Alaska Wild

By: Helena Newbury

1





Kate





I met him at the edge of the world.

I’d flown from New York to Seattle, then from Seattle to Anchorage and finally from Anchorage to Nome, the planes getting smaller each time. I’d been in continuous motion for twelve hours. But when I climbed out of the plane and set foot in Alaska, I stopped dead and just stared.

The tiny town of Nome is right on Alaska’s Western tip...but I wasn’t ready for how that felt. I turned in a slow circle as the chill spring wind tugged at my coat. To the south and west lay dark sea that looked so cold, I was sure my hand would instantly freeze solid if I dipped it in. Overhead, the sky was so brutally blue it was almost painful, so huge it made me feel like an insignificant speck. To the east and north was open country: towering mountains and thick forest. No skyscrapers. No highways. Nothing normal.

New York, seen from space, is a cluster of lights so dense that it becomes one throbbing mass. I’d spent my whole life there. Alaska is a dark void, the points of light so small and so far apart they almost disappear.

What the hell are you doing here, Kate?

I realized I was flipping my phone over and over in my fingers inside my purse, drawing reassurance from its smooth, man-made lines. I headed for the tiny terminal building as fast as I could.

Inside, I could smell coffee and that calmed me a little. Okay, it was nothing at all like an airport back in civilization, but there were things I recognized: an information desk, a couple of screens showing the handful of flights due that day, and a sign pointing to the restrooms. I followed the arrow, relieved myself and emerged from the restroom staring down at the single, forlorn bar of signal on my phone. That’s how I walked right into him.

My face whumped right into the valley between the big, hard mountains of his pecs. My thighs slammed one-two into his, except his were as solid and unyielding as a rock face. One foot wound up between his boots, my groin perilously close to his. I bounced back a little but he didn’t move at all, as if he was part of the landscape.

I’m five-two, so I instinctively looked up. That wasn’t nearly enough. I had to tilt my head right back.

He was staring back down at me and I just froze because….

Because suddenly, all of that wild that had made me so nervous outside was standing right in front of me, distilled into six feet plus of muscle and stubble. His eyes were the same brutal, frozen blue as the sky outside. Alaskan blue.

I’d never thought about what my exact opposite would be like. Now I knew. Huge, where I’m tiny. Rough where I’m smooth. Everything, from his battered boots to his wide, muscled shoulders were built for work: grunting, rock-smashing, tree-chopping work. I stood there in my suit, clutching my laptop bag, and it was as if I was from a different world. He belonged in this place as much as I didn’t. I knew, straightaway, that he was born here.

And yet while the landscape outside unnerved me, this man triggered something completely different, an awakening that started at every millimeter of my skin that touched his but rippled in until it hit me soul-deep. There was something about him: animal and raw. Not just wild but Alaska wild. It was new and intoxicating, ripping through me like a hurricane and leaving behind a scalding heat. It was so strong, it was almost frightening.

But somehow, touching him felt...right. Like some tiny piece of technology, all brushed aluminum and glossy screen, slotting into a crack in a granite cliff face...and discovering it fits perfectly.

I took a deep breath...and, as my chest lifted, I felt my breasts pillow against the hard ridges of his stomach. I was wearing bra, blouse, suit jacket and a tightly-belted coat and not one of those layers meant a damn thing. I could feel the animal heat of him throbbing straight into me, could actually feel my nipples pull and tighten—

I stepped back. “Sorry.” I tried to get myself together but, as soon as I met his eyes again, it was as if every thread of my clothing had been reduced to ash, the particles blasted aside by a scorching wind that seemed to slam me back against the restroom door. I tried to take a breath and found I couldn’t. My chest was tight, my eyes wide. The heat inside me went lava-hot, a crashing, scorching waterfall that slammed straight down to my groin. I’d never in my life felt such want.

He wanted me.

I looked deliberately away and then back. I tried to reduce him to something ordered, to a description. Six-four. Dark hair. Blue eyes—

It didn’t work. The words were boxes into which this man refused to be stuffed. He wasn’t six-four. He was just big, big like the mountains outside were big. His hair wasn’t dark, it wasn’t some color you could pick off a chart. It was as thick and lushly black as an animal’s, and grown long and loose enough to brush his collar. He had a couple of days’ worth of stubble but it wasn’t carefully shaped and precisely trimmed, like the guys back in New York wore it, the artfully rough look. This was just a guy who hadn’t come near a razor in a few days because he’d been out in the wilds.

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