I hope everybody is enjoying the new year! I had a new release, Falling Into Love, January 12th and I’ll give you a little taste.
Chris Lambrough is having a run of bad luck. He’s lost his job and his boyfriend and is feeling depressed. His best friend Jenny tells him about an ad she’s noticed where The Muddy Mountain Ski Resort is looking for waiters. Chris has restaurant experience and since his New Years Resolution is to learn to ski it seems like a nice opportunity to jump start his life.
Trevor Brown is a ski instructor at the resort. He befriends Chris right away and the have undeniable chemistry. But Trevor has guilt over the death of his lover, Lane two years earlier. Can the two of them learn to trust each other and move forward and forget the past?
Sunday came so quickly, it was nerve-racking. I met Trevor on the beginner slopes. The lodge let me use whatever equipment I needed for free, just as Trevor had said they would. His white smile relaxed me slightly when I approached him, carrying my skis.
“Here goes nothing,” I said nervously, smacking my skis together and almost tripping over them.
“You’ll do fine.” He slapped my back. “But understand, you’re probably going to fall on your ass a lot today. So expect it.”
“Don’t get frustrated when you see five-year-olds skiing circles around you, okay? It’s just how it is when you’re a beginner.” He tugged my helmet lower and tightened the chin strap. It was nice with him so close to me, his face only inches from mine. He met my gaze, and I saw that familiar flicker of attraction, but then he moved away. “Are your boots comfortable? Can you wiggle your toes?”
I tried. “Yep.”
“Good. Otherwise your toes will get nippy.”
“How come I have to wear this dorky helmet and you get to wear a cool knit cap?”
His lips twitched. “Because, like I said, you’re going to be falling—a lot.”
“Is it allowed to change your New Year’s resolution after the fact?” I grumbled.
He smiled and ignored me. “We’ll start with just sliding across the snow for a while, and when you’re comfortable with that, we’ll jump to the snowplow technique.”
“Sounds like a lot of work. Perhaps I should go get a hot chocolate and ponder what you’ve said.”
He rested both hands on his cap, looking exasperated. “Did you actually want to learn to ski, or would you rather I just arrange a nice lazy sleigh ride for you?”
I glanced around at the people on the hill a little ways from us. There were seniors and giggling little kids, and all of them were sliding down the wide, expansive snowy area on skis, enjoying themselves. “I don’t like making a fool of myself.”
His expression softened. “You need to get over that.”
I chewed my lip and met his gaze. “This is why I never try anything. I hate looking stupid.”
“There is nothing worse than being afraid.” He spoke softly. “Don’t give in to it. This is your chance to take on something you’ve always wanted to do. Don’t wimp out now.”
“If I wasn’t trying, would I be standing here with you freezing my ass off?”
“Just be gentle.”
“What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen today?” He looked at me with his brows raised questioningly. “You fall and have to get up a bunch of times? Who gives a flying fuck about that?” He gestured toward the people skiing. “Do you think these people care if you fall? Do you not realize they have all tumbled on their asses repeatedly?”
I laughed sheepishly. “I don’t want to look like an idiot in front of you either.”
His lips twitched again, and he put his hand on my shoulder. “I would love to tell you that won’t happen, but I’d be lying.”
I grimaced. “Gee, thanks.”
“Let me tell you a little story about myself.”
“Okay.” My ears perked up.
“When I was a teen, I decided I wanted to ski. So I went to the slopes, and I took a group class. The only thing I concentrated on the entire time was not falling. I was so concerned that I not fall because God forbid I look like an idiot. So you know what? I didn’t fall. Not one time.”
“I’m even more confused now.”
He grinned. “Let me finish. I got home, and I realized that I hadn’t learned anything about skiing. I’d put all my effort into not looking stupid.” He squeezed my shoulder. “I went back the next day, and I decided that what I would do was try everything the instructor said, only this time I did it with gusto. And I fell. Holy crap did I fall. But unless you fall, you can’t learn how to get up with your skis on, right?”
“Once I’d mastered the art of falling on my butt, I practiced snowplowing and turning. Guess what? I fell some more. I fell until I didn’t even notice when I fell anymore. And just for the record, neither did anyone else, because they were all busy falling too. Unless you practice snowplowing and turning, you can’t learn to ski. You have to practice that shit over and over until it becomes second nature to you, but until it’s second nature, you will fall on your ass. So, in other words, if you don’t fall, you can’t learn to ski.”
“Then why the hell don’t they just call these falling lessons?” I grinned, feeling a little less stressed about the whole thing.
He laughed and gave me a one-arm hug, surprising me. But he let go quickly, and I almost lost my balance. “Let’s get started, okay? You can do this. I swear. I’m a good teacher.”
I decided to put my faith in him, and we began the lesson. He let me start by just sliding slowly across the snow for the first half hour until I felt comfortable with my balance. Then he graduated me to the snowplow. He pulled me by my ski poles, and I practiced letting the back of my skis go wide, bringing the tips close together so that I would come to a gradual stop.
“Try to stop me from pulling you,” he coaxed. He was grinning, and his cheeks were red from the chilled air. “Come on, push those heels out and make me work for it.”
“I’m trying,” I panted, pushing my feet harder and attempting to stop myself. “You know if I let go of my poles, you’re going to land on your butt.”
“Don’t you dare,” he warned, still flashing those perfect white teeth.
“God, it’s so damn tempting.”
“If you do, you’ll be sorry.” He adjusted his grip on the poles and tried to frown, but it was a pathetic attempt. “If you dump my ass, I will get even, dude.”
“It would be so worth it.”
As the lesson continued, I made progress. Although, if there was any sort of an incline, I was dreadful at stopping myself and tended to just fall sideways into the snow instead. And he hadn’t been lying. I fell a lot. When I wasn’t falling on purpose so I didn’t run into things, I was falling on accident. But it didn’t bother me after the first ten times, just like he’d said.
The best part of the lesson was having Trevor’s undivided attention. He was watchful and funny, and he made me feel like I was the only person in the world at that moment. I ended up having more fun sliding on my ass and freezing than I’d ever imagined possible.
My balance improved a lot too, but I still wasn’t terribly great at stopping. Because of that, I bumped into him at the end of the session and took him down with me into the snow.
“Shit, I’m sorry,” I gasped out between breathless laughs. We both sat up, and he was grinning at me as he sat in the snow, his knit cap askew.
“What the fuck was that?” His cheeks were flushed from the cold, his smile dazed but still charming. “You tried to kill me.”
“I’m sorry, but you witnessed what a klutz I am, and now you have to die.”
He glanced around and then straightened his hat. “Well, this was fun.”
I searched his face, hoping he meant that and wasn’t just being sarcastic. I’d enjoyed being with him so much, I was struggling with not wanting our time together to end. I swallowed nervously and decided to strap some balls on and invite him for a drink.
“Would you want to go grab a beer? I’m buying.” I watched him uncertainly, my heart rate elevated.
He didn’t respond right away. He just stared with a funny expression. Then he climbed to his feet and held out a hand. I grabbed his glove, and he pulled me to my feet, putting a steadying arm around my waist when I stumbled. He released me and brushed the snow off his butt while still studying me. “I’m not sure what to do with you,” he said softly.
“Come have a drink.”
“I don’t know.”
I sighed. “I like hanging out with you, but I feel like you’ve been avoiding me.”
“Yeah, I’ve been thinking some things through.”
“Have a drink with me,” I insisted.
He curled his lips and pulled his gloves off, smacking them together to deice them. “I have plans later with a friend.”
I frowned. Was it Tom? “You don’t have time for one drink with me?” I asked skeptically.
“I’m afraid if I have one, I’ll want to stay and have another.”
“Good. Then I can get you drunk and have my way with you.” Maybe it was the idea of him with Tom that made me want to chuck my no-sex rule.
He snorted. “Yeah, right.” He flapped his arms. “You’re a chickenshit, remember?”
“Didn’t I just prove to you that I’m hoping to change that about myself?” I leaned into him and had trouble taking my eyes off his beautiful mouth. God, if I was a little less of a coward, I would try to persuade him with kisses. “Come have a fucking drink with me, or I’m going to start thinking it’s you who’s afraid.”
His jade eyes seemed sly all at once. “Why don’t we kill two chickens with one stone?” he asked breathlessly, “I’ve got plenty of booze in my cabin. How about you come by the Ice Lover’s Delight for a little neighborly visit?”
Hope you enjoyed that snippet!