Sarah Volek is called home by a terrible tragedy—both her parents perished when their house in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula burned. Ivor, Sarah’s young brother was away at boy scout camp the night of the fire and is now her responsibility,. They’re spending the summer at their folks’ cabin in the woods while Sarah considers what to do.
Sarah Volek stopped on the deer trail feeling watched. Her twelve-year-old brother, Ivor, had complained of the same thing a couple of days ago. She glanced around. The pines were tall to the right, their shade discouraging undergrowth. To the left, grew young maples mixed with birch and ash, plus lots of bushes, all with new green leaves of mid-June. Which hid human or animal from view. She shrugged and hiked on toward the cabin she shared with Ivor. Probably what she felt watching was a deer or other wild animal wary of humans.
She’d always loved the woods. Under any other circumstances, she’d be happy to be back home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula wilderness. Three weeks ago, the house in town where she’d grown up had burned to ground, killing both her parents. If Ivor hadn’t been away at a Boy Scout overnight camp-out, he’d have died as well. A lump rose in her throat as she remembered his tearstained face and the lost look in his eyes when she’d arrived from downstate and picked him up from his friend’s house. Worst of all, the sheriff suspected arson.
"Sarah!" Ivor burst into view, waving papers. "I got the go-ahead for my project on fishers. And guess who’ll be helping me?"
She cleared her throat. "I can’t imagine. One of your teachers, I suppose."
"Nah. Come on, guess. You know him." Ivor stopped beside her, showing her the okay from the school superintendent.
"Hey, guy, you forget I haven’t lived in Ojibway for going on eight years now. Tell me who."
"The DNR district officer, Mr. Martin. He said he knew you in college."
"Mal Martin?" Good grief, she’d figured if she never saw him again it’d be too soon. "He’s the Department of Natural Resources officer here?"
"Yeah. Lucky for me."
Not so lucky for her. If Mal was going to help Ivor with his project, though, she’d have to be polite.
"Mr. Martin thinks it’s a great project and says his department will be interested in looking at it when I finish." Ivor grinned. "That oughta impress my teacher when she grades me on it."
"Sounds like it."
"So it’s okay with you if Mr. Martin comes by the cabin sometimes?"
There was no way she could refuse. "Of course." After all, they were no longer college kids. No big deal. The past was just that. She’d moved on and he certainly must have as well. After all, it’d been a long time ago--going on ten years.
He hadn’t been the best looking guy she’d ever seen, but he’d sure been the hottest. She’d never forgotten the night they’d… No! she wasn’t going there. Over was over…