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Conquering conflicts and battles, Demi and her Alaskan family face more unexpected adventures. Battling for her life is just the beginning. Before she has a chance to catch her breath, she’s deep in a fight for her best friend’s future.

Nothing comes easy in this wild country. Even with the support of the handsome gold prospector, her new brother, and her wolf, life in the North continues to challenge her every step of the way.

If she fights with everything in her, will she finally find the peaceful existence she craves?

Chapter One

“Demi.” Norrie’s scream tore through the air. Dropping the rifle she’d used to shoot the man who’d put a bullet in her best friend, she ran to the lifeless body only to be pushed aside by Dr. Lexie Bower.

“Let me examine her. You go check on Philip. See if he’s alive.”

“God help me, I hope he’s dead. Bastard shot my Demi. He’s a madman.”

“Go. Rotten as he is, he’s a human being.”

Norrie went to where the body of her nemesis lay in the snow, blood seeping all around him. She checked for signs of life and found none.

Next, taking her courage in her hands, she knelt beside Nito, praying he wasn’t conscious and therefore dangerous. Tentatively, she leaned over Nito’s prone form.

From what she could see, his wound appeared to be in his shoulder, and it was bleeding profusely. Taking off her sweater, though the frigid temperatures should have made her think twice, she rolled it up in a ball and held it close to his wound, wanting to stem the blood.

Thinking quickly, she took handfuls of snow and packed it around the makeshift bandage, wanting to keep it in place. Knowing she couldn’t stay outside without adequate clothing, she left the animal and headed for Lexie who seemed to be concentrating on her patient.

Running inside, she reappeared with their parkas and threw one over Lexie’s shoulders. “Philip’s dead. And Nito’s alive but hurt bad. What can I do to help here?”

“We need to get Demi in the house. You’re stronger than me. Can you lift her shoulders? I’ll get her legs. Be gentle. That bullet is still in there. Once she’s in the house, I’ll need my bag from the car. If I can operate as soon as possible and get that bullet out, she’ll make it.”

Feeling lighter from Lexie’s words, Norrie happily followed instructions. She raised Demi carefully, balancing her and trying to take as much of her weight as possible. Between the two of them, they carried Demi over the threshold and with superhuman strength, they lifted her on the table, pushing the used coffee cups out of the way.

“Please go get my bag. And where’re her sheets and towels?”

“Here, in this cupboard she has dishtowels and there’s another closet by Glen’s room over there where she keeps the rest of the linens. I’ll get the bag.”

Minutes later, running through the snow, Norrie fetched the bag and on her way back inside, she made a heartbreaking discovery. Nito had disappeared. Now why would that wolf leave? It made no sense. Unless he wasn’t injured as badly as he’d appeared to be. One could only pray.

Shaking off that particular worry, Norrie headed back into the house, knowing she had a lot more to deal with. Once she’d done everything she could to help Lexie, she took a few seconds to text Whit with a message for him to come quickly and bring Tom.

They needed the sheriff and all the help they could get.

Chapter Two

“I’ll build the fire and get it warmed up in here.”Norrie needed to keep busy.

“Good idea. Make it hotter than normal. We want to keep the patient comfortable.” While Lexie puttered around getting organized, she sent Norrie to boil the kettle and then fill a huge pot so she could sterilize her instruments.

Once they were done, Lexie again examined Demi and nodded with satisfaction. “She’s ready. Let’s get this finished.”

Norrie had never seen an operation up close, except on television. Turns out real life was completely different. Lexie took charge and soon they had the table draped with clean sheets, they were both decently covered down to wearing plastic gloves and masks, and there were sterile pads and bandages for their patient.

Naked from the waist up, Demi’s face looked ashen.

“So, you know, I’ve never been involved with anything like this before. I hope I don’t disgrace myself and faint or worse… upchuck.”

“If you feel anything close to that, step away. Otherwise, I could use your help. Just pass me what I ask for. When she saw the confusion on Norrie’s face, she added, “I’ll help you by pointing to what they are. Just hand them to me carefully. No dropping anything now that we have them sterile.”

“Yeah. Okay. I’m good. But you’re my witness, Demi’s gonna owe me – bigtime.”

“Chuckling, Lexie looked up from concentrating and winked. “She’ll be buying the next round for both of us.” The doctor worked as she talked. “I saw you on the phone.”

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