Silence Of The Wolf Page 41

It made sense to her. Coyotes hunt in packs just as wolves do. They\ e also both predators, eating rodents that cause plagues. Both species are bound to their families and take care of their young as a group. The Native Americans thought coyotes were clever and savvy because of their ability to adapt everywhere. Elizabeth couldn\ understand why some people were so strongly against them. Why was it so bad to recognize that red wolves are just coyotes with a heavy dose of gray wolf DNA?

Intending to call her editor about the new article, Elizabeth realized she hadn\ turned her phone back on since she flew home. She slipped it out of her bag and turned it on.

Twenty-two messages.

Surprised, she stared at the number before she clicked on it to see who had called her, hoping North might have tried to get in touch with her and was all right. She never got that many calls to her cell phone, and no one except her editor knew she was back in town.

She felt a pang of guilt, hoping Tom hadn\ called some of those times. She hesitated for a minute, then clicked on the messages.

Tom had phoned her seventeen times, but he hadn\ left her any messages. She closed her eyes. She had hoped he would figure out that nothing could be gained by the two of them speaking further. He needed someone who was local and all wolf, rather than someone like her.

Two of the calls were from Lelandi and the rest from Darien. Their messages were brief and just asked her to call them back. Maybe they\d caught the guy who pushed her down the slope. No calls from North. She should phone Darien or Lelandi, since they were the pack leaders. She shouldn\ get in touch with Tom, knowing full well he\d be upset with her. She didn\ want to explain what a mess her life had already been and why she was best being on her own.

So what did she do? She called Tom.

The phone rang several times. He didn\ pick up. She reached his voice mail but didn\ leave a message. He\d see that she\d called anyway. If he wanted to call her back, he could. This time she\d have her phone turned on. She tried getting hold of North again. Voice mail again.

She punched in the number for her editor, Ed Bloomington, and when he picked up, she could hear the smile in his voice, welcoming her home. But it wasn\ home. Not for her. A shifter without family. She realized just how much she had been fooling herself ever to think so.

She put on her business persona, swallowed the emotions welling up inside, and said, ’’I just sent you the story about the ski resort, and I\ve got a great idea for another one that I got from... a friend in Colorado. It\s a story about gray wolves not having mates, finding coyotes to love, and their pairings resulting in red wolves. Some call the offspring a coywolf. But evidence exists that\s how red wolves came to be. What do you think?’’

’’Sounds great. Send it to me.’’

She barely breathed as she emailed Ed the story and he read through it. ’’All right. Top-notch story. Love the angle, Elizabeth. I\ll print it first,’’ Ed said after a few agonizing minutes on Elizabeth\s end. ’’I\ll print the other story at the end of the week. Damned glad to have you home. Got to run to a family birthday get-together. I\m surprised you came home so early, though.’’

’’I missed home,’’ she said, even though Ed\s mention of attending a family birthday party made her feel isolated and alone. She shrugged the notion off, not wanting to deal with it. Not wanting to think of Tom and his close-knit family. Not wishing to think of how she would have loved to have a family like that growing up. ’’I\ll see you when I finish my leave.’’ Even though she\d come home early, she was still using her vacation time, and she would attempt to enjoy it.

’’All right. Talk to you later.’’

Later that week when her article about the wolves came out, she received an unbelievable number of hateful responses. She hadn\ expected that. She\d only reported what scientists believed.

She was damned tired of burying her feelings. If gray wolves didn\ have a mate and they found one in a coyote, what was the big deal? They were pack animals at heart. They deserved to find mates who would love them back.

But to get death threats?

Five emails, six phone calls. Really? The people who responded to her article in the paper were wolf lovers, maybe even red wolf shifters. They didn\ ID themselves. Of course, she got some irate calls from farmers and ranchers who said any of them wolves, coyotes, and any mix of the two should be shot on sight.

How would they feel if shifters felt that way about humans?

The phone rang again, with caller ID showing Caller Unknown. ’’Hello?’’

’’How dare you say the red wolves are part coyote,’’ a man\s voice said, though it was muffled and she couldn\ identify him.

Her half brother Sefton? Uncle Quinton?

’’How does it feel to know you\ e just like me?’’ she asked, chills running up her spine at the thought that they had her cell number, if one of them was calling her. Then again, if one of them had answered North\s phone, that\s how he got it.

She didn\ know if the caller was really one of them. If he wasn\ , the man had to have thought she was nuts.

The phone clicked dead and she felt shaky, as if she had just come face to face with her uncle. Goose bumps erupted on her skin.

The phone rang again. Another unknown caller. ’’Damned stupid article, if you ask me. Are you one of those animal activists? One of those vegetable eaters? Red wolves are beautiful and rare predators, while coyotes are sneaky scavengers. Damn coyotes are not part gray wolf.’’

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