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Arctic Sun (Frozen Hearts #1)
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Everything’s bigger in Alaska, especially the HEAs. Annabeth Albert kicks off the brand-new Frozen Hearts series with Arctic Sun, an opposites-attract romance between a rugged outdoorsman and a smoking hot former male model.
He’s built a quiet life for himself in Alaska. But it doesn’t stand a chance against the unrelenting pull of a man who’s everything he shouldn’t want.
Ex-military mountain man Griffin Barrett likes his solitude. It keeps him from falling back into old habits. Bad habits. He’s fought too hard for his sobriety to lose control now. However, his gig as a wildlife guide presents a new kind of temptation in superhot supermodel River Vale. Nothing the Alaskan wilderness has to offer has ever called to Griffin so badly. And that can only lead to trouble…
River has his own methods for coping. Chasing adventure means always moving forward. Nobody’s ever made him want to stand still—until Griffin. The rugged bush pilot is the very best kind of distraction, but the emotions he stirs up in River feel anything but casual, and he’s in no position to stay put.
With temptation lurking in close quarters, keeping even a shred of distance is a challenge neither’s willing to meet. And the closer Griffin gets to River, the easier it is to ignore every last reason he should run.
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!
Publisher’s Note: Arctic Sun deals with topics some readers may find difficult, including sobriety and eating disorders.
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“You need me to do what?” Griffin gave a slow blink. He wasn’t used to feeling about as off-kilter as a broken tailwheel, but something about his mother’s tone had him bracing for a rough landing. No way was her appearance at the hangar a good thing.
“You’re our best hope, Griff.” His mother leaned against an out-of-commission de Havilland plane that had seen better decades. Worry lines creased her usually smooth face and made her look older, more fragile.
“You sound like a bad action movie,” he chided, if only to make her smile.
“I’m serious. The doctors say no way can Uncle Roger make this trip. His knee surgery is scheduled for Tuesday in Anchorage, and they don’t want him to make the injury worse by delaying. I’d do the trip myself, but this is our busiest time of year…”
“And you’re needed here. I get it.” He could already see where this was going. His mother ran the business side of his family’s tourism and transport company, and while a capable pilot and driver in her own right, she was way more comfortable with her account software and customer service lines. “But what about Toby? He would love this opportunity.”
He put far more enthusiasm than usual into his voice. Their freewheeling pilot and guide was incredibly popular with everyone other than Griffin, who simply didn’t trust happy people. However, he wasn’t lying. Toby would love the chance to spend the next ten days ferrying tourists around to the national parks, helping them find great vistas to photograph and ensuring they got their money’s worth.
“Toby’s already booked.” His mother flipped her long, silver-flecked braid impatiently. “Trust me, I checked with him first. And I thought we had Clancy to cover, but his wife’s due in two weeks, and he decided today that he’s not willing to risk missing it. I knew you’d say no.”
“I’m not saying no.” He wasn’t saying yes either, but he didn’t add that. They both knew that unlike Toby, who was apparently in high demand, Griffin was only booked for some local transports and cargo runs in the next week. He seldom needed to deal with the tourists, and that was exactly how he liked it. He’d been planning to spend a lot of quality time with this Cessna engine he was tinkering with, but he could already see those plans slipping away like rocks into Tustumena Lake. “But why not reschedule the tour? They’re coming to see Uncle Roger after all.”
His uncle was a celebrated wildlife photographer whose personal tours were exceptionally popular among the eco-tourism crowd willing to pay top dollar to spend time trekking around the backcountry with him. At least Toby would have been charming enough to make up for his uncle’s absence. And even Clancy, another of their pilots, was more personable than Griffin, who had zero desire to entertain outsiders, no matter how well-paying.
“You sell yourself short.” His mother shook her head. “You’re a fine photographer, excellent guide, and this group is mainly newbies—they’ll be happy for any assistance. We were able to reschedule four of the participants who’d rather wait for Uncle Roger, but that leaves five still coming. It’s today. We can’t afford to issue refunds and deal with their ill will at being canceled at the last second.”
“Of course not.” He wiped his hands on a rag. That last bit was a low blow. Griffin knew exactly why funds were tight for his mother and the business. And while she steadfastly refused his efforts to repay her, no way was he going to make matters worse for her by leaving her with a new set of debts.
“It’s over ten thousand a head. And Roger said to tell you that he’ll give you his entire cut from it. That should make a nice dent in the cabin fund, right?” She smiled encouragingly. Because, of course, not only would the confounding woman not take Griffin’s money, she was also cheering on his plans to buy himself a little land of his own.
Ever since he’d returned to Alaska, he’d set the goal of having a place of his own. Not that he minded so much living at home in the small cabin his grandparents had once occupied, but after his stint in the military, he really valued his alone time and privacy. And she wasn’t wrong—Roger’s cut would go a long way to supplementing his down payment fund.
“Guess I better start packing.” He sighed because he’d known this was going to be the outcome from the moment she’d walked in and made the request. One simply did not say no to Annie Barrett. “Is this one of those friend groups or a family at least?”
Those were always easier—a group of people who already knew each other and didn’t require Griffin to break the ice. Hell, he could barely pull off his own socializing, let alone be facilitating it for others.