“You’ve truly become my muse. There is no better word to describe it. I hope you don’t mind.”

“I don’t mind at all,” she confessed. “I’m glad I can help in any way that I can.”

When we reached the small market, I pulled up at the entrance to drop Tessa off so she didn’t have to walk through the parking lot in the snow. “I’m going to park and make a call to Brett and check in. Go ahead and start shopping for everything we need. I’ll be in there in a second.”

“Is there anything in particular that you want?” she asked.

“As long as you keep cooking the way you do, I leave that all in your hands.” The girl could cook. There wasn’t a meal she had made that I didn’t like. But again, I don’t think I truly complimented her enough except sexually when we were in the middle of fucking. “You’ve spoiled me. You’re an excellent cook and I trust you completely to make sure I’m well fed. Thank you.”

She hopped out of the Jeep with a beaming smile. “Okay, see you soon.”

As I pulled into the parking spot, I called Brett and didn’t have to wait long for him to answer.

“Price! How’s it going? I haven’t heard from you today and was about to send out the search party.”

“Just busy,” I answered. “I’m getting close to the end of the first draft. You know how it is.”

“Busy, huh? Busy with your hot little assistant,” he teased.

The fucker always had a way of reading me and knowing exactly what was going on with me. “It’s not like that.”

“No? You haven’t fucked her yet?”


He let out a loud guffaw. “I knew it. I knew you hired her for her tight little ass.”

“I did not,” I defended, though her tight little ass was calling my name. I would be lying if I hadn’t pictured myself buried deep inside of that tiny little hole that with time, I planned to make mine. “It’s not like you think. She’s a really cool chick who—”

“Who you are fucking,” Brett interrupted with a laugh. “But whatever. If it feeds your muse and gets that book done, then more power to her and you. Fuck away, my friend. I like the sexual undertones to this thriller. It has far less horror elements than what you are usually known for, but I think the readers are going to appreciate this new spice you are bringing to the story. Your fuck buddy does your writing good.”

Well, he was correct about that. Tessa had truly become my muse. I had never written such sensual scenes before, and even my overall plot had more tension and angst, and I was happy that Brett could see it in the pages I had already sent him.

“It may be my best book yet,” I boasted, feeling a sense of pride. “But I need to go. I just wanted to check in and tell you the book is close to done. I want to finish up the first draft before I send any more to you. So you are going to have to be patient.”

“Fine by me. Just don’t get too wrapped up in the little miss and forget your true reason for being up on the mountain.”

* * *


I had never eaten prime rib before. I didn’t want to admit that fact to Price, or admit that I had never drunk an expensive bottle of wine until dinners at the cabin. He was a man who clearly could enjoy the finer things in life, and I didn’t want him to know just how inexperienced I was at that in all regards.

“They have great prime rib, right?” he asked as he placed another piece of meat into his mouth.

“It’s so good,” I said as I took in every savory taste.

The restaurant wasn’t exactly fancy—at least not white tablecloths and candlelight—but it did have a roaring fire, leather booths, and the rustic charm of the decor made the entire place feel warm and inviting. I loved it, and I loved every minute of my first date with Price.

“So, tell me,” he said as he sipped from his wine. “What are your thoughts so far about living on the mountain? Is it what you pictured?”

“I like it. I actually love it. It’s extremely beautiful, especially when it snows. I could sit and stare at it all day.”

“It’s my favorite part as well. A fire and a snowstorm make for a perfect day.” He paused as he chewed his meat and then swallowed, never breaking his stare. “Are you bored?”

I diverted my eyes and shrugged. “Not really bored. More like…”

I took a drink of my wine and stared at the fire. I didn’t want to be honest with how I truly felt. I didn’t want to upset him or make him feel like I was being that needy woman who scares off men. I didn’t want to tell him that I was confused beyond belief. That I didn’t know what he wanted from me or expected. Were we a couple? Fuck buddies? Was I truly just an employee? Frankly… was I a whore just selling my body for pay? My mind never shut up. He wasn’t ever affectionate except during sex or leading right up to it. He admitted he wasn’t the kissing and hugging type. He didn’t act like a boyfriend… but what would that even look like? And the fact that this was our first date yet we had had sex more times than I could count, only added to my confusion.

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