Silence Of The Wolf Page 52
He noticed then that Elizabeth\s expression was one of surprise. When she\d mentioned her half brother and uncle, he\d assumed Elizabeth was part of a pack, even though he thought she seemed too independent to have grown up in one.
Didn\ her pack members all take care of the little ones? Built-in babysitters who loved their jobs? But maybe all packs weren\ as close-knit as his. He wondered why Elizabeth thought her brother and uncle were behind all her trouble. What kind of pack would kidnap a member of their own family?
He was considering how to broach the subject when Elizabeth said, ’’I\m sorry for not saying good-bye. I just thought it would be easier.’’
He didn\ want her to know how shook up he\d been, and yet he said just what he\d been feeling. ’’I was ready to punch the wall.’’
She chuckled. He smiled.
’’Sorry,’’ she said, ’’I just have a hard time seeing you taking your anger out on a wall.’’
He wanted to set the bowl down on the coffee table and kiss her, hold her close, comfort her.
Something banged outside. He looked in that direction. He thought he\d tied everything down.
’’Let me check on that real quick.’’ He grabbed his jacket and headed outside. The latch on the outdoor shutters had pulled loose in the high winds. He fumbled to close the shutters, noting that the latch was bent. He secured it as best he could. Nothing else he could do about it in this bitter blizzard.
He locked the door and returned to help Elizabeth. He frowned down at her bowl and saw that she\d eaten all her chili and finished her tea. He smiled.
’’I told you I could do it.’’ She paused. ’’You seem worried.’’
’’The pack is still tracking the three rogue wolves that have been stalking the livestock. We think they\ e lupus garous.’’
’’So you think they\ e with your wolf pack?’’
’’They might be. But we suspect they aren\ .’’ He ran his hand over her cheek. ’’We\ve been keeping track of everyone\s comings and goings in the pack since the second incident of wolf sightings, and everyone seems to be accounted for. They have to be rogue wolves.’’
She shook her head. ’’Has anyone left the pack recently that would want to cause you trouble?’’ She looked up when he didn\ say anything. ’’Someone else?’’
’’Cousins. We had trouble before within our own pack. Our uncle was the sheriff and next in line to lead the pack, but he had murdered some of our pack members and we had to take him down. His four sons left the pack after Uncle Sheridan was killed, and we haven\ heard from them since. We haven\ been able to track down their last whereabouts.’’
’’Your cousins. I\m sorry. And you\ e worried whoever it is might be out there. Somewhere in the storm.’’
’’Yeah. I found wolf prints fresh tracks before the blizzard hit. I had hoped I\d find evidence of where they were hiding after they made their strikes before the storm wiped out their tracks.’’
’’You shouldn\ have been out here by yourself,’’ she scolded.
He smiled. She narrowed her eyes at him. ’’I\m serious. You can\ think you could take on four male wolves.’’
’’I hoped to talk them out of whatever they\ve been planning. There must be some reason why they\ve been prowling the edges of our territory, and I don\ think it\s good.’’
Her lips parted in surprise, then she frowned. ’’You were trying to protect them if it was them weren\ you?’’
He didn\ say anything for a moment, his gaze steady on hers. Then he finally said, ’’It might be another pack causing trouble. Someone seeking revenge, perhaps. We\ve had trouble with another pack before. Some red wolf males thought they had some claim to a couple of our red wolf females who originally had come from their pack. Lelandi and Carol.’’
’’Yeah... you\ e not associated with any red wolf renegades, are you? They were part of the red pack now led by Lelandi\s uncle Hrothgar.’’
’’I\m not associated with... Lelandi\s pack,’’ she finally said.
Not with Lelandi\s. She couldn\ be. At least he didn\ think so, because Lelandi didn\ know Elizabeth. ’’There\s one guy in particular we\ e not sure about. We never could tell where his allegiances lay. His name is North.’’
Elizabeth stiffened a little. ’’You told me the ones causing trouble were grays, not reds,’’ she said.
Studying her, Tom nodded. She had evaded his question. What wasn\ she telling him? She looked weary and he needed to get her into bed. Rest let the body heal faster. Yet he couldn\ give up the notion that she knew something about the red pack, and that made him think of the wolf she\d mentioned the first time she was here. She\d said she needed to meet him on a matter of business, and he had been within driving distance.
’’Elizabeth, who were you to meet but he couldn\ see you because of the road conditions?’’
Elizabeth heaved a deep breath, as if she were too tired to continue hiding her secrets from him. ’’North Redding.’’
Tom couldn\ believe that Elizabeth had tried to meet up with North, the rogue wolf who had caused their pack all kinds of trouble in the past.
North was the one who had tried to steal Carol back from Ryan, thinking a red wolf from his pack had more of a claim to her than Ryan, a gray from another pack. That concerned Tom. Would North attempt to claim Elizabeth? Tom didn\ trust him.