Silence Of The Wolf Page 66

’’Parents moved away two months later.’’

CJ nodded. ’’Remember when you and I took on your brothers and mine? I don\ even remember what it was about, do you?’’

Tom snorted. ’’Hell, yeah. They were picking on us because we were the \abies\ of the family. We gave \em hell. Proved we weren\ at the bottom of the heap.’’

’’What were we? Five?’’

Tom chuckled. ’’Yeah. We were scrappers even back then.’’ He sighed. ’’I want you back in the pack, CJ. But you know it\s not up to me.’’

’’It\s up to Darien. I know. Thanks for saving me out there. You didn\ have to.’’

’’Yeah, I did.’’

’’Tom,’’ CJ said, his eyes drooping a little, ’’watch out for her. I\m not sure that North is the one you have to worry about.’’

’’What do you mean?’’

’’I think... he might be the fall guy.’’

***

Elizabeth wished Tom would leave his cousin and hurry to bed. She needed his hot body to warm her up. The sheets were flannel, thank heavens, but she still needed to snuggle with him.

The door opened, and she watched as he closed it behind him and stalked toward the bed.

’’Is he okay?’’ she asked.

’’Yeah, Elizabeth, he\ll be okay. Soon as we get his leg seen to in town.’’ Tom slipped out of his clothes, pulled the covers aside, and joined her.

She sighed. ’’Silva\s still planning her grand opening?’’

’’In a few days. She\ll be thrilled if you can go to it,’’ Tom said.

’’I wouldn\ miss it for the world, now that I\m here again. How\s Sam taking it?’’

’’Not well. He pretends it doesn\ bother him. Three she-wolves applied for Silva\s job, but he ’’

’’Turned them down because they\ e not Silva,’’ Elizabeth finished for him.

’’Yeah. Truthfully, I think he\d do it all himself rather than have anyone take her place.’’

She yawned. ’’Why don\ they just mate?’’

’’They both have issues.’’

’’Don\ we all,’’ Elizabeth mused as she stroked Tom\s arm.

’’Not me.’’

She looked at him askance.

’’Not since you came back to me.’’

’’Under duress, I might add. You have no deep, dark secrets? No crazy past?’’

’’I ran away from the pack once.’’

’’You? Who is loyal to the core to your family?’’

’’I was four. I was going to start my own pack. I was mad at Darien and Jake for ganging up on me since I was the youngest by only a few minutes. But it was enough.’’

She laughed. ’’So you and who else intended to form a pack?’’

’’CJ and me. He had the same trouble with his brothers. If you\d been there, I would have been set for life.’’

She smiled. ’’At four years old.’’

’’Yeah. I finally realized running away wasn\ the solution. Standing up to them was all they wanted of me.’’ He caressed her cheek. ’’Some in our family, Darien and Jake included, were dream mated. I always thought I would be, while neither Darien nor Jake believed in such a phenomenon.’’

’’Dream mated? That\s what Silva mentioned in the tavern. I\d forgotten about it, but I\ve never heard of it before.’’

’’They dreamed of having mated with their women before they even met them. And Lelandi and Alicia dreamed of Darien and Jake in the same way.’’

’’That didn\ happen with you, did it?’’

Tom kissed her cheek. ’’I found you a dream in the flesh. I didn\ need to fantasize about you.’’

’’Hmm, maybe if I\d been gone longer...’’

’’You wouldn\ have been. I already told you. I was coming for you as soon as I took care of business here.’’ He pulled her into his hard embrace and held her tight. ’’CJ thinks North might be the fall guy.’’

’’Great. Which means...?’’

’’Maybe your uncle or half brother planned to get rid of you and pin the blame on him. Maybe he was set up to get in touch with you in the first place.’’

’’Like they made the evidence available to him to lure me here.’’ Great. She loved being her uncle\s pawn. Not.

***

Early the next morning before Tom or Elizabeth had awakened enough to realize the sun would soon rise, someone banged on the front door, giving Tom a near heart attack. He yanked on a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans, grabbed the rifle, and hurried for the bedroom door, hoping to hell it was someone from their pack and not the rest of his cousins, if they meant to cause trouble.

Elizabeth whispered, ’’Not CJ\s brothers.’’

’’I don\ know. Stay here.’’

He entered the living room and crossed the floor to the front door.

CJ had raised his head off the sofa bed, looking anxious.

’’Just stay there and don\ move,’’ Tom warned him. Not that CJ would, being handcuffed to the sofa leg and at a distinct disadvantage with his broken leg.

Tom looked out the peephole first and grinned to see Kemp and Radcliff standing on the porch, stomping on the snow and rubbing their gloved hands.

’’Just a minute!’’ To Elizabeth, Tom hollered over his shoulder, ’’Ski patrol\s here!’’

Chapter 23

Tom jerked open the door and let Kemp and Radcliff in. Both men grinned at him, snow clinging to the fur around their hoods. He smelled the fresh, crisp air and pine on them.


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