When Snow Falls (Whiskey Creek Series #2)

( 89 )


After growing up in cheap motels, moving from town to town with her sister and mother, Cheyenne Christensen is grateful to be on her own. She's grateful, too, for the friends she found once her family settled in California. But she's troubled by the mystery of her earliest memories, most of which feature a smiling blonde woman. A woman who isn't her mother.

Although Cheyenne has repeatedly asked for explanations, the people who could help aren't talking. Cheyenne is set on ...

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When Snow Falls (Whiskey Creek Series #2)

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After growing up in cheap motels, moving from town to town with her sister and mother, Cheyenne Christensen is grateful to be on her own. She's grateful, too, for the friends she found once her family settled in California. But she's troubled by the mystery of her earliest memories, most of which feature a smiling blonde woman. A woman who isn't her mother.

Although Cheyenne has repeatedly asked for explanations, the people who could help aren't talking. Cheyenne is set on finding answers, but without so much as a birth certificate, it won't be easy.

Things get even more complicated when her closest friend is attracted to the man Cheyenne has secretly loved for years. For Eve's sake, she decides to step aside—which lands her right in the arms of Dylan Amos, oldest and baddest of the hell-raising Amos brothers. He's the kind of guy she's sworn to avoid. She can't afford to make a mistake, not when she finally has a chance to learn who she really is and change her life for the better. But…maybe there's more to Dylan than she thought. Maybe letting him go would be a bigger mistake.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780778313717
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 10/23/2012
  • Series: Whiskey Creek Series, #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 441
  • Sales rank: 221,801
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak has penned over 40 novels. A two-time Rita nominee, she's won The National Reader's Choice, The Bookseller's Best, The Bookbuyer's Best and many other awards. She runs an annual on-line auction for diabetes research every May at www.brendanovak.com. To date, she’s raised over $1 million. Brenda considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life.
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Read an Excerpt

It didn't snow in Whiskey Creek often. But when it did, it took Cheyenne Christensen back to another time and place. Not one filled with picture-perfect memories of warm holidays, gaily wrapped packages and hot apple cider, like the Christmases her friends enjoyed. No, this kind of weather made her feel sick inside, as if something dark and terrible had happened on just such a night.

She wished she could remember exactly what. For years she'd racked her brain, trying to make sense of her earliest memories, to conjure up the woman with the smiling face and pretty blond hair who featured in so many of them. Was she an aunt? A teacher? A family friend?

Surely it wasn't her mother! Cheyenne already had a mother who insisted there'd been no one in her life meeting that description.

That didn't mean it was true, however. Anita had never been particularly reliable—in any regard.

"Chey, where are you? I need my pain meds."

Real mother or not, the woman who'd raised her was awake. Again. It was getting harder and harder for Anita to rest.

Trying to shake off the stubborn melancholy that had crept over her when the snow began to fall, Cheyenne turned away from the window. The three-bedroom hovel she shared with her mother and sister wasn't anything to be proud of. She'd put up a Christmas tree and lights, and kept the place clean, but their house was easily the most humble abode in Amador County.

Still, it was better than the beater cars and fleabag motel rooms she'd lived in growing up. At least it provided some stability.

"Be right there!" She hurried to the cupboard to get the morphine. After more than a decade, her mother's cancer was back. Cheyenne hated to see anyone suffer. But if Anita hadn't gotten sick fifteen years ago, they might never have settled down, and coming to Whiskey Creek was the best thing that had ever happened to Cheyenne. As guilty as it made her feel, she would always be grateful for the diagnosis that stopped all the shiftless rambling and finally enabled her and her sister to enroll in school. She just wished the cancer that had started in Anita's ovaries had stayed in remission instead of reappearing in her pancreas.

"What are you doing out there while I'm lying in here, suffering?" her mother demanded as soon as Cheyenne walked into the room. "You don't really care about me. You never have."

Fearing there might be some truth in those words, which sounded slurred because she wasn't wearing her dentures, Chey refused to meet her mother's gaze. "I wouldn't be here if I didn't want to be a good daughter," she said, but even she believed it was duty, not love, that motivated her. She held too much against Anita, had longed to escape her for so many years she couldn't remember when she'd first started feeling that way.

Anita preferred her sister, anyway. She'd made that clear all along. Fortunately, Cheyenne didn't have a problem with it. Presley was older by two years. She came first and would always be number one with Anita.

"I did my best by you," her mother said, suddenly defensive.

Here we go again. She brought a spoonful of morphine to her mother's lips. "That might be true," she conceded. But it was also true that Anita's best fell far short of ideal. Until they came to Whiskey Creek, she and Presley had been dragged through almost every state in the western half of the country. They'd gone hungry and cold and been left alone in cars or with strangers for indefinite periods of time. They'd even been forced to beg on street corners or at the entrances to malls when their mother deemed it necessary.

"You never cut me any slack," Anita complained, snorting as she attempted to shift positions.

Determined to preserve the peace, Cheyenne changed the subject. "Are you hungry? Would you like a sandwich or some soup?"

Her mother waved dismissively. "I can't eat right now."

Cheyenne helped her get comfortable and smoothed the bedding. "The meds will make you sick if you don't get something in your stomach. Remember what happened last night."

"I'm sick, anyway. I can hardly keep anything down. And I don't want to put my dentures in. The damn things don't fit right. Where's your sister?"

"You know where Presley is. She works at the casino."

"She never comes around anymore."

That had to be the painkiller talking. Not only did Presley live with them, she watched Anita during the day so Cheyenne could work at the bed-and-breakfast owned by her best friend's family—and as long as Presley didn't have the money to buy dope, she helped out on weekends, too. "She left a couple of hours ago." Already it seemed like an eternity to Cheyenne, and evidently Anita felt the same way.

Growing more agitated, her mother shook her head.


"No what?"

"I haven't seen her in ages. She's abandoned me. I'm surprised you're the one who stayed."

It wasn't so unusual that Chey would be the daughter to come through for her in difficult times. She'd always been the most responsible in the family. She almost said so, but what was the point? Her mother would believe what she wanted. "She'll be here again in the morning." And as soon as she got home, she'd crash in her bed….

"Can you call her?"

"I'm here to take care of whatever you need. Why bother her?"

"Because I want to talk to her, that's why!"

Chey knew she couldn't deal with her mother if she was going to be difficult again. "Calm down, okay?"

"I'm not acting up!" She struggled to sit but couldn't manage it. "Who the hell do you think you are? Where do you think you'd be without me, anyway?"

"That's what I'd like to know." She had a feeling she'd be someplace better. But that was the suspicion talking. She normally didn't say such things. Today, the words rushed out before Cheyenne could stop them. Then they hung in the air like a foul stench.

Her mother blinked at her. Her eyes, though rheumy with sickness, could still turn mean. But she'd lost the power she'd once wielded. She could no longer frighten Cheyenne.

Thank God.

Anita must've realized it wouldn't do her any good to rail, because she didn't let her temper boil over. Her voice became whiny. "You can treat me like this when I'm about to die?"

There was nothing more the doctors could do. They'd prescribed liquid morphine for the pain and Ativan to ease the anxiety, and released Anita so she could spend her last weeks at home. Pancreatic cancer typically moved fast. But Cheyenne didn't think Anita had arrived at her final moments quite yet. "Let's not despair too soon."

"You won't shed a tear when I'm gone."

Hoping to distract her, Cheyenne turned on the TV. "I'll heat some soup while you watch Jeopardy!'''

Anita caught her before she could walk out. "I've always loved you. I could've abandoned you, but I didn't.

I kept you with me every step of the way, even though it wasn't always easy to feed and clothe you."

Cheyenne pivoted to confront her. "Who was the blonde woman? Someone you used to leave me with?"

Anita grimaced. "What blonde woman?"

"I've told you about her before. I can remember someone with blue eyes and platinum-blond hair. I was with her, wearing a princess dress, and there were presents all around as if it was my birthday."

A strange expression came over Anita's sallow face, one that led Cheyenne to believe she might finally receive an explanation. Her mother knew something. But then a hint of the malevolence Anita had just masked sparkled in her eyes. "Why do you keep asking about that stuff? I don't know what on earth you're talking about."

Presley Christensen sat in the parking lot of the Rain Dance Casino, smoking a cigarette in her 1967 Mustang. It was cold outside, too cold to have the window cracked open, especially when the heater was busted, but if she wanted to smoke she had little choice. It was against California state law to light up in a public building, and she sure as hell wasn't going to stand outside.

Crossing her ankles beneath the steering wheel, she took a long, calming drag. As a card dealer, she was entitled to a fifteen-minute break every hour, which sounded like a lot but wasn't, not when she was on her feet for the rest of her shift. She had three hours to go and already her back ached. She wished she could earn a living some other way, but there weren't many options available to someone without so much as a high school diploma. She was lucky to have her GED and a job. "Excuse me."

A man rapped on her window, and she nearly jumped out of her skin. Where had he come from? She hadn't seen anyone approaching….

She locked the door to be certain he couldn't get in and spoke to him through the gap in her window. "What do you want?"

Several years ago, a woman had been abducted from a casino northeast of Sacramento. Presley hadn't heard of anything like that happening where she lived, but it was nearly three in the morning, and she was out in the dark alone with a stranger. One who'd been drinking for all she knew.

He lifted his hands in a calming gesture. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you. I'm Eugene Crouch, a private investigator." He used a penlight to illuminate the ID he flashed at her. "Are you Presley?"

She wasn't sure whether to answer him. She was afraid the P.I. claim was designed to lower her guard. Her first name was, after all, sewn onto her blouse. "What if I am?" she asked skeptically.

"I'm looking for someone you might know."


"Anita Christensen."

She practically dropped her cigarette. As it was, some ash fell into her lap and she had to brush it away before it could burn a hole in her uniform. What did this man want with her mother?

Considering the way Anita had lived her life, he couldn't have any good reason to be looking for her. As the black-sheep daughter of a hard-bitten, broken woman who'd had six kids by as many men, she wasn't likely to inherit money. And, like her own mother, Anita had never been accepted by her extended family, so Presley doubted this man was here to help some long-lost friend or relative reconnect. .

Maybe she'd stolen a watch from someone who'd paid her for sex and the police had issued a warrant for her arrest. Or worse. She'd once crashed into a man on a bicycle and driven away from the scene of the accident. She'd been drinking and shouldn't have been behind the wheel. Presley was surprised she'd suffered no repercussions for that. But it'd happened in Arizona and they'd crossed into New Mexico right after.

Presley had shoved that incident into the back of her mind—until now.

This could also be about welfare fraud or tax evasion, she supposed. Anita had done anything she could to get by.

"Say that name again?" She took another drag on her cigarette while trying to decide how to answer.

"Anita Christensen. Used to be Karen Bateman. Went by the name of Laura Dumas before that."

Presley had a vague recollection of being told her last name was Bateman—maybe when she was eight or nine. But she'd never heard of Dumas. That one must've been before she was old enough to remember. "None of those names are familiar to me." She'd been trained to protect her mother, to assist in whatever con Anita was running. If she didn't, they'd go hungry. Or she and her sister would be abandoned. She was too old for those threats to have the same effect, but old habits and loyalties were hard to break.

"You're sure?" he pressed, obviously disappointed. "You're listed as a reference on a credit card application from years back, in New Mexico. She claimed you were her daughter."

She'd only been sixteen when they were in New Mexico. How had he been able to trace her from there?

"I've never lived in New Mexico." Presley felt no remorse for lying, just an odd sense of panic that this might spill over onto her. Right or wrong, she'd done what her mother had taught her to do.

"Christensen might not be an unusual name, but Presley is," he persisted. "As a first name, I mean."

"Maybe this Anita person liked Elvis as much as my own mother did."

Presley considered herself a pro when it came to misinformation, but he seemed stubbornly unconvinced. "She may have assumed yet another identity," he said. "Would you mind taking a look at her picture?"

"Sorry." She stubbed out her cigarette in the ashtray. "My break's over. I've got to get to work."

Except she didn't dare open the door with him standing there, and he wasn't backing off. She hesitated with her hand on the latch, and that was all the opportunity he needed.

"It'll only take a second." He pulled out an old mug shot, which he illuminated with the penlight like he had his ID. "She's the one on the right."

Presley was too nervous to really look. She knew who she'd see, but with her mother sick and about to die she figured it didn't matter anymore. Whatever Anita had done wrong, cancer was punishment enough. "Never seen her before in my life," she said as her eyes flicked over it.

He held up another picture. "Do you recognize either of these two?"

She nearly told him he had to leave or she was going to call the police on her cell phone, but clamped her lips shut. She did recognize one of the two subjects of that photograph. Chey was in it as a very young girl. And something about her struck Presley as odd. Although Anita had looked as Presley would've expected—significantly younger but still unkempt—Chey didn't. Her hair was curled into pretty ringlets tied with a ribbon, and she was wearing a fancy dress with black patent leather shoes.

When had this picture been taken? And why wasn't she in it? She couldn't remember a single time their mother had bothered to curl their hair. They'd been lucky to have a comb to straighten out the snarls after several days without a bath.

Not only that, but…who was the third person—the pretty blonde woman?

"Ms. Christensen?" the man prompted.

What did this picture mean?

The possibilities terrified Presley. Anita was about to die. She couldn't lose Chey, too. "I don't recognize them, either."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 89 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 89 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    Once again I'm hooked

    Brenda never fails to reel you in. Her stories are compelling and the people in them are those I would love to know personally.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Tender Love Story

    When I finished reading WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES I was left wanting more and WHEN SNOW FALLS picked up where WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES left off. Brenda Novak writes in such a way that you can read the last page of WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES and transition smoothly into WHEN SNOW FALLS. The telling of Cheyenne's and Dylan's story was written in a way that you saw it grow from just a rose bud into a perfect long stem rose. There love was the purest of all love. Brenda Novak tells the background story of the hard knocks of both Dylan and Cheyenne in such symmetry that you come to understand why they don't trust their feelings at first. They want to stay with what’s safe not with what’s true. Dylan's the rebel, the trouble maker in the eyes of Cheyenne's friends but they'll come to learn you can't judge a book by its cover. There is a sub-story in WHEN SNOW FALLS which is that of Presley, Cheyenne's older sister, and Aaron Amos, Dylan's brother. As we Cheyenne's and Dylan's story unfolds Brenda Novak sets you up for the next. WHEN SNOW FALLS is full of surprises and new characters will be introduced. I highly recommend this book to readers that enjoy a good love story between a prim and proper woman and the man from the wrong side of the tracks. You'll truly love Cheyenne's and Dylan's story. Keep a Kleenex handy.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2012

    Loved it

    This is the best book. Picks up right where her last one ended! Cannot wait for the next one in 2013!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2015

    Snow Drop ~ Chapter 1

    I was sitting at my desk. Listening to Ms. Amore talk about math. Since I did'nt know how to read, Braille. So the teacher just let me listen. She is very nice. <P> The school bell rang. I got up out of my seat. And headed to the class room door. I steped out side the class room each day to be greeting by wads of paper hitting me. <P> The tenth wad of paper hit me, "Stop! Please stop!" I said. They kept throwing the paper at me. I heard someone else say, "Guys! Come on, stop." I shoved past some kids. I walked down the hall way. I hit the wall once, on my way out. <P> I wondered who that person was. Everyday, I got walked home from school by a student of a higher grade. Today, Justin walked me home. He is always nice to me. He went slower for me. ~Is he only being nice because I'm blind?~ I thought to myself. We arived at my house, the sun was setting. "Good night Ms. Barkington." He said. I smiled, "Good night Justin." I said. I closed the door. He walked away from my house. <P> My dog, Lucky went over to help me to bed. He pushed me to my room. He got my PJ's out. I put my PJ's on. Then got into bed. He tucked me in. He jumped up and layed on the end of the bed. I fell to sleep. <P> The next morning was sunny, because the news and everyone was saying it was. I could fell the hot suns rays. I felt warm in the sunlight. I started walking to the bus stop. Lucky guiding me. The school bus arived I got on. I sat down in the frount. Someone sat next to me, I could'nt tell who it was. "Who are you?" I said. "Its me." It was Justin. I sighed with relife that it was'nt somone else. "Okay." I slightly shived as the sun went behind some clouds. "Are you cold?" He put his jacket around me. "I'm fine. But, thank you." I said. "Okay." He said. <P> We got to School. He waled me to class, "Are we late?" I asked. "No." He answered. He stoped. "Hello Snow, and Justin." Ms. Amore said. I walked to my desk and sat down. "Okay, I have to get to class." Justin said. "Bye." I said. <P> Ms. Amore's class did math first, then we did some other things. I listened to all of it. <P> Ms. Amore spoke, "There is a legend about a Snowflake, or Snow Drop that can do things that we could never do." Kyle interuptid, "So it could heal the blind? Because Snow might want to find it if it does." Ms. Amore looked at Kyle, "Kyle. Stop, and sit down. Now! And, It might be able to heal the blind tho." She said. <P> &starf <P> (Thats all for Chapter one. How do you like it? I hope you liked it. I really do. So commet, tell me what you thought of it. Applications are welcomed. Okay? So next chapter will come out soon. I say cheak in daily. If I spelled enything wrong, tell me. Because I know I probly spelled somethings wrong. So thanks! <P> ~ Rainbowfall

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    4.7 Star Review - When Snow Falls Cheyenne believes she loves a

    4.7 Star Review - When Snow Falls

    Cheyenne believes she loves a man her best friend is dating. But when she see Dylan in the park and he wants her she does not know who she wants more.

    Dylan has wanted Cheyenne for a while but has never acted on the feelings. When he does the chemistry is off the charts. The more times they are together the more he falls for her.

    Cheyenne is confused she has thought she was in love with a man ever since she met him only to fall into another man's arms.

    While both men are trying to woo she wonders who she should really be with. Should she choose the one she thought she loved or the bad boy she can not stop thinking about? Which ones does she want more than anything?

    Loved Dylan and Cheyenne in this story. A side story is also included in this book about her sister.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2012

    5 Stars --- WoW

    Thanks to the publisher, Harlequin, and NetGalley for the chance to read this early!

    I loved Brenda Novak’s Stillwater Trilogy and Last Stand series – so when I discovered she was releasing a new series I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give it a read – Each book in this series so far is standalone but, I recommend you start with the novella, When We Touch – it introduces you to Whiskey Creek. Then follow that up with When Lightning Strikes because you are not going to want to miss a moment with Simon & Gail.

    Ms. Novak's reputation for world-building and depth of characterization shines brilliantly in this well executed small town romance. I eagerly awaited this book and boy was it worth the wait! The story picks up shortly after the end of When Lightning Strikes. Too bad the next installment, When Summer Comes, isn’t releasing until early 2013.

    The moment Cheyenne “Chey” Christensen entered Whiskey Creek she fell in love…with the town and Joe DeMarco. All these years later she is still in love with Whiskey Creek and her crush Joe hasn’t lessened. Now her best friend, Eve Harmon, is infatuated with him – and even though it is killing her Chey is being supportive; not that Eve (or anyone for that matter) realizes the depth of Chey’s feelings for Joe. After much encouragement Eve finally asks Joe out and, when he agrees Chey discovers she is torn between being happy for Eve and hoping the date is a disaster. However, it doesn’t really matter, it’s not like Chey has time for a social life, with all the other crap going on in her life: (1) her mother, Anita, is dying (2) her sister, Presley, is on drugs again (3) all of her friends are on going on a cruise leaving her alone for Christmas (4) the stress of managing the Inn’s renovations…not to mention (5) the crazy dreams she keeps having about a blond woman.

    Enter Dylan Amos, Whiskey Creek’s #1 bad boy. He comes from the wrond side of the tracks and he’s landed in hot water more times than he can count. He’s exactly the kind of guy Chey’s always kept her distance from; he is more Presley type. However, Dylan temps her like no other man has before; soon they find themselves caught up in a raw heat that’s out of control. Too bad Dylan’s not the only one interested in Chey…it seems that now (of all the rotten timing) Joe’s discovers he wants Chey for himself.

    There are so many AWESOME characters in this series that I hope inspire future installments. Between the remaining single friends in her group and the 4 SEXY…SEXY remaining Amos brothers there must be at least a dozen more installments.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2015

    Highly Recomend

    Love the Whiskey Creek Series, feel like I live there and know these people.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2015


    Welcome to snowflakeclan,in this clan we wwill do border patrols,and we will meet every saturday for gatherings,if you could not tell already this is one of the pact clans.

    In the next res you have to put your bio if you want to join this clan,in res three there is the meeting area,that is were we meet every day to talk.

    I will always come up as shimmer something with all of my clans.If you have any questions then ask me.Have fun!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2015

    This book started out showing Chey as a special person who wasn'

    This book started out showing Chey as a special person who wasn't like her mother and sister, someone who was better than their slutty ways. I don't think that a woman has to be 'layed' to understand that sex is fun. It's dangerous and makes others look at you as 'easy', ask most men who they want a Presley or a Chey before she became the soiled proof that she wasn't really the character she protrayed. She would have been better off holding on to her love and find it before moving to the 'easy mark' that she became in just a few pages. I wish I could get my money back this trash isn't worth reading, I stopped when she opened the door to the 'dangerous one'.

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  • Posted February 1, 2015

    Great story and loved the HEA.

    Great story and loved the HEA.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2014


    Goldenstar layed in the rocky ravine motionless and as Starclan worked to repair his wounds the best they could, he woke up in the quiet Starclan clearing. Goldenstar sat up and looked around with a completely blank stare. All of it was too much. Velvetstar was gone, and Shadowstar had done something to Lilywolf. Now he was afraid of her, and he worried returning to his body was a sure fate to be found by her again. What could he do? He couldn't stay here, but he had no life to return to aside from being hunted down by Lilywolf and by extension Shadowstar. The hopeless tom stood and looked around, wondering why things were so quiet. Maybe Velvetstar was around. If she could tell him that it was all in his mind, that it was only a dream and that Lilywolf was still trustworthy, he would believe her. But still the clearing was silent and Goldenstar sighed. A chilled breeze rushed the clearing and darkness fell. A voice came with it that sent the worst fear he'd ever felt in his life deep in his gut. "Hello Goldenstar," the voice hissed as he turned around, yellow gaze wide with nothing but fear. The normally brave tom knew better than to think he had any chance of standing up to him, and wasn't about to risk his life doing the impossible. What he saw when he faced Shadowstar made him sick with confusion, fear, and pain. Not only did he meet with Shadowstar but beside him was Lilywolf. ~Goldenstar (hope this works...)

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  • Posted September 19, 2014

    I enjoyed this book and have since read several more by Brenda N

    I enjoyed this book and have since read several more by Brenda Novak.  I have liked them all and would recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2014



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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2014

    Great story

    Her stories are real I love Dylan

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2014


    This was a difficult but interesting story to read. I cried a lot with the suffering characters. I had to search for book 3 in this series, but glad I found it and had the opportunity to read it. Thanks Brenda Novak, you really know how to touch the heart. LA-TXN

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2014

    Team Free

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2014



    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2014


    I just realized, SnowClan's old camp was at snowfall res 2!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2014


    Pads out of the warriors den. Good morning everyone" she meows.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2014


    (Sorry had piano practice!) She pads in

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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