Charlotte lost the thrill of conquering mountains five years ago when her sister disappeared on a hiking adventure without her. Charlotte heads for a vacation to Vermont but she’s still plagued with guilt and questions. Matiu is an outdoorsman and works multiple jobs to save for his dream of owning an outfitter in New Zealand. He’s restless and yearns for his Maori roots. Matiu and Charlotte form a bond through their shared love of the outdoors. But can Charlotte surmount her demons to assist Matiu on a mountain rescue when a late-season snowstorm hits? Can love help her heal?
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She went to feel her ring on her finger with her thumb…but the ring wasn’t there. That old habit would not die even years later.
A dog bark intruded. The man crossed to the back door. “Reka, sweet girl, take your nap. Only a few hours here and then home, okay?” He spoke to her like a father to a toddler. The dog barked again. “A swim and walk this morning weren’t enough for you?”
He approached the dog, petted it, and whispered affections.
Charlotte made a soundless “Aww” and kept perusing.
The man returned, nearer. Residual sweat traced his brow. He pointed to a selection of books in the middle. “These are the best. Depends on what you’re looking for. Honest reviews or glorified fantasies?”
“Honest reviews, always.”
He stroked a hand through his neck-length black hair, the longer top layer falling over his forehead. He squatted and withdrew a few books from the lower shelf. “You could go with the popular or famous names, sure, but I like these authors.” He handed her one.
A book on South America sat in her hands. She muttered, “Thanks. Don’t need that one.”
“Oh, already been there, eh? All good, all good.” He took it and shoved it back on the shelf. “Where do your dreams lie then?”
She swallowed. No, I wasn’t there in that way. I was supposed to have been there. Five years ago. Instead she said, “Well, Vermont for now.”
“You’re in luck. I’m from Willow Springs.”
Jean’s background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines. When she’s not writing or chasing children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors.