Wolf on a Mission:Salvation Pack, Book 6(7)

By: N.J. Walters

He didn’t know whether to laugh or applaud her courage.

“Who are you?” she demanded. She raised her hand slightly, and he noticed the rock she clutched tightly in her fingers.

He raised his hands in surrender. “Hey, it’s okay.”

“It’s okay,” Sage told her. “That’s my uncle.”

“Elias Gallagher,” he offered.

She swallowed but didn’t lower the rock. “What are you doing here? This is private property.”

Elias wanted to take her into his arms and reassure her that everything was okay. That he’d protect her and her son. He clamped down hard on his instinctual response. She was off limits. She had a husband and son.

“Where’s your husband?”

That was the wrong question to ask. Her shoulders tightened and she began to back away. “That’s none of your business.”

She started to say more but her son interrupted her. “He’s gone.”

“Gone?” Was her husband dead? “I’m sorry.”

She bit her bottom lip and glanced at her son. “We’re divorced. Not that it’s any of your business, Mr. Gallagher.”

Pure elation shot through him. She didn’t have a mate. What kind of idiot would abandon a woman like this one? Not to mention his own son. He didn’t know her name, but she was beautiful and courageous. The way she’d stepped in front of Sage told him she had a protective streak as well.

“Call me Elias.”

“I don’t plan on calling you anything at all.” She grabbed her son’s hand. “Come on, Billy, it’s time to go home.”

The little boy glanced longingly at the Reece. “Doggy.”

Elias crouched down and motioned to Reece. If the boy wanted to shift into his wolf, he could damn well help Elias deal with this situation they were now in. “He won’t hurt you,” he promised.

Reece trotted over to stand beside Elias. In his wolf form, his nephew stared at Sue. Elias could see a longing there. The boy might almost be a man, but he missed his mother.

Billy started to sidle forward, but his mother stopped him.

“Really, Reece would never hurt your son.”

Sue didn’t know what to do. The two strangers and their pet wolf were all staring at her as though she held their futures in her hands. Not to mention the way her son was looking at her. She knew he was enthralled with the wolf and wanted to pet him.

Her first instinct was to protect her son. But none of them had hurt him or made any threatening moves. She freely admitted that the past was coloring her reaction to them. She didn’t trust good-looking men, thanks to her ex. And the sight of a wolf was enough to want to make her run screaming.

They were all waiting for her. Billy was practically vibrating with impatience. He was tugging on her hand, trying to break free of her grip so he could go to the wolf.

She nibbled on her bottom lip and finally made her decision. “I’m Sue Walsh and this is my son, Billy.”

The wolf chose that moment to trot forward. He sat in front of her and waited. Tentatively, she put out her hand and touched the creature’s head. “Nice dog.” Elias winced, and she cocked one eyebrow in question. “Well, he is a dog, isn’t he?”

“No, ma’am. He’s a wolf. To call him a dog is an insult.”

The wolf seemed totally unperturbed.

“I think he’s tough enough to handle it.” The wolf licked her hand in response. Billy had sidled closer while she’d been distracted and had his hands buried in the wolf’s fur.

Sage was standing off to the side, watching her touch the wolf. There was a look of longing in his face that, as a mother, she couldn’t ignore. The teenager looked lonely.

“You said you’re camping, Sage?” she asked, wanting to draw him into the conversation.

He stepped closer and nodded. “Not too far from here.” He glanced at his uncle. “We set up camp and went to explore. We weren’t supposed to go far.”

Sue suddenly understood the uncle’s anger and his lack of shirt. It was fear. He’d discovered his nephews missing and had charged off to find them. She’d done the same with Billy, running off without a thought to anything else.

Billy had his face buried in the wolf’s neck. The animal was certainly patient with her son. It was startling to note that the animal’s eyes were blue, not brown. In fact, they were identical to Sage’s. They also had that same look of lost loneliness.

Sue was not immune.

“I was just about to put coffee on if you’d like some,” she told Elias. She was simply being neighborly. “I have some homemade oatmeal cookies too,” she offered Sage. “No dog biscuits, I’m afraid.”