Instant Attraction Read online

  Chapter 1

  “Live life balls out,” Katie Kramer told herself every night, and even though she didn’t own a pair, she hoped the mantra would keep the nightmares away.

  It didn’t.

  Death and destruction and horror still dogged her dreams. Until tonight, that is. Tonight she’d miraculously been nightmare free. So when she opened her eyes sometime just before one, she felt…confused. She wasn’t screaming about the bridge collapsing, about being trapped in her car, hanging upside down by her seatbelt fifty feet over the side of a cliff with flames licking at her….

  Which meant something else had woken her. And whatever it was, she wanted to kill it for interrupting the first solid sleep she’d had in four months.

  There was a fatal flaw with this logic, of course. Because most likely it hadn’t been an it, but a someone.

  She wasn’t alone.

  Not prone to hysterics or drama, she shook her head in the dark. She’d locked the cabin door. She was safe. Plus, she wasn’t in Los Angeles anymore. After the accident, she’d gotten into her brand-new used car and left town to fulfill her “balls out” motto. She didn’t know what adventures were ahead of her exactly, but the not knowing was part of the plan. She’d gone north because Highway 5 had been the only freeway moving faster than fifteen miles per hour and she’d needed to move fast, needed to get as far from her old, staid, boring, careful life as a tank of gas could get her.

  Eight hours later, she’d found herself in the Sierras, where it was real winter. None of LA’s lightweight weather where flip-flops were risky for a few weeks in January, but the real deal complete with snow piled high in berms on either side of the roads and frost on her windows.

  When she stopped for dinner in a tiny old west town named Wishful, she’d nearly froze her fingers and toes right off. And yet, after all her nightmares of heat and flames, she loved it. Loved the huge wide-open sky, loved the way her breath crystallized in front of her face, loved the way the trees smelled like Christmas.

  Then she’d seen the want ad.


  That had been it for her; she was sold. She’d been working for Wilder Adventures for a week now, the best week in recent memory. Up until right this second when a shadowy outline of a man appeared in her room. Like the newly brave woman she was, she threw the covers over her head and hoped he hadn’t seen her.

  “Hey,” he said, blowing that hope all to hell.

  His voice was low and husky, sounding just as surprised as she. With a deep breath, she lurched upright to a seated position on the bed and reached out for her handy-dandy baseball bat before remembering she hadn’t brought it with her. Instead, her hands connected with her glasses and they went flying.

  Which might just have been a blessing in disguise, because now she wouldn’t be able to witness her own death.

  But then the tall shadow bent and scooped up her glasses and…

  Handed them to her.

  A considerate bad guy?

  She jammed the frames on her face and focused in the dim light coming from the living-room lamp. He stood at the foot of the bed frowning right back at her, hands on his hips.


  He didn’t look like an ax murderer, which was good, very good, but at over six feet of impressive, rangy, solid-looking muscle, he didn’t exactly look like a harmless tooth fairy either.

  “Why are you in my bed?” he asked warily, as if maybe he’d put her there but couldn’t quite remember.

  He had a black duffel bag slung over a shoulder. Light brown hair stuck out from the edges of his knit ski cap to curl around his neck. Sharp green eyes were leveled on hers, steady and calm but irritated as he opened his denim jacket.

  If he was an ax murderer, he was quite possibly the most attractive one she’d ever seen, which didn’t do a thing for her frustration level. She’d been finally sleeping.


  He could have no idea what a welcome miracle that had been, dammit.

  “Earth to Goldilocks.” He waved a gloved hand until she dragged her gaze back up to his face. “Yeah, hi. My bed. Want to tell me why you’re in it?”

  “I’ve been sleeping here for a week.” Granted, she’d had a hard time of it lately, but she definitely would have noticed him in bed with her.

  “Who told you to sleep here?”

  “My boss, Stone Wilder. Well, technically, Annie the chef, but—” She broke off when he reached toward her, clutching the comforter to her chin as if the down feathers could protect her, really wishing for that handy-dandy bat.

  But instead of killing her, he hit the switch to the lamp on the nightstand and more fully illuminated the room as he dropped his duffel bag.

  While Katie tried to slow her heart rate, he pulled off his jacket and gloves, and tossed them territorially to the chest at the foot of the bed.

  His clothes seemed normal enough. Beneath the jacket he wore a fleece-lined sweatshirt opened over a long-sleeved brown Henley, half untucked over faded Levi’s. The jeans were loose and low on his hips, baggy over unlaced Sorels, the entire ensemble revealing that he was in prime condition.

  “My name is Katie Kramer,” she told him, hoping he’d return the favor. “Wilder Adventures’s new office temp.” She paused, but he didn’t even attempt to fill the awkward silence. “So that leaves you…”

  “What happened to Riley?”


  “The current office manager.”

  “I think she’s on maternity leave.”

  “That must be news to his wife.”

  She met his cool gaze. “Okay, obviously I’m new. I don’t know all the details since I’ve only been here a week.”

  “Here, being my cabin, of course.”

  “Stone told me that the person who used to live here had left.”

  “Ah.” His eyes were the deepest, most solid green she’d ever seen as they regarded her. “I did leave. I also just came back.”

  She winced, clutching the covers a little tighter to her chest. “So this cabin…Does it belong to an ax murderer?”

  That tugged a rusty-sounding laugh from him. “Haven’t sunk that low. Yet.” Pulling off his cap, he shoved his fingers through his hair. With those sleepy-lidded eyes, disheveled hair, and at least two days’ growth on his jaw, he looked big and bad and edgy—and quite disturbingly sexy with it. “I need sleep.” He dropped his long, tough self to the chair by the bed, as if so weary he could no longer stand. He set first one and then the other booted foot on the mattress, grimacing as if he were hurting, though she didn’t see any reason for that on his body as he settled back, lightly linking his hands together low on his flat abs. Then he let out a long, shuddering sigh.

  She stared at more than six feet of raw power and testosterone in disbelief. “You still haven’t said who you are.”

  “Too Exhausted To Go Away.”

  She did some more staring at him, but he didn’t appear to care. “Hello?” she said after a full moment of stunned silence. “You can’t just—”

  “Can. And am.” And with that, he closed his eyes. “Night, Goldilocks.”

  Cameron Wilder tried to go to sleep, but his knee was killing him, and his bed buddy was sputtering, working her way up to a conversation he didn’t want to have.

  “You can’t just…I mean, surely you don’t mean to…”

  With a deep breath, he opened his eyes and took in the woman sitting on his bed. She wasn’t a hardship to look at, even though he’d much rather be alone. She had light brown hair, which was currently in bed-head mode, flying in crazy waves around her jaw and shoulders. Her creamy skin wa