No, that wasn’t right. He closed his eyes tightly and tried to remember the real reasons he needed to take care of her. Wolf made everything so unclear. His instincts had made much more sense when he’d been around Nicole.
This is what Link did. Cole had killed her dad, and Link paid back the people his brothers had stolen from or hurt. Oh, he was headed toward a kill order and fast, but he was going to die a good person. He would leave this world better than his brothers had left it, and Nicole was now part of that mission.
Link worked the day away to the sound of his hammering and the churning thoughts revolving around Nicole. And after he’d finished the damaged side of Drake’s cabin, cleaned up his tools, and collected his pay, Link loaded up his Bronco and barely resisted the urge to head toward Elyse’s homestead where the three Silver brothers lived with their mates. He wanted to see them and smooth everything out. He’d left the day Tobias had told Elyse and Lena he’d found the cure for bear shifter hibernation, and he’d gone straight wolf for nearly a month just to avoid the pain that he was the unfixable one. He should have gone back and talked to them by now, but he hadn’t been ready. He would’ve been the downer to their happy times. Finally, the Silvers were awake for their first winter since they’d been cubs, and Link didn’t want to be the one who took away from their happiness.
Until he got ahold of his emotions and could stop being such a selfish, whiny dick, he needed to steer clear of Vera. His pain would hurt her. It would hurt them all because Wolf was wrong. They did care about him.
Link waved to Drake who was still sitting on his porch, rocking slowly in his chair, then pulled onto the snowy street that would lead to the main road in these backwoods. He passed Nicole’s turnoff and studied the tracks to make sure she’d made it this far safely. The deep chain divots were there in the snow, so the soft snarl faded in his throat. Curiosity nagged at him though. Why did a complete stranger have such a calming effect on Wolf? He looked down at his lap at his raging boner and shook his head, appalled that he’d momentarily given the crazy half of him too much credit. She didn’t calm the monster. She turned him on. Nicole was nothing but a breeder to Wolf, so if he was going to help her, he had to do it without talking to her and without her knowing.#p#分页标题#e#
With the excuse to gather information about her situation over on Buck’s property, Link decided to go hunting food for Nicole. Not because he cared about her as a person, but because he owed her. Yep, he was sticking with that.
Nicole wasn’t as interesting as he was imagining her to be.
She was just a speedbump on his road to Hell.
Nicole was a decent cook at home, but this was ridiculous. Who burned canned stew? Apparently a dumbass who didn’t know how to use a wood burning stove. The smell that filled the place was awful, and she yanked the scalded pot off the stovetop and set it on a potholder on the counter. Stifling a gag at the smoke, she bolted for the door and opened it wide, then fanned a dishcloth back and forth, trying to get as much of the billowing smog out of the cabin as possible.
Outside, the haunting notes of a wolf’s howl lifted on the breeze. Nicole froze, shocked and terrified. She’d never in her life heard a wild wolf, and it sounded so loud, so close. In a rush, she slammed the door closed and locked it. Heart beating against her chest, she pressed all of her weight against the thin wooden barrier and hoped it was strong enough to keep a determined predator out.
When she finally found her bravery enough to move, she pushed the window curtains aside and looked out into the night. She couldn’t see much outside of the lantern light. This place had both indoor and outdoor lighting connected to the generator, but she hadn’t been able to start the contraption, so she was stuck in the dark ages—if the dark ages had included battery-operated lanterns, of course.
She gasped as a light reflected strangely in the trees. Animal eyes, and oh God, it was watching her from the shadows. What did it want? To eat her? In horror, she looked over at the long rifles leaning against the wall. She’d taken her hunter safety course in Mission before she’d come here, but she’d only ever shot a little pistol in the class and didn’t know anything about shooting any of these guns. And besides, the rifles looked old and would probably misfire or shoot her in the eye or something.
But to feel safe, she picked one up and hugged it to her chest, the barrel pointed up to the ceiling at an angle, just in case there was a bullet still hidden inside. Scared out of her mind, she backed toward the couch that faced the door, sat down, rested the weapon on her knee, and aimed it at the door. And that’s where she stayed frozen until the early hours of the morning when she finally nodded off against the soft cushion.