Silence Of The Wolf Page 87

’’What evidence?’’ Eric asked North.

’’Sefton\s murder weapon. Elizabeth\s father planned to give her a boot knife his father had given him. He treasured it. I saw her grandfather use it once. It had a beautiful hand-carved bone handle. But I knew Elizabeth wanted a horse. It was all she ever talked about when we met up. I wanted to buy one of the mares Elizabeth\s father was breaking in because I knew her father wouldn\ give her one. Horseflesh was his business. Catching them, breaking them, and selling them. He didn\ give \em away free. So I planned to buy her one. I had the money in hand and was going to meet with her father on her birthday to pick out the one her father thought she cherished the most.’’

Tom glanced at Elizabeth. He couldn\ read her expression. He\d buy her a whole herd of horses if she wanted them.

’’When I arrived that afternoon, Elizabeth was in a state of shock. Her father had been stabbed to death. I helped her bury him, then pack and saddle up one of the horses. She couldn\ find the boot knife her father had given her. We were so frantic to get her out of there that we just figured it had been misplaced. I gave her one of my own that she could use for protection. I I couldn\ tell her that I was buying one of the horses for her. Not after her father had been murdered. After she was gone, I looked for the knife, intending to send it to her wherever she settled, but I never found it.

’’A few weeks ago, I was out fishing with Sefton, and he used that same knife to clean and fillet the fish. Why would he have it? Then I made the connection. Sefton was furious his father had given it to his daughter instead of his firstborn son. Sefton often had groused before about the knife, but after the murders, he never mentioned it again.’’ North swallowed hard.

’’I looked Sefton squarely in the eye at the fishing hole and asked where he got such a beautiful knife. I tried really hard not to show how much I was sweating or that my hands shook. Sefton said as proud as could be, \My father gave it to my uncle to give to me,\ then smiled. The look was pure menace. I knew he was lying to me and that either her uncle or Sefton had killed her father. No way would he have willingly given the knife to his brother or Sefton. Not after he had given it to Elizabeth.

’’I stole it from Sefton\s house. I was over there all the time, so he never suspected I\d slipped in when he was gone. After that, I had to track Elizabeth down and tell her the news. I knew she\d want to know. Her uncle had covered for Sefton, given him an alibi, so he was just as guilty. And Bruin, the pack leader at the time, backed them up.

’’When I heard Elizabeth was alive and well, I hoped she might return. Once her uncle and Sefton were dealt with, I thought maybe she might agree to start a new pack with me on her land. I guess Sefton and Quinton watched me the whole time to learn what evidence I had on them, and they intended to force her to sign the deed on her property over to them.’’

’’Where\s the knife?’’ Eric asked.

North pulled it out of his boot. ’’Where a boot knife belongs. Now we just have to get Quinton\s confession and ’’

’’About... Quinton,’’ Mr. Winston said, sounding like they might all be in trouble. ’’We have a problem.’’

Chapter 30

In his wolf coat, Tom raced into Mr. Winston\s house, Elizabeth on his tail, and everyone else running to catch up. Quinton lay on the floor by the table no heart rate, no breath. The man was stone-cold dead.

Mr. Winston and Eric stood nearby. ’’Sorry, Tom,’’ Mr. Winston said.

No need to be sorry, Tom thought. Quinton had been living on borrowed time for far too long.

Anthony grabbed Elizabeth\s clothes from the sled and Tom\s in the living room and left them in a bedroom where Tom and Elizabeth hurried to shift and dress.

From the living room, Anthony shouted, ’’Darien and Jake are here!’’

Anthony raced outside to meet them and give them all the news. Eric and Mr. Winston had brought Sefton\s body into the living room and covered it and Quinton\s with sheets.

Elizabeth joined them and cast a look at Eric, who openly stared at her.

’’Don\ I know you from somewhere?’’ Eric said to her.

’’A long time ago,’’ she said.

’’The water hole. My God.’’ Eric looked back at Quinton\s dead body. ’’He was the one who tried to drown you.’’

’’Thanks for stopping him,’’ Elizabeth said.

’’Yeah, sure. I wished we\d killed the bastard then.’’

’’Watering hole?’’ Darien said.

’’Fill you in on it later, Darien.’’ Tom quickly enfolded Elizabeth in his arms, noting that she wouldn\ look at her dead relations. He wanted to get her out of there as soon as he could.

’’How convenient it was for you to find the knife,’’ Elizabeth said to North. ’’I\m curious why Sefton would have made the mistake of showing it to you. He knew you had been seeing me and might have known Dad gave it to me for my sixteenth birthday.’’

North\s face lost all its color. ’’Hell, you mean they used me to get to you?’’

’’Yeah, to ask for the deed and to meet with me to give me the evidence in person. And they would have grabbed both of us, the evidence, and the deed.’’

North let out his breath hard. ’’Yeah, I can see it all clearly now. I\m so sorry, Elizabeth. I would never have called you if I had known.’’

Tom gave him a killing look. As Darien and Jake joined them in the house, Tom said, ’’About time you guys got here. We\ve got to find Minx and Cody.’’

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