Authors: Stephanie Julian
Carrie Benton’s got the best job in the world working as a reporter for the
. Chupacabra picnicking at the Jersey Shore? Check. Aliens in the White House? Absolutely. Bigfoot stalking the forests of northern Pennsylvania? Well, okay…but Bigfoot is so Left Coast.
Tim Sattizahn can’t believe his luck. The six-foot redhead who crashed into his forest during a snowstorm is gorgeous, funny and hot for him. Everything would be perfect except for the fact that she’s looking for Bigfoot.
And, unfortunately for Tim, she found him…
An Ellora’s Cave Romantica Publication
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Size Matters Copyright 2010 Stephanie Julian
Edited by Grace Bradley
Cover art by Syneca
Electronic book publication September 2010
The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks of Ellora’s Cave Publishing.
With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.
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This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction: Ford: Ford Motor Company
Liz Claiborne: Liz Claiborne Inc.
National Geographic Channel: National Geographic Society Corporation
: Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC
Range Rover: Land Rover Company
: CBS Studios Inc.
Star Tribune: Cowles Media Company Corp.
St. Petersburg Times
: Times Publishing Company Suzuki Sidekick: Suzuki Motor Corporation
SyFy Channel: Universal City Studios
Wonder Woman: DC Comics Inc.
“God damn freaking foreign cars.”
Carrie Benton wrestled open the door of her Suzuki Sidekick piece of shit, swung her legs out then stepped into three feet of snow.
And promptly fell flat on her face when a wave of dizziness overtook her. Whoa.
She must have smacked her head against the windshield harder than she’d thought when she’d plowed into that tree.
“God damn freaking snow.”
Scrambling to her feet, she brushed white powder from her jeans and her favorite bright-green Liz Claiborne blazer, holding one hand to her head. Gonna have a lump there. At least there was no blood.
“I’m going to kill him. That son-of-a-no-good-god-damn-bastard.” Stalking to the front of the car, she stared at the crumpled bumper wrapped around the thick tree trunk on the side of the road. Steam seeped from beneath the hood.
“Great. Just freaking great.”
She swung her foot at the useless bumper, knowing it was a stupid-ass thing to do.
Luckily she was wearing her biker boots, the ones she’d picked up at an outlet for forty-five bucks a couple of years ago. They were her go-to shoes for mucking around in fields, woods, snow, rain and dark of night.
So, she wore them pretty much every day.
Especially today when it was below freezing, snowing like a bitch and she was out in the middle of
With a busted car.
And a headache.
“And is that a smart-assed comment on my life, or what?” she said to no one in particular.
Of course, if Luke hadn’t caught the stupid stomach virus that’d been going through the editorial office like rotten Mu Shu Pork through a dog, she wouldn’t be alone.
She’d told him not to get too close to that intern with the big blue eyes and even bigger tits.
But no, he’d had to go sniffing around like a hound in heat. Just before he’d done his impression of Linda Blair in
He hadn’t even gotten laid for his trouble but he’d spent the last two days in bed, turning a shade of green reserved for moldy food.
Unfortunately, his head hadn’t spun around completely. At least they could’ve used that as art for the
Weekly News Journal
“Photojournalist Possessed by the Devil” would’ve looked great on the front cover.
But now she was stuck, by herself, in a freaking snowstorm somewhere in the state game lands shared by Berks and Schuylkill Counties in southeastern Pennsylvania, all because her editor wanted a few photos for inside art.
“Hell, Care,” Bill Dailey had bellowed. She didn’t think the forty-something-ish, old-school journalist knew how to talk in a normal tone of voice. “We’re only thirty minutes from ground zero. Go get some live shots to use for the page next week before the damn
gets their asses in gear and beats us to the story in our own backyard. And if you actually see Bigfoot, make sure the zipper don’t show.” Carrie had seen some weird shit in her five years as a reporter (“Reporter my ass,” her father’s voice taunted in her head) for the
Most could be explained.
Alien crop circles?
Kids with sticks and a few too many six packs of beer beating circles in a corn field.
Dinosaur rampaging through eastern Lebanon County?
An escaped bull tearing through neighbors’ gardens in the middle of the night.
Sure, she’d come across one or two things she couldn’t explain.
Cold spots, disembodied voices, Lady Gaga.
Unfortunately, Bigfoot was not one of them.
And now she had a broken car and a cell phone that wasn’t picking up a signal.
She thought about swearing again but decided she’d rather do it in the car where it was still warm. But wouldn’t be for long because she was down to less than a quarter of a tank of gas.
Yeah, yeah, she should have filled up before she’d left. Hell, she should’ve turned around when the snow began to fall fast and heavy a few minutes after she’d departed the newsroom in West Reading.
But no, here she was, miles from nowhere with not much gas, no food and a few thousand dollars in camera equipment.
Think, Carrie. You’re not a stupid woman.
Well, not usually. This didn’t qualify as one of her better days.
Staring down the snow-covered lane that looked like the setting for some sappy Christmas card, all she saw were brown tree trunks and white snow.
Okay, no one built a road to nowhere. She refused to believe people would be that stupid.
Of course, some of her readers really did believe in Bigfoot and Dracula, so…
No. There had to be a home somewhere along this road.
Grabbing her purse and her pink parka off the front seat, and ignoring the slight dizziness she attributed to fear of the unknown, she made sure the camera equipment was hidden on the floor behind the front seat before she locked the car.
Then she started walking.
* * * * *
Tim Sattazahn watched the red-haired goddess trudge through the snow as she kept up a running conversation with herself.
She obviously had a lot to talk about because she never shut up.
Tim didn’t mind. It was nice to hear someone else’s voice, even if every other word was a half-assed obscenity.
Besides, her dirty mouth was turning him on.
She’d used “freaking” more times in one sentence than he’d ever heard other women say in their lives. Most of them she used in reference to someone named Bill.
He hoped Bill had his health insurance paid up because this woman was going to kick his ass when she got home. And from the looks of her, Tim figured she could do it.
Her legs looked long, lean and athletic in a pair of skintight jeans. The rest of her was bundled into a blindingly pink parka but he couldn’t imagine the rest of the body wouldn’t fit the legs.
Damn, the woman was gorgeous. He just hoped she wasn’t seriously injured.
He’d been out gathering wood when he’d heard the car engine chugging along.
He’d had just enough time to wonder what the hell someone was doing out here in the middle of what was expected to be a two-day storm when he’d heard the unmistakable crunch of metal-on-tree-trunk.
As the only resident within a forty-mile radius, he’d known he had to check it out.
The driver or passengers could be injured. They might need help.
He hadn’t been close enough to alert her to his presence when he saw her leave the car and start walking, which he wouldn’t have done anyway. He’d started to make his way toward her, keeping out of sight, but even he’d been bogged down in the fast-falling snow.
As he’d gotten closer, he’d slowed, not wanting to scare the crap out of her by barreling up to her, especially not the way he looked now. But he would try to herd her in the right direction if she wandered off the track, now nearly invisible in the snow.
In the five or so years since he’d lived here, only three people had ever found the dirt track leading to his home. Just dumb luck that she’d found it in the snow.
If she kept walking, she’d reach his house in a few minutes. It sent a shiver up his spine that had nothing to do with the cold. It’d been a while since he’d had anyone in his home, much less someone who looked like a Valkyrie.
She had to be nearly six feet tall, with autumn-red hair in a braid down her back and a body that made his blood run hot. All long limbs, lush curves, full mouth and big eyes. She could have stepped straight out of a Titian masterpiece. Aphrodite or Danae.
He wanted her. No two ways about it.
But she had to be injured. No one in their right mind would leave their car in the middle of a snowstorm to wander off.
At least she wore that parka that stood out against the snow like a neon sign.
One that winked out of sight as he passed behind a tree.
He took off at a gallop, not caring if he scared her. Plowing through the almost-knee-high blanket of white, he covered the distance in a matter of seconds.
She lay sprawled on the snow, her coat and jeans an odd stain on all that white, her hair like one long stream of blood.
He lifted her into his arms, his gaze going to her full red lips. They were parted slightly as she breathed. Good. But her skin was ashen and chilled and she must have passed out because she didn’t open her eyes and start to scream when she got a load of him.
Careful not to hurt her, he gathered her against his chest and headed home.
* * * * *
Carrie woke to pitch black.
She was naked and warm, cocooned between firm, hot silk and soft, warm cotton.
No, not silk. Skin.
Okay, that was interesting. Not bad, just… She didn’t remember going home from the bar with a guy last night.
In fact, she couldn’t remember going to Third and Spruce last night.
And this didn’t feel like home.
What she did feel was safe. And Carrie always trusted her instincts. Before she’d taken the job with the
her father had praised her ability to assess any situation in seconds.