Who knew snow could be so hot?
All summer long, campground manager and wilderness guide Ashley Turner dreams of the snowfall that will bring her the peace and quiet she craves. This year, though, her Cascade Mountain solitude has been threatened by too many close encounters with the local wildlife.
A huge, unusually aggressive cougar is stalking the area near her cabin, and something has to be done before someone gets hurt. But share her secluded retreat with a wildlife biologist? Though he's the perfect picture of Native American hunkiness, that's where she draws the line.
When Dr. Jake Eagle Feather shows up on her doorstep, he's prepared to call her shotgun-waving bluff. Until he can study and stop the cougar's strange behavior, she and everyone else in these snowbound mountains are in danger.
As if on cue, the cougar attacks, forcing Ashley to reluctantly give in to the inevitable. Close quarters intensify the pull of attraction between them. Even as their resistance melts in a whirlwind of sweet, hot desire, a predator is waiting out the storm for the next chance to stalk its prey...
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February 28, 2012
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Excerpt from Snowfall by Lainey Reese
When they got back to the cabin, Ashley was splitting firewood. Both men stopped in awe. Jake felt the unease he'd carried since the elk melt away as he watched this strong, beautiful woman do work that some men would balk at. "You know, Ponch," Jake said, not taking his gaze off her, "I think I'm going to marry that girl."
Poncho wrapped an arm around his shoulder and said, "Amigo, I knew you were gonna marry her the first day we got here and she pulled that shotgun on you." He chuckled ruefully. "See, even now you're smiling when you think about it. Anybody else would still be pissed." Poncho pulled away and headed for the mudroom. Jake headed for Ashley.
When the log she worked on split with a crack, he bent down and collected the halves. He threw them in the sled where she had quite a stack built up. "Need a hand with that?"
She shrugged and used a sleeve to swipe at the hair escaping from her knit cap.
"I'd love one." She smiled at him, huffing and flushed from her exertions. "I'm always paranoid that I haven't split enough. I know that I have, but still I keep coming out here and doing this, just in case."
Jake took the axe, lined up a log and split it in one swing. He wasn't above showing off or taking a deep sense of pride when she was properly impressed. As she collected the pieces and tossed them to the pile, he lined up another and did it again. "Wow, Chief, that's a pretty hefty swing you have there."
He sent her a cocky smile. "Chief? Is that a racial slur, white girl?"
She laughed and shrugged. "No. I Googled you. You are a real--" she held up a hand like a salute and grinned mischievously, "--honest to Injun' Chief. Impressive. A Ph.D., an animal activist and a real modern day Indian warrior brave. It's enough to make any girl weak in the knees."
He stopped to study her, not sure how much was teasing.
"The Chief stuff is not all that glamorous. Just the three P's. powwows, politics and paperwork." He smiled and added, "It has some nice side benefits though." He braced against the axe handle and leveled a look at her. Then he spoke in the native language of his people. He watched the playfulness melt from her expression, replaced by desire. "Wha...," she cleared her throat, "What did you say?" He didn't move, didn't break eye contact and said it again.
Ashley felt like she was on fire. On the inside. She marveled that she didn't burst into flames on the spot. His black snow gear should have made him look bulky but instead it only emphasized his form and condition. His flawless features were highlighted in a beam of brilliant sunshine as though God Himself was showing him off. And he was staring at her like she was the only thing in the world while those lyrical words hung in the air like magic.
Without even realizing she did it, she walked to him. Before she thought better of it, she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him. She expected his lips to be cold, but they weren't. His mouth was hot and moist, and she explored it with fierce abandon. With a sound much like a growl, he took over the kiss.
His arms banded around her back to pull her close. His tongue thrust into her mouth and all reason fled. It was exhilarating. It was frustrating. There were too many layers. She could feel the pressure of him against her, but not enough, not nearly enough. She whimpered as he hooked one hand behind her thigh and urged that leg up around his hip. The position was blatantly sexual and intimate. It was an unashamed and invigorating tease.
She pulled her head back and looked into eyes that had gone obsidian. "What did you say to me?"
He smiled and told her. "I said, come to me and let me kiss you."
She couldn't have been more charmed. She tugged off one glove and trailed her fingers along his features--tracing the brow, the high sharp cheek bones, the blade of his nose. When her fingers got to his lips, he opened and caught the tips in his strong white teeth.
She felt her eyes cross as he used his tongue on the sensitive digits. Still, she had enough brain cells left to ask the question that had been burning inside her for two weeks. "Why did you stop?" Her gaze lifted from his mouth and what he was doing to her to meet his stare. "Why? I was naked and willing and ready. Why did you leave?"
He let her fingers slip out with a final sweep of his tongue then answered in a voice gone raspy with desire.
"I didn't want you thinking after it was over that you'd just gotten carried away. Swept up in a moment of passion because I caught you by surprise. Then turning around and telling yourself it was a fluke." He let her leg slide down and lifted his hands to her face, not allowing her to look away from him for what he had to say next. "When we make love, you are going to come to me with your eyes open and no excuses. You are going to come to me ready for all that I have to offer, and offer me all that you have to give."