Silence Of The Wolf Page 58
The floorboards creaked in a couple of places as Elizabeth crossed into the living room. She pulled the borrowed sweatshirt tighter. ’’Can I help you with anything?’’
’’No, I\ve got it. You don\ need to be out in the cold.’’ He unlocked the door and pulled it open, letting in a blast of Arctic air. She shivered. Tom shoved aside some of the snow piled up on the porch and closed the door.
She watched as he banged at the latch, then secured the outside shutters. She crossed the living room, closed the shutters on the inside, and started a new fire at the hearth.
By the time the flames took hold, she glanced at the door, wondering how long it would take him to gather some wood. The wind howled and the cabin creaked a little, but otherwise the place remained eerily quiet.
A scary movie theme played in her mind, warning that she should not go outside. That she should wait for Tom to return. She thought of the woman in a movie who sees movement in her house and shouldn\ go inside, but creeps into the house to check it out. Or walks down the stairs into the scary, dark basement when she hears an unfamiliar sound down there. Or thinks someone might be hiding in the closet and yanks open the door. Or jerks the shower curtains aside to see if someone is there. Or... goes outside into the dark night because... she hears a noise.
The problem with being an alpha wolf, even if she was part-coyote and truthfully that made her even more curious and bold was that she felt driven to investigate.
Her boots were ruined. Except for a pair of Lelandi\s warm socks, Elizabeth didn\ have anything else to wear on her feet. Was there a spare coat, gloves? Hat? Nope. Even better than human clothes? Her wolf coat.
Elizabeth unlocked the wolf door and hurried to strip and shift. She didn\ hesitate to push through the wolf door into the blustery cold. Her double coat of fur proved the best protection she had against the elements. The soft downy fur closest to her skin kept her warm and dry, while the outer coat caught the snowflakes. Her wolf pads protected her feet as she jumped through the drifts of powdered snow. She was in her element.
Tom was nowhere in sight. She circled the cabin, found his trail, and followed it.
A flash of something moved among the trees, catching her eye.
She hesitated. What if it was one of the rogue wolves who had been prowling the territory and now he was going after Tom?
Heart racing, she leaped through the snow and found that something had traveled in the snowdrifts like she had. The snow was too soft and deep, so she couldn\ make out any tracks. But she could tell that whatever had made the imprints in the snow had headed away from the cabin.
Something moved to the right of her. Her ears twitched back and forth, trying to determine what she\d heard. The wind blew through the trees, ruffling the branches, whistling and howling like a banshee, the snow falling in soft plunks all around her.
The crunching of boots in snow? The breaking of twigs? Tom?
She loped through the snow toward the sound and stopped dead in her tracks. Tom had his rifle slung over his shoulder as he broke twigs off a dead tree, gathering them for more kindling.
Her heart jumped as she saw a big gray wolf watching Tom. If it attacked him, Tom couldn\ get to his rifle quickly enough and wouldn\ stand a chance.
She ran to intercept the wolf, growling fiercely, warning Tom to ready his rifle. The wolf turned, surprise lighting his amber eyes. He ran off.
She raced after him, instinctively pursuing him. This was now her territory, she realized. She was part of a pack, protecting their land. And damned proud of it!
’’Elizabeth!’’ Tom shouted, his tone a definite ’’Come back here!’’ as he chased after her and the wolf.
With his longer legs, the male wolf soon outdistanced her. She did worry about him leading her into a trap, except that he had been watching Tom, not her. Still, he could be steering her straight to the other wolves, and they could rip her apart.
She lost sight of him, so she followed the path he\d made. Tom ran as fast as he could manage in the deep snow as a human, but he was still a long way back.
Then the wolf let out a pained yelp. He\d been hurt. But by what? Would she fall into the same predicament?
She loped off in the direction from which she\d heard his cry. The closer she got to where she thought he was, the slower she went. Humans could feign a cry of distress, but werewolves in wolf form couldn\ fake such a pained sound.
Tom drew closer. He hadn\ spoken her name again, just followed her trail.
The wolf panted hard out of her line of sight, just around another tree. Her heart in her throat, she edged around the snow-covered Colorado blue spruce, half expecting to see three gray wolves ready to make short work of her.
Instead, a lupus garou\s worst nightmare came into view. A steel leg-hold trap had snapped over the wolf\s right leg. He struggled to get loose, his leg bleeding, his bone at an odd angle. Tom would have to spring him. The trap had broken the wolf\s leg.
The wolf snarled at her. She barked for Tom to come this way, as if he wasn\ already headed in her direction. She also alerted him that she\d found her prey.
It didn\ take too much longer for Tom to reach them. He cursed under his breath as he considered the wolf. She hated to see the pain reflected in the wolf\s eyes.
’’What the hell are you doing out here, CJ?’’ Tom asked, sounding suspicious.
Was he one of Tom\s pack members?
’’I\m going to free you, but if you even think of biting me...’’ Tom let his words trail off threateningly. He stalked forward, set his rifle next to a tree, and leaned down to untie his bootlaces.