Silence Of The Wolf Page 78

Cody and Anthony grinned at her.

’’Your parents are betas,’’ Anthony said to Minx, continuing to move through the deep snowdrifts. ’’You never get into trouble. When we all fell off that cliff that time, I figured you\d get grounded forever since you\ e a girl.’’

’’Nah, not Minx,’’ Cody said. ’’Not even for one hour.’’

’’Like the two of you should talk. Your parents didn\ punish either of you.’’

’’That\s only because we promised we\d never do it again. Otherwise? Dad said he would have had us mucking out Doc Mitchell\s horse stalls for two months.’’

’’Well, you didn\ have to clean out the vet\s stalls.’’ Minx stopped in her tracks. ’’How much farther is it? I don\ remember Mr. Winston\s home being this far out.’’

’’In the spring it isn\ . Or at least it doesn\ feel like it. Trudging through powder snow, it is,’’ Cody said.

Minx waded through the snow after the brothers again, trying to think about anything other than how much this was wearing her out. ’’I like Elizabeth.’’

Neither Cody or Anthony made a comment.

Minx let out her breath. She was still thinking about meeting Elizabeth at the ski resort when she remembered something. ’’My dad thinks Eric Silver was at the ski resort.’’

Cody glanced over his shoulder. ’’Why does he think that? They left the pack months ago.’’

Minx wasn\ sure if her dad knew what he was talking about, either. But what if he did?

’’Okay, so how does he know?’’ Cody finally asked.

’’Well, my dad\s not sure, but he thought he saw Eric in the men\s room at the ski resort after he dropped me off there to join the two of you. Eric, if it was him, was moving really fast and had his mask down for only a moment. Dad only got a glimpse of his profile. Dad was a little surprised to see him, thinking the brothers had moved far away. But he could have sworn it was him.’’

’’Did your dad tell Darien?’’ Anthony asked.

’’Of course, but because he couldn\ be certain and because the Silvers have no idea where their cousins are staying, there wasn\ much they could do about. Hey, is that smoke? Yes! We\ e getting closer.’’

She stopped again. ’’Cody,’’ she whispered, since he was closer to her than Anthony.

Both brothers stopped to look at her.

She pointed to wolf tracks in the snow.

***

Per Darien\s orders, all the searchers would remain in human form. Darien worried that the farmers or ranchers in the area would find out about the hunt for the wolves and try to tag along, although Elizabeth would have preferred tracking as a wolf. On Elizabeth and Tom\s team, Bjornolf and Anna had split off in another direction to look for any wolf or human footprints.

’’Were your cousins really well liked?’’ she asked Tom.

’’Yeah, they were. Everyone felt really bad about their dad. And about them leaving.’’

’’So it makes sense that Mr. Winston would give them a place to stay while they figured out how they wanted to attempt to return.’’

’’I guess so,’’ Tom said. ’’But Mr. Winston probably would have told them that we weren\ mad at them and would have welcomed them back, so the fact that Eric was so against just coming clean from the start makes me worry they\ e up to something. And now that they\ve put the pack in danger, they\ve actually hurt their chances.’’

Elizabeth wished they could spread out a bit, but he wouldn\ leave her for a second, and she knew he still worried someone might attack her.

’’Lelandi is the psychologist in the family. What has she said about any of this?’’ Elizabeth examined a cluster of spruce branches, noticing some of the snow had been brushed off as if someone had walked into them recently. It could have been a searcher, but then again, Bjornolf and Anna were farther away, and the other search teams even more spread out. This was really recent, new snowflakes not having had time to cover the blue-green needles again.

Her heart sped up a little.

’’Lelandi says it\s possible they\ e acting out. Or maybe seeking revenge for their dad. Or they might not even be involved in any of this, like CJ said.’’

’’Or, they just want attention.’’

’’It\s one damn stupid way of getting it,’’ he said, glancing in her direction.

Elizabeth understood his anger, the betrayal, only too deeply. She turned away from him and studied a footprint in the snow, situated among the branches of the spruce. ’’Haven\ you ever done anything to get someone\s attention and afterward you regretted it? Some will do anything to get some notice, negative or otherwise. Since they\ e angry that your brother put their father down, maybe they\ve been fuming about this and lashed out.’’

’’It\s dangerous for the pack. We can\ have our farmers reaching for their guns every time they see a wolf in a wolf-run town. We might have welcomed them back before, but now I don\ know if we want to have pack members whose decisions place all of us in danger,’’ Tom said, joining her as she measured her boot size with the one left in the snow.

’’Man\s, recent,’’ she said. ’’He stood here, hiding among the branches of this spruce tree.’’

Tom pulled his rifle off his shoulder and searched around the trees.

Someone was hiding nearby, listening, watching. If it was one of Tom\s cousins, she desperately wanted to talk him into giving himself up.

’’They had a pack. They can\ let go of it. They want to be part of it again, but they don\ know how to come back and still save face,’’ she said.


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