The Healer

The Healer

by Sharon Sala

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All his life, Jonah Gray Wolf has had an uncanny connection to animals and the power to heal the sick and wounded. Driven from the only home he's ever known by those who wish to harness his gift for profit, he becomes a drifter, working in out-of-the-way towns, never staying long. It's a lonely life, but Jonah knows he's still being hunted--he can't afford to get close to anyone who might learn his secret.

In West Virginia he finds Luce, a tough but beautiful loner who knows all about keeping people at a distance--a kindred soul with whom he might dare to make a life. But the hunters have caught Jonah's scent again. Danger is coming to their mountain refuge--a confrontation that will be decided only by a force of nature.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781460308455
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 11/15/2012
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 75,362
File size: 522 KB

About the Author

Sharon Sala is a member of RWA and OKRWA with 115 books in Young Adult, Western, Fiction, Women's Fiction, and non-fiction. RITA finalist 8 times, won Janet Dailey Award,  Career Achievement winner from RT Magazine 5 times, Winner of the National Reader's Choice Award 5 times, winner of the Colorado Romance Writer's Award 5 times, Heart of Excellence award, Booksellers Best Award. Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. Centennial Award for 100th published novel.

Read an Excerpt

Snow Valley, Southern Alaska: 1977

The rangy gray she-wolf, still thin from the passing winter, paused at the edge of the tree line above the valley. As she lifted her nose and sniffed the air, the hair on the back of her neck rose. She could smell the danger. Every instinct she had told her to turn and run, but the pup beside her had needs she couldn't provide.

At that moment the pup whined. When she turned and licked its dusty face, it wiggled with pleasure. As much as she would like to lie down, time was not on her side. She nudged the pup gently until it latched on to her pelt. With a single whine of reassurance, she started forward, confident that it would follow as she started down the gentle slope into the valley below.

* * *

The spring sunshine in Snow Valley was a welcome respite from the bitter Alaskan winter and the months without sunlight. It took a special kind of people to be at peace with a world that had months without sunlight, then months without darkness, but the native Inuits were just such a people. It took more than funky geography and quixotic weather patterns to stagger them. They'd been here for centuries and were at peace with their world.

Today, a brisk wind was coming down from the slopes, whipping among the simple wood-frame buildings housing the hunting camp and the small contingent of people who lived there, popping and yanking at the fresh laundry the women had hanging on their clotheslines.

A bush pilot named Harve Dubois, originally from Biloxi, Mississippi, had a small house on the south edge of the tiny settlement, next to the landing strip, which was the only way in and out of the camp. He'd been in residence for almost twelve years now and considered himself a replanted Alaskan. During the different hunting seasons, he flew hunters in and out of the area with his Bell Jet copter. In the off-seasons, he had a propensity for hibernation, at which times he retreated to his cabin with a case of Jim Beam and a grocery sack full of paperback thrillers.

Doctor Adam Lawson lived on the other edge of the hunting camp. He'd been brought in more than six years ago on a mercy mission when an unfortunate hunter had met up with a pissed-off grizzly. The hunter's gun had jammed, and then the grizzly had jammed him up one side and down the other. By the time the doctor had patched the hunter up enough to be flown out, he'd fallen for the people and the place. He'd come back the next spring on his own and had been there ever since.

A man named Silas Parker was the owner of the camp and lived and worked in a small, two-story A-frame. The lower floor was devoted to a sort of grocery and dry goods store, in which he stocked a wide variety of ammunition and a lesser amount of canned and dry goods. The second floor, which amounted to two very small rooms, was where he lived and slept.

The rest of the residents of Snow Valley were mostly Inuit and had been here longer than God. At least, that was what Harve claimed. Adam Lawson figured it was just the opposite. God had put them here. They'd just had the good sense to stay. The Inuit men were good hunting guides, and a large number of them were often away from the camp with hunting parties for long periods of time, which periodically left the women and children alone.

The recent good weather had spawned a flurry of expeditions, which meant the women were taking advantage of extra time alone to do a little spring cleaning. With the below-zero temperatures behind them, the good weather also allowed their children to play out in the fresh air and sunshine.

Some of the older children were involved in a game of softball. Others were playing tag or hide and seek. A pair of six-year-old twins who went by the names of Shorty and Bubba were sitting in the middle of the road that snaked through the village, drawing pictures in the dirt with sticks.

As they sat, a strong burst of wind lifted the dirt in which they were playing, blowing bits of grass and sand into their eyes. Shorty, the older twin, frowned and closed his eyes, while Bubba, the taller one, quickly turned away, shielding his face from the debris. As he turned, he happened to look up the road. Seconds later, he jumped to his feet, squinting his eyes against the sun, unable to believe what he was seeing. Then suddenly reality surfaced. He grabbed his twin by the hair, and started pulling on him and screaming, "Run, Shorty, run!"

Shorty reacted without question. Together, he and Bubba ran full tilt for their house, which was less than fifty yards away, screaming as they went. Their screams brought not only their mother, Willa, running, but others, as well.

"Mama, Mama…wolf!" Bubba screamed as he pointed up the road.

Willa needed only one look to begin echoing his cries.

"Wolf! Wolf!" she screamed, and began shoving her boys toward the house as the other women began a frantic search for their own children, desperate to get them inside.

* * *

The she-wolf stopped. She heard the screams. She smelled their fear. It was all the warning she was going to get. She wanted—needed—to run in the opposite direction. But the pup's tug on her hair matched the tug of instinct that kept her from abandoning it to an uncertain fate. It was that fierce, motherly instinct that gave her the courage to continue on, moving slowly with her head lowered to accommodate the little brown pup now clinging to her ear.

Silas Parker heard the commotion. Curious, he put down the cans he was shelving and moved toward the front door. It didn't take him long to see what was happening. A big gray wolf was coming into the village. Her walk was slow, and sometimes she staggered, with her head low to the ground. There was only one reason he could think of as to why a wild animal like that would come into the camp.


Silas had once seen a man die from the disease and didn't want to ever witness such suffering again.

He ran behind the counter, lifted his rifle from the rack on the wall, grabbed a handful of shells from a box beneath the counter and began loading the rifle on the run.

"Get inside! Get inside!" he shouted, as he started down the road. He wasn't much of a shot, which meant he was going to have to get closer to ensure a hit, and he didn't want to have to be dodging kids and women to take aim.

Another woman came out of her house with her rifle as Silas ran past. He could hear the unsteady sound of her breathing as she struggled to catch up.

He was still shaking from the burst of adrenaline as he neared Harve's landing strip. The wolf was close, almost too close. Afraid to go any farther, he stopped, lifted the rifle to his shoulder and took aim. Counting slowly backward from five to steady his breathing, he tightened his finger on the trigger and had started to squeeze when the woman who'd been coming up behind him suddenly screamed in his ear, then shoved the rifle up into the air.

"Don't shoot!"

He flinched. Marie Tlingtik's shout was not only startling, but confusing. He turned abruptly.

"What the hell, Marie?"

"Look," she said, pointing at the wolf.

Silas turned in the direction she was indicating.

"Yes, damn it. It's a wolf and—"

The words froze in the back of his throat. He took a deep breath and then wiped his eyes, certain he was hallucinating.

"That is not possible," Silas muttered, then turned toward Marie. "Holy Mother of God, is that a baby? Is it? Do you see it, Marie? Is that a real baby beside that wolf, or am I crazy?"

Marie muttered something in her native language, then turned around and ran.

Silas wanted to follow her, but the sight of that thin sun-browned toddler held him fast.

The wolf yipped. Once.

The gun Silas was holding slipped from his hands and landed at his feet with a thud. He stood, still staring in disbelief as the she-wolf also stopped. Separated by less than twenty yards, Silas watched as the wolf lifted her head. Even from this distance, he felt her gaze fixed on him.

"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus," he whispered as his legs went weak. He wanted to run, but he couldn't bring himself to move. Still, he had to do something. That little kid could barely walk and was frighteningly thin. He couldn't just turn away from this. Even if he didn't understand it, he couldn't let it go.

Without thinking of the danger to himself, he took a deep breath, and started waving and shouting at the wolf.

The she-wolf flinched at the sharp, frightening sounds. She felt the danger as vividly as she felt the wind on her face. It was time to go. She turned to the pup and nudged it forward. It toddled a few steps ahead of her, then stumbled and dropped into the dirt.

Every instinct she had told her to run. Now. But she was torn. The pup whined as it fell. When it began struggling to get up, her instinct was to go toward it, but then she looked up. The human was moving closer. Without looking at the pup again, she turned and began loping back toward the trees.

Left on its own, the pup began to cry in earnest.

She could hear it as she ran. But it was only after she reached relative safety at the tree line that she stopped and looked back. The place looked deserted. That was when she lifted her head and howled. The long, mournful sound spilled down into Snow Valley, then echoed off the surrounding hills.

But it was what happened next that sent the entire village of Snow Valley into shock.

Silas had the child in his arms and was heading for Doc Lawson's house as fast as he could go. He looked behind him more than once as he ran, making sure the wolf hadn't done a U-turn and nipped back on his heels. As he ran, he kept glancing down at the baby, feeling the little boy's long black hair blowing across his face and the heat emanating from his thin brown body. Silas thought the child looked Indian, but it was hard to tell how much was dirt and how much was true skin color.

Suddenly the long, mournful howl of a wolf rode the wind blowing down into the valley. The howl was disconcerting. Silas flinched as he looked over his shoulder one last time, just to assure himself that the wolf was gone.

At the sound of the wolf's howl, the baby grabbed Silas by his full, bushy beard, then twisted in his arms so that he was now looking toward the mountain. The little boy's tear-filled eyes were wide with shock. But instead of crying, he opened his little mouth and wailed. The high-pitched sound was an almost perfect echo of the wolf's howl.

Startled, Silas gasped and came close to dropping the child. If the boy had not been holding on to Silas's beard with both hands, he would have gone tumbling down to the ground. But Silas quickly recovered and began patting the baby on the back, trying to give him comfort as he kept on going.

"Now, now," Silas muttered. "Don't cry, little fella, don't cry."

The sound of Silas's voice was as startling to the baby as the wolf's howl had been to Silas. For a few silent moments, their gazes locked.

It was then that Silas realized the baby's eyes were not brown, but amber, marked with flecks of a yellowish gold, more like the eyes of the wolf instead of the dark-eyed Inuits.

"Damn, kid…where did you come from?" But the wolf couldn't talk and the child didn't know.

Customer Reviews

The Healer 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
6789-1234_567 More than 1 year ago
my all time favorite book...I can read it over and over again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I became part of the story, engulfed, like i was right there!! couldn't turn the pages fast enough, i didn't want it to end. I loved this book. Jonah had my heart at the beginning and still holds it. I love this exceptional man. I do hope for a sequel....
lrhubble More than 1 year ago
Jonah Gray Wolf is on the run from a man who wishes to use Jonah's special talents for himself. Jonah has made very sure that he has never gotten close to anyone because he knows that if he does that person would be used against him like his father was ten years ago. Jonah stops in Little Top, West Virginia because winter is coming and he needs a place to stay and earn some money before he moves on again. Luce doesn't trust easily and her only true companion is her dog, Hobo. Luce has a stalker that she knows is getting more and more dangerous. Trying to get help from the sheriff didn't do her any good so now she knows that this is something she is going to have to take care of for herself. What she doesn't expect is to find someone that is willing to help. Now she just has to decide if she can trust Jonah. Jonah helps Luce when Hobo gets caught in a trap. Hobo doesn't let anyone near him but Luce only now he is fine with Jonah which goes a long way to helping Luce trust Jonah. What neither Jonah nor Luce expected was the attraction that they would feel for each other. Now they are going to have to find a way to get rid of the threats to both of them so they will have a chance for the future. Getting rid of Luce's stalker ends up being the easier one of the two problems and taken care of quickly. Now they just have find out whom Jonah's enemy is going to send after him this time and make sure that they don't succeed because Jonah knows that this time they will use Luce against him and he knows that if he lost her he wouldn't survive it. This story really pulls you into the world of the characters with some twist you don't see coming. You get to watch Jonah and Luce as they work through all that is going on gets you rooting for them to overcome all the obstacles in their way. With some great secondary characters that help this story come to life. This one is hard to put done once you start to read it.
readerforlifeNY More than 1 year ago
This is one exceptional read. The characters were refreshing and I loved the paranormal touch. It was one of those books that you really don't want to end because you know that you are going to miss the characters. Jonah was a great hero and like one reader said, you which that there was a sequel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book sooooo much that I finished it in less that 6 hours. Jonah and Luce are great, I couldn't stop reading because I wanted to see what will happen in the end the chapters keep you goin to the end first time i read a book written by Sharon Sala. i hope her other stories are just as great
schatzi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I normally love Sharon Sala's books, but this one wasn't nearly as good as some of the other ones I've read that she has authored. I wasn't expecting a great piece of literature, but I was expecting something more than the hokey story that I got. The characters were so two-dimensional that it was painful to read; the only reason I gave this two stars instead of one was that the premise, though poorly executed, was original.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was th best book ever!!! Sharon sala had me hooked from the beginning of this book.
irisman More than 1 year ago
I really like Sharon Sala books but this one stands out as her best for me followed by "When You Call My Name". I wish she would write more along this line. The hero can "fix what's broke inside" man or animal. He is also extreamly protective of the woman he falls in love with. Very good story with well developed characters.
terri_spitz More than 1 year ago
This wasn't what I would refer to as a typical Sharon Sala story but was happily surprised. This was a story about a man who has a affinity for animals and is a healer. His parentage is unknown, but Alaskan's are native Americans and thier heirtage consists of healers. I would recommend this book. It has romance, heirtage and a bit of the super-natural.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down.......will read again & again....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
loved the book. problem.. i now have nook. now i cant get one of my favorite books.. tc
Margo87 More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book, and am wanting more from Sharon Sala
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my first book from this author and it is good. The plot is interesting, the characters are exellent, writing is good. I was surprise!good read.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoy all of Sharon Sala's books, exceptionally Healer. I enjoyed the paranormal aspect of the whole story. Since I am also a wild life lover and also like the majority of Americans have some Native American ancestry I enjoyed the book more so. I loved the mix of Latino and Native American between the two main characters in the book. Sharon Sala never ceases to amaze me with her abilities to make her books so realistic but magical.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Jonah Gray Wolf is tired of running even as he does good deeds using his God given healing skills. However, one of those he saved ten years ago from a bear mauling, Major Bourdain pays him back by wanting to capture, cage and study Jonah because he believes the HEALER can give him the chance to live forever. In fact Jonah knows that the obsessed Bourdain is the only person he regrets healing. --- Jonah refuses to be incarcerated so he keeps fleeing into the night though he is bone weary of the chase. Thinking he has gained some breathing time, Jonah takes a needed respite in Little Top, West Virginia in Appalachia. There he meets waitress Lucia ¿Luce¿ Andahar, who hides some skills she has from him and the locals. After rescuing and healing her beloved dog Hobo, he stays for now as he senses an evil stalking her. They fall in love and both hope for a life together, but Bourdain has come to town and after a decade has finally found Jonah¿s weakness as well as an ally as malevolent as he is. --- THE HEALER is a terrific fast-paced paranormal romantic suspense starring two kind-hearted lead characters 'ask Hobo and a bird she feeds daily' and two over the pinnacle of Little Top villains. The story line is action-packed as High Noon has come to Appalachia with the cougar climax feeling right. Sub-genre fans will believe in the powers of Sharon Sala after reading this stupendous suspenseful story. --- Harriet Klausner
LauraSheehan More than 1 year ago
I'm a fan of Sharan Sala, but this book didn't do it for me. The lead character was too perfect, too powerful, and too unbelievable. The plot was lackluster and I didn't feel connected enough to the characters, despite some goot scenes. I enjoyed her Storm Front books more.