Men of Alaska: All That Ice
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by J. T. Schultz
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: Forced to travel to Alaska to settle rising conflict between her father's mine and local environmentalists, Amber Westing finally sees something to rival the Alaskan scenery. Craven Nioka is tall, dark, and too damn sexy for Amber's own good. Craven is also in need of a good working between the sheets, and she intends to see he gets it. After all, the environmentalists vandalizing the diamond mine will be there when she's done with the hunky man of Alaska. That's if a woman could ever truly be done with a man like Craven. Craven Nioka isn't sure what pink rock that Amber Westing crawled from under, but knows that the brunette beauty with dark eyes and the streaked dark hair is going back to Nevada where she came from. He just has to figure out two things: One, how to get the Sin City cutie back on the plane; and two, how he's going to keep himself out of her bed until he does. The nights heat up between the sheets; and by day, the threats of the environmentalists increase. Soon, catastrophe strikes and Craven has to decide if destroying what he shares with Amber is really the best way to save them both from the deadly threats.
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2007
eBookwise Release Date: February 2008
16 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [240 KB]
Reading time: 163-229 min.
"I loved that Ms. Schultz portrayed Amber as a smart, sassy and sexy woman. She made Amber an extremely strong character that when she had her mind set on something nothing was going to stop her from achieving it. I loved Craven because you saw his character evolve from being a hardened individual because of some bad life experiences he witnessed to a caring individual that knew what he wanted and set out for it also. Amber and Craven were perfect together and I laughed at the tongue lashing Amber would give to anyone that crossed her path. I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel to the Amber and Craven saga. This one is a definite keeper in my library. I assure you that you won't be disappointed if you pick this story up for yourself."--Diana, Night Owl Romance
"JT Schultz tells a humorous story about Amber Westing taking the Timberland Falls community and Craven by storm and the gentle giant of a man stood no chance against her. Amber is adored by every citizen except Craven and Skylar Memphis, the town mayor, whom she told off in the grocery store. Craven just wants her gone as she awakens his heart that he thought he had buried deep, but when she leaves she takes his heart with her. Men Of Alaska: All That Ice is a laugh a minute, yet a terribly romantic read--and I sure would like that pink diamond!"--Alisha, Two Lips Reviews
"Good, you're in your office for once. We need to talk," Amber Westing told her father as she walked into his office without knocking. Her arms were tired from carrying the file folders of the latest projects, and her patience was thin after the mayor's building commissioner hit on her over a business lunch, spending more time looking at her legs than plans for the new casino hotel her father wanted to build. "Can you please stop what you're doing and listen?" She was worn out and sick of the heat. Stuck in traffic due to road construction in one hundred seven-degree heat, really didn't blow up her skirt. Thankfully, her Mustang's air conditioner had.
"Right after I make this shot." Her father, the infamous William Westing shifted his stance, stared down at the little white ball on the strip of green plastic turf, and eyed the coffee mug ahead. "Working on my putt." He positioned his putter, slowly eased it back, and tapped the ball.
Amber rolled her eyes as the little white golf ball entered the tilted mug and hit the back of it with a ting. "Dad, can I have five minutes please?"
He looked up at her and grinned, then furrowed his brows. "What's wrong? Did we get the permits?"
Breathe deep, do not lose your cool, it's not his fault that you're hot, tired, and need a vacation. Okay, it's his fault you haven't had a vacation in three years, and you go to bed and dream of zoning meetings. "No." She bit back the rest of the thoughts she had, which were far from nice, sweet, or professional, and would have a sailor running for cover.
"Ah excellent, how is Wes Billings doing? How is his dad?" Her father stopped and frowned, followed by his brows making a V in his forehead. "Did you say no?"
Amber tilted her head to one side. Slow on the uptake, but I have his attention. "Wow, amazing you caught that," she answered sarcastically. "No." She sat her skirt-covered ass on the edge of her father's desk and grinned. "No, because apparently, you didn't have the environmental report. So, without that, they won't issue them."
"Why do I need an environmental report? For Christ sake, I need to call Wesley's father and tell him to kick his son in the ass. Lance never would've made me fork over a report like that. It's bullshit, I tell you." Her father started to wave his finger at her, as if it were her fault that there were crazy little things like laws and building codes.
While she was at it, she could take blame for World War II and starving children in Africa. "Dad, are you going to hear me out, or do I get to sit through another great rant on how the young people today have no respect for their elders or the way business should be done?" Amber crossed her arms and sighed.
Her father walked over and slipped his putter in the golf bag that was sitting in the middle of the luxurious office and stepped closer to her. "Aren't you just little smarty pants today?"
"Dad, I'm tired, and Wes hit on me almost the entire lunch. I am so sick of cheesy pick-up lines, road construction and the heat and ... shall I continue?"
"Wow, so, Wes is interested in you?" Her father noted, as if it were the most important thing Amber had said.
Count to ten slowly and remember to breathe. In with the good, out with the bad.
"Yes, Wes is more than interested in me, but I am not interested in him. He's not my type. Weasels in Armani are great, but in this town, they come a dime a dozen." Amber uncrossed her arms and set her hands on the edge of the desk next to her hips, while her father admired his golf clubs.
Her father looked at her. "So, no permits without an environmental report." He snorted, flaring his nostrils. "Damn, the red tape bureaucracy of this city."
"Dad, environmental reports are part of every city. No report, no permit, that hasn't changed since I was in college."
Her dad's expression softened, and he got a twinkle in his eye, studying her closely. "You know, Amber," he started.
Oh! Hell, he's had an epiphany and I'm going to hate it.
"Maybe you could call Wes up, be a little nicer to him. Show him how friendly you are and work something out over the permit situation." Her father smiled. "It would mean a lot to me."
Her lips parted in shock and she blinked. "You want me to flirt with Wes so you can have your building permit?"
"It was just an idea," her father answered with a shrug and a chuckle.
"No, forget it, even if I was attracted to the guy, I wouldn't do it. Want to know why that is, Dad? Because thirty-five years ago there was a gas station on the land, and now the building commissioner wants soil samples and everything else that goes into the report."
"It's a piece of desert!" her father exclaimed, like it was no big deal. "Gas is a natural resource and dirt is natural, what are the problems?"
Amber groaned and buried her face in her hands. Her father had spent way too much time on the golf course and had fried his brains in the Nevada sun. "Dad, get the report." She uncovered her face. "Get it done, and I will go to the committee again, but until then, my hands are tied and your construction crew is not going anywhere on that land."
Her father nodded then smiled. "You look tired; your mom says you're not dating the casino owner's grandson anymore. He lasted a whole ... what, week and a half?
"I dated Mark for about three weeks, but he was another weasel in Armani," she told him. "I have no interest in dating right now. Anyways, off my social life and back to business, you'll get the environmental report?"
Her father chuckled and waved his hand. "Yes, I'll get it." He then sighed and leaned against the desk next to her. "I think the reason I enjoy the mining division so much is because there is a lot less red tape."
Amber groaned. Her father, as successful as he was, still had boyish qualities. If he wasn't playing with the big industrial equipment on his latest construction sites, he was turning over soil, moving mountains and molehills to play in the dirt to see what he could find. His 'hobby,' as he called it, had paid off, too. He now had mines on four different continents catering in emeralds, gold and, of course, diamonds.
"I had a call from one of my leading men and a partner at one of the mines. Seems there have been a few problems with an environmental group and they're threatening to shut it down."
Amber nodded and kept her gaze on her father. "Why are you sharing this with me?"
"You haven't been on vacation in a few years--"
"Try three." She didn't like the direction the conversation was going.
Her father smiled and nodded, giving her a thoughtful look. "I was hoping you could take a month leave and go check it out for me."
"No, I'm not dealing with a radical group of environmentalists. Do you remember when you hit that nest on the Callans project?" Amber flinched. She should have known dear old Dad had alternative plans.
Her father threw his hands up in the air. "How was my backhoe guy to know the Southwestern willow flycatcher was an endangered bird? They never showed up on the report. Those little feathered bastards almost cost me that project. They were the only ones in a fifty-mile radius."
She sighed. "Dad, I had to deal with the mayor and every bird-loving democrat in a five-county region. No, no environmentalists." She shook her head.
"Please," he pleaded, using the tone he used when she was four and she was pouting.
"Unless the mine is on a beach in Hawaii, I'm not interested." No, she wasn't giving in.
"Honey, you know..."
Amber groaned. He called me honey, he's already decided this is a good idea.
"Honey, it's not Hawaii, but the scenery is beautiful and the men don't wear Armani. It will be a change of pace, and I just need you to smooth things over a bit. I have a house there and everything. It's not like you haven't done this sort of thing before; you deal with problems and the tree-hugging sort all day. Please, it'll be fun." Her father was giving her the puppy-dog face.
Swallowing back displeasure, she knew the look. "You already told them I was coming, didn't you?"
Her father winced slightly, and guilt consumed his aged, but handsome, features. "Yes, I told them I would send someone."
"I don't love you, Dad," she told him, not really meaning it, but it seemed to fit.
"Come on, Amber, this will be fun--an adventure. You always liked adventure," her father told her in his 'sales voice', the one he used when pitching ideas to investors.
"Adventure, that sounds alarming. Where am I going?" Suddenly, she was more than worried. He better not be sending her to Africa. She hated snakes and spiders.
"It's a surprise. Go home and pack, and I'll have the limousine swing by for you. You'll be taking the private jet." He smiled the smile that always meant 'wait and see' and followed with Amber having a displeased tantrum.
"It's a surprise, but it gets a little chilly at night, so bring a warm jacket and boots."
"As long as it isn't Anchorage, I'll do it," she told him with a smile, even though she was silently cursing him knowing he knew she would give in.
"I have your word that as long as it isn't Anchorage, you'll go?" he asked with that evil twinkle.
"Yes, anything other than Anchorage. It will sure beat this heat and the traffic in a city that built every type of housing and building, and then went, damn! We forgot to put roads in!" Amber wasn't going to miss Las Vegas that much. "So, where am I going?"
Her father's grin broadened and her eyes widened. "Oh hell," she breathed.
"You said anywhere but Anchorage," he reminded her with the canary-eating grin. "Now, run along and pack."
She let out a long, slow breath. "I think I actually do hate you."
Her father's chuckle reminded her of the devil--well, the devil dressed for the golf course. "That's what they all say." * * * *
Amber fumed, after a speedy trip to the mall and a damn near six and a half-hour flight. She looked to the land below to discover snow and trees. Oh, her father was going to get an earful from her. She was downright furious and she punched in his home phone number, thinking of all the choice curse words she could throw at him.
"Hello, honey, are you safely landed?" he greeted from a speakerphone. The familiar sound of metal hitting a golf ball echoed like punctuation.
"Don't 'honey' me. I knew I had a reason to hate you. I just asked that personal stewardess on this trap you call a jet where the hell we were. Do you know what she told me, you lying, rat bastard?"
"She would have told you, you're in Fairbanks, Alaska." He laughed. "You haven't called me a rat bastard in a long time. Not since that whole incident over preserving that rare breed of albatross."
"You can take your seat belt off now, Miss Westing," the stewardess told her with a stupid little smile.
Amber struggled with her belt, got it off and started to pace the aisle between the lush, butter-soft seats of the family jet. "This is your bloody surprise."
Another laugh from her father. "You said anywhere but Anchorage. It's not Anchorage, now, is it?"
"This is just as bad; I want to come home. After they fuel this jet, I am going to sleep in the bed in the bedroom on this thing and have my ass flown back there."
How could he call this a holiday?
"Look out the window; it's beautiful up there," her father encouraged her.
Amber's blood came to a boil. The man was going to pay for this.
"Fine, I'll look out the window, but you're still a lying, rat bastard."
Her father laughed from the other end of her cell phone as she leaned down and looked out the jet window. She went to stand, when she spotted him. He was tall, dark, and damn, talk about gorgeous.
"I told you it's beautiful," her father chided.
"Nothing I have ever seen, has looked like that," she breathed as the man came to a stop on the tarmac below. "Daddy, I have to go, I'll call you later!" * * * *
Craven Nioka stood next to his father, Bradley, at the Fairbanks Airport. "Remind me, what are we doing here?" He thought of ten things off the top of his head he could be doing at the mine, instead of sitting in a partially empty airport in the middle of a workweek and missing a great dinner his mother had made. No one cooked like his mother, except his grandfather, but these days, he was too busy talking tales and convincing Craven he needed to marry. That was the last thing Craven needed--women. Well, he liked them; hell, he'd shared his bed with more than a few, but one on a permanent basis, it wasn't likely.
"Billy said he was sending someone from the corporate office to help with some of the problems at the mine." His father stared out at the dusk sky. Billy, of course, was his father's best friend and the very wealthy William Westing, who also owned the majority of the mine. His dad owned the rest and would one day leave it to him. There were days Craven loved the place, and others in which he hated it.
Craven flexed his jaw muscle. "Oh, another city boy who has no clue what life is like up here? How long did the last guy in the suit last?"
His dad grinned and nodded. "About a week." He started to laugh. "I still can't believe he came up here with that whole group of dogs. He honestly thought dog sledding was the only means of transportation."
Craven nodded and looked out to the sky. It was getting dark already, and he thought again about the time he was wasting, sitting and waiting for another jackass city boy to land. As if conjured up by his mind, the sleek black Westing jet, which had landed a couple minutes ago, slid to a stop. He'd seen it before and he would see it again. The city people never stayed; hell, no one did, unless they were working at one of mines or born in Alaska and knew nothing beyond it. He knew a few guys who had ordered brides, but that was about it.
"Well, let's go see who Billy sent us this time." His father slapped Craven on the back.
Craven sighed and pulled his large frame toward the tarmac as the portable stairs moved to the jet door. "I'm telling you now, if there are dogs, they're not riding in my truck."
His father's blue eyes danced. "Let's hope not, son." They both looked back to the jet. Craven's legs stopped moving about the same time his jaw dropped open in complete horror. "What the hell?" he cursed, thinking by God almighty he was not seeing what was in front of him.
His father laughed and kept on walking.
Hell no! Craven wasn't sure if he thought or uttered it, all he knew was what he was looking at was getting back on the plane and going back to the pink rock it had crawled out from under. His lashes blinked several times, as if shutting his eyes from the sight in hopes it would go away. Nope, it was still there as the blur of pink descended the steps.
"Hell, no!" he muttered again. Craven was stunned. There she stood; her brown hair past her shoulders with strategically placed blond streaks. Her jacket was a light shade of pink in suede that she obviously bought at the same store as her boots, since they were also suede and in the exact shade as her jacket. Fitted denim covered her legs and curved over very fine hips, which narrowed right at the waist, precisely where the pink thing that constituted her jacket ended. Tossed around her neck casually was more pink in a variety of shades forming hearts in an abstract print which he guessed was a scarf. She did realize that this was Alaska and not a chilly day in Utah or a ski slope in Aspen, didn't she?
"She's going to freeze her ass off," he mumbled to the cool early evening air.
"Amber Rochelle, well I'll be damned!" His father stepped toward the woman and lifted her in a hug. His father knew the lady in pink? His dad spun her around, giving Craven a great view of the ass that would freeze, and he inhaled sharply. It was tight and round and ... nope, he wasn't going there. His father set her back on the ground, and her face came into view.
Damn. He inhaled sharply for a second time. She was beautiful: lightly sun-kissed skin, large, almond-shaped eyes and full pouty lips. Her lashes were long, and as she pulled out of the hug with his father, her coat fell open, revealing perky breasts under a fitted cream sweater. Is that angora?
He shook off the thoughts of the high maintenance fabric and took in the whole package. For the autumn air in Alaska, he suddenly was very warm and his cock stiffened at the lips, curves and shape of the woman in pink. Her mouth turned into a smile and she laughed. His father was talking to her and she was listening, but Craven had no clue what his father was saying because he focused on her curves, the color pink and those lips. He swallowed hard, as though there were something in his throat. Maybe it was swollen and he was getting sick. Nope, that wasn't it. Something swollen, most definitely, but it had nothing to with his throat and everything to do with what he kept in his jeans.
His father spun around and put an arm over the woman's shoulders. "I want you to meet my son." He looked at Craven.
Her perfectly smooth hair flipped over her shoulder and her dark eyes rested on him. She came to a sudden stop as her eyes widened, her full lips formed an 'oh' and long dark lashes blinked at him. "Hello," she greeted him as their eyes locked.
He knew he should speak and had words form in his throat, but with all the blood gone from his head and sitting behind the zipper of his jeans, his brain refused to function. He pulled his eyes from her and looked at his father. "This is Craven. Craven, this is Billy's daughter, Amber, and it's been five years since I saw her. The last time is when I took your mother to Vegas." His father turned back to Amber, who looked at his father sweetly. "Don't mind Craven; he was expecting some city boy."
Amber looked back at him, stealing every ounce of breath from his lungs with a simple, full-lipped smile, and extended a hand. "It's really nice to meet you."
Craven nodded and glanced down to shake her hand. Her gloves were the same fabric fleece as her scarf, right to the print. He wanted to laugh, but instead shook her hand. It was a firm shake, but that wasn't what surprised him. His eyes locked with hers, and through the soft fabric of her glove, the shock of electricity hit his bare hand and zapped his entire soul. Her breath caught and she quickly withdrew her hand. Then her cheeks tinted pink and her pouty lips pursed together, making them look not only fuller, but also kissable.
He tore his gaze away from her and looked to his dad, who was giving him an amused look. This wasn't funny; not only did his father's best friend not send a man, but she was going to get eaten alive by the guys at the mine. Not to mention she looked dressed for a winter edition of a fashion magazine instead of fall in Alaska.
"Aren't you going to say anything to Amber?" His father's blue eyes danced.
"Well, you aren't a city boy." He couldn't believe those were the first words out of his mouth.
She laughed again, flashing a perfect smile. "I'm glad you noticed." She pulled her jacket closed. "I can't believe how nippley it is."
Yep, jackpot, that was one of the things he had noticed about her--her breasts, nipples and damn, this was not what he was expecting or had planned. He had to get that round, denim-covered ass back on the jet before he grabbed it and pulled her to him. If he did that, he knew his first order of business would be kissing her senseless. Judging by the way she was dressed, that wouldn't take much.
"I insist that you come for dinner," his father gushed. "Let me grab your luggage. I know Camira is going to be happy to see you."
"Oh, I adore her; we had so much fun shopping when she was down," Amber answered. "I can hardly wait to catch up with her."
This was not going well. There would be no getting luggage, no catching up with his mother and no way in hell sitting through a dinner with Amber Westing. His eyes turned to the man walking up to them with ... oh no, not designer handbags? The print on the luggage revealed the designer's logo. He was just unaware that a person could get luggage in pink plaid, and so much of it. She had two suitcases: a large, a larger one, and a carry-on to match. "There you go, Miss Westing." The captain nodded with a flirty smile.
"Thanks," she told him with a warm smile before he walked away.
"He's leaving?" The question just fell off his tongue.
Amber looked at him with what he guessed was confusion. "Why would he stay?"
"To take you back to the desert," he answered. Yes, the desert, where she could sit by a pool in a small bikini. He bit back a groan, not needing the image of Amber in a bikini running through his head with thoughts of her wet body emerging from a pool. Oh yeah, it's a warm night in Fairbanks tonight.
"No, I'm here for at least two weeks, maybe a month."
Hell no! It was the ... He didn't know how many times he had thought it, but hell, hell, hell, no way was she staying.
His father grabbed the carry-on and the smaller of the suitcases. "Give me a hand, Craven; your mother is waiting."
She could wait! This was serious, this was...
"I really appreciate you taking my suitcase, Craven," she told him softly, forcing him to look down into her dark doe-like eyes. Son of a bitch! He was a doomed man. Not only did he have to figure out a way to get Amber Westing out of Alaska and back in Nevada, but he had to work out how he was going to keep himself away from her bed. * * * *