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Maverick (North Ridge #2)
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Maverick is a complete standalone novel and the second book about the rough and rugged Nelson brothers. Get ready for one wild alpha mountain man – Canada’s never felt so hot!
Forget playing it safe.
John “Maverick” Nelson likes to live his life on the edge – literally. A crucial member of the search and rescue team in the mountainous British Columbian town of North Ridge, Maverick’s brash and bold attitude means he’s the first one to ascend into danger, no matter the risk.
When it comes to women, though, Maverick errs on the side of caution. For all his cocky charm, rugged good looks and sexual swagger, he remains as unreachable as the surrounding peaks. Hot, wild sex? He’ll tell you there’s no better way to spend a cold, wintry night. Relationships? He’d rather freeze.
That is until he lays his eyes on American Riley Clarke. Trading in the crippling expenses of Aspen for BC, Riley is North Ridge’s newest member of their search and rescue team and the only woman on the job, which means spending a lot of time with Mav in adrenaline-pumping situations.
With the chemistry between them hot enough to melt snow, keeping their hands off each other is detriment to the success of their team. Besides, Maverick’s her boss and she didn’t work her ass off in Colorado just to throw it all away for some mind-blowing sex.
But when the worst winter in years sweeps in, Riley and Maverick will have to battle the elements along with their attraction for each other. And if either of them slip up, both of them will be in for a deep freeze.
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Two years ago—Aspen, Colorado
Such a simple word, one-syllable, with harsh intonation, yet it can be used for a multitude of meanings. In fact, I think it might be my favorite word (right behind Scrumtrulescent, which, spoiler alert, isn’t actually a word).
I love to fuck, I love to get fucked, I love using it instead of the word really (I like to get fucking fucked), I like how it can capture every element of surprise, and I really love it when people get creative with it (who can forget “fuck me gently with a chainsaw” from Heathers?).
But right now, hovering beside a pine tree with the wind, howling and angry, pushing scratchy snow across my face and obliterating my vision, my limbs dangerously numb, fuck seems like the only word possible.
As in I’m fucked, we’re all fucked.
We might fucking die up here.
And here is a place I shouldn’t even be. It was supposed to be my day off, Levi’s too. We were going to drive to Denver, hope to score tickets to a Bronco’s game. Instead, there was a call this morning. One of our team members called in sick, which didn’t help, and then the alert was sounded.
Two heli-skiers were dropped off yesterday afternoon on one of the more challenging peaks (though, yes, all heli-skiing is challenging, I mean you’re being dropped on a wild mountain face by a helicopter). They never returned to the ski lodge and the helicopter company only reported them missing this morning.
It doesn’t help that a wicked front whipped up overnight, causing white-out conditions that cancelled all the runs. Right now, all the skiers and snowboarders are holed up in their fancy châteaux, drinking hot buttered rum and complaining about how they can’t hit the slopes. I really hate that part of my job, the fact that I live in Aspen, and while I’m living with my best friend and two of our colleagues in a damp, shitty house on the outskirts of town, the people I’m usually rescuing are living it up in the lavish chalets and lodges, spending money like it’s worth nothing at all.
Not only that, but Levi and I are the ones risking our neck every single time we head out on a call, to rescue the ignorant, spoiled tourists who blatantly ignore the rules and trail markers. Yes, sometimes the unthinkable happens out of the blue and tragedies can strike anyone and everyone, but most of the time, it’s because of pure carelessness.
Today, though, I don’t think it’s the case. When skiers are heading down the side of a mountain without ski runs and basically creating their own path, it’s not unheard of for them to get lost, which is bad news. But when the fucking company doesn’t report them missing for almost a whole day, that’s when things go from bad to worse. It doesn’t matter how well someone is equipped and dressed for something like heli-skiing, a night out in the elements has the ability to rob even the most experienced souls.
Like me. Right now, I’m holding onto this tree and waiting for Levi, my eyes trying to scan the endless white in hopes of finding him, finding anyone. My cell has no service but our radios work and, despite my constant communication with Brett, our team leader back at the base, no one can seem to pull up Levi. And I’m not going anywhere without him.
“Riley, come in,” my radio crackles as if on cue.
I fumble for it and bring it up to my mouth, my voice shaking as I push the button and say, “Riley here. Over.”
“How is the visibility? Over,” Brett says.
“Complete shit,” I tell him. “And I’m not sure how fast the temperature is dropping, but it’s dropping. I can’t see Levi, can’t reach him, can’t see anyone, can’t hear anything. His transceiver isn’t even coming through. Over.” I’m trying not to sound panicked, but just relaying my situation out loud has it hitting home for me.
“Don’t worry about, Levi. You know better than anyone that he can take care of himself. Give me your coordinates and stay exactly where you are. Once there’s a break in the weather, we’ll send the chopper out to get you and find Levi.” He pauses. “Then we continue the search for the skiers. But you’re our priority. Over.”
I sigh and slip the device back in the front pocket of my parka which is crusted over with snow. He’s right in that I shouldn’t worry. We’ve been in worse situations before. There was the time I fell down a crevice and had to wait for several hours before they found me. Once, Levi struck a tree while skiing and suffered a concussion that affected his ability to find his way off the mountain. This is just a storm and it’s not the first time we’ve been separated while out on the job.