“Live life balls out,” Katie Kramer whispered to herself every night, even though she didn’t own a pair, hoping the mantra would keep the nightmares away.
Death and destruction and horror still dogged her every single sleeping breath. Until tonight that is. Tonight she’d miraculously been nightmare free. So when she opened her eyes in the middle of the night, she felt … confused. She wasn’t screaming about the bridge collapsing, about being trapped in her car, hanging upside down by her seatbelt fifty feet over the side of a cliff with flames licking at her…
Which meant something else had woken her. And whatever it was, she wanted to kill it for interrupting the first solid sleep she’d had in four months.
There was a fatal flaw with this logic, of course. Because most likely it hadn’t been an it, but a someone.
She wasn’t alone.
Not prone to hysterics or drama, she shook her head in the dark. She’d locked the cabin door. She was safe. Plus, she wasn’t in Los Angeles anymore. After the accident, she’d gotten into her brand new used car and left town to fulfill her “balls out” motto. She didn’t know what adventures were ahead of her exactly, but the not knowing was part of the plan. She’d gone north because Hwy 5 had been the only freeway moving faster than fifteen miles per hour and she’d needed to move fast, needed to get as far from her old, staid, boring, careful life as the tank of gas could get her.
Eight hours later, she’d found herself in the Sierras, where it was real winter. None of LA’s lightweight weather where flip-flops were risky for a few weeks in January, but the real deal complete with snow piled high in berms on either side of the roads and frost on her windows.
When she stopped for dinner in a tiny old west town named Wishful, she’d nearly froze her fingers and toes right off. And yet after all her nightmares of heat and flames, she loved it. Loved the huge wide open sky, loved the way her breath crystallized in front of her face, loved the way the trees smelled like Christmas.
Then she’d seen the Want Ad.
Local outdoor adventure and expedition company seeking temporary office manager, adventurous spirit required. Call Wilder Adventures for more info.
That had been it for her, she was sold. She’d been working for Wilder Adventures for a week now, the best week in recent memory. Up until right this second when a shadowy outline of a man appeared in her room. Like the newly brave woman she was, she threw the covers over her head and hoped he hadn’t seen her.
“Hey,” he said, blowing that hope all to hell.
His voice was low and husky, sounding just as surprised as she, and with a deep breath, she lurched upright to a seated position on the bed and reached out for her handy dandy baseball bat before remembering she hadn’t brought it with her. Instead, her hands connected with her glasses and they went flying.
Which might just have been a blessing in disguise, because now she wouldn’t be able to witness her own death.
But then the tall shadow bent and scooped up her glasses and…
Handed them to her.
A considerate bad guy?
She jammed the frames on her face and focused in the dim light coming from the living room lamp. He stood at the foot of the bed frowning right back at her, hands on his hips.
He didn’t look like an ax murderer, which was good, very good, but at over six feet of impressive, rangy, solid-looking muscle, he didn’t exactly look like a harmless Tooth Fairy either.
“Why are you in my bed?” he asked warily, as if maybe he’d put her
there but couldn’t quite remember.
He had a black duffel bag slung over a shoulder. Light brown hair stuck out from the edges of his knit ski cap to curl around his neck. Sharp green eyes were leveled on hers, steady and calm but irritated as he opened his denim jacket.
If he was an ax murderer, he was quite possibly the most attractive one she’d ever seen, which didn’t do a thing for her frustration level. She’d been finally sleeping.
He could have no idea what a welcome miracle that had been, dammit.
“Earth to Goldilocks.” He waved a gloved hand until she dragged her gaze back up to his face. “Yeah, hi, My bed. Want to tell me why you’re in it?”