Silence Of The Wolf Page 9

She was a pariah, worse than an omega, a wolf that was pushed from the pack, picked on, and left to grab scraps everyone else had left behind.

Except for one thing. She was an alpha. They couldn\ beat that out of her, no matter how much they had tried. Alpha wolves were born with the take-charge tendency whether they were lupus garous or strictly wolves or even humans. Not all alphas formed their own packs. Some became loners and others sub-leaders of a pack, ready to take over if the pack leader died. Not that she would ever face such a situation.

After capturing Tom and the little girl with her camera, Elizabeth moved toward the lodge. She took several pictures of the building, with its steep alpine roof and log sides and a large veranda where visitors sat at tables enjoying hot drinks. The heat of the drinks mixed with the air, causing steam to rise above their cups. She captured photos of people waiting on the lift line and of some coming down the gently sloping bunny trail.

She snapped a shot of a teen wearing a gray-wolf ski hat who headed straight for her. He whipped around her, grinning, and skidded to a halt next to her. ’’Tom\s girl, right?’’

Before she could respond, he laughed and took off for the ski lift. She smiled. If her pack had treated her like that, she would never have left.

She snapped a couple more pictures one of a man hitting a hill of soft powder, causing it to fly everywhere. If the day remained sunny, this afternoon she\d take a break from photographing and just ski. Well, after she got what she needed from North, she thought, wishing again that he had taken the evidence he had on her uncle straight to the red wolf pack\s new leader, Hrothgar. North wouldn\ , saying that it was her issue to deal with. Elizabeth didn\ disagree, but she didn\ want to get that close to the pack.

She thought maybe that afternoon she\d take some pictures when the sun wasn\ as intense. When she was done, she\d try to contact Hrothgar and arrange to meet with him to transfer the evidence herself. Hopefully, he wouldn\ mind making the seven-hour trip here.

She was still irritated with North. He had waited a long time before telling her he had solid evidence against her uncle. He could also have informed her that the red pack had a new leader who might consider the evidence and right the wrongs. Then again, Hrothgar might not do anything more with it than Bruin would have.

Shaking loose of her frustration, she proceeded toward the lift. She felt someone hurrying behind her, but he didn\ pass her. She glanced at him as he got in line next to her for the double chairs. He didn\ look at her, which told her he wasn\ trying to meet up with the new she-wolf on the slopes. He was covered in cold-weather clothes, ski hat, and goggles, so she couldn\ make out what he looked like. She tried to smell him, but the wind blew the wrong way so she couldn\ tell if he was a wolf or a man.

He sat to her right as they took the lift up, and Elizabeth caught sight of a lovely vista beyond the man\s head. She thought to come this way again, sit on his side of the chairlift, and have her camera ready.

Then the man turned and stared at her. Blatantly. She\d been looking in his direction at the view, not at him. Maybe he thought she stared at him. If he were a wolf, he\d definitely be an alpha because he wouldn\ look away from her, trying to force her to glance away in submission.

She didn\ need to prove anything to him. Not the way she\d had to with her former wolf pack. But the instinct was built in, and the repeated abuse she\d suffered for being who she was had made her toughen against such people. She wasn\ looking away first.

She didn\ want to have anything to do with him, but she finally smiled and said, ’’Nice day for skiing. Are you local?’’

The man wore a black balaclava over his mouth and nose, but Elizabeth could tell from a glimpse of his cold eyes that he glowered before he looked away without answering her. Having won the confrontation, she smiled to herself. She snapped pictures of people skiing down the slope from the lift\s bird\s-eye view. She took a picture of the chairs behind her. Never knowing what shot might really look cool in a story, she would take hundreds while she was here. She tucked her camera away in her pouch before she reached the end of the ride.

This time when she got off the chair, she would head for the expert slope to take some shots of the moguls and skiers traversing them on the way down. After she finished there, she\d ski back across the trail to the intermediate slope. She would find another lift to take her up to some other trails later.

The man got off the chair and she followed him, moving off to the side so the next passengers could leave the lift. She waited to see which trail he went on. Expert. Super. Not.

Then again, he\d ski down it quickly and be gone. She could even take some shots of him and see if he did a great job or was just an egomaniac and crashed and burned, nearly killing himself on the way down.

Smiling darkly with that thought in mind, she skied toward the black-diamond slope. When she reached it, she made sure she was out of any skier\s way. She pulled her camera out and took a picture of the man. He\d stopped halfway down the trail, resting his skis on top of a mogul. Not such a hotshot after all.

He turned and looked up. Not expecting to be caught photographing him, she quickly raised her camera to take a picture of the pines separating this trail from the intermediate one.

She heard a skier coming from behind her, the swoosh of skis against snow. Elizabeth\s skis crunched into the semipacked powder as she inched over just a little more to get out of the way. Trees blocked her from moving over any farther.

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