Pippa Scott’s start in life was not auspicious, she tells Shade Avalon. “A cook found me right after I was born in the dumpster behind the restaurant where he worked.” Police and Child Protective services came; the cook “told them when he found me I was covered in garbage, including strips of green pepper. The social worker took pepper and turned it into Pippa.”
Raised in foster care, Pippa grew up “never feeling like I belonged. But I grabbed every fleeting moment of happiness I could. I also used my imagination to keep me company. …”
Most of Shade’s family perished in the crash of a private plane but now the handsome 33-year-old is running the family business. Pippa, a beautiful, naive, but scrappy 23, has taken a job with Shade’s grandmother, wealthy Lila Avalon, to help her write a series of children’s stories about animals. When Pippa meets Shade at Wolfhaven, the family estate deep in the Northern California woods, things do not go well. Shade is aloof and mysterious, and Pippa is sure her sarcastic barbs will get her fired.
“Fired up” is more what happens in Olivia Claire High’s new novel, “The Wolf Deception” ($13.95 in paperback from Fireside Publications; also for Amazon Kindle). Pippa is certain that she has seen a wolf on the property, and hears piercing wolf-sounds at night, but the residents of the house dismiss the reports. Pippa’s fears are stoked when Shade, on his late-night walks, seems altogether too wolf-like.
There’s indeed a family secret; also a female rival; Pippa’s abduction by some ne’er-do-wells; hints that Shade is something more than he claims to be; and a growing, passionate connection between them.
Pippa finds it hard to trust Shade (why won’t he answer her questions about the wolf sightings?) and, as she tells a friend, “My malady is being born poor. I’ll never fit in with someone like Shade Avalon.” But the reader knows, in this fun and fast-paced suspense story, that this is not the last word.