Silence Of The Wolf Page 39

He\d wanted to call Carol and ask if her talk with Elizabeth had revealed anything of her past, but Lelandi said what the two women discussed had been private. If Elizabeth wanted to share, it was her business to do so. It didn\ matter that Darien had mentioned that this could have an impact on the pack. Lelandi had only shaken her head an emphatic, nonverbal ’’No, butt out.’’ He loved his mate, but sometimes, like now, she totally exasperated him.

He opened the door to find Peter standing on the porch, ready to knock. He smiled brightly at Elizabeth.

She hurried past him and headed for his vehicle.

’’She\s in a hurry to get to the airport,’’ Darien said in explanation. ’’Could you take her?’’

’’Oh, sure.’’ Peter took her bags, hurried out to the truck, and stuck them in the backseat of the cab. ’’See you in a little while.’’

Her eyes shiny with tears, Elizabeth waved at Darien and Lelandi. Then Peter got into the driver\s seat, and they were off.

Darien knew that no matter what had happened between Elizabeth and Tom, this was not a good way to say or not say good-bye. Darien, for one, didn\ want the job of having to deal with the mood he knew Tom would be in when he woke.

***

That morning, Tom felt something wasn\ right as soon as he got up. The sun was too high in the sky. He never slept this late, and he wondered why no one had bothered to wake him. He hurried to dress, then headed for Elizabeth\s room. Her door was shut. He knocked. No answer. He opened the door a crack.

She was gone. The bed stripped. Her suitcases nowhere in sight.

With a sickening knot in his stomach, he ran down the stairs, expecting to see her eating breakfast with Darien.

The toddlers played in the den, squealing in delight, then arguing the way he and his brothers had done when they were that age while a couple of wolf nannies watched over them. He thought Lelandi would be plying her psychology on a human client in the office they had built next to the house. The home was off in the woods, but this was the only way she wanted to work when the babies were still little. Bonding and pack dynamics were all too important, from the youngest lupus garou to the oldest.

To his surprise, Lelandi was sipping coffee with Darien. Jake and his mate were there, too, which was odder still. They normally ate breakfast at their own home.

Elizabeth wasn\ there. Everyone looked at him as though they didn\ know what to say. Didn\ know how to act.

’’Where is she?’’ he asked, sounding much more growly than he intended.

’’Peter took her to the airport,’’ Darien said.

Tom turned and began to stalk out of the dining room.

’’Tom!’’ Darien called out. ’’She\s gone. She left two hours ago.’’

Tom scowled at Darien. ’’Why didn\ anyone wake me? Tell me she was leaving?’’

Why didn\ she tell him herself?

’’She didn\ want it that way,’’ Darien said.

Tom was the most even-tempered of his brothers, but right now he was so angry that he could have put his fist through the wall.

’’What happened between the two of you?’’ Darien asked in a voice that was meant to calm him, but Tom didn\ want his brothers\ or their mates\ sympathy or interference.

’’Nothing,’’ Tom said.

’’Was she scared of the men? Afraid to stay?’’

’’Hell, no. She would have gone into the hotel after them if I hadn\ stopped her.’’

Darien took Lelandi\s hand in his. ’’Anything else that you can think of that happened, Tom? She asked if someone could take her to the airport, then had a glass of orange juice but no real breakfast. She was in a rush to leave. She barely said a word or two to us in response to anything I asked.’’

’’She was supposed to be here three more days.’’

’’You said yourself she had a job to do,’’ Darien reminded him.

Lelandi said, ’’She was running away from something. She might not be afraid of the men, but maybe something else is going on that we don\ know about.’’

Tom ran his hands through his hair. ’’I don\ know about that, but... I asked her to join our pack. She didn\ act interested in the idea.’’

Everyone stared at him as if he\d suddenly grown vampire fangs.

He folded his arms across his chest. ’’She\s a damn good tracker. We could use someone with her expertise in the pack. And we don\ have a newspaper. Maybe she could have started one.’’

’’Is that what you told her?’’ Lelandi asked, her voice a little edgy.

’’Not about the paper.’’ Then Tom frowned at Lelandi. ’’Are you implying that if I had told her I wanted her to stay, she would have done so?’’ Lelandi\s raised eyebrows indicated she thought just that. Before she could respond, Tom shook his head. ’’She was completely against the idea. She\s not a loner, but she\s afraid of belonging to a pack for some reason.’’

’’Or making a commitment to a wolf possibly,’’ Lelandi said.

Tom didn\ want to mention he\d gotten a little frisky with her last night, and that that had brought tears to her eyes. ’’Was she okay this morning? Hurting still?’’

’’She was fine,’’ Darien said. ’’She moved fast and started hauling her bags out of here when she saw Peter arrive, so she couldn\ have been feeling any pain.’’

Not physically. Then it dawned on Tom. She\d been emotionally upset hurting. Shit.

Irritated with himself, Tom said to Darien, ’’Unless you have something else for me to do, I\m tracking those rogue wolves today.’’


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