Ho Boy, This is definitely worth notice.
When her mentor disappears, Winter follows his trail to the Pacific Northwest, where the untamed wilderness is beautiful…and hides deadly secrets.
Anthropologist Winter Barstow knows nothing of her past or ethnic heritage and tells herself it doesn’t matter. Everything changes when Doc, her mentor, sends her an authentic ceremonial wolf mask from Olympic National Forest. The mask calls to her in ways she can’t understand or explain.
Then Doc disappears. Determined to find him and discover the mask’s origin, she travels to the mysterious, awe-inspiring forest where she’s confronted by Native American ranger Jay Raven, who has no love for Doc.
The deeper Winter digs into her mentor’s disappearance, the more alarming things become. She begins to hear a mysterious wolf’s howl…even when no one else does.
Jay warns Winter to leave, but she owes Doc and herself the truth.
And even though it goes against everything he has promised his tribe’s elders, Jay can’t walk away from Winter. Not only has a spirit wolf reached out to her, but he also suspects she’s in terrible danger…and his growing feelings for her are too strong to ignore.
Vella Munn writes because the voices in her head demand it. She has had at least 60 titles published both under her own name and several pen names. A dedicated hermit and shopping loather, she's married with two sons and four grandchildren. She's owned by two rescue dogs.
Death Chant was one of her absolute favorite books to write in large part because she was able to mentally transport herself to the amazing and mystical Olympic National Forest in Washington state.
Also, her heroine Winter Barstow had long been demanding that her story be told.
Facebook Author: https://www.facebook.com/Vella-Munn-Author-788044174656126/
No, he wasn’t Christmas morning excited. More like overwhelmed. Scared. Out of his element.
Scared? Damn it, she didn’t want that for him.
Doc was right. She owed him a great deal. Alone in the world, yearning to belong, to understand, she’d snuck into his lecture hall. Instead of kicking her out, he’d seen through her emotional shields to the hungry-for-knowledge teen she’d been. Once he’d won her trust—no easy task—he’d helped her get several scholarships, a part-time job on campus, a roof over her head. A reason for existing.
She called him, but the phone went right to voice mail. Swayed by his cautions, she didn’t leave a message.
When Doc had been preparing to leave, he’d made sure she had several ways of getting in touch with him, including the number for Potlatch, the employee-only park camp where he had his field office. She punched in the Potlatch number. As she waited for someone to answer, she debated how to best frame her reason for calling. Doc and she worked for the same California university system, albeit far from the same place in the pecking order. She could—
“Potlatch. Ranger Jay Raven speaking.”
She couldn’t remember Doc mentioning anyone named Raven. “I’m trying to reach Dr. Anthony Gilsdorf.”
Silence. That was odd. Had they been disconnected? “Can you hear me?” she asked. “I’m trying—”
“I heard you.”
Thrown off balance by what might be the man’s hostility, she struggled to concentrate. Jay Raven hadn’t said whether or not he knew Doc, but what if he did and the relationship wasn’t friendly? Doc had been disappointed by the local Native Americans’ refusal to help him. Much as she wanted to tell the man about everything Doc had done for her, now wasn’t the time. It never would be.
“Is he there? I tried his cell phone but—“
“I haven’t seen him for several days, maybe a week. Maybe try back later.”
“Wait,” she blurted. “Don’t hang up. When did you last see him? Where was it?”
The man hesitated, as if finally hearing the desperation in her tone. “Here. It might have been when he was talking to our budget officer, Michael Simpson. That was three or four days ago.”
“How do I get in touch with him? He’s not answering his cell.”
“His cell is the only thing I can think of. Who are you?”
Doc might not have told anyone there about their close relationship. As long as she remained an unknown female caller, Jay Raven would have no way of connecting her to the wolf mask—if he even knew it was missing. He couldn’t track her.
Track her? Where had that thought come from? Damn it, she needed to get a handle on herself. Between the compelling artifact commanding her living room and her concern for Doc, she wasn’t at her best. She needed to think.
“We’re concerned about him. He was supposed to check in this afternoon,” she lied.
“Was he? Look, I don’t have any more contact with him than necessary.”
“Why not?” she demanded.
“Maybe you aren’t aware of this, but Dr. Gilsdorf’s relationship with my people is somewhat strained.”
“The Hoh. We leave him pretty much alone. If he’s gone missing—“
“He has gone missing.” So she’d been right about the ranger’s heritage.
“I’m afraid he has.” His voice softened. “My understanding is Dr. Gilsdorf had several meetings with the budget officer and park historian. They might be able to help.”
“I’d appreciate the suggestion. Doc is staying at Potlatch, isn’t he?”
“When he isn’t camping in the forest.”
Which was a lot of the time. “Would you mind leaving a note at his place for him to call me?”
“Not at all. Who should I tell him this is?”
“I’m Winter. Winter Barstow.”
He paused. “Interesting name. I imagine you’ve been told that before.”
“Yes, I have.”
“My compliments to your parents.”
Unfortunately, my parents had nothing to do with it. “I could say the same about yours. It’s unique.”
He chuckled. “Not many people are named after two different birds.”
Listening to him, she realized she’d actually relaxed for a moment. She wanted to thank him but didn’t know how to begin. “You will tell him I’m trying to reach him, won’t you?”
“Of course.” After giving her the numbers for the budget officer and historian, he told her he’d been impressed by Doc’s hiking gear and hung up. Losing the connection left her feeling cut off from not just Doc, but so much of what mattered to him.
Jay Raven was Native American. That meant they had everything and yet nothing in common.