Silence Of The Wolf Page 81
’’Unless your other two cousins are here. Brett said they had split up, but I\d assumed he meant they were all out looking for CJ.’’
’’Yeah,’’ Tom said.
Moving in closer, Tom and Elizabeth used the shelter of the snow-laden spruce to study the one-story log cabin. The living room curtains were open, smoke drifting out of the stone chimney, lights on in the living room and kitchen. Eric paced across the living-room floor.
’’Eric,’’ Tom said.
Of all the cousins, Eric was the tallest, six-one, and the most muscled. He wore a gray sweatshirt and jeans and appeared highly agitated.
A girl wearing a bright blue sweater and with blond hair in braids crossed in front of the kitchen window. She peeked outside, turned, and walked out of view.
’’Minx,’’ Tom said under his breath. Something had to be wrong. The kids wouldn\ leave the groceries out here without having a good reason. They wouldn\ have forgotten them. ’’Damn. Cody and Anthony must also be in there.’’
’’Eric and his brother wouldn\ hurt the kids, would they?’’ Elizabeth asked, her voice soft and concerned.
’’No. But why would the kids leave the groceries in the snow ’’ Another man crossed the living-room floor. Not Eric\s brother Sarandon. And it wasn\ Mr. Winston. Tom didn\ know the gray-haired man.
’’My Uncle Quinton,’’ Elizabeth whispered, her rosy cheeks losing all their color as a shudder ran through her.
Was Eric working with Quinton?
Elizabeth\s brow was furrowed deeply, and Tom saw the fear in her expression as they crouched in the trees surrounding Mr. Winston\s house. He reached out and touched her cheek with his gloved hand. ’’I don\ know what\s going on. Maybe Eric was caught unaware and taken hostage.’’ Though he didn\ look like it. ’’I... don\ ... can\ believe my cousin is in cahoots with your uncle. I want you to return to town for help.’’
’’You can\ confront them alone.’’ Elizabeth was ready to give him hell if Tom even thought to do so.
’’I won\ . As long as everyone seems relatively at ease, I\ll leave them alone and just keep an eye on them. If anyone exits the house, I\ll make plans. But I want you safely in town.’’
She glanced at the small shed where Mr. Winston kept his tools and gardening supplies. ’’I could shift and wait with you here.’’
’’No, Elizabeth. I want you as far away from your uncle as possible.’’ Just thinking of her being anywhere near the bastard gave him heart palpitations. ’’We need reinforcements.’’
The front door squeaked open. Tom\s heart pounded faster. They turned to see who had opened the door. North and Minx. North sported a black eye and it was half-shut.
A chill slid up Tom\s spine as he watched Minx with North. How many were in the house? He had to get Minx away from North.
North shut the door behind him and followed Minx through the fresh tracks, directly toward Tom and Elizabeth.
’’What will we do now?’’ Elizabeth whispered.
New plan. His blood pumping furiously, Tom grabbed Elizabeth\s hand and squeezed, hoping this worked. ’’Elizabeth, I\ll take out North. You grab Minx and take her home. And get help.’’
From Elizabeth\s reluctance, Tom could tell she didn\ want to leave him. She finally nodded and squeezed his hand back.
Minx looked furious. She swung her arms back and forth, matching the pace of her hat\s swinging pom-poms as she stalked through the snow. ’’Darien will make you all pay for this.’’
’’I haven\ done anything wrong,’’ North growled.
’’You\ e going along with the others, and that means you\ e in the wrong as much as they are. You can help us stop this before it\s too late.’’
’’Just tell me where that sled is and ’’ North didn\ say another word except, ’’Oof,’’ as Tom lunged for him and slammed the butt of his rifle against North\s temple, knocking him out.
Elizabeth had moved just as swiftly to clamp her hand over Minx\s mouth and muffle the scream that escaped.
’’Oh, oh, oh,’’ Minx whispered after Elizabeth let go, tears collecting in her eyes. ’’I am so glad to see you.’’
’’Shh,’’ Elizabeth whispered, giving the girl a quick hug. ’’How many others are in the house?’’
’’Eric, Cody, and Anthony. And some guy named Quinton.’’ Minx looked at North as Tom dragged him to the sled. ’’And him.’’
Tom untied the ropes keeping the food on the sled, then whispered, ’’Help me dump the groceries.’’
Elizabeth and Minx assisted him in turning the sled over, depositing the groceries into the snow. Using the ropes, Tom tied North to the sled. ’’Change of plans. You and Minx take North back to town with you.’’
’’Okay,’’ Elizabeth said.
’’I don\ want to leave Anthony and Cody,’’ Minx said, tears streaking her red cheeks.
Elizabeth gave her a hug. ’’I don\ want to leave them either, but we won\ do them any good if we stay here. Let\s go before my Uncle Quinton wonders what\s taking you and North so long. We\ll send help.’’
Glad Elizabeth wouldn\ argue with him any further about staying here with him, Tom embraced her and kissed her lips. Afterward, he gave Minx a reassuring hug. ’’Take care of each other. I\ll be waiting.’’
’’No heroics,’’ Elizabeth said, frowning at him.
’’Only if I don\ need to be a hero.’’