A chef finds more than he expects in a blizzard.
Escaping complications, hotshot chef Logan McNair rides his motorcycle into the middle of a blizzard and a cabin ruined by his younger brother's partying. The lights of a snowmobile come to his rescue.
Carpenter Joel Oliver checks on everyone around the lake. He reports more bad news. The road closed and Logan's stuck. He offers him a place to stay for the Christmas holiday. There's also the offer of a Christmas fling.
Finding a lover who accepts him as plain Logan and not chef Logan is wonderful and thrilling. Could this only add to his complications? Or could loving Joel be finding the way back to himself?
The brilliant idea to take a ride on his motorcycle under sunny skies started out wonderful. It became idiotic when clouds rolled across the sky. They turned a dark gray and were heavy with snow.
After finishing the last of the holiday taping, Logan McNair raced out of the studio. He disappeared on his motorcycle without saying a word to anyone about his schedule or whereabouts. His life had become complicated. This was his chance to uncomplicate things. He took off on a ride to freedom from the monstrosity that had become his life. Unfortunately, for him, the drive took him headfirst into an oncoming blizzard.
In jeans, his favorite pair of boots, gloves, a worn padded leather jacket, and a helmet to protect his noggin, Logan wasn’t dressed for this type of weather. His toes and fingers chimed in first with the tingling sensations of the beginning stages of hypothermia. The pleasant mind-clearing ride turned into a nightmare. Still, he couldn’t stop in the middle of nowhere. He forced himself to continue until he reached the one hideaway left from his busy life— his small cabin placed outside the quiet town of Windy Valley, known for its gorgeous mountain lake and ski slopes. Leaning into the final bend, cautious of the snow, he knew this was the last curve to the cabin. He stopped the Harley CVO Softail Convertible directly in front of the door.
The headlight peered through the falling snowflakes and growing gloom.
Swinging his leg over, Logan jumped up and down, beat his hands on his legs and chest to get the blood flowing. He pushed the face-shield up and went to the door. Groaning when his numb fingers couldn’t flick open the specially designed hide-a-key, he pulled off the helmet. His hands weren’t nimble enough inside the thick leather gloves.
“Holy crap, its freezing.”
Shoving the helmet under one arm, he used teeth to tug off the glove only to flick open the small log piece to find it was empty. “What the hell?” Dropping to his knee, Logan brushed at the snow to reveal the hiding spot for his backup key, and lifted the rug. Only to curse when he saw nothing but a dead spider. “Shit!”
Trudging through the snow, he rubbed an arm against the window and peered inside. The inside was in a ramshackle state. The sofa was in a different place, debris everywhere, no firewood, dishes piled by the sink, and a layer of dust covered everything. The set-up told him everything he needed to know about the culprit who invaded his private space.
“Mal! You little piece of shit! I’m going to wring your neck.” Logan stomped around, praying there was propane and gas in the containers to give him heat. Perhaps a stack of firewood remained in the back. Reaching the back, he checked both containers to find them dry and twigs in the reserved stack.
“You’re so dead, you piece of shit for a brother.”
Teeth chattering, Logan moved to the back door and opened his Swiss Army Knife to the blade. Wiggling the blade and the handle, he heard the lock pop and grinned. The door swung open, and he was inside. He kicked the door closed.
Okay. Inside. Out of the damn blizzard.
Moving to the front door, he went back out to remove the detachable saddlebags, the secured backpack from the passenger seat, and turned off the headlight. Removing a flashlight from the backpack, he flicked it on and returned inside.
He closed the door with another kick of his boot, set the bags and helmet on the table, and surveyed the damaged his dense little brother and friends had caused to his hideaway. Nearing the sofa, a sniff told him it was ripe with beer, cigarettes, and old sex. He cringed at the thought of an orgy going on in here. One look in the bedroom confirmed the drunken orgy-fest. He slammed the door shut and waved a hand in front of his nose. Then, he nearly puked at the disaster of the bathroom and resealed it with a slam of the door. He placed a hand on the wall until he got the nausea under control.
“Holy crap, that’s ripe.”
Shaking his head, he ventured into the kitchen, his pride and joy. Only to find all the cupboards empty, the trashcan filled with every imaginable type of fly and maggot, and empty liquor bottles and cans.
Bright lights flickered through the windows and a roar of a snowmobile.
“What the—?” Moving to the backdoor, he opened it in time to see the rider, dressed proper in a full snowsuit, get off with a powerful flashlight in hand.
“Who is that? You’re on private property,” the rider called out.
Logan raised a hand to block some of the beam until the man lowered it a touch. “Yeah, this is my property. Who are you?”
“New neighbor on the lake. I’m going around the lake to check in on everyone before the blizzard hits full force. Not sure if anyone told you, but there was a bunch of crazy partiers here about two weeks ago. Called the cops on them, and they fled, but nothing’s been done to find them.” The man trudged through the increasing snowdrifts, lowering the flashlight when he reached the back patio. He lifted the goggles to reveal lake blue eyes in the dim lights and unwound the thick scarf that protected his lower face and neck.
Logan shoved his hand through his hair and cursed under his breath. “That would be my idiotic younger brother, Malcolm, and his so-called friends. No, he doesn’t have the right to be here. This place belongs only to me.” He stepped back to let his neighbor inside to see the disaster.
“Shit, what the hell did they do?” The man went through the main area to take in the entire scene. “Looks like a damn crime scene.”
“Trashed my place and had themselves a good old time. I have no idea exactly what happened and part of me doesn’t want to know the details. All I want to do is wring the little bastard’s neck.”
“Gas and firewood?”
“Both are out. Same with food. I’m sure the pipes are frozen.”
“There’s no way you can stay here. An updated forecast came in before I left to check everyone.”
“Shit, what’s the damage? I’ve never seen it this bad up here.”
“Blizzard will be overhead for at least four days, definitely through Christmas. Highway patrol shut down the pass out of here about fifteen minutes ago. You can’t make it over unless you have a four-wheel drive.”
Logan cursed under his breath. “Motorcycle.”
The man’s brow winged up. “You rode up here on a motorcycle? In a blizzard?”
“It was hot and sunny where I left, and I didn’t catch the forecast. Last minute decision on my part. I didn’t expect a damn blizzard to blow in like this one.”
The man chuckled. It turned into full out belly laughter as his hand waved around the cabin. After a desultory look around the place, Logan couldn’t help but join in the laughter until his stomach hurt.
When they finished, Logan held out his hand. “Logan McNair.”
“Good to meet you, Logan. I’m Joel Oliver.” Pulling off the thick gloves, Joel placed his hand in Logan’s and shook them.
Though his hands were still cold, Logan felt a delicious tingle of awareness and arousal at the touch. Joel’s hand was comfortably calloused, not overbearing in the shake, with just enough pressure. The fingers were well shaped and long. The nails cared for and manicured. A warm woodsy smell accompanied him.
Logan gave the other man another look-over, with more attention to the finer details. There was the snow-damp, disheveled brown hair, which stood up in all directions around the goggles. The handsome face with deep lake blue eyes surrounded by thick lashes, well defined cheekbones, and great lips.
After being such a known star and celebrity, Logan found it hard to find someone who wasn’t looking to fuck a TV star. Did Joel even know who he was? From the introduction, Logan couldn’t tell.
“Well, Logan, to be flat-out honest, your bike will not get through the pass.”
“Yeah, I figured that part out. It was too late to turn around and return where I came from, so I continued to drive here. I thought I would be fine, but now—” Logan dragged fingers through his auburn hair and looked around the cabin. “I’m pretty well in the fuck-you-idiot category.”
“Don’t even think about trying to fix this disaster. You don’t have the time. This blizzard is too dangerous to mess around with your life. You can’t stay here without food, water, or a heat source,” Joel said, slapping his gloves against his thigh.
“That bad of a storm?”
“Did I mention it lasting through Christmas? Maybe longer than five days?”
Logan cursed a blue streak. “I guess I better get my ass down to the inn and snag a room.”
“I doubt that will be a possibility. Not unless you buy out the inn or if you’re some kind of celebrity.”
Logan raised an eyebrow. Joel didn’t know his name or face. “Why not?”
“You’re definitely not from the valley, are you?”
“L.A.. Is it that obvious?”
“No, no, just a little funny how you said it.” Joel held up a hand and shook his head. “It’s Christmas. They’re booked solid, been so for months. Unless you want to sleep in the lobby on one of the sofas.”
Rubbing a hand against his neck, Logan knew he could drop his name and offer his skills in the kitchen for a room, but that would be harsh. He wouldn’t do that, especially around the holidays, publicity or not.
“Damn, I’m sorely screwed. I’m going to kill my brother, slowly,” Logan growled, kicking the back of the damaged sofa.
“Stay with me.”
Logan twisted and stared at Joel. “What?”
“Answer to the problem,” Joel said. “Stay at my cabin. I have the room, food, and don’t mind the company.”
“I’m a complete stranger.”
“Could be a killer on the run.”
Joel snorted around a grin. “I can handle myself, and I doubt that.”
“Worth a shot of warning. I’m only checking your sanity level.”
“You’re the one who rode up here on a motorcycle in a blizzard, and you’re checking my sanity level?”
Logan ran a hand over his neck. “Yeah, ironic piece of shit, isn’t it?”
“We’re running out of time. We need to get back to my cabin before the snow gets any deeper. Are you coming along?”
“Don’t seem to have any other choice. How are we doing this?”
“I’m sure you don’t want to leave your motorcycle here, correct?”
“Definitely correct in that assumption, she’s my baby.”
Joel moved to the front window and glanced at Logan’s bike. “And a pretty girl at that, I don’t blame you for not leaving her behind.” He tapped his hand on the window and turned to face Logan. “Follow me back to my place. It’s down the path and up the ridge.”
“Through the woods to grandmother’s house?”
“To the carpenter’s house, if you want the truth.” Joel held up a hand to stop Logan from asking questions. “If you follow the tracks of the snowmobile, you should be fine. Do you have anything warmer around here to wear? A snowsuit or something?”
“I wasn’t expecting it to snow. From what I could tell with my initial assessment, they damaged everything in their psychotic path. I have to replace everything but the cabin.”
“Ahh. Shouldn’t it be your brother replacing the damages, not you?” Joel asked.
Logan snorted. “You don’t know Mal.”
“We’ll talk about that later.” Joel glanced outside again. “Okay. We need to move. We’re running out of time.”
“Great! Time to freeze the nuts again. Can you get frostbite on your cock?”
“I’m sure we can prevent that from happening. We’ll get you warm again at the cabin. Just follow me. I’ll wait until you bring the bike around before leaving.”
Logan shoved the flashlight into his backpack and zipped it before slinging the straps over his shoulder. He wouldn’t bother reattaching it, just the saddlebags. He pulled on his gloves, then his helmet before picking up the saddlebags, and dug out his key. “I’ll go out front and meet you in back. Don’t bother locking. Just pull it shut hard. Not like anyone will want to steal this crap.”
Doing the same with his hood, scarf, goggles, and gloves, Joel nodded.
Stepping out the front door, Logan shuddered hard at the freezing temperature. Joel was right, the weather was definitely turning worse, and they couldn’t stay outside for long.
Rushing to the bike, Logan reattached the saddlebags and straddled the seat. Pushing the key in the ignition, he gave the engine some gas and flicked the clutch with his boot. The powerful engine rumbled and roared between his legs.
“Thank you, baby, I’ll get you safe in a few minutes. Just get me through this storm,” he said to the bike, promising her the world.
Flipping down the visor, he kicked up the stand and rode around the cabin until he saw Joel and the snowmobile.