Rekindled: A Mountain Man Romance

BOOK: Rekindled: A Mountain Man Romance
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Rekindled
A Mountain Man Romance
Johnny Knox

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“I don't write about bad boys who chase girls.

I write about men who claim their women.”

Copyright © 2016 by Johnny Knox

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Chapter One
North

A
lone in the shower
, there’s only one thing on my mind.

Rosie McClaire.

I stroke my cock, my eyes closed as water runs in rivulets over my solid chest, the one covered in tattoos. Remembering Rosie, imagining her on her knees, sucking me off right now. Her deep brown eyes gazing up at me while her mouth is full of my stiff cock.

I pump my hand faster, the ten inches of solid wood preparing for a massive release.

Fuck, I wish Rosie and I had become something back then, that things had ended differently.

That I had the girl. The only girl I ever wanted.

Instead, I was loyal to my father––to a fault. I skipped town with him when he needed to run from the people he owed money.

We left in the middle of the night, the middle of my senior year; I ended up in rural Alaska.

And now all I have to hold onto are the threadbare memories of Rosie. They are fucking precious, though. I remember her sincere laugh, the way her skin was so soft when it brushed against mine.

I move my hand faster, thinking of her perky tits bouncing as she licks my balls, as she rolls her tongue over the tip of my cock. All the filthy things I have been imaging doing with her for ten fucking years.

I groan in pleasure as I finish. My cock shooting ribbons of cum across the shower.

God, I wish it had been Rosie sucking me off, but the memory of her will have to do.

Still, tonight is the ten-year reunion.

The one I swore I’d never go to. I don’t do that bullshit. But damn, I’ll go if it means seeing Rosie again.

Because the memory of the girl who stole my heart at the tender age of seventeen is not enough. I need more of her. I need everything. It was love at first fucking sight … and I am ready to see this through.

After years of running with my dad, he died in a boating accident. I cut my losses, moved to the Olympic National Forest––an hours drive from where Rosie and I went to high school and began building my cabin. If I was going to pursue Rosie I needed a home, a career––something to offer the woman I wanted for my wife.

After I finished my cabin, I started my custom carpentry business. Now I make furniture for private clients. Finally, ten years after I left town, I am respectable enough to go after the woman who deserves everything.

I just hope to God she remembers me … wants me ... because hell, I need her.

And I will fight anyone to get a chance with her.

Stepping out of the shower, I pull on dark denim jeans, button a flannel shirt over my broad chest, run my hands through my wet hair and then head outside.

Charlie, my chocolate lab, and my best friend, is refusing to get up from the front porch, he’s listless, and I try and coax him with some food, but he isn’t having any of it. Frowning at his unusual behavior, I think I ought to call the vet.

I stand outside with a mug of dark roast coffee in my hand. The forest air is crisp and clean. Pure. Untainted. The holiest place on earth.

A real man knows the woods like the back of his hand, and being out here, loving this land, is more than fitting an image.

Fuck those lumbersexuals.

A beard, a few tattoos, and a hipster haircut does not make you a real man.

A real man is made by taking charge of your own destiny, by giving the proverbial middle finger to all the constraints that hold the rest of the male population back.

After spending years in the woods, I’ve memorized the forest, every goddamn detail of the place in which I live. I put my roots down here, not that it took much. I made this place my home, and I’ll never leave.

I just need Rosie here with me. And tonight-- I won’t let anything get in my fucking way of making that a reality.

Chapter Two
Rosie

I
honestly don’t think
this day could be any more obnoxious than it currently is.

I’d like to slap my best friend Katie for convincing me this was a good idea. Coming home for a ten-year high school reunion is just a bad idea all around. It’s not like any of us have our shit together.

I mean, not really. Sure there are plenty of classmates with rings on their fingers, baby bumps spread across their bellies, and wedding pictures blowing up their Instagram accounts.

But that doesn’t make someone put together. Honestly, it just makes someone trapped.

Not that I’m judging.... Okay, I’m totally judging. Because looking around Katie’s mom’s house¬ where we’re drinking––just like we did every Friday night in high school––I’ve got horrible flashbacks of going to school with these people.

Parties in this exact same sunken living room. Parties where jocks like Chad, Katie’s now fiancé, would show up with a few cases of Bud Light and the girls were supposed to be entertained while the guys played beer pong all night long.

And to be honest, that is exactly what’s happening right now. Except it isn’t even dark out. It’s only two o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, and here we are, pre-funking our reunion, reminiscing the “good old days”.

“Rosie, we have got to talk,” Katie, my oldest friend from high school says, handing me a glass of Franzia.

I look at the cheap wine and hide my scowl. I’m not some high-end connoisseur, I mean hell no. I like my Trader Joe’s Two-Buck-Chuck like everybody else. But Franzia from a box? Aren’t we a little old to be raiding her mom’s boxed wine stash?

“Rosie,” Katie says more shrilly. “You’re not even paying attention to me. I was asking you if you think my wedding colors are a good idea. I was thinking Creamsicle. A creamy white and peach?” Her voice has this high lilt to it like this conversation actually matters.

Who cares about wedding colors? Which okay, I get that my attitude could come off as a little jaded... but the truth is, I am.

Slightly.

I am coming to a reunion with little to show for my life. I am working a temp job, with a rented room, still pining after a guy who I never so much as kissed.

For all I know North is married with a dozen children by now.

I’m probably crazy … but still, after all this time, every single man I meet, I compare to him. His tender gaze, his soulful words, always poetic and never crude. We exchanged a handful of conversations in the months we knew one another … yet I’ve been carrying them around with me as a talisman for what true love could be.

If a man asks me out but he doesn’t measure up to the barometer I’ve created in my mind… then I don’t accept his offer

And yes, that means I am a twenty-eight-year-old virgin, in love with a man who was never mine.

Looking around this living room, I am reminded that I am in a rut. One I don’t know how to get out of. I wish I could move on from the idea of North and me … but I think unless someone has concrete information about what happened to him after he left mid-way through our senior year, I’ll be pining for him for the rest of my life.

Maybe I’m a fool––but I don’t think love at first sight is just for fairy tales. It’s what we had all those years ago.

So I agreed to come to this ridiculous reunion with one hope in mind––that North would miraculously show.

“Are you even listening? You were my best friend for years. You should care.”

I smile at her taking the high road. “I think Creamsicle colors sound awesome.”

“Good. Me too.” Katie beams, and then as if punishing me for not caring more about her wedding, she goes for the single-lady kill shot.

“So, Rosie, are you seeing anyone?” Katie asks slowly, her hand on my arm, and it’s like those words magically summon a throng of our old girlfriends.

There’s got to be eight of them, hanging on to whatever Katie’s going to say next.

I take a long sip of my Franzia trying to figure out how to play off the fact that there is no man in my life.

“No. Not right now. Work keeps me pretty busy.”

“Well,” Michelle says, the former class president. “I met Max on tietheknot.com and it was the best decision of my freaking life.” She waves her diamond encrusted finger at us. As if we haven’t gotten the memo from her four thousand Facebook posts she’s made about her impending wedding.

I swear everyone is getting married next year. I’ve already gotten more save the date cards than my fridge can handle. Than I can handle.

If I ever get married I’d never do it this way. I want to be swept off my feet and carried over the threshold and just begin my life without worrying about caterers or DJ’s; none of that matters to me.

At my core, I just want one man––well, one man in particular––to promise to have and to hold for the rest of our lives.

“Have you tried on-line dating?” Katie asks. “You said you were going to, like a year ago.”

“Yeah, I started making a profile once, but I just don’t think it’s for me.”

“Nothing is ever for you,” she groans. “Rosie, we just want to see you happy. Tell us. Who is the last guy you have been completely head over heels for?”

There’s only one person who ever has had me head over heels. One person, who probably doesn’t even know I exist. So, of course, it doesn’t take long for me to think of that guy. The man. Because even back then, North wasn’t a guy.

North was always a man’s man, with a rucksack and a moleskin notebook. He drank black coffee from a thermos in the lunchroom and read hunting and fishing guides in the library.

He came to our school for a year, and then he just vanished. No one heard from him ever again. One day he was sitting two rows ahead of me in geometry and the next day, he was gone.

I admit, I went by his locker hoping he might magically return. I even went to the front office and asked if there were any phone numbers listed for him. The one they gave me, was disconnected. North was gone.

But I’ve never got him out of my mind.

“Oh, my God,” Katie says. “You’re still totally obsessed with him aren’t you?”

I made the mistake of admitting my crush/infatuation with North to Katie when we were freshmen at Washington College.

We’d drank too much, and had nowhere to go, so I told her the sad truth. I couldn’t see myself with anyone except for North. A man who isn’t even real. He’s a fantasy. Nothing more. Because the truth is, I don’t even know if he really exists anymore.

“Obsessed with who?” Michelle asks. “Tell us, we’re all old and married or almost married women. We need some juicy gossip.”

I scowl thinking these women are so full of shit. They are twenty-eight years old, not old maids, and certainly not old enough to be grumbling about married life.

“She’s in love with North, remember him from high school?” Katie asks. “Ohh, maybe he’ll be at the reunion tonight. Wouldn’t that be so romantic? Ten years later you both show up, walk to the dance floor, he wraps his arms around you and pulls you into a kiss.” She starts laughing.

“Yeah, that’s exactly how I’ve always imagined our first kiss,” I tell her deadpanned.

Even though I have had this exact fantasy when imaging the perfect way for this evening to go down.

Katie laughs again, shoving me playfully. “Has anybody heard from him since he left our school?”

Michelle grins, her eyebrow raised. “Girl, you are going to love me forever. You’re going to make me your future-bridesmaid.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” I smile tightly at Michelle. If I ever get married there’s no way in hell a woman like Michelle would be in my wedding party. She’s loud, opinionated, and obnoxious.

Even though I have always hung out with the “cool kids”, they never really felt like my people. They’ve always been my friends ... but I think there’s a difference.

Friends are the people you put up with, but your people, your tribe? Those are the ones who get you at your core.

The people at Katie’s party, they are not my people.

And I know that makes me come off as a pretentious brat. But it’s the truth. There's a time and place for tequila shots. But what does it say that I don’t even want to do tequila shots with anyone here?

“Michelle, enough with the games.” Katie frowned scolding her. “Tell us what you mean.”

“Okay, but I’m telling you, you’re going to love me forever. Here’s the dish. I was the one who coordinated the reunion, right? I spent an entire year researching every single person we graduated high school with.”

I swear to God my heart starts pounding. Does she really know where the mysterious North is right now? And even if she did, what do I even do with that information?

I’ll figure that out later. Right now, I just want to know what she knows.

“Yeah, North lives only an hour from here. He’s in the Olympic National Forest and he has this carpentry business. He sells custom-made furniture. Gorgeous stuff.”

He’s a carpenter. I can see that. He always had these callused hands and that brooding look. Solitary work seems like it would suit him. I wonder what he looks like now. If those cool piercing blue eyes are just as clear as they were ten years ago. I want to see him, to have him undress me with those eyes, undo me, completely.

Oh, Lordy. I’m already getting all hot and bothered just at the idea of seeing that man. My pussy clenches in discomfort. I swear I have gotten off to the idea of North and me hundreds of times over the last decade.

In fact, I’ve actually never gotten off to anything or anyone else. Like I said, he is the only one I want.

“Is he married?” Katie asks.

Okay, I’ll give that girl some credit. She may be a total lunatic in choosing wedding colors but she does have my back. “And is he coming tonight?”

Michele grins. “He replied via email. I just had no reason to tell anyone because he was kind of a loner. I didn’t know you were friends, Rosie.”

I don’t think North and I were ever friends… we just had this surging sexual energy between us. A current of heat pulsing between us every time we were close.

“But is he coming?” Katie presses.

“Yes!”

In that moment I forget to breathe. Yes, I have been imagining being with him for years … but tonight I will actually see North’s face again. Tonight I will find out if this has all been in my head … or if we are something more.

Something real.

“Oh, my god.” Katie’s eyes bulge from her head. “Get out your phone,” she instructs Michelle. “And pull up his company. We want to know everything.”

Michelle does as she asks, and pulls up a website of North Star Carpentry. There is no photograph with his biography. He’s been living in the forest for the past two years starting his carpentry business. Before that he was an Alaskan fisherman, an outdoorsman through and through.

But is he married? That is the real question.

I reread the brief bio. North lives in the woods with his dog, and for now, that is enough.

“Okay, so that means he is single. Right?” Katie asks.

“I think so, he didn’t reserve a plus one,” Michelle says, looking around the circle as if to ask everyone else. There’s lots of nodding. A unanimous yes, North is definitely single.

“Oh my God, this is the best thing ever! Girls, let’s get Rosie ready for the man she’s been waiting for,” Katie directs.

I smile, rolling my eyes, but not in the annoyed sort of way. Rolling my eyes in a how is this seriously my life right now sort of way.

I’m ready to find my mountain man.

BOOK: Rekindled: A Mountain Man Romance
3.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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