Silence Of The Wolf Page 63

She sighed. ’’Sefton doesn\ see me as his sister. He claims my father couldn\ have mated with my mother because my father was already mated to his mother.’’

’’She was already dead, though. Right?’’

’’Yes. That didn\ matter to Sefton. I don\ think he would have cared if my father mated again, if his new mate had been a wolf and not a coyote.’’

’’So your uncle took him in?’’

’’Yeah. My father turned him over to my uncle to raise after Sefton tried to burn down the house.’’

Tom blew out a harsh breath. ’’Do you think your uncle was angry he was saddled with raising your half brother?’’

’’Not that I ever saw. He raised Sefton like he was his own son. At least that\s the way it appeared to me whenever I saw them together. I think it was more that my uncle hated that both he and Sefton had trouble finding mates of their own because of their association with my mom and dad.’’

’’It couldn\ have been because of the way they were? That maybe it had nothing to do with your parents or you?’’

Elizabeth didn\ say anything for a while as he stroked her silky hair.

’’What about Bruin? He\s dead now, so no longer a problem where you\ e concerned, but would he have sanctioned your parents\ murder?’’

’’He might have. I never saw him. I don\ know how he treated my uncle and half brother.’’

It didn\ really make much of a difference, Tom thought. All that mattered was learning who was responsible for her parents\ death and everything concerning her parents\ murderers and their involvement with Elizabeth.

He wanted to know everything about her. He smiled at the thought that she was his mate now. ’’Tell me about your father.’’

She laughed a little. ’’He was a character. Good-natured. Loving. He was a perfectionist, and when he showed me how to do some job, he\d go into long-winded detail, indicating exactly how I was to do it. When he was done, I\d ask if he could show me again. And he would. So instead of having three cast-iron pans to wash, I\d only get stuck with one.’’

Tom chuckled.

She smiled. ’’It got to be a joke with us because he was like that with everything. Every time, he\d do the job again, digging a second hole in the garden to plant a tree, or whatever. Usually by the third time I asked him to demonstrate again, he\d smile and make me do it.’’

’’I would have liked him,’’ Tom said.

’’Yeah, you would have. And my mother. She baked cinnamon rolls like Bertha does.’’ She sighed heavily.

Tom didn\ know what to say. He was afraid the memories were too sad for Elizabeth, but before he could attempt to change the subject, she said, ’’She didn\ take any guff from my father, wolf that he was.’’

’’That must be where you get it from.’’

’’Yeah,’’ she said dreamily. ’’Just you remember that.’’

They snuggled for a long time, and when she fell asleep, he followed. A few hours later, he heard something in the living room a scraping sound, he thought that jarred him awake.

Tom quickly extricated himself from Elizabeth, not meaning to wake her, but she quickly sat up as he left the bed. He grabbed the rifle, hurried to the bedroom door, and yanked it open.

CJ stared at the door, still manacled to the sofa but sitting up now. ’’I\m not going anywhere, Tom,’’ he said. ’’But I\m hungry. Any more of that great chili you make? I\ve smelled it all evening.’’

’’I\ll get you some in a minute.’’ He closed the door, set the rifle on the dresser, then dressed. He watched Elizabeth dig around in the bedsheets for the sweatpants she had been wearing. ’’Showtime.’’

’’Do you think he\ll tell us anything that we don\ already know?’’

’’I sure hope so.’’

When they were both dressed, they left the bedroom together, and Tom joined CJ by the fireplace, adding more wood to the fire.

’’Can I get him anything?’’ Elizabeth asked Tom.

’’A glass of water and a bowl of that chili, if you don\ mind.’’

’’All right.’’ She hurried to get them.

’’Start talking, CJ,’’ Tom said, crossing his arms as he looked down at his cousin. ’’What do you know about the wolves harassing the livestock?’’

’’I didn\ have any part of it.’’

Tom grunted.

Elizabeth rejoined them and stood quietly nearby with the bowl of chili and glass of water. CJ stared at Elizabeth as if seeing her for the first time. Was he surprised Tom had mated with her even though she was part coyote? CJ\s father had had issues with Lelandi being a red wolf and not gray, so maybe so.

’’Yeah. We\ e mated,’’ Tom said defensively.

CJ glanced at Tom, then back at Elizabeth.

’’You know me from somewhere, don\ you?’’ Elizabeth asked quietly.

That took the wind out of Tom\s sails. Maybe that\s why CJ had been staring at her.

’’Yeah. Yeah, I do. A long time ago.’’

’’When?’’

CJ cleared his throat. ’’I mean, at first I wasn\ sure. I didn\ know you\ e the one Tom got interested in.’’ He shook his head. ’’But when I heard you talking about Bruin\s pack and... well, my brothers and I were the ones who found you at that watering hole when that man nearly drowned you.

’’We didn\ know what to do. We weren\ in our territory, but we\d decided to take a swim there because it was a hot day, and then we saw you struggling with some older guy. We made a lot of racket as we headed for the water, hoping the creep would let you go. After the guy took off, we followed him to make sure he didn\ come back.’’


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