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Isolation is all I want. Until the goddess arrives.
Of all the mountains in the world, her sexy ass has to show up on mine.
Now, she can’t escape. Not from the blizzard. My cabin. Or the attraction neither of us can fight.
This mountain is mine alone, my escape from the wonderful life that imploded two years ago. But she’s here now, and the defenses I’ve erected are falling at her feet. She needs my protection. I need my hands on her perfect skin.
The goddess has become my obsession, but if she ever finds out what I’ve done, I’ll lose her. I’ll lose myself.
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I have THE most exciting news, my darling. Call me. xxx
I stared at the text message, then swiped it off my screen with a furious thrust of my thumb. My mother had exciting news? My stomach churned in dread. I leaned forward and thunked my forehead on the steering wheel of the old Jeep I’d been driving the past six weeks, trying to not imagine what it was. Or worse… what it had to do with me.
For most people, the triple x at the end of her message would probably be as sweet and innocent as multiple kisses. For me, it served as a reminder of something very different. More than that, I knew my dear mother had placed them there on purpose. Just another dig with the verbal blade she always carried.
In addition to that cryptic message, I also had eighteen missed calls from her. Thirty-one other text messages. Numerous FaceTime attempts. Facebook messages. Twitter DMs. Snapchats. All in the past six hours.
She was cycling. Manic. Compassion and worry broke through the frustration.
Why did I have to be the grown-up in our relationship?
I sighed and sat up. I’d call her, but first, I needed to call my agent and give her an update on my book. I was almost finished. About six more chapters to go and “Come Closer” would leave my hard drive to be churned through the editors and proofreaders before, hopefully, becoming a best seller. Maybe then I’d call myself an author and have a prayer’s chance of actually making a decent living writing about the pretend world I wished I lived in. A world where happy ever afters were a reality, not the fantasy I knew them to be.
Icy cold wind took my breath as I opened the Jeep’s door, and I tugged the woolen cap down over my ears. It was much colder today. It had been nearly sixty just yesterday with lots of sun to make it feel even warmer. Today, dark gray clouds billowed overhead, rolling across the sky as if racing to some unknown destination.
Icy drops kissed my face, and I looked up in wonder before catching a few of the fat flakes on my gloved hand. The intricate white designs melted quickly on the chocolate-colored wool, but more replaced them quickly enough.
Raised in Southern California, I’d never seen real snow before now, and I lifted my face to let it fall onto my tongue. I’d seen that done in movies as a child and had always wanted to know the taste. There really wasn’t a flavor, but I laughed at how wonderful it was to feel the icy goodness melt in my mouth.
My teeth were chattering by the time I ran into Pop’s Diner and Grocery, the closest place to my temporary home with internet and a cell signal. The cost of groceries there was much higher than if I went farther down the mountain. But I didn’t want to go any farther. I loved the isolation. The beauty and views of my rustic hideaway. Maybe I could one day afford something like my little cabin getaway on my own, and seclude myself from the world forever.
“Afternoon, Miss Zoe,” Mrs. Pop said, the always present smile beaming from her sweet face. The fleshy parts of her cheeks rose to nearly cover her eyes. She was adorable. Her entire family was adorable. There was Mr. Pop, Mrs. Pop, Pop Junior, and Pop Junior Junior who all ran the store. The infamous Pop — the one the store was originally named after — had passed a long time ago, and the legacy had lived on through his children and theirs. I often wondered what they would have called a girl had they had one. Popette? I planned to feature the family in my next story, and I’d absolutely add a Popette, just for fun.
“Good afternoon, Mrs. Pop,” I called back and stuffed my gloves into a pocket. “Can you believe it’s already snowing?”
The smile slipped into a frown. “Honey… it’s about to do more than just snow. We’re about to get dumped on but good.” She came from around the register to take a look outside, her tongue making a tsk tsk sound. “Haven’t you been listening to the news?”
No, I hadn’t, actually.
The rustic one-bedroom cabin I’d been renting was lovely, and I was blessed to have electricity and plumbing, but that was where technology ended in the six-hundred-square-foot log structure. There was no cable, no internet, no phone, and no cell reception. I loved it. If I got desperate and needed to call someone or send an email, I hauled my trusty laptop and cell phone down to Pop’s. Otherwise, I wrote or read or just watched nature do its thing. I wasn’t bored yet. Not like I thought I’d be. It was nice getting away from… everything.