I stare out the window, watching the snow fall as we drive more up the mountain. I should probably be second-guessing my decision about staying with this man as he leads us farther away from all the other cabins.
I’m going to be alone with him in his cabin, which actually might be his home. From the way he and the girl Natalie were talking, I think they own this place, so they probably live here. I know I would. I’ve always lived in either the city or suburbs, but there’s something about all this openness and the quiet that appeals to me.
Still, even as I think these things, no worry fills me about being all alone with Connor. Growing up in the system, you have to learn how to read people. You learn to trust your instincts, and with Connor all I feel is safe. When he did snap at me, it was over my safety and not having the proper winter gear.
“Oh gosh,” I say when I spot the house in the distance. I quickly realize why they call it the big house. The giant wooden home is breathtaking. The whole thing is lit up with white Christmas lights, and it gives me a better view of the house. “Those windows are amazing.” Massive windows cover the front, revealing a glimpse inside.
“Anywhere else I’d never have windows like these, but no one is around out this way. If there were, you'd be able to spot them out here.”
“You’ll always have a beautiful view,” I say in understanding of why he wouldn’t want to block the view.
“Gosh, I don’t think I could have dreamed up a better cabin even if I tried.” I pull my eyes away from the home to look at Connor as he parks out front. “Thank you for letting me stay here. It’s very kind of you.”
“No need to thank me.” His eyes lock with mine. “Let me show you your home for the next few days.”
“Good luck with getting me out of here when it’s time for me to go,” I tease. This trip is turning out unlike anything I could have ever expected.
The weight of her in my arms feels…right. She’s curvy and thick against me, and I have the urge to dig my fingers into her. I want to see how far I can sink in her body and how tight she’d feel wrapped around me.
“Are you okay?” Evie asks, and I clear my throat.
“You look a little flushed.”
The cool night air burns my cheeks as I carry her into the house and try to get my raging need under control. This little duck isn’t meant for me, but damn, how I want her. In fact, I’ve never wanted anything so badly in all my life.
“Just the wind chill. Grab the door for me.”
When the front door swings open, a gust of air comes in behind us and I kick it shut. It smells like a winter storm is coming and I wonder if the weather reports about clear skies are right. I’ve lived up here my whole life, and I can almost taste it when it’s coming.
“Wow! It’s even more beautiful on the inside.”
“Thank you. My grandparents built this house up here after they were married. The land has been in my family for generations.” I carry her through the living room and to the far windows that show off the span of the valley lights below. “In fact, this is the house I grew up in. My parents lived here until they passed.”
“I’m sorry you lost them. This place must feel so empty with only you living here.”
“I used to dream of filling it with a family.” When I look at her, I see her eyes are on me and not the view, and I have to look away. “Here, let’s get you settled.”
“What do you mean you used to dream of it?” she pushes, not letting the subject go.
“Well, I grew up here on the mountain with my cousins and aunt and uncle. We lost family members so close together that it got quiet almost overnight. I think part of me figured that if I didn’t find anyone, I wouldn’t have to lose them.” I shrug as I place her on the couch and kneel down to take off her shoes.
“So you don’t want that anymore?”
I glance up at her as I undo her laces and her eyes meet mine. “I’m starting to think I’ve changed my mind.”
“Oh” is all she says as I stand up.
“All right, little duck, let me go grab your clothes out of the truck and I’ll get you some chowder. Sound good?”
“Yes, thank you, Connor.”
The way she says my name is like a mug of hot apple cider, and it makes heat spread all over me. Damn, what is she doing to me?