Silence Of The Wolf Page 45

The biting cold whipped at his face as he trudged through the Rockies, rifle slung over his shoulder. He suspected the rest of his gray-wolf pack mates would return to their homes in Silver Town, seeking hot showers, hot food, and if they were mated or had a human female to snuggle up to, hot se*. Which made him think of Elizabeth. He wished she were here.

Snowflakes dusted the evergreens with a sprinkling of white powder as fat flakes slanted sideways and were captured on the wind. The snow crystals covered his white parka and melted away.

Some of his pack mates helping with the search had run as wolves. With the approaching storm, he wondered if he shouldn\ have also. Still, he was glad to have his rifle with him, and if he had to, he\d slip off to the family cabin about a mile away.

The wind howled through the trees, a ghostly, haunting tune, as he tried to listen for any other sounds a howl from the wolves plaguing the farmers\ sheep and calves, or even his own people howling to say they had given up the search before it was too late.

The sun that had sparkled off the creeks and shone through the branches of the trees this morning had given way to mountainous blue-gray clouds that shadowed everything, muting the vivid colors and warning that the weather would worsen.

Almost as soon as Tom set his sights on the storm clouds above him, snow began to drift down upon his upturned face. The sudden snowfall got heavier with alarming speed, and Tom regretfully decided to give up the chase for the moment.

Despite the full-blown blizzard whipping about him, Tom loved the chilled air, the snow, the wind, and the sound of it as it shook the mighty firs. Yet he wished he were curled up somewhere warm with Elizabeth, her blue-green eyes challenging him very much alpha while she\d pretended to be a beta. He couldn\ quit thinking about the way she had kissed him and then wanted him to go further, as if she\d hungered for more. He damn well wanted more with her. But she had been upset afterward. What had gone wrong? He should have sat down on the bed, gathered her in his arms, and flat out asked what the matter was, instead of allowing her to get away with saying that it was nothing.

She hadn\ returned one of his calls. He couldn\ figure her out. Maybe that\s why he was so hung up on her.

After a little while, the cabin he and his brothers kept in the mountains came into view. Though they were a close-knit family, sometimes having a little more privacy in a remote cabin appealed. Especially in a town like theirs, where no secrets stayed secrets for long.

Tom paused just outside the door, contemplating the meager woodpile, when the distant sound of an aircraft engine in trouble caught his ear. A sputtering, and then the engine completely cut out. Silence for a heartbeat. Then metal and tree branches ripped in discord and a muffled bang followed. He stared in the direction of the mountains hidden in the blinding snow.

No explosion, no flames shooting into the air or bleak, gray smoke curling up through the forest that he could see. Just silence.

He swore under his breath and charged into the cabin, slamming the door shut against the blizzard. He couldn\ search for survivors in the middle of a blizzard as a human. But he hated to think what would happen if he found someone still alive and they panicked when they saw him as a wolf. Still, he had no other choice if he was to locate anyone still alive.

After ditching his clothes in a rush, he stretched his arms out, his body warming with the advent of the change, accepting the transformation, and welcoming it. His muscles and bones reshaped. Fur covered his skin in a warm pelt. The double coat would protect him from the frigid elements. He raced across the floor and dove through the wolf door.

Outside, the white bleakness obscured everything in a ghostly way. Whoever had chosen to be foolhardy enough to fly in this weather was out of their mind. Rich folks flying about in expensive private jets to see the spectacular Rockies, perhaps? Probably decided on a whim to witness the snow-covered peaks. Or maybe they didn\ understand the air density at this altitude, mountain winds, navigating the ridges, the problems with radio communications, or even hypoxia, which could lead to altitude sickness up there. Or how suddenly a storm could move in.

The absence of the plane\s engine hum ground on his nerves. A number of people had survived airplane crashes in the mountains. But without a way to keep warm, the cold would kill them if the crash hadn\ .

If he found survivors who were near death, the only way he could save them was to bite them and share his lupus garou genetics. Darien would have a fit if Tom took it upon himself to make a life-or-death decision and turn a severely injured person or persons they knew nothing about.

Changing someone could prove disastrous. Some just couldn\ accept being turned. What if Darien told Tom that the new wolf was his problem if the wolf became real trouble? Tom didn\ want to save someone\s life only to have to eliminate him later if he went rogue. Not only that, but the human\s family had to be considered.

Tom focused on the sounds in the wind, trying to discern if he could hear anything in the direction that the plane had gone down. If the plane transmitted an SOS, search parties would begin combing the area, bringing more aircraft, people, media, and problems once the storm let up.

Tom dashed through the snowy woods in his wolf form. He thought he knew the general vicinity to investigate, but he sniffed the air, listening for any sounds that could direct him more precisely toward the crash site.

A sweep of metal tapped against a tree a long way off. He bounded toward the sound.

Gouges in tree trunks, broken branches, and needled twigs littering pristine snow warned of the plane\s fatal path as he continued north.

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