Silence Of The Wolf Page 35

He kissed her. Softly, gently. Her lips opened to further exploration, but he didn\ push it. Until she licked his mouth and smiled a little at him with the invite. He locked his lips over her lower one. Again, she smiled a little. Kissing her was like sampling a sweet, forbidden dessert, tantalizing and enticing the sampler to want more.

Her hands were on his neck, her thumbs caressing his jaw in a way that was provocative and incredibly se*y. He was already in full-blown arousal and had a devil of time keeping his feelings in check. He alternated between soft and unassuming kisses and inserting his tongue with teasing flicks and deepening the kiss. Trying hard not to lean her back onto the bed and press his interest further than was prudent, he smelled her excitement, her desire, and listened to her rapid heartbeat pounding as hard as his. He thought she wanted to go further as much as he did.

She was breathing fast and leaned away from his kiss to take a breath. He feared he\d overdone it and hurt her. Instead, she had her second wind, and this time, she gathered his sweater in her fists and pulled him close to get another kiss.

Instantly he obliged, their mouths fusing, their tongues caressing and appraising. He didn\ want this to end. But he knew he\d better before they both regretted it. He broke off in the gentlest possible way and kissed her forehead, his mouth lingering there far too long. He didn\ want to end this, and he needed her to know it.

’’I have to help you dress and return you to Darien\s house,’’ he said.

’’If you insist,’’ she said, and the way she looked at him indicated that she wanted more, too.

That was the reason he posed the next question, although he was sure what her response would be. But he had to. ’’I\ve never asked a woman this before, but... would you like to join the pack?’’ He knew he shouldn\ ask. Not without getting Darien and Lelandi\s approval.

’’Thanks, but no thanks.’’

He wouldn\ take her negative response at face value. ’’You\ e not a loner,’’ he said, certain of it. She might have had to live alone, but she got along well with everyone she\d met here. She didn\ act like a lone wolf. Not the way someone like Nurse Matthew did.

She didn\ respond, just looked at his chest. He sighed and helped her on with her boots. ’’I have something back at the house that you can wear that\s easier to get in and out of until we can pick up something else for you.’’

’’Thank you, Tom.’’ She seemed to want to say something else, given the way she looked at him and bit her lip. But she pulled her parka sleeve on one arm and didn\ say anything.

He helped pull her parka on the rest of the way and then escorted her out of the B and B. They were ready to head for his truck when Darien stalked across the street, catching Tom\s eye. Tom wasn\ surprised to see Darien arrive when it looked like they might have found the men who had injured Elizabeth.

’’Our men got her bags, ID, laptop, everything. At least we think it\s everything. You\ll have to look it over and see for sure, Elizabeth,’’ Darien said, sounding pleased but still highly annoyed that anyone could have targeted her like they had in his pack\s territory. And had been hiding right under their noses.

’’Thank God. But... you didn\ catch them,’’ she said, appearing somewhat relieved because the villains had left her personal items behind.

Darien shook his head. He looked at Tom and said, ’’You say they drove a white minivan.’’

’’Yeah. I saw it when we were at the hospital, too,’’ Tom said.

’’Damn,’’ Darien said, rubbing his chin as he looked toward the old hotel. ’’Those three outsiders at the tavern earlier today?’’

’’Were driving a white minivan,’’ Tom guessed.

’’Yeah, they were,’’ Darien said.

Elizabeth let out her breath in an exasperated huff. ’’We just managed to chase them off.’’

Darien was quick to say, ’’We got your stuff back. That\s what\s important.’’

’’They must have been afraid when they ran out of there.’’

’’We didn\ smell any fear,’’ Darien said.

’’Then what?’’ she asked.

’’Not sure. Take her back home, will you, Tom?’’ Darien gave her a pack leader look that said she was his to command for now. ’’Sleep the rest of the night. No more running in your wolf coat or otherwise.’’ He said to Tom, ’’If you have to, stay with her.’’

’’He won\ have to. I\m not waking up until I absolutely have to tomorrow.’’

She could have been annoyed with Darien for saying what he did about Tom taking charge of her. Yet, she swore more was being communicated than what was being spoken aloud the way Darien cast a look at Tom, and the way Tom gave him an almost imperceptible nod in response.

She even wondered if Darien had put Tom up to asking her to join the pack. In her father\s pack, the leader would have decided such a thing. Certainly not a sub-leader.

’’Thank you for the offer, by the way, Tom. Nobody\s ever invited me to join a pack,’’ she said on the ride back to Darien\s house. She appreciated being asked and wanted Tom to know that her refusal had nothing to do with the pack or him, but more to do with her past experiences and the problems with her uncle and half brother.

’’You\ e not a loner,’’ he said again.

’’It doesn\ matter.’’

He glanced at her. ’’It does. For a pack, it matters.’’

She wouldn\ fight him on this issue. The point was moot.

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