect scenario. He was happy with what he was because he didn\ know any differently. But then he caught sight of the red she-wolf and decided to dump me for her.

’’When he learned I was part coyote and had made him that way which is why the she-wolf shunned him, ignoring the fact she wouldn\ have wanted him because he also was mated he wanted to kill me. Thankfully, her brother got to him first. I left the area after that.’’

Carol was quiet for a long time. ’’You don\ think what has happened to you up here has anything to do with your family, do you? Or maybe this woman\s brother?’’

’’I... don\ believe so. The wolf who was interested in my former mate is probably mated by now,’’ Elizabeth said, hedging on the question about her family.

She thought back to when she\d run away from her pack and settled in Oklahoma near her mother\s family. That hadn\ been all that far from where the red pack was. Texas wasn\ , either. As much as she hated to admit it, she had never been able to move very far away from her family even as cruelly as they\d treated her. They were still family, the only blood relatives she had.

But what if Carol\s suspicions were right and her family was causing her trouble again? What if North had betrayed her? And told her uncle she was here? Or he might have unwittingly revealed her whereabouts or been forced to give Uncle Quinton the information.

’’Where was your pack from?’’ Carol asked.

Elizabeth hesitated to say.

Carol chewed on her lower lip. ’’Not from around here, are they?’’

’’Southeastern part of the state.’’

’’About seven hours from here?’’

’’Yeah... so not all that close.’’ Elizabeth had a bad feeling about this. How would Carol know how far the pack was from here?

Carol looked disconcerted, her forehead wrinkled, and she chewed on her lower lip again. ’’You\ e part of Bruin\s old pack?’’

Heart pounding, Elizabeth gaped at Carol for a second, and then she clamped her lips closed. Carol knew them. Elizabeth hadn\ thought anyone from the gray wolf pack would know them. Then again, both Lelandi and Carol were red wolves. Dr. Weber was, too, Elizabeth remembered.

As much as possible, Elizabeth had stayed clear of the red pack while living with her mother and father. Her uncle and half brother had visited her and caused all the trouble for her. She hadn\ been able to get to know the other members of the pack, except North. He had come to see her a few times, the only red wolf she knew at the time who didn\ wish her any harm.

But she\d truly believed everyone would regard her the same way as her family, no matter where in the country she ended up. She hadn\ found many wolves who treated her like Tom\s pack had.

Carol paused, then said, ’’You and Lelandi don\ seem to know each other.’’

’’I didn\ live with the pack.’’

’’Okay. I understand. But the red wolves can\ think they\ e any better than you. They\ e just like you.’’

’’They\ e red wolves. Not half coyote.’’ Elizabeth couldn\ see how Carol wouldn\ know that. ’’What happened to the red wolf who turned you?’’

’’He was killed after he bit me.’’

’’Good.’’

Carol sighed. ’’As a nurse, I try to save people. I think that\s the hardest part of being a wolf for me. When wolves do really bad things, they can\ go to jail and live among humans. Not for extended periods of time. They\d have to shift at some time or another, and that could be a disaster. The concept of achieving justice by killing is hard for me to live with.’’


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