Sophie Tremore is trying to build a career in the male-dominated world of Ski Patrol. Hard to do when her new boss is her smokin’ hot ex-lover. She hasn’t forgotten how he made her body tingle and her heart pound, although he’s making it a lot easier by treating her like she’s incompetent—when he’s not ignoring her existence altogether.
Emerald Mountain Ski Patrol Director Max Demford has been doing his best to avoid working with his feisty former flame, given his judgment is clouded by those eight mind-blowing weeks two years ago. Ski patrol is dangerous enough, and no way could he handle another person he cares about getting hurt on the mountain.
Forced to work together, their simmering attraction becomes difficult to ignore. When Sophie gets caught in a slide, an adrenaline-filled day could turn into a spectacular night they will never forget—one that could risk both their careers.

Novellas in the Emerald Mountain Series are stand-alone, not chronological, and can be read in any order! 

Chapter One

The wooden door of the ski patrol shack slammed into the wall. A gust of cold air and snow, and a tiny, powerful tornado, swept into the room. The door slammed shut, but the tornado kept coming.
“What is your deal, Max?” Sophie’s ski boots thudded on the plywood floor as she crossed the sparsely furnished room. Voice hard. Eyes flashing. All the fury of a goddess scorned aimed straight at me.
Shit. I crossed my ankles like my family jewels needed protecting—not that anything could save me from Sophie’s well-justified wrath.
“What do you mean, Soph?” I kept my face and tone innocent. I hadn’t wanted this damn job. Knowing she would be working for me would’ve been the nail in that coffin. Too bad I didn’t find out until my first day.
“You know good and damn well what I mean.” She pushed her way into my personal space. So close I could see the darker lines in her light blue irises. So close it made it damn hard for me to think about anything other than the taste of her mouth. Except maybe how it felt to have her naked and in my personal space two years ago. Before we worked together. Before we lived two doors down from each other in employee housing.
Before I became her boss.
I really didn’t need the reminder of those eight, incredible weeks we’d spent together, or the stiffy responding to the images in my head. Not when I wanted to think clearly.
Anger radiated off her like the sun’s heat radiates off the snow—hot, and able to burn you in minutes. If I wasn’t leaning my hip against the battered wood table, I would’ve taken a step back. Instead, I worked not to cross my arms. Setting up physical defenses wouldn’t help me here.
“Sam said he hired me because he wanted someone who was Mountain Travel and Rescue certified.” She put her hands on her hips and glared at me. “It’s been almost three months, and all I’m doing, every day, is sweeping easy groomers, working first aid, and repairing fences.”
“Standard procedure. You learn the mountain and the team before we send you out on serious rescues or avalanche mitigation work.” I picked up a clipboard of paperwork I didn’t need to look at and stared at the top page.
I never expected my strategy to work over the long haul. Not after she left a sweet job patrolling at Blue Sky to work for Emerald Mountain. I just didn’t know what else to do, and I had to do something.
She crossed her arms over her chest. “Bullshit. Troy started when I did, and he’s been throwing bombs and ski cutting with Ryan for six weeks.” Her lips pursed. “No wonder you don’t have any other woman on Patrol.”
“Not true. Brit’s on maternity leave right now, but she’s slated to come back next season.”
“And do you let her do anything other than repair fences?” She raised her eyebrows and stared me down, shoulders back, arms crossed.
“Of course. Brit does every job on the mountain.” I put on my friendliest smile. “All ’trollers do, after a few months on the job.”
Memories of Anna in a full body brace made my chest tighten, but at least they also shrunk my growing hard-on.
“You know, Max, I never took you for a misogynist. Guess we all can be wrong sometimes.”
“Wow! Sophie Tremore admits to being wrong. Even if it’s at my expense, I’m impressed.” I wracked my brain for the best way to handle this. Deflecting with humor would only work for, oh, about half a minute.
At least if she thought I was a misogynist, she wouldn’t figure out I still had feelings for her. That I’d been keeping my distance because I was afraid those feelings would cloud my judgment. And that I’d been keeping her on easy jobs because an irrational, selfish voice deep inside me screamed, Protect her. Keep her safe.
So stupid. Our jobs were inherently dangerous—something we all knew and accepted. When you work with explosives and avalanches and heavy sleds in tough terrain… Well, eventually someone is going to get hurt. Nature of the business.
Sophie had more training and experience than half the patrollers on staff. I trusted her with my life. I just didn’t trust myself with hers. I knew I couldn’t protect her any more than I could protect Anna. Still, I needed to try, for the sake of my sanity.
At the same time, I needed to keep her happily employed here. With Brit out and Joey injured, if we lost one more ski patroller, keeping the mountain open wouldn’t be easy.
“Actually, I’m glad you brought it up. I planned to set you up with a training partner for avy control this week, I just hadn’t sorted out the details yet.”
Every inch of her froze except her face. A series of unreadable thoughts flickered across it.
“Okay. Great.” Her shoulders dropped a fraction. So did the steel hard glint in her big, blue eyes. “When, and with who?”
Shit. Great questions. All the senior staff was already paired off, and I needed to make this happen asap. I wracked my brain for an option that made sense. Only one came to mind, and I had a feeling I would regret it, but I had to do something. “Me. Tomorrow.”
Her eyes narrowed. When Sophie’s eyes went slitty, it did not bode well.
Stupid idea, Max, my inner voice sneered. I know, but I don’t have another one, I told it and steeled myself for Sophie’s response.
“So now you’re going to have me chained to a desk doing paperwork?” Her hardened voice slammed into me. “No thanks. I’d rather stick to the groomers until I find another job.”
I stood up tall and pressed my hand over my heart. “I promise we’ll get out on the slopes every day. I just want to make sure you know this mountain and our protocols before I set you loose. I can’t have any of my ’trollers getting hurt.” That had to be the first true statement I’d made since she walked through the door.
“Fine.” Her tone softened, but her eyes stayed narrow. “When do we start?”
“Five thirty a.m.”
“See you then.” She crossed the room, opened the door, and turned to face me. Swirling snow and the gray glow of the storm framed her tiny body. Her expression remained unreadable. “Thanks, Max.”
“Sure thing.”
The door slammed behind her, and I wanted to heave a sigh of relief. Except now I was even more worried.

Taya Monroe is trying to pick up the pieces of her failed writing career and broken life after walking out on her cheating fiancĂ©. The last thing she needs is a serious relationship. The last thing she wants is a fling. Then she runs into an old friend and ski partner—the one man she always wanted who never wanted her.
Ski Patroller Jordan Wiley is a single dad with zero time or energy for dating. When he reconnects with Taya, his attraction to her is even stronger than before she left him behind for a career in the city. But with a young son to think about, he’s determined to ignore his feelings. Again.
After a magical day on the slopes, a snowstorm traps them in an avalanche of chemistry neither can deny. Will their friendship survive the weight of their passion, or will they surface as more than friends?

Novellas in the Emerald Mountain Series are stand-alone, not chronological, and can be read in any order! 
Chapter One
I wedged my shoulder against the side window of my sister’s SUV and yanked on the backseat lever for the third time. It still didn’t budge.
“Dammit!” I smacked the back of the headrest. Yet another thing gone wrong.
I’d been looking forward to a fun day skiing in the mountains with my family. One day when I could forget about rebuilding my career and my life, and how much I owed my sister and her husband for taking me in. Instead, it was ten till noon, Dan was injured, and I couldn’t even convert the rear cargo area into seat mode so we could get him and his torn-up knee home.
Bending, I probed under the jammed seat lever. My fingers struck hard, sticky gold. I grimaced and plucked at the glob of green with my nails. The semi-melted remains of an old hard candy broke free from the release mechanism.
“Gross.” I flicked the offending blob into a nearby snowdrift.
My last name floated over the buzz of chair lifts and chatting skiers, but I ignored it. Monroe was a common name. And I didn’t know anyone in Washington.
I shifted on my knees, gripped the lever, and yanked again. Nothing moved. With a growl, I yanked harder. The lever broke free with a pop. I rocked back on my heels and snapped the seats into place.
“Taya Monroe.”
This time the voice pulled me upright so fast I whacked my head on the padded ceiling. Monroe might be a common name, but I’d never met another Taya.
I backed out of the hatch, planted my feet in the snow, and looked around the small, almost empty emergency parking lot. A tall, broad-shouldered man wearing a black helmet, mirrored goggles, and a red ski-patrol jacket stood near the entrance to the old, wooden first aid shack. I couldn’t see his eyes but I could’ve sworn he was staring at me. My hands dropped to my sides as I strained to identify him.
“Don’t you recognize me? I’m hurt.”
A familiar shiver ran down my spine. That deep, smooth voice. That sensual mouth curving into an impish grin. The hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention, almost quivering.
Jordan Wiley.
A ball of excitement bloomed in the pit of my stomach. “Jordan!”
I made it all of two steps before his long legs brought him close enough to sweep me into a spinning hug, the heavy weight of my ski boots flying behind me. His strong arms engulfed me. I melted into him, heat fusing us together through our jackets and layers. As my boots crunched on the snow-covered ground, frigid air filled the space where his body had been.
Jordan kept his left arm draped over my shoulders and squeezed me close, making up for the sudden separation of our torsos. My right arm twined around his waist. When he pulled his goggles up onto his helmet the full force gaze of his warm brown eyes washed over me, and my knees went weak.
“What are you doing here?” My brain struggled to process the sudden reappearance of my old friend in my life, while my body reacted the same way it always did around Jordan—inappropriately.
“Working.” The corner of his mouth twitched as he glanced down at his uniform then flicked his eyes back up to mine. “What are you doing here?”
“Skiing,” I smirked and glanced down at my ski clothes as I slid back into our old banter. “Or I should say, teaching my nieces to ski. At least, I was. Until my brother-in-law fell on Lucky Ned’s and got an all-expenses-paid ride down the mountain on a sled.” I nodded in the direction of my sister, trying to wedge Dan and his bandaged knee comfortably in the backseat, his grunts of pain audible.
My forehead creased. I hoped he wouldn’t need surgery and made a mental promise to find more ways to help out at home.
Jordan’s voice swiveled my head back around. “Seriously, last I saw you, you were headed to Brown to get your Masters and become a famous novelist. What are you doing in Washington?”
My heart dropped into my stomach where it tried to smother that lovely, blooming ball of excitement. The last thing I wanted to talk about was the half-finished novel gathering dust on my hard drive. Not when the first good thing to happen in forever stood right next to me.
“I’m a tech writer. Moved to Seattle three months ago.” I shrugged. “What about you? Still living the ski bum dream?”
“Nah. I work for the Tacoma Fire Department. I just volunteer here on weekends for the season pass.”
The heavy wood door of the first aid shack banged against the wall of the building and another ski patroller stepped out. “Hey Jordan, I’m going to fix the fence by the Express chair. Can you take over?”
“No problem, Soph.” His arm never left my shoulder. His gaze never left my face.
My eyes followed the curve of his lips. They weren’t thin, and they weren’t full either. But they had a kissable shape that begged me to trace their subtle contours with the tip of my tongue. To nip. To explore and taste.
Not that it would ever happen. Not again. I had proof of that.
We’d kissed once, on a drunken night years ago, right after he’d split with his long-term girlfriend. It started out toe-curling but ended when he pulled away and made it clear he wasn’t attracted to me. At least, not in the way I was attracted to him. Mortified, I pretended it was the alcohol and vowed never to let him know how much I wanted him.
A good vow to remember. Especially now, when I needed a friend more than anything else. Definitely more than I needed a romantic distraction.
“It’s great to see you.” His words and his smile flowed over me like heated caramel.
“You too.” The connection between us buzzed in me like high-tension power lines. Same as always. So powerful I couldn’t understand how, or why, he didn’t feel it too.
Our noses were inches apart. I tasted his breath, minty and sweet, and licked my lips in anticipation of a kiss I knew would never come. Some habits die hard. I was determined to choke this one until it gave up the ghost.

 Compulsive tea drinker.  Outdoor sports junkie. Lover of good (and bad) puns.

Facebook: @AuthorStacyGold
Twitter: @AuthorStacyGold
Instagram: authorstacygold


No comments:

Post a Comment

We ask that when you are leaving a comment that you are remebering that children may be reading this blog, without the knowledge of a consenting adult. We all put our disclaimers on to get into the sites but kids are smart. Please be aware when posting to use safe language and pics. Thanks :)

                                                                      Back to You #1 Hard Crush HARD CRUSH                                  ...