Silence Of The Wolf Page 47

He howled. No response.

The wind whipped the smoke from the chimney around so much that she must be disoriented. Or the cold was making her lose her sense of direction. She must not have turned into a wolf. Why hadn\ she? Too injured? That thought made him sick with worry.

He darted through a stand of firs, stopped suddenly, turned his head, and saw her. Staring back at him, blood dripping from a gash in her forehead, she watched him. Her clothes fluttered in snow-covered ribbons. Her cracked lips parted. She sank to her knees.

Elizabeth. His heart slammed into his ribs.

He focused briefly on the handcuffs on her wrists. What... was going on?

He let out a frosty breath, then headed straight for her. Only one thing to do.

Using his teeth, he grabbed one of the dangling pieces of her shredded jeans\ fabric and tugged at her to follow him. If he could get her close enough to his cabin, he\d leave her, change, dress, and come back for her. If she could last that long.

He tugged all the harder to make her move as fast as she could, and he huffed out loud to encourage her to follow him before it was too late.

She stumbled in the deep snow, barely able to make any progress.

She tried to get up, tears freezing on her cheeks. Tom looked back at her, worried, not angered that she couldn\ keep up. He couldn\ shift and take her to the cabin in his human form without dressing in warm clothes.

He returned to her, nuzzled her face, and attempted to get her to her feet, but she couldn\ move. She wasn\ going to make it.

He hesitated for only a second, then dashed off.

’’No,’’ she moaned, the word barely slipping out on the stiff breeze.

Tom had never run as fast in his life as he did now, racing to get to the cabin, his mind sorting out just how quickly he could jerk on his clothes. Well, shift first. No, get into the cabin first. Hell. There was no planning this. He would do what he had to do as soon as he arrived.

Snow covered the cabin, the wolf door buried. Not having any choice, Tom shifted in the icy snow, threw open the human door, and slammed it shut. He tugged on his clothes, jammed his feet into his boots, pulled on his parka, a ski hat, and gloves, then grabbed a wool blanket and ran back out into the snow.

He swore he\d never reach Elizabeth in time. Not as slow as his progress was while trying to run through the deep snow. No wonder she couldn\ make any headway, being petite, barely dressed, and injured on top of that.

When he was close enough, he thought he saw her struggling to walk in his direction, but he couldn\ believe his eyes. He expected her to be lying in the snow, half buried before he reached her. She hadn\ given up. She\d actually made it several more feet. Good. He tried to move more quickly but couldn\ . It just wasn\ physically possible to travel any faster through the deep snowdrifts. Her eyes widened a little when she lifted her head from watching her footfalls, following his trail, to see him. He couldn\ even smile. The situation was just too grave.

When injured victims saw help arrive and quit the struggle to survive, thinking they were now safe, they died. She needed the adrenaline rushing through her blood, keeping her alive. She needed to keep trying, as if he wasn\ coming to her aid.

To his relief, she trudged forward, but then she fell.

He thought he heard a choked sob. The disquieting sound made him feel as though an ice shard had stabbed him through the heart.

’’I\m coming,’’ he said. ’’Don\ quit, Elizabeth!’’

She struggled to get up, but she couldn\ make it.

He was beside her before she could lift her head to try again. ’’Don\ give up,’’ he growled at her, angry at the weather, at the plane, at her if she succumbed to the elements before he could get her to safety.

He dragged his coat around her, intending for her to wear it, and remembered too late about the handcuffs. He cursed and grabbed the blanket, wrapped it around her, then the coat, and zipped it, folding her into it like a protective cocoon. He pulled the hood over her head and tightened the drawstrings until the fake gray fur fit snuggly around her small face, nearly covering it.

She stared up at him with her blue-green eyes filled with tears and a look of gratitude. Her dry cracked lips parted, and he was certain she tried to say, ’’Thank you.’’

’’Don\ ... give... up,’’ he said urgently, harshly. He lifted her into his arms and made the long trek back to the cabin. Her body was ice cold, but the parka and blanket and his body heat would help to warm her.

Carrying her made the journey nearly impossible as he tried to make headway through the knee-deep powdery snow. He knew the direction to go, even though he couldn\ see the cabin.

’’What happened?’’ he asked, not wanting her to go to sleep and never wake. He needed her to talk to him. To get this close to the cabin and lose her now... he couldn\ think of that.

’’Plane crashed,’’ she murmured, her words slurred.

Not good. ’’Elizabeth, listen to me. Stay... awake. I\ll have you to the cabin in just a few minutes. I\ll have a warm fire blazing in the fireplace in no time. I\ll get you some hot tea and chili if you can manage.’’

’’You...’’ she said weakly, straining to look at him, to watch his expression.

’’Yes?’’ he responded, encouraging her to speak, to stay awake until he could get her to the cabin and ensure she would be okay.

’’...will... warm... me,’’ she said hesitantly, rasping out the words between clenched teeth, in pain, shivering.

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