Joy to the Wolves (Red Wolf #1) - Terry Spear


Brooke Cerise couldn’t believe it. She swore it was a family conspiracy!

She’d loved her parents with all her heart, but when they’d died in a head-on collision with a driver who was texting his girlfriend, they’d left a stipulation in the will that Brooke couldn’t sell their antique and gift shop in Phoenix, Arizona, for three whole years. She was required to maintain it like they had, in the hopes that she’d carry on with the business long after that.

For three years, she’d kept the shop profitable so that when she could sell it, it would go for a decent price. She’d worked in her parents’ shop forever before that, and she had a knack for knowing which items were real antiques and which were shams. Still, during all that time, she couldn’t wait for the three years to end so she could get rid of the shop and do something else. Anything else. She had been too busy to think of what else she might do, but she couldn’t have been happier when the time had come to sell. At least with all her hard work, she had made a good profit off the sale of the shop and its contents.

Then a couple of weeks after that, her beloved great-aunt, who owned an antique and gift shop in Portland, Oregon, died of a massive heart attack and left a similar stipulation in her will. For three whole years, Brooke had to run the shop herself to truly realize the value of the business. Brooke felt her parents and great-aunt had been in a conspiracy to make sure she would continue to do their bidding and finally realize that their dream to run a shop like this was her dream too.

She was devastated that she had lost her last living relative, but she couldn’t believe she would have to manage Great-Aunt Ivy’s antique shop now. However, since it had been her great-aunt’s dying wish, Brooke would honor it with the same enthusiasm as she had her parents’ request for their shop.

Her house sold, Brooke was finally leaving Phoenix for good and settling in Portland, where over the previous years, she had spent her summers helping her great-aunt manage her shop.

The only thing that made this will different from her parents’ will was a cryptic note that had been attached: Find a list of treasures, and you’ll find your own destiny. Her great-aunt had known how much Brooke loved treasure hunts, and Brooke cherished her beloved great-aunt for doing that for her one last time.

Before Brooke left Phoenix, she received an invitation to attend the estate sale of Randall Gulliver. She didn’t need to buy anything more to sell in the shop. She knew her great-aunt’s Victorian house-turned-shop was stacked to the gills. But Gulliver had come from money and was said to have collected valuable antiques, jewelry, sculptures, and paintings from around the world, and Brooke was curious why she would get a special invitation.

She got there before the auction started, and it didn’t take her long to zero in on three bronze garden sculptures she wanted to buy for the courtyard that connected her great-aunt’s Victorian home to the shop. Despite not planning to buy anything. But this was different. The wolf sculptures would be her keepsakes, and she’d take them with her once she sold the shop and moved somewhere else.

One was a wolf leaning up against a light pole, and she could picture decorating it for all seasons. Another was of a wolf drinking out of a fountain, a bird perched above it, watching him. The last was a statue of a couple of wolves sitting on a park bench. She knew Gulliver wasn’t a wolf, though she’d heard he was called a ruthless wolf in his business dealings as a land developer. She was truly one, and she wanted the sculptures if the price was right. These were unique and nothing like anything she’d seen before.

She saw a black-haired woman, about thirty, dressed in high heels that made Brooke’s arches ache just seeing them, skinny black jeans, and a sparkly black-and-silver sweater top that made her look like she was going to a New Year’s Eve party. What had caught Brooke’s attention more than anything was the woman giving an Asian gentleman grief before the auction began. Brooke recognized Mr. Lee from news photos she’d seen of him and Mr. Gulliver. Mr. Lee had been Gulliver’s assistant in all things. He was about sixty, with graying temples,