Silence Of The Wolf Page 59

What was he doing?

The wolf, CJ, was growling low, but not at Tom, she didn\ think. At the trap, his circumstances, maybe even at Elizabeth because he\d been running from her when he ran into the half-buried menace.

Tom dug the snow away from the trap, then slipped a bootlace out of the boot and tied one end of the lace to the top of the spring where it ran along the jaws. Then he ran the string through the bottom spring loop and up through the top again.

Tom stood on the chain that held the trap in the ground. He pulled up on the string, compressing it, and tied it off. Then he put the safety catch on. In a hurry, he did the same procedure with the other spring. Once he had finished, the wolf leaped back, freeing his leg. He snarled at the trap.

She was glad Tom had known what to do because she would have just tried pulling the trap apart. Probably unsuccessfully, and maybe to the wolf\s further detriment.

’’Okay, I\ve got to splint your leg now,’’ Tom said.

While he searched for a tree branch he could use, she watched CJ, but she was sure he wouldn\ run off.

Tom returned with a branch and dropped it on the snow. He untied his bootlaces and triggered the trap to snap shut so that it wouldn\ catch any other animals. Then he made a makeshift splint the best he could for CJ. Elizabeth was glad Tom was trained on ski patrol to handle emergencies like this.

’’Can you make it to the cabin on your own?’’ Tom grabbed his rifle.

The wolf stared at Tom, glanced at Elizabeth, then limped on three legs toward the cabin.

Tom tilted his chin down at Elizabeth and shook his head. ’’You were supposed to stay in the cabin.’’

She half expected him to tell her to run back to the cabin, but he didn\ . She wouldn\ have, either. Whether he liked it or not, she would watch his back in case others were with the injured wolf.

CJ used the same trail that he and Elizabeth had made, but because of his injury and the deep snow, he kept falling, yelping, and suffering considerable pain, and he had a devil of a time traveling.

Tom finally gave in. ’’I\ll carry you. But if your brothers attack... I\ll dump you and shoot the lot of them.’’

Brothers. Tom sounded serious, but Elizabeth thought he also was upset that some of his pack mates could be the ones causing trouble for the rest of the pack.

He gathered the wolf in his arms. CJ growled softly, but he didn\ snap or bite. Elizabeth breathed a sigh of relief.

’’If you weren\ my cousin...’’ Tom said under his breath.

Elizabeth stared at the wolf. Cousin?

When they reached the cabin, she dove through the wolf door, sniffed the air, ensuring no one had entered the house while they were gone, and waited for Tom to enter the cabin.

Tom shoved the door open, then kicked it closed and said to her, ’’Stay here. Don\ shift back.’’

Chapter 20

Elizabeth had no intention of shifting right away when they entered the cabin. Her first thought was still that CJ\s brothers could appear at any time. She would protect Tom in case anyone showed up.

Carefully, Tom crouched and set the wolf on the floor next to the fire. ’’Stay,’’ he said to CJ, though she was certain he didn\ need to tell his cousin that.

Panting, the wolf laid his head down. Blood matted his fur, and his leg was bent unnaturally. He had to be in a lot of pain, but he bore it stoically.

Tom locked both the wolf door and the human one. He went to the bedroom and then the bathroom. ’’Place is all clear,’’ he hollered. ’’If the guys are wearing hunter\s spray to hide their scents, I had to be certain we had no uninvited visitors hiding in here.’’

She\d forgotten all about that. No wonder he\d told her not to shift.

’’I\ll get you a robe so you can shift, CJ, and redo the splint,’’ Tom said from the bedroom.

Before Tom returned, CJ shifted. He shivered on the floor next to the warm fire. He resembled Tom but was more wiry in build, with curly sable hair.

And he looked eerily familiar.

Elizabeth loped over to the sofa, grabbed a blanket with her teeth, and hauled it over to him. He mumbled thanks and tried to pull it over his shoulders, but he accidentally moved his leg and groaned in pain.

She felt for him and wished she could do something more to ease his suffering.

Walking into the living room, Tom gave CJ an annoyed look. Tom might not like that Elizabeth was scrutinizing his naked cousin, but she was serving in guard-duty capacity for the moment.

Tom helped CJ into the robe, then turned to Elizabeth. ’’You can shift if you want to. He\s not going anywhere. I\ll be right back with something better to splint the leg.’’ He grabbed the clothes that she\d left near the front door and deposited them in the bedroom for her.

She appreciated that Tom had offered, not commanded her. Especially since she\d do what she thought necessary. Not trusting CJ, she remained where she was while she tried to remember where she\d seen him before.

After a few minutes, Tom returned with a splint and something to wrap CJ\s leg in, saline solution, and towels. He slipped a piece of plastic under CJ\s leg, then poured the solution over the wound. ’’Trap was new, not rusty,’’ Tom said, ’’but you\ll still need a tetanus shot when we get you into town.’’

Gritting his teeth, CJ looked pale, but he didn\ say anything.

When Tom straightened the leg a little, CJ swore.

Tom dried the wound, bandaged it, and wrapped the leg in gauze before he splinted it. He cleaned up the saline solution, then elevated CJ\s leg with pillows and gave him a pillow for his head. ’’Why don\ you lie down?’’

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