Silence Of The Wolf Page 31

’’Why would they take all my stuff?’’ she asked.

’’Sounds personal to me,’’ Lelandi said.

’’Taking my ID forces me to stay here,’’ Elizabeth pointed out.

Jake said, ’’More likely it\s for identity theft. It doesn\ necessarily mean they wanted to keep you from leaving here.’’

’’Okay.’’ Elizabeth seemed more relaxed about that, which Tom took as meaning she wanted to leave as soon as she was able. He stiffened.

He had hoped she\d feel comfortable with his pack and remain with them for more time than she\d planned. But what had happened to her here, he could understand her reluctance to stay any longer than necessary. She couldn\ even ski if she wanted to take more pictures for her story.

’’Is there any way that I can get a replacement ID so I can travel?’’ she asked.

’’Yeah, we can do it. You don\ want to stay until we can unravel who did this to you?’’ Darien asked.

Tom gave Darien points for trying to convince Elizabeth to stay longer. He couldn\ think of a thing to say.

’’I\ve got a deadline on the newspaper back home. And I probably won\ be able to ski again while I\m here.’’ Elizabeth grimaced as though she were loath to admit the fact.

’’Do you want me to take some pictures for you?’’ Jake asked, looking like he was ready to go, not just to help her out, but because he loved taking nature photos. The sideways glance he cast Tom said he was attempting to keep the lady here longer, too.

Why couldn\ Tom come up with something to say?

’’I\ll have to look at the photos, but I might already have what I need for the article. Thanks for the offer, though.’’

The conversation then shifted to other topics, some about Jake and Alicia\s upcoming babies and about Darien and Lelandi\s toddlers, and then everyone looked at Carol and Ryan to see if they were in the family way.

Carol smiled, shaking her head. ’’We\ e waiting for a while. I\m not ready to raise babies who can turn into wolves yet.’’

Tom had talked to Ryan about Carol\s progress. She was doing fairly well with shifting only when she wanted to and not at awkward times. He could understand her reluctance to have children until she had the ability fully under control. Wolf-shifter mothers usually had multiple births like a she-wolf and her litter. The babies all shifted when their mother did until they became aware of their own ability. But if a mother couldn\ even control her own shifting, that could be a disaster for both her and her pups.

Tom glanced at Elizabeth. He shouldn\ have, but he couldn\ help wondering what it would be like to raise some pups of his own. Surely his kids wouldn\ be as messy as Darien\s.

Elizabeth had grown quiet and sat stirring her spaghetti with a fork. He reached over and patted her leg and smiled at her. She smiled back, but she looked exhausted even though she had napped all afternoon. He suspected she hadn\ slept all that soundly.

Pack politics were discussed, despite Carol and Ryan being from another pack and Elizabeth being there, too.

Jake and Alicia begged off after dinner to return home, claiming they were two tired, old wolves, which Tom knew meant that they were off to bed but not to sleep. Jake took Elizabeth\s camera with him to try to repair.

Carol said to Elizabeth, ’’I\d stay overnight with you, but we have a problem coming up in the pack that Ryan and I need to deal with. Darien can call Nurse Matthew or Nurse Grey to stay the night if he thinks you need someone to watch over you.’’

’’No, I\m fine,’’ Elizabeth said. ’’I just ache a little. With a good night\s sleep, I should be great by morning.’’

Tom said, ’’I\ll be next door if you need anything.’’

Elizabeth smiled at him. ’’I never knew ski patrollers made house calls.’’

Everyone laughed.

’’If nobody minds, I\m off to bed. Thanks so much for dinner. It was delicious,’’ Elizabeth said. ’’But I feel wiped out.’’

Everybody said good night except Tom, who walked up with her. ’’Can I help you with anything?’’

’’Like?’’

’’An ice pack on your back again?’’

She smiled, walked into the guest room, and lay down on her stomach on the bed. ’’Okay.’’

Surprised she was agreeable, Tom hurried to get her a fresh ice pack. On the return trip, he raced up the stairs sounding like a pack of wolves and entered the room. ’’If you think of anything tonight that might clue us in about this, just let me know. You can wake me anytime.’’ He placed the pack on her back.

’’Hmm,’’ she said sleepily.

He sat down next to the bed, waiting for time to pass before he removed the ice pack. Her breathing soft, her eyes shut tight, Elizabeth fell sound asleep.

Tom was glad she didn\ have any trouble falling asleep because she needed complete rest to feel better.

Darien poked his head in the door. ’’She out?’’ he whispered.

’’Yeah,’’ Tom said, realizing twenty minutes had passed while he\d been daydreaming. He removed the ice pack from Elizabeth\s back and headed out of the room to join his brother. As he closed the door, he asked, ’’What\s up?’’

’’Peter called to say his brother\s come into town with a mate in tow.’’

’’Yeah, he told me earlier. I meant to mention it to you, but it slipped my mind. Is his brother in trouble already?’’

’’No... not yet. But Peter said he doesn\ know what to think of them. He put them in his spare bedroom and told them to go ahead and fix themselves dinner while he conducted an investigation. When he came home, they were battling it out in the guest room.’’


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