Silence Of The Wolf Page 5

’’I\m fine with bringing you back here.’’ He shut the door, then hurried around to the driver\s side.

He didn\ know how he would manage to work ski patrol without thinking of this she-wolf up on the slopes by herself. He could imagine all the bachelor males in their pack hot-wolfing it down the slopes to get her attention, and all the injuries that could result.

Darien was right. Tom would have to become her ski buddy if she stayed on the slopes this afternoon. He wouldn\ leave her on her own until he returned her to the B and B tonight.

She didn\ say anything as he took the road to the Silver Town Ski Resort. ’’Silver,’’ she finally said. ’’Tom Silver.’’

’’Yeah.’’

She eyed him curiously. ’’Are you the pack leader? And this is a pack-run town?’’

He wasn\ surprised she sounded so astonished. Wolf packs didn\ normally run their own towns. He didn\ even know of another like theirs. ’’Sub-leader. And yeah, our family founded the town. My eldest brother, Darien, runs it.’’

’’Darien,’’ Elizabeth said.

He glanced at her when she didn\ say anything more.

’’Bertha told me Darien was the one who said you\d pick me up and take me back to the B and B.’’

’’Yeah.’’

She relaxed a little against the seat.

Maybe she thought Tom had seen her when she first arrived and was interested in her in some other way, but now that she knew he was just there on his pack leader\s orders, she felt a little easier. She shouldn\ . Once any of the bachelor males got wind of her being in town, she\d have a whole bunch of interest. Available she-wolves were a rare commodity.

’’So you\ e doing a story on the ski resort?’’ he asked.

’’Yeah, winter-sports kind of thing.’’

He nodded, trying to figure out how he would convince her that he had to stick close to her until she left town. ’’How long will you be here?’’

’’Four days.’’

An eternity. ’’I get off at noon if you want to get a bite of lunch.’’

’’I might still be working.’’

So she wasn\ buying his need to take charge of her. ’’Okay, I\ll ski with you until you want to eat.’’ He swore she stared holes into him as he watched the recently plowed road.

’’Um, I\ll be stopping a lot on the slopes to take pictures. You won\ have any fun.’’

He glanced at her to see her expression, wondering if she was being honest with him, nervous that he would want to be with her. Which was a total beta trait. Except her voice wasn\ modulated like a beta\s. A beta would be nervous and hesitant, her voice soft and acquiescent. She had the soft, sweet beta part down, but she wasn\ nervous and she wasn\ hesitant.

She watched him with what looked like amusement and a hint of challenge? He couldn\ quite figure her out. At times she acted like a beta, but when she matched his gaze and didn\ look away that was alpha behavior. Wolves didn\ switch back and forth between the two. Not normally. Unless being a red wolf-coyote mix was the reason. She was conflicted?

He didn\ believe any such thing existed. Coyote packs had alphas and betas just like the wolves did. Was she pretending to be a beta? Or a beta trying to sound alpha? That thought intrigued him. He smiled a little at her. He would learn the truth one way or another, sooner or later.

’’It\ll be interesting to see what catches your attention on the slopes.’’ He returned his gaze to the road. ’’My other brother, Jake, is a photographer also. He likes to take pictures of wildlife and flowers.’’

She didn\ say anything.

’’The two of you could probably compare notes,’’ he continued.

’’I probably won\ meet him.’’

She spoke so quickly that he thought she might be afraid to meet more of the gray wolves.

’’We\ll have dinner at Darien\s place. Jake and his mate might come, depending on what they\ e doing.’’

She didn\ respond.

Tom tried not to smile. She wouldn\ win. She had to know that. She was in another pack\s territory, and they made the rules. Unless she was a loner and not used to pack rules.

’’I\m sure your brother wouldn\ want me intruding at a family gathering,’’ she finally said.

’’He will insist that you come.’’ Darien hadn\ , but Tom knew that he would require that she dined with him and Lelandi because she was a she-wolf. A male wolf just hitting the slopes, or a mated couple or family, no big deal. But since she was an unmated female who planned to hang around longer than a day, Darien would want to keep tabs on the situation.

If Tom was just giving Elizabeth a lift to the resort, he would have dropped her off at the ski rentals. But he didn\ want her out of his sight until he let the other wolves in the vicinity know she was under his protection. He thought he might enjoy his role as her protector.

As he drove past the ski-rental shop toward the parking lot, Elizabeth turned her head to look. ’’You could have dropped me off back there.’’

’’Being a sub-leader, I can expedite the rental process,’’ he was quick to say.

’’Oh.’’

’’Is your pack very big?’’ he asked, fishing for more information.

She didn\ say anything for a moment, as if trying to come up with an answer. The coyote trickster myth instantly shot into Tom\s mind.

’’Big enough,’’ she said evasively.

Which didn\ tell him anything. Maybe she belonged to a coyote pack instead, and she didn\ want to let on. He didn\ have any problem with that.


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