Silence Of The Wolf Page 44

’’If the damn cells hadn\ moved as fast as they did, we would have,’’ the dark-haired man said.

Where were they? Flying over Palo Duro Canyon? She didn\ know how long she\d been out of it, but she couldn\ see anything in the blanket of white.

She shifted in her seat and realized she sat in the tail of the plane, seat belted and handcuffed.

She had gotten into plenty of scrapes over the years as a wolf-coyote mix without a pack, and she\d always managed to get herself out of them. But this time...

Maybe she should have made more of a fuss in the butcher shop. Maybe she wouldn\ be here now, but she had been afraid the men would kill the butcher and her and she hadn\ wanted that.

The blond man, the one with the cold eyes, was half dozing in a seat across from her. When he realized she was watching him, he narrowed his gaze at her. What? Did he think she\d let the inner wolf loose again? That was when she noticed something... an unfamiliar scent. The scent of male red wolves. Their hunter\s spray must have worn off by now.

She settled back against the seat of the small aircraft, glowering at the gunman wearing a blue-gray parka and a crooked smile the one named Canton. She tried to appear more at ease than she felt.

His greasy dark hair swept his shoulders as he shook his head at her, that stupid smile firmly plastered on his face. His sharp eyes remained fixed on her gaze while he slid his gun into his holster like he\d probably done a thousand times before smoothly, like a gunman in an old Western. Same jeans, only the cowboy boots were grimy sneakers, and the dirty parka replaced the vest and old-time Western shirt.

She glanced out the window. She didn\ like to fly, and given the choice, she\d never set foot in a plane, ever. Certainly not in the middle of a snowstorm. She briefly wondered what they had done with her deed.

Canton chuckled, drawing her attention back to him and the fix she was in.

’’Who ordered you to pick me up?’’ she asked, not that she expected him to tell her the truth.

Canton shrugged, then hollered to the red-haired pilot, ’’Hey, Huckster, when will we get there?’’

Never. If Elizabeth had her way.

’’Another half hour, but in this blizzard, it may take longer.’’ The pilot sounded like he was trying to hide the anxiety in his voice.

That had her even more worried. If the pilot didn\ think they would make it, what chance did they have?

She twisted her wrists again, wishing she had a hairpin or, better yet, her lockpicks to unlock the fool thing. She always carried lockpicks because her father said they had saved his butt a time or two, but the men had already patted her down and found the picks. That was part of the reason she had begun to wake up. Their hands on her, probing and searching, had brought her to a groggy state of consciousness.

Canton again turned to smile at her. ’’You\ e real pretty. Too bad. They didn\ like that you got mixed up with the wrong people.’’

In the turbulent downdrafts, the airplane dropped again, her heart with it. She grabbed the seat back in front of her. Her stomach grew queasy. Neither wolves nor coyotes were meant to fly. At least not this one.

’’Who?’’ she asked.

He shrugged. ’’We don\ ask those kinds of questions. Besides, you think they\d give us their real names?’’

Either he was lying or these three weren\ with her father\s pack. Rogue wolves for hire?

’’Why did you knock me down the ski slope?’’

’’Nothing personal. Just getting paid for a job. The guy who wants you and the deed now that\s personal.’’

Her uncle. And he must know North had evidence to prove he killed her parents.

The plane dove again, and she held her stomach.

’’Getting seasick?’’ Canton chuckled. ’’Guess I should say airsick. We\ e just taking you to a nice little hideaway in the mountains so you don\ think of slipping away from us until we can turn you over to the men who are paying for you.’’

Men. Plural. Her half brother had to be in on it.

If only she could shape-shift... She squirmed against the handcuffs again. If she could slip her hands through them... She wriggled and twisted. The skin around her wrists burned with the effort as the metal scraped the skin. No success. She growled under her breath. Then she nixed the idea of turning anyway. They could shift, too, into larger male wolves. And even if she miraculously got the upper hand in a fight, what could she do? Kill them? She didn\ want to contemplate that, but even if she did, what then? She couldn\ fly a plane.

An engine sputtered. Her heart thudding, she listened to the sounds of a plane in trouble and smelled the stench of fear that cloaked the man closest to her. The plane abruptly angled hard right. One wing tipped down.

She fell from her seat into the aisle, smacking her left elbow hard against the unforgiving floor. Canton landed between the seats next to her while the others cursed up front.

She considered disarming Canton while he was off balance. If she could reach his gun Then she heard metal ripping, and she lost all sense of direction as she suddenly became weightless in a field of white.

Screams hers issued before she could stop the sound of panic and then silence. Everything the wind, the cold, the snow blinding her faded into oblivion.

Chapter 16

Out of range to call anyone on his cell phone, Tom quit attempting to get hold of Elizabeth and concentrated on tracking down the wolves stalking the livestock. He\d finally discovered what he thought was a lead: unfamiliar wolf prints in the snow leading into the woods near one of the farms. If he could just locate the wolves before the next snowstorm began... just a little bit farther. He didn\ want to lose the trail this time.


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