Wolf on a Mission:Salvation Pack, Book 6(10)

By: N.J. Walters

Sue shook her head. He hated the pain and bewilderment he heard in her voice and saw in her eyes. “She hadn’t been home a day when she disappeared.”

“Disappeared?” It was impossible to keep the sharp tone from his voice.

“She just up and left. She called a few times. Said she had to get away. I can understand it. They said she was attacked by a wild dog or wolf. Some said it was a cougar.”

“What did Anny say?” If it was a wolf that had attacked and left the woman for dead, was it part of the Salvation Pack? And if so, did he want his nephews anywhere near a pack that would do such a thing?

“That’s just it. She didn’t say much of anything. She quit her job, put her house up for sale and pretty much disappeared. The house didn’t sell right off, so she decided to start renting it instead, and it was available when I needed a place. She calls occasionally and emails, but it’s not the same.”

Sue had lost her friend that day. Elias knew what it was like to lose someone you loved. It never got easier. But Anny wasn’t dead. She’d simply walked away.

Anger welled inside him at this unknown woman even as he had empathy for her. “How did you come to be living here if the place holds such bad memories for you?” Elias found himself wanting to understand Sue.

She slid her hand out from under his. “I’m sorry. I’ve probably said more than I should. I just wanted to warn you against wild animal attacks. There’s been nothing since that day, but you need to be extra careful.”

Her past was none of his business. Got it loud and clear. That didn’t keep him from wanting to know more. “I can see why you were so upset when you stumbled on Billy with Reece.” That had to have brought back a ton of memories for her, none of them good.

She pressed her hands against her stomach. “God, for a minute, I was terrified the wolf that had attacked Anny was back.”

Reece padded over to her side and laid his head on Sue’s lap. He whined once and licked her hand. Sue gave a wobbly laugh and ran her hands over the wolf’s flanks. “I didn’t know you then, did I? You’re a good boy, aren’t you?”

Reece gave her a wolf grin and then padded back to sit with Sage and Billy. Sage was keeping the young boy occupied with his toys.

“I’m sorry about that,” Elias told her. He hated the thought of her being so frightened. “So they don’t know for certain what kind of animal attacked your friend?” He hated to have to make her talk about it, but he needed all the information he could get.

Sue shook her head. “The authorities settled on a wild dog, as there aren’t any wolves around here. They hunted for days but found nothing. The consensus was it was a wild dog that moved on after the attack.”

“And yet you live here.” He really wanted to know more about her.

“I do.” She stood and started loading the mugs and glasses back onto the tray. “It’s past Billy’s bedtime,” she announced.

As much as Elias wanted to stay, he knew it was time to go. He stood and motioned to Sage. “Come on. It’s time we got back to camp.”

“Do you need a flashlight?” she asked.

Elias wanted to hug her. She was such a generous woman. “No, we’ll be fine.”

She hesitated and then hurried into the house. “Wait here.”

Sage stood and brushed off his jeans, and Billy had his face buried against Reece’s fur. Neither of the twins wanted to go any more than Elias did.

Sue returned with a plastic baggie filled with oatmeal cookies. She handed it to Sage. “Just in case you get hungry later tonight.”

Sage took the bag, his gaze solemn. “Thank you.” Before Elias knew what his nephew was about, Sage wrapped his arms around Sue and hugged her. She hesitated and then enfolded the boy in her arms.

Emotion speared through Elias. He wanted to laugh and cry, to howl at the injustice of life and drop to his knees in despair. He did none of those things.

“Come on. Let’s go.” He walked down the steps and waited until Sage and Reece joined him. Sue stood on the porch with Billy clinging to her leg. “Goodbye. It was nice to meet you both.”

“Goodbye,” she echoed. He hated that it sounded so final.

With Billy calling his goodbyes to Reece and Sage, Elias led his small pack down the path and into the woods.

Chapter Three

“What are we going to do?” Reece asked. His nephew, back in human form and wearing jeans and an old T-shirt with the sleeves ripped off, sat next to the small fire they had lit and munched on one of Sue’s oatmeal cookies.