Silence Of The Wolf Page 89

Only time would tell if she\d stick to that.

As soon as Darien returned home, Tom took him aside. ’’We\ e leaving first thing in the morning to take care of Elizabeth\s home and so she can say her good-byes at work. I guess we\ll also need to take care of her property near Hrothgar\s pack. We\ll be back to find a place here. We\ll return before Silva\s grand tearoom opening, no matter what.’’

Darien said, ’’Come with me, you and Elizabeth.’’ He escorted them into his office and shut the door. ’’Elizabeth doesn\ know this, but I need you home as soon as you can return.’’

Guessing what this was all about a new problem for the pack, Tom said, ’’Because...?’’

’’The new owners of the hotel will be here this weekend to start renovations on the place. I need to make sure we don\ have any trouble with the pack when the owners show up.’’

Tom folded his arms. ’’Our cousins can help out there.’’

’’That\s what I\m worried about,’’ Darien said, ultraseriously.

’’Maybe it\s Peter\s turn to watch out for the new she-wolves in the pack.’’ This time, Tom wouldn\ ensure that an accompanied she-wolf in this case, three of them didn\ stir up trouble with the pack. He already had his own.

***

When they arrived at Elizabeth\s place in Canyon, Texas, the next morning, Tom loved the coziness of the two-bedroom, one-bath home surrounded by land and mesquites and junipers. He decided the warmth of the home was all because of her.

’’Kind of small,’’ she said, glancing around at her place, ’’compared to Darien\s house.’’ She smiled up at Tom. ’’Then again, you make the house seem small. I hadn\ really thought of it that way before.’’

’’I like it.’’ Tom gathered her in his arms. ’’In a place this size, you couldn\ get very far from me.’’ He kissed her lips. ’’I\m hungry. We had no food on the plane, and I feel like having a steak.’’

She looked wary, as if she already knew where this was headed. ’’I don\ have any steaks in the house. The last time ’’

’’The last time you weren\ with me. You know they say that you should revisit the place where you experienced something bad to get over your fear of going there again,’’ Tom said.

’’But if they have sale steaks at the grocery store...’’ she said.

’’Nope, let\s go to the butcher shop. I want you to have only good memories before we leave here. Besides, we need to pick up your car if it\s still parked there.’’

’’All right, but if the steaks are full price, you\ e paying.’’

He laughed, then hurried her out to the rental car and drove her to the butcher shop.

She sighed with relief as he parked at the shop. ’’My car\s still here.’’ She glanced at the butcher\s window and with an I-told-you-so look, she said, ’’No sale signs.’’

Smiling, he patted her leg. ’’Steaks are on me.’’

When they walked into the store, the butcher\s blue eyes rounded. ’’I wondered when you\d come back to get your car.’’ He eyed Tom as if he was speculating about whether he was the new boyfriend. ’’What will it be?’’

’’Rib-eye steaks sound good to you?’’ Tom asked Elizabeth.

’’Yeah.’’ She turned to stare at a sleek-looking woman wearing an ivory sweater, tan jeans, and high-heeled boots, who was checking out grilling spices on a rack, a package of meat in hand.

The woman glanced at them. She sniffed the air, the action so reminiscent of a wolf shifter that she stole both Tom\s and Elizabeth\s attention.

The woman frowned at them and stuck her nose up in the air, hurrying past them and out the door. Tom swore she hissed, ’’Dogs,’’ under her breath.

Tom and Elizabeth watched her leave.

She frowned up at him. ’’Did she smell like ?’’

’’A jaguar?’’

They both shook their heads and said, ’’Nah.’’

***

A short while later, Tom grilled the steaks on Elizabeth\s back patio, while she made arrangements to have her household goods shipped and lined up a Realtor to sell her house. She\d also picked up her camera from the repair shop, delighted that it worked again. She would need it to take pictures for her new newspaper, though maybe Jake would shoot some pictures for her, too. Tom intended to get her another camera as a spare.

At her insistence, so he wouldn\ splatter steak juices on his sweater, he wore Elizabeth\s bluebonnet floral apron. It got him to thinking about Darien wearing Lelandi\s brown and pink ruffled apron when he fed his toddlers. Tom realized that Darien didn\ need a manlier apron. He himself wasn\ bothered about wearing Elizabeth\s flowery one if it meant being with her and keeping her happy. He could even envision feeding oatmeal mush to his toddlers in another year or so, wearing this same apron.

That had him smiling.

When Elizabeth joined him with a platter covered with raw vegetables to grill, he turned and saw she was looking out at the vista. A male coyote off in the distance watched them.

’’Looks like you have an admirer.’’ Tom flipped the steaks, keeping his eye on the coyote.

Elizabeth set the platter of vegetables on the table next to the grill and wrapped her arms around Tom\s waist. ’’I think he was interested in me before, but he was afraid of my wolf half.’’

Tom set the tongs on the sideboard, turned, and drew Elizabeth into his arms. ’’Well, now he can be afraid of your other half, too, who\s a whole wolf.’’


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