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Authors: Vivian Arend

Wolf Signs

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This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are

not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.

Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

577 Mulberry Street, Suite 1520

Macon GA 31201

Wolf Signs

Copyright © 2009 by Vivian Arend

ISBN: 978-1-60504-476-7

Edited by Anne Scott

Cover by Angela Waters

Al Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of

brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

First Samhain Publishing, Ltd. electronic publication: March 2009

www.samhainpublishing.com

Wolf Signs

Vivian Arend

Dedication

To My Sweetie,

We haven’t quite traveled the world but we’re on our way. Thanks for finding some awesome settings for us to explore. I’d like to write a couple of African

adventures and maybe something set in New Zealand. You up for it? I love research.

Chapter One

6450 calories stared up at Robyn.

She adjusted the lid on the apple box to close it tight over the cheesecake and other food supplies. She let her gaze flow over the rest of the gear spread

al over her apartment. Her pack, her skis, al of it gathered and ready to go for the annual trip with her brother to Granite Lake cabin.

A tight feeling of anxiety fil ed her as Tad made his announcement.

“I’m sorry, sis, but I have to take this request. Flying the climbing and research team to Mount Logan could end up being a regular booking. They’re

supposed to be working in Kluane National Park for the next five years, and if I can get on as their main pilot I’l be set.” Tad reached out and slipped a

loose strand of hair back behind his sister’s ear. “I hate to cancel the trip on you—”

Robyn paced a few steps away before turning back to face him, her hands flowing smoothly as she spoke to her brother in American Sign Language. “I

understand, Tad. You need to take the job. I’m stil going to Granite.”

“No way. You can’t go by yourself.”

“You have.”

“But that’s different, Robyn.”

“Don’t be a jerk. I don’t have a penis so I can’t go backcountry alone?”

Tad raised his eyebrows. “It’s not the lack of plumbing, sis, and you know it. I very seldom go bush alone and if I do meet anyone, it’s not a big deal. I’m

male, I’m strong and I’m not deaf. How do you plan on talking to strangers?”

Robyn threw a pil ow his way before lifting her hands to sign at him. “I’l take some notepads. What are the chances of meeting anyone at Granite this time

of year? We always go in February because no one else does. I’m packed, the food is packed, and I’ve got time off work from the bakery. You even

booked a helicopter ride in for me with your buddy Shaun. I’ve never gotten to fly in before.

“And wait a minute, what’s with that little dig saying you’re strong? Last time I checked I out-skied, out-wrestled and out-gambled your sorry butt, big

brother, don’t give me that as an excuse.”

Tad narrowed his gaze at her. “Stop being stubborn.”

“What? Waste al those years of training? You told me once to stand up for myself and do what I need to do, in spite of not being able to hear. Are you

saying that doesn’t apply anymore?”

“Of course not—”

“Good, because I’d hate to cal you a hypocrite. I need to go to Granite. I need to get out of the city for a while. I’l be a good little girl and take the satel ite

phone along. I can check in with you Tuesday.”

Tad ran a hand through his hair before col apsing on the couch in resignation. “Fine, you win. But if you need anything you cal me or you cal Shaun and

he’l fly you out. Understand, Robyn? You don’t have to do the ski if you don’t want.”

Robyn caught a glimpse of herself in the hal mirror. Shades of brown reflected back at her. Shoulder-length brown hair, big brown eyes with golden flecks,

skin that always seemed to have a light tan for some strange reason, even after living her whole life in the Yukon. Her solid body was more than capable of

doing the ten-mile ski. She’d been completing it with the family since she was nine years old. Tad had skied it with her and knew she loved every minute of

the trip. She counted to twenty.

Slowly.

“Tad, are you looking for pain? Because I can kick your butt if you need it.”

“What did I say?”

Robyn stomped up to him and glared into his face. Tad was her brother by adoption, and he and his parents were al darker in colouring than her. His short

black hair stood in ragged spikes from his manhandling and his dark eyes stared back at her with confusion. “I like the ski across the lake. I like going into

Granite cabin. I’m thril ed you got me the helicopter ride, but only because I want to take the ice auger to leave at the cabin.

“So don’t expect me to be some kind of baby because you can’t go with me this time.”

Tad grabbed her hands and pul ed her in for a hug. He let her step back so she could read his lips. “I was a bit condescending, wasn’t I?”

Robyn nodded.

“Sorry. Hel , you’ve got a temper on you. Glad you didn’t throw anything hard at me this time.”

“I thought about it but my ice axe is already packed.”

Tad watched as she tucked away a few more items, picked up her backpack and placed it beside the door. He tugged on her arm to get her attention.

“You do need some space, don’t you? You seem real y tense.”

Robyn returned to her skis. She fiddled with the bindings for a bit before glancing back at Tad. “Yeah. Feels like the wal s are closing in. I’l be okay if I can

get some time away from the city.”

“Robyn, there’s something…” Tad hesitated, looking everywhere around the room except at her. He opened and closed his mouth a couple of times

before shaking his head. “Never mind.”

Robyn gave a heavy sigh. “Not again, Tad. You do this at least once a year. Whatever deep, dark secret you have I wish you’d spit it out. Or drop it and not

get me curious. Are you gay?”

Tad sat back on his heels, his jaw dropping open. “Robyn!”

“Wel , you seem to turn twenty shades of red every time you start this, I thought maybe it had to do with sex. I don’t care if you are gay, you know. There’s

this great guy down at the bakery—”

“Thanks, but I’m not gay. It’s nothing. Do you have your bear spray?”

Robyn blew her bangs off her face with a sudden snort and pointed to the pocket of her ski overal s. “Stupidest thing I’ve ever carried. I’ve never seen a

bear, not once in al our trips.”

“Someday you might be glad you have it, sis.”

“But I could carry at least five more chocolate bars. That reminds me, you do realize if I gain weight this trip it’s al your fault.”

“What?”

“We packed an entire Mocha Chocolate Cheesecake to eat this week. Now I’m going to have to suffer through and eat the whole damn thing myself.”

Robyn licked her lips and grinned at him.

*

The pilot pul ed at her sleeve and pointed twice, left toward the lake and farther to the right behind the cabin.

Robyn shook her head and her fingers pointed to the left.

The lake.

The helicopter banked to the left as he veered to change course. The surface snow around them stirred under the effects of the spinning props, and

whiteness whirled away from the chopper until there was nothing but the solid snow base under the landing gear.

Robyn waited while the pilot trotted around to open her door. She helped unhook her skis from the landing blades while he removed the rest of her gear

from the backseat and dropped it on the snow beside them. In under a minute she’d done a final check to be sure al her things were out, and giving the

pilot a thumbs up, she crouched low and scrambled toward the shoreline. The wind buffeted her for a minute as the helicopter rose, lifting over the smal

hil to the north, returning to Haines Junction.

She looked around her and drew a long, slow breath, crisp air chil ing the back of her throat. Not a cloud in the sky to block the blue. The mountains

around her tal and snow covered. Beautiful and overpowering at the same time. The lake spread out before her, its large bay at her feet and the longer

length of it stretching snakelike to the south to disappear around the bend of the mountain. A sense of home spread throughout her body.

Turning in a circle she noticed the cabin facing the lake had been fixed up since the last time she’d been out. Someone had repaired the front-porch

supports and added a series of hooks along the north wal . Snow shovels and axes that had been buried under a good four feet of snow last February

hung in plain sight, easy to access.

Continuing her visual scan, Robyn was surprised to see a new building a little ways down from the cabin. It was too smal to be another sleeping area, and

there shouldn’t be a need for more storage here.

The temperature was warm for February, twenty-seven degrees, but the chil sank into her bones the longer she stood in one place. She trudged back

through her footprints to ferry her gear to the cabin. The new building would be her treat to explore once she got set up for the night.

Soon her backpack rested on the low platform covering the back of the tiny one-room cabin. There was space for six sleeping bags to lie side by side,

with an extra three-foot extension at their feet that was used as a bench. Robyn considered for a minute before placing her pack along the sidewal near

the window. She doubted anyone else would show up at the cabin, but she’d better stake her claim just in case.

The second trip, she carried up the cardboard apple box fil ed with groceries. Because of the helicopter, the food this trip was different than her usual light

dry goods. She had fresh fruit and veggies for at least four days, some nice French loaves, and the dreaded Mocha Chocolate Cheesecake. Flying in had

some definite fringe benefits. She left the box on the smal kitchen counter that ran along the left-hand wal up to the wood-burning stove. The cabin was so

compact there was barely room left for a table and four chairs on the right side and a narrow bench beside the solid plank door.

Returning to the lake, she used the ice auger to cut a hole in the ice before carrying the tool up to the cabin and finding an empty hook to hang it on. Robyn

grinned as she stared at it for a minute. She’d bought her contribution to the “leave it better than you found it” policy in a garage sale the previous summer

for twenty bucks.

Lake trout for dinner. She could hardly wait.

But first she would check out the new addition to the area. Making her way through the knee-deep snow, she climbed up the last couple of steps that rose

above the snow line, undid the locks and peeked in. There was a smal open area with two windows and a snow-covered skylight overhead. Wood

dowels lined the wal s at head height with a low bench running around the wal space. Another door was set in the center of room.

Good heavens, was that a shower in the corner? Robyn walked to the enclosure in amazement. Someone had brought a shower stal up to Granite Lake

and instal ed it in this smal cabin. Her heart leapt for a second, wondering if her guess of what was in the other room was correct.

She hurried back, opened the central door and walked into the smel of cedar and wood smoke. In the corner was an old potbel ied stove with river rocks

piled al around it. Two levels of benches were built into the wal s and a couple of large buckets graced the top of the stove.

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