Home > Gentry (Wolves of Winter's Edge #1)(3)

Gentry (Wolves of Winter's Edge #1)(3)
Author: T.S. Joyce

The man’s nose flared slightly as he inhaled, but his almost smile faded to a frown in an instant. “You should stay that way.”

“What?”

He twitched his head in the opposite direction she was parked. “It’s best if you get on to where you’re going. It isn’t here.”

“Uuuh…” Rude. She pulled the paperwork out from under her purse on the passenger seat. “I’m looking for the Hunter Cove Inn.”

The man huffed a breath and arched his bushy gray eyebrows. “No you aren’t. Trust me, that place is closed to people like you.”

“People like me,” she murmured, glaring. What did that mean? Women? Red-heads? Non-jerk-faces? “I think I’ll take my chances,” she said as she rolled up her window. She could forget her manners, too.

“It’s your funeral,” the guy sang as he backed off from the car for her to pull away.

Now, as a rule, Blaire didn’t cuss and didn’t flip people off because her momma had been strict about raising her a demure lady, but that man had both her middle fingers itching to rise up.

She fought the urge, though, waved instead, gave a polite smile, and muttered, “Bye-bye now, Captain Crazy.”

Saying “Hunter Cove Inn” out loud had wrestled something loose. She’d seen a sign for a Hunter Cove Wildlife Sanctuary on the other side of town. GPS was squawking like Mr. Manners for her to turn back, so she pointed her finger and poked GPS in her glowing little face to turn her off. Why? Because Blaire had traveled halfway across the country to spend a week in a secluded cabin where there was beautiful snow and scenery. That, and she hadn’t taken a vacation in five years. Five. Years. She’d been going stir crazy with the stress of her job and all the drama and trauma that went down with her ex, Matt. If she was perfectly honest, she needed this. She needed a break from her life. The second her best friend and co-worker, Ashlyn, had handed her the vacation information for her birthday, something had felt right about this. Blaire never did anything crazy. She’d been an all-A student, graduated college with honors, never got rebellious in her youth other than the occasional F-bomb when she was Hulk-smash-mad. She didn’t drink and had never even tried a cigarette. She’d never called into work sick, and she’d married right out of college like all her friends and family encouraged her to. She put all her efforts into being a perfect wife and perfect employee. There had been no traveling by herself or figuring out who she was outside of being a good girl. And now that Matt was gone, re-engaged way too soon if anyone asked her, she was left reeling, and finally, finally wondering who she really was outside of work and home life. A week to herself on this adventure felt right.

Plus, Ashlyn had put a lot of work into planning this trip for her. She was an amazing friend who had seen her struggling and came up with a plan. That was what she did. Ashlyn planned and got crap done, and if she saw how hard it had been on Blaire lately doing the same old thing day in and day out, then there must be a problem. Ashlyn was sensitive to everything.

“Eeeek,” she squealed as she slid into the wrong lane on a sharp turn in the road. The street had been newly sanded and salted, but it was getting late in the day, the temperature was dropping, and the light snowfall was making the streets slick again.

The town was cute. Main Street wasn’t huge, but it had a vast array of restaurants and specialty shops. Most houses looked like brightly-colored dollhouses, and the others were log cabins. The town was quaint. Homey even. She bet the trees around here were beautiful in the fall.

She drove along the edge of Hunter Cove Wildlife Sanctuary until she saw salvation in a sign. It was dilapidated and hanging on its side, but if she angled her head, she could read it easily enough.

Hunter Cove Inn

1010 Heath Way

A Part of Rangeley Lakes

Established in 1905

The sign sure looked old enough to be from that year. The wood was practically petrified, and the carved letters were shallow and almost unreadable, like the weather had scraped off the top several layers of the sign over time. Hopefully the cabin had been updated.

Somebody should really fix that sign, though, put it on a better post or something so tourists could read it easier. Blaire eased onto the gas and coasted down a steep, icy drive. The road wasn’t long, but it wound this way and that until it dumped her into a big open parking area surrounded by three cabins, each in different stages of disrepair.

On the porch of the biggest stood a giant of a man. At least, a giant compared to her five-foot-three frame. Or perhaps he just looked tall standing up on the elevated porch. He wore thick-soled snow boots that were nice and worn-in and dark jeans. Clinging to his V-shaped torso was a heather Gray sweater so tight she could make out the ridges of his defined chest. His shoulders, too, and my oh my, his triceps were bulging from where he leaned against the front porch. A steaming mug was balanced on the railing between his hands. Up, up his bodacious bod, his neck was exposed to the cold air like winter in Maine was nothing. A tough guy then.

His face froze her in place, though. It. Was. Perfect. Sculpted jaw dusted with a five o’clock shadow, dirty blond hair, short on the sides and gelled on top. Strong, straight nose, and sensual lips even when they were frowning, like right now. His eyes were the true shock. They were the most stunning shade of green.

Oh shit, she was still moving! Blaire whipped the car into a parking spot in front of him as though she’d meant to be like some speedy bad-A, and then smiled timidly at him through the front window. She even waved, but his frown only deepened. Pity, he probably looked even cuter when he smiled. Mission possible, she accepted her own personal smile challenge.

   
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