Silence Of The Wolf Page 50

Oh. ’’Prisoner,’’ she rasped out. As soon as his eyes widened fractionally, she realized her mistake. Annoyed with herself, she frowned and cleared her dry throat. ’’Hostage.’’

His expression changed subtly, transforming from annoyed wariness to surprise.

’’Hmm. We\ll talk about this later. You need to get some hot drink and food down.’’

He sounded as though he didn\ believe her. She needed him to. As tired as she was, she didn\ care even to give it a try right now. Later, there would be time enough.

’’I\ll get you some hot tea and some venison chili if that sounds good.’’ He still crouched beside her, not moving, until she nodded slightly. ’’Will you be all right?’’

’’Yes, thank you,’’ she said, her voice just a whisper. She wanted to fall asleep, to make all the hurts go away, to wake up at home in her own bed with Tom in it and her steaks in the fridge waiting for her to make a meal of them.

He caressed her uninjured cheek with the tips of his fingers in such a sympathetic way that it touched her deeply.

’’You\ll be all right.’’ He spoke matter-of-factly, as though he knew what he was talking about.

He rose, looked at her for a while longer, then turned and walked across the living-room floor and into the kitchen. She felt alone and needy in a way she\d never felt before. She wanted to be with him, to share the space with him, to feel his body heat close to hers.

Without the energy to get up and join Tom in the kitchen, she observed him instead the way his muscles stretched in his back and arms as he pulled open cabinets and found a pan, then moved to the stove.

From the kitchen, he said, ’’Did you know I tried calling you?’’

’’Not at first.’’

Holding the pan, he stopped and stared at her.

’’I don\ use my phone much. I had turned it off on the flight home and forgot to turn it back on,’’ she said with effort.

’’So you didn\ know that I\d called?’’ Tom asked, sounding doubtful and somewhat upset that he thought she had been avoiding him.

She looked away uncomfortably and instead took stock of what she could see from the floor of the living room a large forest-green sectional couch blocked the view of the rest of the room. With all the pillows stacked on the velvety couch, it looked comfortable and inviting. Being as close to the fire as he could keep her so she could warm up more quickly was probably for the best. But that couch had its appeal.

The fireplace was made of red stone, the floor beneath her polished redwood, the ceiling crisscrossed by large timber beams. Photos of wildflower landscapes probably Jake\s hung on all the walls, making the cabin look homey and well loved, an atmosphere she had missed almost as soon as she had left Silver Town.

She felt bad all over again that she had missed Tom\s calls. She had thought he might have given up on her because of the way she left. Yet she still knew she had been justified. Things had just gotten too complicated. When she couldn\ get hold of North, she could only think that her uncle was going to come after her again. She hadn\ wanted the Silver pack to get involved in fighting her battles.

But if her uncle had anything to do with her abduction, then the Silver wolf pack was destined to get involved. Nothing that she could do about it now.

’’I went to call my editor and realized the phone was off. I saw you had attempted to get hold of me. I tried to reach you then,’’ she said finally, having settled on just telling him the straight truth.

Tom watched her closely, judging her.

’’You didn\ answer,’’ she said.

He took in a breath. ’’I was probably in the woods. That\s why I tried to get in touch with you before I left. Darien was out with the search parties, too, if you attempted to call him. Lelandi was busy with patients.’’

’’I only tried calling you.’’ She couldn\ read his expression. Was he glad she had wanted to talk to him?

’’You shouldn\ have left without saying good-bye.’’ His gaze was fixed on hers, alpha-like, challenging her to agree.

She wouldn\ look away this time. But she didn\ say anything.

’’You don\ think you deserve to be loved? Is that it?’’ When she didn\ respond, Tom said, ’’Well, you do, Elizabeth.’’ He paused and took a deep breath.

He was still upset about her leaving him that way. She sighed.

She took a whiff of the smells in the cabin the venison chili made her stomach grumble, and she realized it had been a long time since she\d eaten. The smell of several gray wolves and she lifted her nose and smelled again one red wolf, Lelandi, also filled the air.

The wind whistled around the cabin, reminding her just how chillingly cold it was outside, although she was beginning to feel a bit of warmth penetrating the marrow of her bones. The fire crackled in the large stone hearth, while she heard a teakettle whistling and then the water poured into a mug. She vaguely wondered if the cabin was part of a resort or isolated. How far was it from civilization?

’’Are we close to Silver Town?’’

’’Yes and no. In this blizzard? With you feeling the way you do? No. If we had snowmobiles or you could run as a wolf, not too far out.’’

Even though they couldn\ reach town easily right now, she was comforted by the fact it was nearby. That was a first for her. The town wasn\ what made the nearness so consoling. The wolf pack that ran it bolstered her.

If she didn\ hurt all over so much, she\d get up and watch him prepare the meal. Even offer to help him. That brought on another wishful thought of bumping against him as they worked in the kitchen making a meal together, sharing the moment.

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