Click on image to enlarge.
by Susan Greene
Description: Jonah wanted nothing but quiet and solitude to work on his latest book. He certainly had no plans to rescue a beautiful damsel in distress. But when Katherine wrecks her car outside his cabin, he finds playing the knight-in-shining-armor may get him more than he bargained for. Katherine longs for a man who can set her blood on fire. She wonders if such a man exists--until she finds herself stranded in a remote cabin with the man of her romance-novel dreams. What happens when a steamy, no-strings affair becomes the love of your life?
eBook Publisher: Cobblestone Press, 2006
eBookwise Release Date: March 2007
32 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [367 KB]
Reading time: 230-322 min.
"Susan Greene's Snowbound is an attention getter from the first word. Both Katherine and Jonah are complex, complicated individuals who are a step away from giving up on love. The two are able to form a quick, easy companionship that gives way to passion. The secondary characters are quite charming also and will captivate the reader. I enjoyed that Katherine and Jonah were willing to risk everything to give their relationship a chance. 5 Angels~"--Tewanda, Fallen Angel Reviews
The last thing Jonah Masterson wanted was company. Not that he was unsociable. Generally, he was a rather amiable kind of guy. At least he'd thought so, until he came home a day early from a business trip to find his fiancée in bed with another man.
Not just any man, but his literary agent.
Make that his former literary agent.
Just then, Jonah hadn't been such a friendly sort of fellow.
The resulting nasty breakup with both of them had plunged him into a serious bout of what a friend had termed "depression-induced writer's block".
Oh, please. He was far from depressed. It had been a major shock to him to realize that he wasn't heartbroken. He was just pissed off that he'd trusted the wrong woman. Again.
Of course, his good buddy Jack had pointed out that if Jonah wasn't hurt by it, that was a good thing, because it meant he had never really loved Marian in the first place.
For a complete idiot, Jack had a point.
Now he just wanted to be alone for a while, and there wasn't a better place to be alone than his family's isolated cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He had only one neighbor within five miles, and it was a thirty-minute drive to the nearest thing resembling a town. He had no cell phone, and he only answered the landline if he felt like it, which wasn't often. The same went for email. With the exception of an occasional urgent message from his new agent, who happened to be female, he largely ignored the fact that his inbox was rapidly reaching maximum capacity.
Jonah leaned back, sinking into the soft cushions of the sectional, and propped his bare feet on the wooden coffee table. While the wind howled outside, he celebrated his solitude with three fingers of Jack Daniels over ice. He stared down into the glass in his hand. Maybe the whiskey wasn't something he needed, but one glass couldn't hurt.
He laid his head against the cushion, let his eyes drift closed and listened to the crackling of the wood burning in the fireplace and the soft clicking of sleet against the skylights. A spring storm had rolled in, not unusual for late March in the Blue Ridge Mountains, bringing with it the promise of nasty weather for the next few days. The weatherman had changed his original forecast as the temperature dropped and now predicted around eight inches of new snow, which would be wonderful for the ski resorts and hell on the roads.
No matter. Jonah had no plans to go anywhere. Tonight he had opted for the CD player in lieu of the television, and George Winston softly tickled the ivories through the speakers he had built into the bookcase. All in all, the atmosphere was warm, homey and comforting.
And lonely, he thought, before reminding himself that being alone had been his intent when he'd come to the cabin he'd inherited from his grandparents.
"Language ... has created the word 'loneliness' to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word 'solitude' to express the glory of being alone," he said aloud to no one in particular, but the dog laying beside the fireplace raised his head and looked at him. "Paul Johannes Tillich." He smiled at the dog as he raised his glass in salute.
A man was never truly alone if he had the company of a good dog. A dog didn't get bored with you and go off searching for another master behind your back. Not that Jonah wanted to be anyone's master, but that was beside the point. A dog was loyal. Too bad he couldn't say the same thing about his former fiancée.
The dog in question rose and walked over to lay his head on Jonah's knee. "You know what I want?" The dog angled his head, his brown eyes intent on his master. "I want a woman who reads. I want a woman who knows Byron from a hole in the ground and can still rock my world." He sipped from his glass and scratched behind the dog's ears. "That's what I want, Chewie. A literate woman with hot hands and a big..." He chuckled to himself when Chewie raised his head to listen. "Vocabulary," he finished with a shake of his head. "What did you think I was going to say?" Chewie growled softly and dropped his head back to Jonah's knee.
"What?" Jonah lifted the glass, shook it slightly so that the ice clinked against the side. "I'd fix you one, but I thought you were trying to cut back," he teased, ruffling the fur on the dog's neck. "You know how you are once you get started."
Chewie was a huge mass of thick, brown fur with big, sad eyes. Jonah had spotted him on a visit to a local animal shelter and couldn't bear to leave him there. The shelter had called him a "St. Bernard mix", but Jonah was certain there had to be some elephant in the bloodline someplace. "Large breed dog" simply didn't do Chewie justice.
He buried his fingers in the dog's soft fur. The quiet wasn't so bad, after all, even if the celibacy sucked. Maybe a little later he'd drag out the Xbox and vent some of his pent-up frustration on virtual enemy soldiers.
As he lifted the glass to his lips again, the blast of a car horn shattered the quiet. He glanced toward the window, frowning at the flecks of ice that ticked against the panes. What kind of idiot would be out driving in this weather?
He barely had time to finish the thought before the sound was followed by the loud snap of ice-covered branches and the sickening scrape of wood against metal. The distinct metallic crunch that came next could only be the impact of an automobile. Against what, he didn't take the time to consider.
He leaped from the sofa and darted to the front window. His cabin was surrounded by trees, and the rapidly falling darkness only made it that much more difficult to see.
His need for seclusion took an instant backseat. Muttering an oath, Jonah grabbed his coat from the rack by the door and shoved his hands into his gloves. Chewie whined and scratched frantically at the door. "I'm hurrying!" he snapped at the frustrated animal as he stamped into his boots. He snagged the flashlight he kept in the hall closet and flicked it on to check the battery before heading out into the pelting sleet, with Chewie on his heels.
As he stood at the edge of the ice-slicked asphalt, Jonah spotted one of the car's headlights shining at the bottom of a shallow embankment. His boots slipped on the ice, and he stumbled down the trail of broken branches and mangled, leafless shrubbery. Icy rain slid inside his boots and chilled his sockless feet, while sleet pelted his head and face. He briefly wished he'd thought to grab a hat, but the thought vanished when he got a good look at the vehicle.
Damn. It hurt to see a brand new BMW crunched like that. The car had skidded off the road and slammed hard into a fallen log at the bottom of the ravine, the impact shattering the left headlight and buckling the left side of the bumper. The vehicle had come to rest with the driver's door wedged tightly against the log. Chewie lumbered to it, jumped up, his massive paws on the car door, and barked loudly.
"I'm coming!" Jonah trudged his way through the brittle shrubbery, his flashlight glimmering on ice-covered branches, and aimed the beam through the window on the passenger side.
The woman in the car slumped against the driver's door, her seat belt still in place. The engine had stalled, but the dash lights and a single, unbroken headlight were still on, and he could hear, faintly, the music playing on her radio. Smoke swirled inside the car and danced across the beam of his flashlight.
Fire? He couldn't smell the smoke, but he didn't want to take any chances. A quick scan of the vehicle's interior revealed she was alone. He could see a purse on the floorboard in front and a coat spread across the backseat.
He rapped on the window with gloved knuckles. "Hey! You okay?"
She didn't answer, didn't move.
Behind him, Chewie whimpered and pawed at the ground. Jonah tugged at the door handle. The ice that had already formed on it cracked noisily and fell away as he yanked, but the door didn't open.
Cursing under his breath, he stepped back and seriously considered kicking in the window, until he spotted a rock roughly the size of his fist on the ground. He lifted it, and with a pang of regret at causing further damage to the car, struck the rear passenger window. With the exception of a small chip in the glass, it remained intact.
Safety glass. It figured. Jonah struck the window again and then grunted in frustration when it failed to break. He glanced over at Chewie. "It always looks easier than this on television," he muttered, and raised the rock once more.
On the third try, the window shattered. Tiny cubes of safety glass scattered over the seat and to the ground as the smoke plumed out through the broken window. The smell was all wrong, though, and it took Jonah a moment to realize it hadn't been smoke at all, but the dusty powder from the airbag. That, at least, was a relief. He reached through the broken window, unlocked the front passenger door and jerked it open. The ice on the frame splintered into shards on the frozen ground at his feet. Jonah swept the tiny cubes of glass off the leather seat with his gloved hand and slid inside the car.
A light dusting of powder covered the vehicle's interior. The contents of the woman's purse were scattered on the floor, and Mozart emanated softly from the speakers. Jonah spared half a second to appreciate her taste in music before switching off the ignition and pocketing the keys. Carefully, he laid a hand on her shoulder and spoke to her. She didn't respond.
His fingers trembled a little as he pulled off his gloves. Whether from the cold or fear that he wouldn't find a pulse, he wasn't sure. He offered up a silent prayer when he touched his fingers to her throat, and let out a long sigh of relief at the flutter of her heartbeat beneath his fingertips. He moved his hand in front of her mouth. The gentle warmth of her breath caressed his fingers. She had a pulse and was breathing steadily. At least she was alive.