Authors: Christine DePetrillo
Tags: #romance, #contemporary
“When you turn around, look first. You can grab your camera after. Okay?”
“Okay.” Anticipation buzzed through me. Or was it being so close to Dale?
With a little nudge, Dale spun me around, and a gasp caught in my throat. His hands closed over my shoulders, anchoring me, keeping me earthbound amongst what had to be heaven.
Rising above all the other mountains in the distance, Mount McKinley reached into the cerulean Alaskan sky like a white giant. Its peaks were arrowheads of rock encrusted in snow that glistened magically in the pink of the late afternoon sunlight. How incredibly small I was, like a speck of dust in comparison to the majesty of McKinley.
“Oh, Dale…” My voice was nothing more than a rasp. I let my pack drop to my feet and leaned back against him. He folded his arms around me and squeezed. When I thought the moment couldn’t get any closer to perfection, he loosened my scarf enough to nuzzle his cold nose against my neck. Though I initially shivered at the contact, he quickly warmed the spot with the heat of his lips.
Giving McKinley another look, I turned around to face Dale. He trailed his lips over my cheek and finally to my mouth where he did things that made my head spin. Our lips met as we tasted, savored each other. Great Goddess, I had shut myself off for too long. Or maybe I’d been waiting. Waiting for him.
Whatever the case, Dale unlocked emotions in me. Trust, wanting, love. I wasn’t sure what to do with any of these, but my heart thudded wildly in my chest over the prospect. My skin longed to have Dale’s fingers spread across every inch of it. My lips wanted him to never stop kissing me.
“Take your pictures.” The words were a whisper. “And let’s go.”
“Christine DePetrillo's story grabs you and keeps you reading from the first page to the last. This is a story you won't want to miss.”
~JM Griffin, author of
For Love of Livvy
, and the
Faerie Cake Dead
“DePetrillo writes a wonderful story with an intriguing blend of sarcasm, adventure, and emotion. The description makes Alaska come alive, and the voice captivates, making the reader forget it's a book.”
~Eden Elgabri, author of
Toy with Me
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, places, events, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Text copyright © 2010 by Christine DePetrillo
Originally published by Wild Rose Press
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.
Published by AmazonEncore, Seattle
Amazon, the Amazon logo, and AmazonEncore are trademarks of
, Inc., or its affiliates.
Cover Designer: Angela Anderson
This title was previously published by Wild Rose Press; this version has been reproduced from Wild Rose Press archive files.
To my grandmother,
who has always made me feel like a celebrity
This book has the amazing ability to turn cat people into dog people, warm-weather folks into cold-weather folks, skeptics into believers in true love. Proceed with caution, but don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself.
Congratulations! First place in the Iditarod. Impressive!
Thanks! Looking forward to taking some time off now.
You deserve some rest.
Think my body—and my dogs—demand it.
LOL. What will you do?
Definitely. If you’d come up to Fairbanks to visit me, maybe I wouldn’t be so bored during my “well-deserved” rest.
Smart girls don’t just pack up and fly across the country to visit a complete stranger. Don’t you ever watch the news? That’s how people get chopped up into little bits and sold on e-Bay.
1. Uhh…hello? Can’t call me a “complete stranger” after a year of emailing.
2. They don’t let serial killers race in the Iditarod.
3. C’mon. Got a kick-ass log cabin. Nice and quiet.
Nice and quiet! Just what a serial killer would want. A place where no one would hear the victim’s screams.
Okay, okay. Not nice and quiet. Loud—lots of dogs barking all the time—with cops riding by every 15 minutes.
Why are cops riding by every 15 minutes? You under surveillance?
Don’t be so dramatic.
Yes, you. You know I’m right. Can’t come to Fairbanks. Besides the obvious fact you could be a lunatic, I have to work.
Not a lunatic. You write for a magazine. Could do that anywhere. Even in Fairbanks.
I write for a magazine, but how do you know that’s true? Maybe I’m with the FBI and in the middle of an important, matter-of-national-security case right now.
If you’re with the FBI, why are you afraid of a harmless dog racer?
How do I know you’re harmless?
*double sigh* Look me up on the web, will ya? Do a search on “handsome Iditarod winner.” I assure you, I will come up clean as a whistle.
Always found whistles to be kinda dirty. Spit gets trapped in them and such.
Shit. You’re impossible!
True. See, you don’t want someone like me to visit you. Just drive you nuts.
That could be a good thing.
Think about it, okay? Check out my background with your FBI colleagues and think about it. Open invite. Just come.
I stared at sled-dog16’s last words on my laptop screen.
Yeah, okay. Simply toss my parka, mittens, and several pairs of ugly thermal underwear into my suitcase and trek from New York to Alaska. To stay with a man I’d never met, no less. Good way to end up dead for sure. No, thanks. I was fond of being alive.
I jumped when my cell phone rang. Okay, technically it played a Metallica montage, but anyway, hard rock fit the pace of my work life at
magazine. Every day was hustle and bustle. For the most part though, I craved the insanity, the momentum. Sitting idly made me nervous. The busier I was, the better. Another reason I couldn’t fathom dropping everything and going to Alaska. Too much landscape and serenity for the city girl I’d become.
My phone rang again. “Hello?”
“Are you on your way or what?”
Just like Meg. Had the patience of a mosquito. “Yeah, I’m coming. Why are you in such a rush anyway?” I balanced the phone between my ear and shoulder while I globbed toothpaste onto my brush.
“I just have some major news to tell you about last night at The Hive.” Meg let out a breathy sigh. The Hive was the newest New York hotspot dance club. It literally resembled a bee’s hive complete with bouncers dressed in black-and-yellow striped shirts. I’d gone a couple of times with Meg, but was never comfortable with the half-naked dress code. Too many drones trying to get with one queen.
“So, who is he?” A fat bead of foamy toothpaste dribbled down my chin while I waited for a response.
“Nope,” Meg said. “On the drive in. Hurry up.” She hung up and once again I was left to wonder. She always did that to me.
When I’d first met her, she’d folded her arms across her chest to regard me in my cubicle at
“I write the gardening column for
and my cubicle is down the hall. You and I are going to be friends, or I’m going to take a shotgun to the morons who work here. I’ve had enough. See you at lunch.”
Having said that, she marched out on the highest pair of heels I’d ever seen, and we’ve been friends ever since. That was nearly six years ago.
As I dressed for work, I glanced at a photo of Meg and me on my bureau. I didn’t put it there. Meg did. Plopped it right down after my dad died and said I still had family who loved me. Her. Meg was outspoken, bossy, and downright irritating sometimes, but she was right. She was my family, and I loved her like a sister.
That explains why I raced to her apartment to hear last night’s Adventures in the Life of Meg Petrisi. When I parked in front of her apartment building, Meg was sitting on the front steps talking to one of her neighbors. The older woman wagged a finger at her, no doubt giving Meg advice. Meg shifted her eyes to my car and smiled. She slid off the steps and backed over to the car door.
“Okay. Yes, yes, I will. Thank you.” Meg huffed as she closed the door. “I don’t know why that woman is compelled to give me tips about protecting myself.”
I looked over at Meg’s outfit. Black mini-skirt, silver camisole with what looked like a gray fishnet tossed over it, knee-high black boots with deadly spikes for heels flowing into black pantyhose.