As we turned around the last bend, I could see the house come into full view. Price was right when he called it luxurious, because it clearly was. It was not the small two-bedroom cabin I had imagined. It was an extremely large two-story with a gigantic wraparound deck on both levels of the house. The exterior was made of logs, and the craftsmanship of the outside of the cabin was truly breathtaking. Large pine trees interspersed with aspens were scattered all around it, only adding to the beauty. Rocking chairs, hammocks, and a gas fire pit sat on the porch, making the outdoor living space seem like an area you would never want to leave.

“Wow,” was all I could say as Price pulled the vehicle up the driveway to the front door.

“It’s my favorite place in the world,” he said as he stopped the Jeep and hopped out. The minute he did, he put both of his hands on his lower back and stretched, inhaling deeply. “The alpine air alone is like an intoxicating drug.”

I hopped out of the Jeep and mimicked exactly what he did and instantly saw what he meant. Yes, the air, the environment… this truly could become an intoxicating drug for sure. Paradise. My new job was nothing less than pure paradise.

Chapter Four


Watching her eyes dart around the room was like watching a child on Christmas morning. There was so much excitement present as well as awe. The way she looked around and took in every little detail was exactly how I used to do it when I first arrived. I could see this place through her eyes and it was like walking back in time. She got it. She got the magic of this place like no one else ever had.

Spinning around to look at me after she soaked it all in, she smiled. “I can see why you come up here. I wouldn’t want to leave if I were you either.”

“Let’s go inside. We can get our stuff once I show you around,” I said as I placed my hand on her lower back and guided her up the porch steps.

Unlocking the door and stepping in, I was pleased to find that it still had the same smell I loved. Tessa also noticed the smell right away.

“Cinnamon. Wood. Warmth,” she said under her breath. The words weren’t meant for me to hear, but I did. She smelled what I did. And by the way she looked, I could tell it made her feel the same way.

There was still enough daylight left where I didn’t need to light a candle yet or get the generator going, though we only had a short time before the sun would begin setting. Tessa’s eyes went to the first focus of the room: the large floor-to-ceiling fireplace. It was made completely out of river rock and had a mantel fashioned out of an old fallen redwood tree found on the forest floor. She then turned to look at the second main focus of the room. The entire right side of the house was nothing but windows so that you could see out over a large valley. The house sat on a cliff that overlooked a large expanse of nothing but uninhabited wilderness. It was National Forestry land, and my view would forever be protected and untouched.

“Wow,” she said again as she walked toward the windows. “I’ve never seen a view like this before. It’s… I don’t even have words to describe what it is.”

“Wait until you sit here on the couch and look out on this when it’s snowing. I can sit here and be lost for hours when it happens,” I admitted.

I didn’t usually gush about my one true love—my house—to anyone, but watching Tessa, I felt comfortable to do so. She seemed just as impressed with the cabin as I was. And not for the reasons someone like that asshole Joseph would be. Joseph would have noticed the expensive wood flooring, or the interior design, expensive leather furniture, and what artwork I had hanging. He would have paid attention to the money and the superficial parts of the house. Tessa saw the same things that made me love the house. The fact that she didn’t even notice the Calcutta marble countertops in the kitchen that opened up to the main living room, or the top of the line stainless steel appliances, or the fact that she didn’t gush over a single imported vase or ridiculously overpriced knickknack my interior designer insisted on said it all.

Tessa and I were going to get along perfectly.

“The kitchen is here,” I said as I guided us more to the right of the main room. “There is a large walk-in pantry that leads to a cellar downstairs. I like to keep all the perishables in the refrigerator down there because everything stays cold regardless if there is power or not. Like I said before, we have plenty of food to last us for a long time.”