Legend of the White Wolf

BOOK: Legend of the White Wolf
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Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Epilogue

Acknowledgments

About the Author

W
HITE

W
OLF

TERRY SPEAR

Copyright © 2010 by Terry Spear
Cover and internal design © 2010 by Sourcebooks, Inc.
Cover Design by Dawn Pope/Sourcebooks
Cover photos © Jim Hughes/Getty Images, © Punchstock
Sourcebooks and the colophon are registered trademarks of Sourcebooks, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems—except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews—without permission in writing from its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc.
P.O. Box 4410, Naperville, Illinois 60567-4410
(630) 961-3900
FAX: (630) 961-2168
www.sourcebooks.com

Printed and bound in the United States of America
QW 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

I dedicate
Legend of the White Wolf
to my mother, who lost the fight with breast cancer, and to all those who have gone before her or who are facing the same insidious disease. I wish you all my love, Mom, for always being there when I needed you, who even to the end listened to my revisions and offered suggestions. You will be in my heart and memories always.

Prologue

THE BLACK BEAR WAS RUNNING AWAY A HELL OF A LOT FASTER than Owen Nottingham and his P.I. partner David Davis thought capable. Their hunting guide, Trevor Hodges, yelled at them to keep up, but at the rate the bear was going, Owen and David would never last. Already Owen had shin splints, and his side was aching something fierce. Damn, here he thought he was in good shape.
   They couldn't use dogs on the bear this late in the year in Maine, but the owner of Back Country Tours, Kintail Silverman, got around that by sending his pet wolves on the hunt. The sleek white-furred creatures made Owen feel like he was part of a wolf pack, hunting for survival, diving around snow-laden firs, blending in, exhilarated, hunting together as a cooperative team. The experience would have been more pleasurable if his other partners were with them—Cameron MacPherson, who wouldn't hunt for anything other than criminals, and Gavin Summerfield, who'd rather stay in Seattle and work than fly anywhere. But the four of them were like a wolf pack, solving crimes together as a collective unit and socializing as the best of friends throughout the good times and bad.
   So Owen wished they could share hunting excursions together, too.
   He noticed then that there were only snowy woods in front of them. The wolves and the bear were lost in the forest ahead as the chilly wind howled through the trees. Trevor was still keeping a good pace in the distance. For a white-haired old guy, he was lean and in incredibly great shape.
   David had dropped way behind, but Owen was too busy trying to keep up the chase to wait for him to catch up. One last day before their hunt ended. And, hell, they'd tried to bag a bear for the last four years without any luck. The way the bear was outdistancing them in a hurry in the Maine wilderness; Owen was beginning to lose hope they'd make it this time either. But it was the closest they'd come.
   When Owen didn't hear David's heavy breathing behind him, or his size ten boots trudging through the deep snow, he turned and looked to see how far behind he was. David was holding his thighs, leaning over, gasping for breath.
   "David, you all right?" Owen asked, knowing it was a dumb question, when he figured David was trying to catch his second wind and couldn't answer anyway.
   David motioned him on, wheezing, his face red and pinched with pain. "Get the bear! I'm fine. Go. I'll catch up."
   But it wasn't like David not to keep up on a hunt and Owen ran back to check on him. "What's wrong?" Owen asked, grabbing his arm to steady him.
   "Go. You'll… never… forgive… me… if… we…" David clutched his chest.
   The wolves and Trevor circled back and joined them. The old man shook his head. "Chest pains?"
   Through clenched teeth, David growled, "From… running… damn it."
   David was the oldest of the four partners in their private investigator practice, but at thirty-five, David couldn't be having a heart attack.
   With millions of acres of forest land all around them, they were too deep into the wilderness to get help. Cell phones wouldn't work out here. Owen knew CPR, but…
   He helped David to sit. "What are you feeling?" he asked, trying to disguise the anxiety in his voice, although he couldn't hide a deepening frown, and David noticed.
   "Don't be a… worry…" David clutched his chest even harder, his face sweating in the frigid air.
   "We can't get any help to him way out here," Trevor said quietly. "If he's having a heart attack, it's not a bad way to go. Quick, no lingering illness."
   "No!" Owen snapped. "Do you have any aspirin?" How could he let his friend from childhood and one of the best partners he'd had in law enforcement before they'd left the force die on him? He couldn't. "I know CPR."
   "It won't be enough." Trevor sounded like the voice of reason, but Owen didn't want to hear it.
   The image of David lunging in front of him, taking a bullet in the shoulder two years ago, flashed across Owen's mind. He wouldn't let him go. He couldn't.
   The wolves watched silently, almost sympathetically as if one of their pack members was in trouble, their ears perked, their tongues hanging out, panting after the long run.
   His hand clutching David's shoulder, Owen clenched his teeth to bite back the overwhelming feeling of hope lessness. "Can't we do something? Anything?"
   "Possibly," Trevor said, "but it will change his life and yours, forever."
   "I'd do anything to save my friend's life," Owen said, figuring Trevor was thinking in terms of if he had enough money, they could air-evac him out somewhere, maybe in a clearing where the loggers had been.
   Trevor put a hand on Owen's shoulder. "You sure?"
   "Anything, damn it. However much it costs, it's worth it."
   Trevor looked back at the wolves. The biggest one bowed its head slightly, then bared his teeth and lunged.
   Before Owen could fathom what was happening, the wolf bit David in the arm. He cried out in pain.
   As Owen swung his rifle to his shoulder to shoot the beast, he caught a blur of white fur in his peripheral vision, right before one of the other wolves pounced on him.

Chapter 1

IN THE DARK OF NIGHT, THE ROADS SLUSHY, THE SNOW plowed in dirty heaps beyond the shoulders, Faith O'Malley drove her rented SUV from Maine's Bangor International Airport to Millinocket, a prickle of aware ness making her uneasy. She glanced at the rearview mirror, sure the headlights had been tailing her all the way. Which made her wonder again if her father's concern that he'd been followed for some time before her boyfriend had stolen his research paper was based on reality.
   On the other hand, maybe believing someone was now stalking her had all to do with the kind of work she did as a forensic scientist solving crimes and being way too suspicious of everyone and everything.
Normally.
When it came to Hilson Snowdon, she hadn't been suspicious enough.
   A mile from the turnoff for the hotel, she heard a tremendous boom. Gunfire?
   Her rental swerved toward the shoulder as if a ghostly force had taken control. Adrenaline flooded her as she twisted the steering wheel to the left, veering away from a speed limit sign. The back end of the vehicle on the right side felt like it was listing. A blow-out, not gunfire. A smidgen of relief washed over her. She eased onto the shoulder and pulled the vehicle to a stop, but didn't cut the engine. What next?
   The truck she thought had been following her pulled up behind her, the lights shining in her rearview mirror. The pickup idled, waiting.
   Her heartbeat sped up again. Not about to hang around for the truck driver's help, in case he was bad news, she fumbled in her purse for her cell phone, yanked it out, then punched in the number for roadside service.
   When the operator asked her location, Faith gave her the exit number off the highway.
   "It'll be about an hour, ma'am," the woman said.
   "Thanks, I'll be here."
Unfortunately
. Faith hung up when she saw movement near the right back door. She jerked her head around. In the dark of night, looking through tinted windows, Faith couldn't see who the person was who had come up behind her vehicle, but she heard the click as the individual yanked on the door handle.
Locked.
   Something pounced against the door. Her heart gave a little start. Large almond-shaped eyes, shining an eerie greenish orange color, peered in through the window.
   Steeling her nerves, she made sure all the doors were locked again, and considered driving the mile into town on the bad tire.
   What looked like a big white Samoyed, but not half as fuzzy, raced around the front of the car, her headlights illuminating him as he headed for the driver's side. She wondered if the dog was half Arctic wolf. His long muzzle was not Samoyed in appearance, but more wolflike. The person who'd tried the door handle wasn't in sight as the dog jumped against her door. Reflexively, she jerked away from it. The animal peered in at her with its shining eyes, its huge front paws resting on her window.
   A key clicked in the front door lock on the passen ger's side. Without a second's hesitation, she jammed her foot on the gas pedal and sped off.
   Bad tire or no.
   Her skin crawling from the experience, she slowed up ahead, figuring it would take the dog and his owner a little while to follow her, and she didn't want to make more of a mess of the tire than she had to. She crept toward the off-ramp, hazard lights flashing, then headed for a lighted service station on the corner. The truck's lights had vanished. Either he continued on past the exit, or he was driving without lights.
   She parked at the service station where, inside, she found two middle-aged men drinking coffee who offered to help her change the tire, so she cancelled the road side service. The whole time the men changed the tire, they asked her where she was from, what she was doing here, genuinely friendly, idle talk, while she watched for the pickup that had parked behind her on the road. Either he was afraid she'd tell on him and he was waiting for her to leave the well-lit service station, or she'd somehow missed seeing him drive on by when she was getting help to change the tire.
   Thanking the men, she offered to pay them. They gave her small smiles and declined, the one saying he had a daughter who he hoped someone would help out if she was ever in need. Faith thanked them again, hoping she wouldn't encounter the pickup driver again, left, and a few minutes later arrived at the Woodlands Travel Lodge.
   Glancing up at the rearview mirror, she swore the streetlights illuminated the same gray pickup truck that had been following her, but the tinted windows hid the driver as he drove past.
Slowly.
Didn't matter that the speed limit was thirty here or that the road was perfectly drivable, salted or sanded. She still thought he was going much slower than necessary. As if he was checking her out. But maybe it wasn't the same vehicle at all.
   Yep, shades of her father. Although after her boyfriend stole her father's research paper, she could see how Dad would be somewhat paranoid.
   Faith sighed. She fully intended to get his flash drive back from Hilson, one way or another. Yet as much as her father wanted it returned, he still wouldn't tell her what information it held. She'd find out soon enough, just as she had told him. It would be just like any other mystery-solving mission she did. Well, maybe not just like any other. This time it was personal.
BOOK: Legend of the White Wolf
13.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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