“You’re making this place sound like paradise. I may never want to return to San Francisco,” I said.
“Part of this job is reading my work daily. I will want you to give your honest feedback as well as look for errors.”
“I’m not sure how good I will be at editing. I—”
“I’m not looking for an editor,” Price cut in. “I already have that. I’m looking for fresh eyes. And it doesn’t take a Masters in English Literature to spot an extra ‘the’ in the sentence, or notice that the hero in the story had a dog in chapter three, but in chapter eight the dog turned into a cat. Having your eyes will help me in the process. I prefer to fix it as I go rather than all at the end.”
“Well, then I can do that. It sounds different and exciting,” I answered honestly.
“This job is not going to be easy. You will have to learn my habits and what I like and don’t. I get up very early in the morning and start work. I like breakfast and coffee at my desk, as well as lunch. But I want to get in the habit of quitting at dinnertime and coming out of my office to eat dinner at the table with you. I will rely on you to make this happen, which won’t be easy. I tend to get lost in my words, and when I say five minutes, it very well could turn into five hours if you don’t help me stay on a schedule.”
“I can handle that.” And I really felt I could. I didn’t grow up with family dinners at a table, and the thought of doing so—even though we weren’t really a family—sounded really nice. Normal.
After driving on nothing but winding roads through dense forest, we came upon a really quaint mountain town. There was a single bar and restaurant called The Timber Lodge, a small market, a bait and tackle shop, a mechanic, a single pump gas station, and a few other retail shops. If you blinked, you would surely miss it.
“This is Pine Ridge. It’s the closest town to the cabin and where we’ll come to restock,” Price informed me as he slowed down and drove through it slowly. “The Timber Lodge serves great prime rib, so when we do come into town, we can stop there for a good meal.”
I couldn’t help but smile as I took it all in. It was like going on a vacation to a romantic and secluded getaway, though that was never the case in my life. Sitting next to an employer about to be a cook and cleaner for him was as good as my romance story would get.
“I plan to have us stay here through the fall and winter. Hopefully by late February, my book will be done and ready to hand off to the editor. We can head back to San Francisco then. Even though it snows a lot here, and there are times we will definitely be snowed in, getting down the mountain to this town is pretty doable for the most part,” Price added as he turned onto a dirt road off the main highway.
I held onto my seat as the Jeep began bouncing around on the rough terrain. “Do we have any neighbors?” I asked as my right shoulder banged against the car door.
“Not any within walking distance. I suppose you could walk into town, but that would take you several hours. So unless we can drive on this road, we’re pretty trapped up there.” He turned his head and gave me a smirk. “Don’t worry. We’ll have everything we need. There’s an emergency radio, plenty of supplies, and my editor knows if he doesn’t hear from me every morning, to check in. And if he can’t connect with me, then he knows to send authorities up the mountain to see if you and I are okay.”
“Do you write all your books up here?” I asked as I looked around and could see nothing but pine trees and Manzanita shrubbery. It really was in the middle of nowhere. The road we drove on was barely a road, and my brain already felt scrambled from all the bouncing around we were doing as Price maneuvered over the larger rocks and pits in the road.
“If I had my way, yes. Not always, but I do prefer it. I seem to do my best work on the mountain. Fresh air, no people, no distractions. I think you’re going to like it up here. It’s really picturesque and relaxing. I think it reminds me of when I was a kid. I always loved camping.”
“I’ve never been camping,” I admitted.
“Well, this cabin is far from camping. It’s even on the luxurious side, but the setting will give you that camping vibe.”