Ever have one of those lifetimes where opportunities tend to turn south just as the golden ring is in sight? That’s the story of Melanie Hunter’s life. Not that she’s complaining. She always seems to come out on top, it just takes a bit longer and she dodges and maneuvers around more curves in her road than the average everyday single mom. Still, she takes setbacks on the chin and continues to pray for a better life for her and her son.
Take for instance, this job opening Melanie has applied for with a research lab in a mountain community in Colorado. It’s perfect. More money, less hours for her; small town, great outdoor adventures for her son. Win-win. Until she takes a detour to avoid highway construction on her way to the interview, which ends in a collision with a large rock resulting in pricey auto repairs…
You get the picture. It’s times like this Melanie wonders what in the world God is thinking??
Excerpt from Rocky Mountain Hero, January 2011, Steeple Hill Books.
“Gabe, look up ahead.”
Gabe Davidson glanced up from his clipboard. His cousin pointed at a pick up truck along side the road. From where Gabe sat, he’d say the truck wasn’t going anywhere soon. “Don’t recognize it.”
“Can’t say the truck or the kid or the blonde are from around here.” Hank down shifted and slowed.
“Fishtailed right into the rock.” Grooved tracks left ruts inches deep. “The boys from county won’t be happy when they have to come up and fix this.”
The boy waved his arms at them. Hank pulled over and cut the engine.
Gabe checked his watch. The vet closed in half an hour. He fingered the list he’d scribbled on the scrap piece of paper. If he waited until tomorrow, he’d have to take a chance the vet stocked the medication he needed since no one at the animal clinic was answering their phone, or double back and drive into Gunnison.
He glanced at the boy, the angle of the truck and the woman wedged part way under the running board. He ground his jaw as uncomplimentary thoughts of Nick and Zac swirled through his head. Times like this, he really wished his brothers were around to help. Propping the clipboard with his list on top of the dash, Gabe shoved at his door. “Let’s go pull ‘em out.”
“Hey mister,” the boy called as he jumped. “I think my mom’s stuck.”
“Are you okay?” Hank took off toward the boy while Gabe headed for the woman. The rock, the crushed front-end of the pick up and the entire backend of the vehicle sat perched at an angle. No telling what the truck would do.
“Need help?” Mud covered her from head to toe. Gabe stared into blue eyes the color of mountain columbines in full bloom and lashes as thick as the foxtails that grew around them. Blonde hair played across her cheek.
“No, I’ve got it.” The palm of her hand sank up to her wrist.
He bent over and grasped her shoulders, her muscles firm within his palms. A spear of awareness shot through him as he found a grip and began to pull. The mud packed around her like a wallow sucking her hostage. As she began to slide free, she kicked her feet against the embankment.
The road base shifted beneath his feet. His hold tightened. “Be still.”
Her last kick must have hit a rock. She pushed up relieving the tension in his pull. Momentarily. The rock worked loose beneath her foot and she sank back into place.
Gabe fought for balance as he teetered on the edge. No use. He tucked his shoulders as he rolled into the mud bog with her. His elbow trenched a rut behind her and she slammed up against his chest.
Spitting mud out of her mouth, she smeared her face with her hand. “Oh goodness.” She squirmed to the side. “You okay?”
His hat lay inverted between them, the crown crushed against her ribs. He followed the line of her muddy T-shirt sleeve to her mud-matted ponytail. Her eyes sparkled wide as he drew close. “I told you to stop moving.”
“I could’ve gotten out by myself.” Her breathless voice warmed his cheek.
He swiped his hand down his face as much to wipe away mud as to break his stare. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
She shimmied up the bank using the top of his boot as a foothold. “The road is in lousy condition.”
“Yeah, well.” Her smooth arm pressed against his chest making simple thought difficult. “The Gunnison County road crew won’t be happy about this either.”
She stiffened beside him. “This road is a disaster.”
“Not if your speed is appropriate for the road condition.”
She looked at him as if he’d grown another head. “What’s the speed limit for horrendous?”
I hope you enjoyed the quick meet and greet. Gabe has his agenda, Melanie has hers and the two don’t seem to have a common patch of ground between them. By the time The End rolls around, they find out exactly what the good Lord had in mind.
My debut novel is set to hit the shelves January 1! I’m so excited. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Rocky Mountain Hero as my Christmas present to you.
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Thank you to Mary Connealy and the fillies for inviting me here today!
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