“Sure. Just a sec.”
Rory heard Hugh give a succinct explanation and ask his questions. No one had noticed anything.
“We’re heading back and will scout around the place. Describe the location where Anita got hit.”
Rory outlined the portion of the track, feeling better, more confident now that he’d ascertained Hugh and the men had been nowhere near the forest. “Thanks. I’ll be with Anita if you need me.” Rory disconnected. A marksman—a skilled marksman—had made that shot. But why would they hit to injure instead of kill? That was the part he struggled with in this scenario. Was Anita the intended victim, or had it been him?
Not a single answer made sense.
Rory showered and changed clothes before seizing his phone. He had a couple of calls to make before he checked on Anita.
First, he rang Marcus. His friend noticed things. He’d tell Rory if anything out of the ordinary was bubbling with the pack.
“Hey, Marcus,” Rory said when his friend grunted a hello.
“Rory.” Marcus’s tone changed from impatience to more laid back. “How’s it going at the gathering?”
Rory hesitated before running with the truth. Marcus wouldn’t blab information to Rory’s grandmother. Elizabeth Henderson had never approved of their friendship, but Rory had continued to defy her from a young age and maintained their close friendship since they had so much in common. “I’ve met someone,” he said. “A woman whose family used to work for the pack.”
“Aye?” The word emerged as a question, prompting Rory to continue.
“Anita Gatto. Her parents are Ross and Blair Lennox. Do you remember them?”
“Aye, the gillie. His wife worked in the castle. I vaguely recall their daughter. She was younger than us, but didn’t they leave for a better job in England?”
“No,” Rory said. “My grandmother forced them to leave after Anita approached us during a meal and told everyone she was my mate.”
“What? You never told me this,” Marcus said, and Rory could tell he had his friend’s full attention now.
“My memory,” Rory said, shaking his head. “I recall none of the events in Anita’s story. Perhaps a vague recollection of her parents, but not much else.”
“Did you ask Hugh?”
“He shut down and told me to ask my grandmother.”
“Ugh,” Marcus said.
“Are you sure this Anita isn’t lying?”
“If that was true, why wouldn’t Hugh tell me she was lying? My gut says Grandmother has either threatened or blackmailed everyone to keep quiet.”
“Is this woman your mate?”
“Aye. I have not a single doubt. I haven’t marked Anita yet, but I will. Someone shot her this morning.”
“What the fuck?” Marcus muttered.
“The doctor says she’ll make a full recovery, but I’m not positive if I was the target or Anita.”
“Want me to nose around and see if I learn anything?”
“Aye, but don’t put yourself in Grandmother’s way. I’m not there to save your skin.”
Marcus snorted. “You’ve made life bearable and improved life for every pack member. If it weren’t for you, I would’ve moved my parents elsewhere and started afresh with another pack. My mother’s pack would welcome us.”
“Aye, Marcus. I know.” Rory hesitated before telling Marcus more. “Anita came with a group of felines from New Zealand. We haven’t discussed it, but I get the impression she isn’t keen on relocating to the Highlands. If I want her, I’ll have to live in New Zealand.”