Connor built his cabin to be alone, to escape, and to live with the memories of his lost love. After he finds a wounded wolf in the forest he nurses him back to health and falls in love with the animal. He decides to keep the wolf as his companion and calls him Silver. Little does he know what else Silver will bring into his life and how everything will change in the months following the rescue.
It was already dark when Connor heard footsteps. He closed his laptop and jumped up to open the door. He’d checked on Silver several times, but there’d been no change.
“I’m so glad you came, Ana. Thanks, Eagan.”
Eagan nodded. Ana had already spotted Silver and was kneeling by his side. Connor watched her carefully remove the blanket.
“Boy, she’s bad.”
“She’s a boy. I named him Silver.”
“Well, he’s definitely a wolf, but not quite purebred. I sense other blood in him.”
Connor watched her hands as she swiftly examined the seemingly unconscious animal. She had beautiful slim hands with long fingers. What was he thinking? She was a beautiful woman all over, not just her hands, but they were healing hands. That made them special.
“You tried to clean him up nicely, but I need to really bathe him properly. Can you help me lift him on top of the table?” she asked, looking at Connor.
“Careful now. He must be in a lot of pain. I’ll take care of that right away,” Ana said after they placed Silver on the table. She laid her hands on his head, closed her eyes and stood silently for a few minutes, her lips moving, yet not saying anything aloud. “There, that will ease the pain.”
“What do you need?” Eagan asked.
“Warm water and plenty of clean cloths.”
Connor hurried to the kitchen to fill the large bowl up with warm water and to get more cloths. “Is this good?” he asked, setting the bowl on the table.
“Yes, for now. I’ll start on this side.” Opening her bag, she took a bottle out and poured some of the green liquid into the water causing it to turn milky. Then she wet the cloth and gently started washing Silver, being careful to only dab the damaged areas.
She had Eagan and Connor turn Silver over on his other side and it took quite a while before she was satisfied. Taking a jar out of her bag, she applied a yellow, syrupy salve to all the raw, oozing patches. “He’s lucky there are no cuts and nothing is torn. This salve will help him heal fast and his fur should grow back. The spell I placed on him will help him heal, too, and stop him from being in too much pain. He’ll sleep a lot at first.”
“How can fur grow back where there are whole pieces of skin ripped off?” Connor asked.
Ana gave him a stern look. “Don’t ask. You know what I am. I’ll leave you a full jar of this salve. Apply it three times a day and feed him plenty of liquids.”
“What about chicken broth? I fed him some before by using a baster.”
“Sure. But it would be better if you made your own. It has more healing qualities. Go get a chicken and boil it for a long time, then strain it. I’ll give you some healing herbs to put in the broth.” She handed him some tiny jars.
“Put all of those in the broth, a quarter teaspoon each. Cook it for five more minutes.”
“Again, I don’t know how to thank you. Would you like a beer? A glass of wine?”
“I’d love a glass of wine,” Ana said. “And enough thanks is that you accept me for who I am.”
“Of course. I saw you tons of times on Sundays and watched you with the children. I really like you. You don’t fool around. You don’t put on airs like so many women. And the fact that you’re a witch, hell, you’d be a fantastic addition to our family. What say you, bro?”
“Any time she’d have me. But she doesn’t want to come between the family and me.”
“Eagan, did that stop me? They hated Trent, but they didn’t cast me out.”
“Connor, I’m a witch. That’s completely different from a human lover,” Ana said softly. “Your family would sniff me out immediately. There’s no hiding what I am from them.”
“They already know you’re a witch. We can sense that. You are who you are. It’s character and the heart that counts. Beer, Eagan?”
Eagan gratefully accepted a beer. “It’s not just our family, brother. Ana’s parents would have pink kittens if they knew I was a shifter.”
“Oh, Lord. Well, you do have your own piece of property. Father had it put in your name when you turned twenty-one. You know that. Like me, you can do what you want.”
“Hell, Connor, I don’t have your talents. What the heck would we live on? I’m dependent on what I earn working on the ranch.”
“Don’t you have any savings? Buy your own horses, cattle, chickens, whatever. Start your own little ranch. We’d be neighbors. You’re next in line to me, so your property adjoins mine.”
“No, I haven’t got much in the bank. Father’s pretty stingy with his wages for family. Don’t you remember? He considers food and board part of our wages, even if I work my arse off from early morning until dinnertime. And sometimes evenings, too, as you know.”
Connor thought for a moment. “Yes. Of course I used to make extra money writing articles and selling a painting or two. Tell you what. I’ll lend you the money. How’s that?”