Finding her fiancé cheating with her best friend was bad enough, but when Michelle heads up the
Rocky Mountains for a little R & R, it goes from bad to worse when her car breaks down during a major snowstorm.
Along a deserted stretch of highway, Jason rescues a beautiful woman who’s being accosted by two men. But can he keep her safe when they’re left stranded during a harsh winter storm?
Sometimes, one finds their Soul Mate in the most unexpected places.
Michelle groaned as she unwound her arms from her knees, pain slicing through her frozen limbs. She pushed off the ground, and stood, but the wind knocked her backward and she braced herself against the tree behind her. Taking a moment to collect her strength, she turned and ran on unsteady legs deeper into the woods. She’d rather take her chances with the storm, than risk being taken by those men.
Her inadequate clothing did nothing to keep the icy cold from cutting through her body. Her wet hair was stiff, the strands coated with ice chunks when she brushed them off her face. The wind stabbed her like a thousand little stinging cuts. Her tennis shoes were worthless as snow gear, her feet frozen, and socks soaked clear through. If she didn’t find shelter soon, she would die for sure.
A pained cry tore from her when she suddenly sank to her knees in ice-cold water, then tripped and pitched forward. Not having seen the little creek in front of her, she managed to throw her arms out and catch herself from going completely under, but most of her body was immersed as it sank through a thin layer of ice. Stumbling to her feet, she turned around and made her way onto solid ground, before collapsing in a heap.
She lay stunned for a long moment, her body racked by shivers that tightened her belly. Tiny pinpricks of pain covered every inch of her. She knew she had to keep moving. But her mind couldn’t convince her body to get up and continue. Rolling into a ball, she closed her eyes. She’d rest for a just a moment . . .
Then someone wrapped an arm around her waist and jerked her to her feet. She opened her eyes and struggled weakly as she was lifted into a pair of strong arms, resting against a solid, broad chest. She lifted heavy lids and dimly recognized her rescuer. The sense of relief that swept through her body stole her last bit of remaining strength.
“Ssh, it’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you.” His deep, low voice promised safety. Then he was running, and she was too exhausted to do anything but lay her head on his shoulder as tremors shook her in painful waves.
Everything blurred together after that. He carried her out of the trees and across the road, toward the foot of the mountain that ran alongside it.
“W-where a-are we g-going?” she managed, her teeth chattering. The storm was picking up, fast and furiously, the swirling snow a blinding force.
“I’m going to find us shelter.” His arms tightened around her as he ran along the side of the cliff wall.
“Oh.” Michelle closed her eyes. She was so tired. Her shivering slowed and warmth crept in to take its place. She snuggled closer, burying her face into the curve of his neck with a tiny sigh.
He swore softly, before giving her a gentle shake. “Stay awake,” he demanded.
The urgent tone of his voice broke through to her fuzzy mind and she tilted her head to peer up at him. Recognizing the fact that she’d probably be dead right now if he hadn’t come back for her, she smiled, blinking against the snowflakes getting in her eyes. “You’re my hero.”
He smiled down at her. “And you’re delirious.”
Like a good, stiff drink, the deep-timbre of his voice filled her center with a tingling warmth.
Stumbling across a murder and getting chased off a cliff makes for one heck of a bad day. But when a handsome blue-eyed hero comes to Darcy’s rescue, things begin to look up.
The last thing Randy expected when he made the hike up the bluff was to rescue a beautiful woman hanging off a cliff ledge. He soon learns that he’s her only protection against powerful forces that want her silenced.
“How’d you end up on the ledge?” Randy’s gaze scoured the area for anything to help him retrieve her.
“I—I was running from some me—”she hiccupped on a sob“—men.”
A sense of unease rushed through him, and his eyes narrowed as he did another search of the area, looking for danger this time.
“How many men?” he barked, his voice low and threatening at the thought of a group of men chasing a woman off a cliff. Were they still around? His hands curled into tight fists, itching to get his hands on the bastards.
“I think they left.” A soft sniffle sounded. “But they . . . they killed a man.”
What the hell?
Keeping alert to any approaching danger, He knelt back down to speak with her. “What happened?”
“I—” Another frightened squeak came from her as more loosened stones tumbled into the water.
Shit! He had to get her off that damn ledge.
“Darcy,” he said urgently, “don’t move.” He wished like hell he could see her, because he had no idea how much time she might have before the rock underneath her totally gave away. The afternoon sun was blasting, and sweat slid down his back, under his shirt.
There was a long tense moment until the pebbles finally stopped falling. Her panicked gasp cranked up his urgency to get to her, filling him with a sense of impotence at his total uselessness. He needed to think of something, fast! As an avid outdoorsman, there had to be something here he could use.
“Randy,” her soft voice called up to him.
“Yeah, darlin’,” he said gently.
“If I don’t make it—”
“You’ll make it,” he snapped, standing, his body tense. He wouldn’t even entertain the thought that she’d die. He’d never be able to live with the guilt for allowing it to happen.
Ignoring him, she continued, “Please tell my family I love them . . . okay?”
The muscles in his shoulders tensed into hard knots, his mind working feverishly. “You’re gonna tell them yourself, Darcy. Just as soon as I get you up from there.”
“How’re you going to do that?” The resignation in her voice indicated she didn’t believe he could save her.
Like hell . . . He set his jaw in determination.
“I’ve got a hiking kit back at my campsite. I’m going to get it, I’ll be right back.”
“You—you’re leaving?” Panic laced her voice.
“I’ll only be gone five minutes.”
She didn’t answer.
“Darcy?” he repeated, kneeling back down to peer over the edge. “I promise, I’ll be back for you.” Damn, he wished he could see her face, so she’d know he meant every word he said.
“Okay,” she responded quietly, though he could hear the tears in her voice.
The tinkling of small pebbles rolling down the cliff told him to get his ass moving. She needed off that ledge, before it was too late.
He just wasn’t quite sure how the hell he was going to accomplish that.
International Digital Awards Finalist
Stan allowed emotional baggage from his childhood to ruin a relationship with Shelly. But when she finds herself in danger, she reaches out to him for protection. Given this second chance, he’s determined to win her back, while keeping her safe from a stalker.
Growing up an orphan, Shelly spent her teenage years looking for love in all the wrong places. Pregnant at eighteen, she swore off men to raise her daughter. Years later, the one man she finally gave a chance to broke her heart. But when danger strikes, he’s the first person she turns to.
Can two people overcome their tragic pasts and find a future together?
Stan sat next to her, close enough his thigh pressed against hers. He stretched one long arm across the back of the couch, peering down at her with a bit of concern, a hint of anger, and a whole lot of desire swirling in his silvery gaze.
“I— Um.” She took a deep breath and almost moaned with delight at the familiar scent of his musky cologne she’d always loved. He’s not for me, remember. With much effort, she managed to get her rioting emotions under control.
He’d hurt her, and she shouldn’t forget that. “I’d like to hire you to find my stalker and make him stop.”
“I’m not taking your money.” His expression turned deadly. “But I’ll sure as shit stop this guy.”
Scooting back, she came up against the arm of the couch. Her eyes narrowed. She wasn’t a charity case. “I can pay you for your services, Stan.”
There was a moment of silence as he studied her, and she fought the urge to squirm. He picked up a few strands of her hair and gently rubbed them between his finger and thumb. “You’re more than a client to me, Shelly. I care about you. And even though you dumped me, your safety matters.”
Shelly opened her mouth to deny dumping him, because it sounded so bad, then pressed her lips together before saying anything. Because she had broken up with him.
Totally his fault.
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