Teale, they’ll stop at nothing to take her away.
too cold for this shit.” I slammed the door of my truck before clomping up the
snow-covered stairs. Skagway was having one of the coldest winters in history.
We were getting so much damn snow, and no one could keep up with it.
the door of the cabin my friend Butch had rented out. He’d asked if I could
help the tenant with any problems while he was away. Of course, there would be
problems with some stupid city slicker renting it out. Butch owed me big.
twenty text messages that the heater wasn’t working. Twenty damn text messages.
Who sends that many? I had just as many voicemails but hadn’t listened to one.
I’d gotten the picture from one text. No need for twenty.
some guy named Teske. What kind of name is that? I would have bet this guy wore
some shiny-ass loafers with his fancy-ass business suit.
middle of January. Normally, this was my chance to get away from all these
jokers and recharge for the hunting season. Instead, I was here, dealing with a
heating issue. Teske probably couldn’t find the pilot light to save his life.
much shit to do.
on my ass to find a potential serial killer. There had been a wave of unsolved
murders all throughout Alaska. The last one had been in Juneau, which was too
fucking close for comfort. In exchange for my help, the FBI agreed to leave
Kory and Hayden alone. No more questions about all the shit that had happened.
No more bothering them, period. They weren’t supposed to even look Kory and
feds had been true to their word.
they wanted me to pull a rabbit out of my ass and make a murderer appear out of
flash—rabbits aren’t found in people’s asses. At least not in mine.
fresh crime scene to track. The ones I’d been brought to so far were already
tainted. In some cases, it had been four months since the murder. The Juneau
incident was four weeks previous. By the time they brought me on board, the
crime scene had been ruined. Even worse, the pictures they’d taken were shit.
The whole case was a disaster. And they had no idea who was behind it.
had nicknamed him “Lumberjack Killer.” Talk about being original and unique. It
was hard to even say the name with a straight face.
on the door of Butch’s cabin. In the next second, it shot open.
goodness you’re here! I’m about to become a Popsicle.”
second, I was frozen in shock. I hadn’t been expecting a woman to answer the
door. Butch had said there was only one occupant, and I’d assumed it was a guy.
She had on so much fur it was hard to see anything else. Whatever was on her
head looked like what Hollis, our local town doctor who’d relocated from New
York, considered a Paul Bunyan hat on steroids. Time and time again, I’d tried
to tell Hollis that Paul Bunyan wore a beanie, but Hollis was Hollis, and he
stuck to his beliefs.
looking for Teske,” I said.
took a deep breath; my patience was growing thin. “That’s what the text said.”
laughed. “No, that was supposed to say Teale. But my hands were so cold my
fingers probably slipped. And I can’t see much with all this fur. I’m
inside the cabin and was disappointed to find it just as cold inside as it was
outside. That wasn’t good. “Why didn’t you start a fire?”
girl was shivering. “Umm… I couldn’t find the remote.”
At home, I push a button and voilà… let there be fire. There wasn’t a remote or
button to push.”
laugh, but I kept a straight face. A remote? Is she serious? Even Hollis would
have been able to figure out the fireplace needed wood and matches.
check out the heater.”
the back of the cabin and found the furnace tucked away in a closet.
was old as dirt. It looked like a rusted tin bucket. What the hell? Butch
should have known better than to rent out his cabin without a properly working
heater. I screwed around with it for a few minutes, but the damn thing was
completely shot. We needed to come up with a Plan B.
into the living room where Teale sat with another blanket wrapped around her.
There was a hell of a lot of luggage stacked at the door. Maybe she hadn’t had
time to unpack. I thought she’d been here for a week or two already. Oh well. I
couldn’t concern myself with that.
heater is shot. Let me see if I can find some space heaters. Then we can get a
fire going. You should be good to go until I can get the parts to fix it.”
search the different closets, and I heard the front door open and close. When I
walked back into the living room, Teale was gone. From the window, I saw her
heaving one of her suitcases into the bed of my truck.
This isn’t going to happen.
the door and yelled, “What are you doing?”
her arms over her chest. The damn fur obscured her face even more. “I’m going
anywhere but here. I’ll freeze to death here. You do not want my death on your
conscience. I’ll come back to haunt you. I can be very scary.”
second time that day, I’d wanted to laugh, but I refused to allow it. Me
laughing out loud in front of strangers never happened. She wasn’t coming with
me. No way. “No, we’ll start a fire and get you a space heater.”
the passenger door. “Hey, puppy. Don’t bite me. I just don’t want to freeze to
death.” Mariah looked at me, her big blue husky eyes asking what was going on.
I closed my fist to my side to let her know it was okay. I’d trained Mariah
personally, and she was the best damn dog I’d ever had.
going with you.”
getting us nowhere. I just had to get her back in the cabin and show her how
warm I could make it. Calmly, I walked toward the truck. As I reached the door,
the locks engaged.
through the window, “I need you to get the rest of my luggage first. Then I’ll
let you in the truck.”
out of my truck.” This was ridiculous, and I was tired of playing games.
Sorry. Luggage first. I’m coming with you.”
will get the cabin warm again.”
her head to the side and smiled at me. “Will you please get my luggage, Mr.
Foster? Then you can take me into town. The one thing I do know is that I’m not
staying in this cabin a second longer.”
her for five minutes, but this woman was going to be the death of me. Fine. I’d
take her to the hotel and be done with this shit. The roads out to my cabin and
Butch’s were still terrible. It had taken me nearly ninety minutes to make it
out there. Normally it was only about a twenty-five-minute drive. I gritted my
teeth and hoped the main road into town had been cleared enough for me to
manage it. However, I knew I would be stuck in town for a minimum of a few
days. From my cabin, it was still a thirty-minute drive to my parents’ on a
good day. If I had to, I could stay with Mom and Dad. Butch, you owe me.
out my phone and texted Dad. My parents’ house was only about ten minutes or so
anything about the roads in town?
you’re thinking about coming into town, I wouldn’t. They’re still bad. One of
the plow trucks broke down and the other needs a new blade.
luck. Skagway had two plows and both were out of commission.
Just had a few errands to run.
brothers got wind of this… well, it wouldn’t be good. I had to talk sense into
this woman. “Teale, let’s talk.”
her head and pointed at the cabin. This woman was so damn stubborn. I grabbed
all fifty million suitcases and threw them into the back of my truck.
hell packs this much?
last bag was loaded, the locks disengaged, and I climbed in.
pulled back her fur hat and looked at me. I was stunned momentarily in the deep
dark pools of her eyes. They were gorgeous.
way over my head.