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Deep in the Mountains
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Two strangers, one passionate encounter, and a fate neither one of them saw coming.
Deep in the Mountains is the fifth book in Baby Fever Series, a mountain man baby romance with no cliffhanger and a HEA. It can be read as a stand-alone.
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The invitation was innocent enough, something I’d seen hundreds of times before. Adorned with emoticons and lewd innuendo, I was being asked to attend a party.
It came through in my junk mail, an evite from Gennifer to celebrate her bachelorette party in the mountains of Tennessee over the Labor Day long weekend. I had received it over a week earlier but that was how long it had taken for me to get around to clearing out my junk folder and Gennifer wasn’t even in my contact list for her emails to make it through without being marked as spam.
That was how surprising the email was to read.
I read the details carefully, my green eyes studying the words like I was seriously contemplating what it said before promptly deleting it.
Gennifer Carling was not a close friend of mine. In fact, she wasn’t a close friend of anyone’s. I was sure she had only invited me to fill her quota at the resort in Gatlinburg. I had to wonder if she wasn’t coming to terms with the fact that everyone loathed her as she tried to plan her upcoming nuptials.
It didn’t much matter to me—I didn’t owe the brash brunette anything. I barely knew her but to avoid her at social functions and I wouldn’t lose any sleep at ignoring the invitation.
I was not about to spend four days with a bunch of women in the middle of Hicksville where there was nothing but alcohol and petty bitterness stemming from years of rich-girl oppression. I’d done enough of those weekends with people I liked—or at least tolerated.
It’s a little-known fact about the filthy rich—they are actually very stingy. The more money they have, the more they struggle to hoard it. There was no doubt in my mind that I had only been asked to go to lessen the cost of the weekend.
Sorry, Genny, I thought, clicking the “delete” icon on my screen. You’ll have to find another sucker to endure you and your fake friends over the weekend.
Perhaps I was having a “coming of age moment.” A few months ago, I might have agonized about deleting the email. That day, I felt almost smug when it disappeared with the other messages from Nigerian princes and mattress offers.
No sooner had I eliminated the email from my view did my iPhone ring and I grimaced, wondering who had the gall to call me instead of texting.
My consternation turned to mild confusion as I recognized Kennedy Bryant’s number. I had never known her to call me for anything—not that I was opposed to hearing her voice. She was one of the few people I would answer the phone for and not let it go to my voicemail graveyard.
“Hey,” I said, my brow furrowing. “What’s wrong?”
Kennedy grunted slightly in greeting and I had to smile, knowing she was about to go off on a diatribe about her too-full life.
“What’s right?” she sighed. “I’ve got a set of toddlers who think potty training is a joke. A joke, Ayla. They’re ganging up on me! My five-thousand-dollar office rug is stained in yellow and I’m afraid to replace it because I know those little demons will just do it again!”
I snickered, unable to relate to her problems of motherhood in any way but hearing her complain was always amusing. She loved those impish twins, even if she drove my friend crazy.
“Sounds like a typical Wednesday to me,” I remarked.
“I need a break,” Kennedy sighed. “I’m ready to sell them to the gypsies—can we say gypsies anymore? Never mind, I’m on a rant. I don’t care about being PC at this moment. I’ll reserve that for the tenants who are driving me insane.”
The smile on my face grew wider. It sounded like Kennedy was just getting warmed up and I sank back in my computer chair to listen.
“Kids will be kids?” I offered uselessly. What else was I supposed to say?
“They have this little twin language, Ayla, and they talk about me. I’m sure of it. Don’t get me wrong. I love them. Julian keeps telling me to hire a nanny and I refuse but I’m at my wits’ end. I’m ready to run for Mexico.”
“Understandably,” I offered, mustering the best sympathetic tone I could given my lack of empathy. I was more amused than I should have been at her misery but Kennedy was always so damned entertaining.
“Which is why you have to tell me that you’re going to Gennifer’s bachelorette weekend,” Kennedy continued and I groaned.
“Oh, Ken, don’t do this to me,” I moaned. “I literally just deleted the evite.”
“No,” Kennedy said flatly. “I don’t accept that as a response.”
“Ken, Gennifer is wretched. That’s why no one wants to hang out with her.”
I didn’t add that I didn’t want the reminder of what my life was about to become. If I were to give it any real thought, I knew that was really why I’d refused.