A Wolf by any Other Name

Book Cover: A Wolf by any Other Name
Part of the Mystery on Wolf Mountain series:

Big excitement came to Gold Springs in the form of outdoor clothing company Wilderness Brothers shooting their winter catalog.  Everything in town looked a little less grim with the stage set for world renowned photographer Ichiro Kikugawa. The Grand Hotel after years of being closed has reopened to house the models. Even the old hot springs hotel has been pressed into service and opened once more under the name Damnation Creek Hotel and Spa.  It's rather unfortunate the murder of the fashion shoot coordinator Eve Hanlon has cast a shadow on the one bright note since the mine closed taking with it the jobs of 2/3rds of the town. Sasha Stanton has been working hard to trying and save the company town she inherited, but the longer it drags on the less it seems anything will help. Gold Springs is just another town suffering in the housing crash and recession.


Hello beautiful, Sasha Stanton could hear Ethane’s whisper in her ear as the pines rustled in the breeze. How could she not, over three weeks with him and no distractions before he shipped out. Every time she was alone without work to occupy her mind, it was all she could think of, rather that than he might not come back. Ethane Brandt was Marine reserves for 9 years when he got a letter recalling him to active duty. But he wasn’t willing to leave without asking her to marry him.


Maybe that it’s Christmas I’m saying this, I know you don’t like to hear such things, but I can see where the legends of you being a reincarnation start. The lonely howl of a wolf wakes me from sleep even on the other side of the world. All I can see is you standing there inside the moon with it glowing all around you as if it could carry you away. Your face remains half in the shadows, eyes filled with a sadness that was as easy to see as if it was day. A glimpse is all you allow before you melt into the trees as silent as the wolf off in the distance, and I know I am alone. Only then can I sleep again.

I can’t say why that night stays with me, I can think of other nights that should drive me to distraction. But it’s the wolves running up on the ranch that stay with me, you and the wild ones. One person in my life that truly understands with all your pain what it’s like to have the past rule your life. How your home became mine after so short a time I can’t say, but I hardly think of my own home, my parents’ home, nothing of my life before comes to mind, but you and the ranch. The quiet, I never knew how much I would miss the quiet and your whisper in the dark. There are times I can’t be sure I remember it anymore, the few nights I had there were too few. The dreams are too much my present now, but at least they keep me from dreaming of the past. I like to believe it’s when you’re thinking of me that the dreams come—if the stories of your great grandfather having them so often are true, then all I can think is that your great grandmother thought of him a great deal. Lucky man. If it’s true then so am I.

Other than letting you know I’m alive and dreaming of wolves, I can’t offer you a gift for Christmas. But then you’ve never asked for anything but for me to come back.


Soon the snow changed, leaving marble sized flakes to fall slowly, but steadily not obscuring the view anymore though it piled up quicker than a blizzard. If she stayed out much longer she well might get caught out and not get back. She turned her horse to home. The cold air burned as she took a deep breath trying to stop the past. Ethane’s voice whispering in her ear before he left. Your voice in the dark is all I’ve dreamed of since we met, that look in your eyes. I’m taking that with me. No goodbyes until the day that future’s gone. The snow fell—one flake, then two, then, as if a gate opened, thousands and then millions of flakes fell in rapid succession. The white obscured all around her as if nothing at all existed in the world—the trees blocked out the physical world, the snow, everything else.


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