The last thing Wade Masters wants on his month-long getaway to his sister’s wilderness cabin is company. A wounded warrior, Wade is looking for complete isolation to deal with the tragedy of his life and his screaming guilt. But company he gets, in the form of Lyssa Salk, a spunky, diminutive massage therapist, who says she can talk to dead people. Trapped together in the snowbound cabin with his dog and her cat, Wade and Lyssa have little else to do but help each other heal, spiritually, physically, and sexually.
He had probably stayed in the shower too long; the water was turning tepid. Wade stepped out and dried off, ruffling his hair with the fluffy towel. He tried to ignore the pink hearts. It was either pink hearts or Hello Kitty with Val.
He resolved, if he ever visited this cabin again, he would bring his own towels. Something manly. Camo maybe.
A sharp series of barks brought his head up with a snap.
Bo rarely barked, and then only at a threat.
Wade sprang into action, wrapping the towel around his waist and stopping in the bedroom to grab his pistol. He’d seen bear tracks and scat on his run, and though it was the middle of winter, he knew they could come out of hibernation. Theyd been known to break into cabins if they smelled food.
His heart leapt into his throat at the thought of Bo facing a hungry five-hundred pound beast with no protection.
Towel flapping, he pounded down the short hall into the great room of the cabin, expecting the worst. He stopped in his tracks.
It was the worst.
Not a bear, but an even greater predator.
There, pressed up against the door, cornered by his snarling protector, be-speckled with snow, and clutching a mangy backpack, was a woman.
He could tell she was a woman, even though she wore multiple coats and sweaters in layers and a knit hat pulled down over her ears. Long black hair escaped from the cap, trailing over her shoulders. But it was the eyes that gave her away, wide and round and fringed with thick lashes. And her chin. It was delicate, dimpled, and quivering. Her lips were parted and her exquisite face pale.
Bo glanced back at him as if crowing, look what I caught! And edged forward with an ominous growl.
The girl clutched her backpack closer and issued a panicked little peep. She tried to press back into the door, making herself as tiny as she could, but there was no give. Besides, she was tiny enough. Like a woodland sprite.
He would have thought her a fairy come in from the woods if he’d had a hint of whimsy in him. And if she hadn’t been wearing everything she owned. He didn’t know much about fairies, but he was pretty sure they had some fashion sense.
Bo’s growl became a snarl, a snap, and the girl warbled a wail. “Please!” she cried. “Call him off!”
Wade snapped his fingers, fully expecting Bo to heel. He’d been methodically trained by a world-renown expert. He always behaved.
But he didn’t. His hackles rose, and he took another menacing step toward the girl. A tear tracked down her cheek, and her entire body shook. “P-please!”
“Bo! Fuß!” he said, hoping the command to heel in the language he’d learned as a puppy penetrated. Bo licked his muzzle, gave a canine whine, and padded to Wade’s side. “Braver Hund.” Wade ruffled the scruff of Bo’s beck and gave him a scratch. “Good dog.”
The girl collapsed against the door, but her attention didn’t waver from Bo, whose hackles were still up. Wade didn’t understand his dog’s reaction. He’d always been friendly to strangers before, more likely to whap them to death with his tail than to so much as growl. His gaze fell on the small cage at the girl’s feet and he froze. He could see a hint of the creature inside and he suddenly understood.
She had a cat.
Not only was his solitude shattered by an unwanted female guest—a bedraggled homeless ragamuffin—she’d brought a cat.
Damn. He hated cats.