Authors: MG Braden
What Others are Saying about Snowbound:
“With Snowbound, I became lost in the story and relationship and loved every minute of it.”
Lilac ~ Reviewer for The Long And Short Of It
“…entertaining and uplifiting. If you are looking for a sweet love story that rises up out of bad circumstances, you will like SNOWBOUND!”
Stevi B~ Reviewer for Manic Readers
“After hearing all the good reviews on Snowbound, I downloaded it the other day and finally had a chance to sit down and read it last night. I LOVED it. My DH was a little annoyed because I almost burned dinner — I couldn’t put it down. Look forward to reading more of your stuff.”
Christy ~ Romance Reader
Snowbound – Kindle Edition
Copyright © 2010 by M.G. Braden
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
Kindle Edition License Notes
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For Steve – Thank you for showing me what a real man is made of, you are my hero.
“I’m going to die of frostbite.”
Looking through the swirling snow, Cassidy Jensen stamped her skis and shivered. “Just keep moving,” said the man in the ski mask, giving her a little push. Dressed all in black, he looked very foreboding amongst all the white.
Cassidy sighed, pointed her skis toward the bottom of the hill and pushed off. She couldn’t see a thing, but she kept moving because she knew it was the only way to get somewhere that was warm and safe. Also, if she didn’t keep moving she was sure she’d never hear the end of it.
A sign marking the chair lift flashed by and she turned sharply to avoid ramming into it.
Thank God, I made it to the bottom.
Relief washed over her, and she skied in the direction of the chalet. “Where are you going?”
Cassidy stopped and tried to answer calmly, despite her annoyance. “Rick, it’s minus forty with a wind chill. My eyelashes are frozen, and I can’t feel my fingers or toes. I am going inside.”
“No, you aren’t! We’ve done one run. One!” Richard Bastien’s voice rose to a soft yell. “I paid to ski all day, and we’re going to ski all day.”
“Yes, but you have a ski mask and goggles, plus that Thinsulate-lined ski suit and heated boots.”
“Fine, let’s go in and buy you some goggles, but then we are going back out. If you wanted to only ski one run we could have stayed at home and gone to one of the local mountains. You insisted we come away to this resort.” Rick snapped off his skis and stomped over to the gift shop.
Cassidy groaned. She hated it when he was mad at her, but she didn’t want to stay out here freezing her butt off either. As far as she could see, there hadn’t been one other skier from the top of the hill all the way down, or anywhere else. Of course, without goggles, she couldn’t see much of anything so maybe people were out there… somewhere.
“Here you go. Brand new goggles. Put ‘em on and let’s get back up there.” Rick handed her the goggles and put his skis back on.
“Ok, fine but we are coming down for lunch. I’m not skiing all day in this weather without a break.” Cassidy snapped the goggles over her head and moved back to the chair lift entrance. “Plus, I’m not doing any black diamonds.”
Ignoring her, Rick sidestepped into position for the chair. Cassidy followed. As soon as the chair hit her backside Cassidy knew going back up was the wrong idea. The seat was so cold she swore her bottom would freeze there. Her goggles immediately fogged over, and she couldn’t see a thing between the fog, the weird yellow colour of the lens, and the swirling snow.
“What kind of goggles are these anyway?” She tried to wipe away the accumulated frost with her fingers.
“Who knows? I just grabbed them from the sale rack. They were the cheapest ones they had. Man, it’s cold.”
Cassidy shook her head. Rick always talked about how much things cost. He could afford nice things, even though he was cheap when buying for anyone except himself—it was only the best for him. However, talking about the price of things was his way to make sure she knew how much money he’d spent on her.
Don’t be bitter, Cass. He doesn’t mean anything by it.
They arrived at the top of the lift, disembarked and skied over to the top of their next run.
Rick muttered, “It’s so damn cold.”
Rolling her eyes she said, “Just keep moving, that should help.” Turning back toward the run, she tried to figure out which direction to go. At this point the snow was swirling so hard she couldn’t even see her hand in front of her face. Shrugging, she headed down anyway. There was no other way to get to the bottom.
Cold air stung her eyes, which watered immediately. Her goggles had cracked and split.
“Rick?” Looking around, Cassidy tried to find him. Between her eyelids blinking furiously and the snow swirling all about, she could barely see anything, let alone Rick. Using a hand to shield her eyes, she squinted through the snowflakes
. “Rick?” She yelled a little louder as she slowly glided along. She wanted to avoid picking up too much speed so she didn’t careen off into the forest. Not that she could see the forest.
Where is he?
She snowplowed so she could slow down even further.
Why can’t he just stay with me?
She called out again, “Rick?” Straining to listen, all she heard was her own ragged breath. Skiing further, she stopped and called for him again. Still no answer. Anxiety rose in her chest. Unable to see a darned thing, she swiped at her goggles and moved forward.
Cassidy went over a small mogul, then hit something solid—another person.
“Mmph,” expelled from the person in a breath of air as they both toppled over.
“Rick, is that you?” She attempted to untangle her skis and her body from the poles, skis, and limbs that pointed every which way. No one had ever said she was graceful. Her goggles were now completely frosted and she couldn’t see anything. However, the body entangled with hers did not feel like Rick’s. Where Rick was stocky and compact, this person felt lean yet muscular, even through his ski suit. She actually fit against him quite nicely, despite their twister-type positioning.
“No. Daniel.” In one fluid movement he stood up, set her upright, handed her ski poles and then must have realized they were his. “Oh, sorry, wrong ones. Here you go. Are you all right?”
Judging from the height of his ski poles, she figured Daniel must be quite tall. She wished she could see better. His voice sounded nice—soothing and mesmerizing, with a touch of concern. He didn’t even seem angry that she had knocked him over. “Yes, thank you. I’m so sorry. I can’t see properly. I’m just trying to get down in one piece at this point. Once I hit that mogul I lost control.”
“No worries. I’m fine. I thought I was alone up here because of the bad weather and was standing there trying to decide which run to split off to. I know well enough that I should have moved to the side.” While he talked to her he kept a hand on the small of her back. She wasn’t sure whether he thought he needed to steady her, or if he was just keeping track of her, but either way she liked the warm protectiveness of it.
Cassidy wasn’t used to a man taking some of the blame for anything, since nothing Rick did was ever his fault. “Thanks for that, but I think it may be easier to blame the weather and that way we’re both absolved.” Cassidy smiled. The air was so cold, she wondered if her lips would freeze in position..
“Right. Well as long as you’re ok. Those goggles are cracked, and it looks like your lashes have little icicles on them. That’s not good for your eyes. Here…” Daniel handed her some heavy goggles. “I keep an extra pair in my pack. The visibility is getting worse so we should both head down. We want to make it in one piece.”
“Oh, that’s nice of you. Thanks.” She looked around. “Um, I’m not sure which way to go and it looks like I lost my friend. Hopefully he’ll be down at the bottom.”
Why did I say friend, instead of boyfriend? Freudian slip?
Refusing to over think the subject, Cassidy shrugged it off and settled the new goggles on her face. Although she could see much better with the proper coloured lens, the visibility was still poor.
“At this point, it’s a good bet that, er, Rick I think you called me, is down at the bottom. At least let’s hope. Anyway, I know this mountain like the back of my hand so why don’t you follow me. I’ll go slow so you don’t lose me in the snow.” Daniel pushed off and gradually made his way down the run. Since his bright blue jacket stood out against the snow Cassidy was able to follow him. Even still, he was mostly a blue blob in a blur of white. Soon they were at the bottom and he led her over to the Peaks Cafe, where they parked their skis and poles in the racks right outside the doors.
Stepping inside the first set of double doors, they both stopped to bang off some of the snow from their boots and to loosen the buckles to make walking indoors a bit easier. As Daniel peeled off his toque and goggles Cassidy got a better look at him. He had dark blonde hair that had a slight wave. It stuck up at weird angles from his head, likely because of the friction from his toque, which he had stuffed into his pocket. Startling blue eyes looked out from a long, attractive face, and held her attention. The color of his eyes picked up the brightness from his ski jacket and made them seem very intense. Obviously very tall, he stood a good four to give inches taller than her five-foot-ten. Cassidy realized she was staring at him in a rather goofy way, while still wearing his goggles. Pulling them off, she handed them back. “Thanks again. Wow, it seems like all I have done since I ran over you is thank you. I really appreciate everything—these goggles really helped.”
“You’re welcome. Turnabout is fair play, though. You know my name and I don’t know yours.” He smiled at her.
“Oh, sorry. It’s Cassidy. Cassidy Jensen. We just got here and--”
“There you are. I have been sitting in that cafe waiting for you, forever. Did you go back for another run?” Rick demanded as he walked up to her and Daniel.
“Rick. Hi. No, I didn’t. My goggles cracked, and then I ran into Daniel.” Cassidy nodded at Daniel.
“I don’t think we’ve met. Where do you know Cassidy from?” Rick glared at him.