In early spring, twenty-eight year old Samantha (Sam) Williams didn’t get the expected promotion at PowerUP Public Relations firm in New York City. Instead, she is offered a job of a lifetime, working with her current boss, Cindy Davis, establishing another branch, in Jackson, Wyoming. She would receive the coveted title of Western Accounts Manager and be able to pursue her wildlife and landscape photography hobby. She accepts the offer from Cindy, also a personal friend.
After an early morning meeting at the office, Sam returns to her empty apartment where the movers have packed the truck and a cab is waiting in the street to take her to the airport. She doesn’t have time to change from her standard short skirt suit and torturous stiletto heels. A horrendous travel day ensues which includes a canceled flight, missing connected flight, lost luggage and arriving late at the car rental agency, before Sam is finally on her way, driving from Salt Lake City, Utah to Jackson, Wyoming.
The sun sets and her car shakes and shudders to a stop in the middle of a lonely country road with bears, wolves and other wild animals all around. She starts walking and sees a light flashing around off the side of the road. As she gets closer she sees two men and a white pick-up truck, the men digging in the ground. When she yells for help, they quickly dispense with the noise making in the night quiet and come toward her in the truck. One of the men flashes a bright light into her face, getting a good look, close up and personal. She’s relieved when they leave without offering a ride and continues her jaunt down the road.
Stumbling over a rock in the road, the heel of her shoe breaks off. She attempts to break the other one off but no avail. She limps until she sees a flashing red light: Rosie’s Diner. It’s a mom and pop’s fifties looking eatery. She enters and is immediately engulfed in warmth—she’s frozen to the core—and the aroma of hot food and freshly brewed coffee. She appears disheveled from her long day and attempts to tidy up by pulling her jacket and skirt down. She blows a wisp of hair off her brow and glances around. The only seat available is at the counter beside a too-handsome-to-live cowboy. He smiles and his entire face lights up.
Thirty-two year old, Elliott Bouchard, born and raised in Jackson, owns property in downtown Jackson and rents a corner unit to PowerUP. The center unit is leased to Gems and Stones Appraisal Company and the remaining end unit houses Bouchard Outfitters. He lives in Saddle Creek, near Rosie’s, works at his parents’ horse ranch training therapy horses for his mother’s classes, as well as, runs his outfitting business.
When he first sets eyes on Sam, he is smitten and sees a city girl. For once, he isn’t reminded of his deceased wife. He and Sam get to know each other over dinner. Elliott offers to chauffeur her around town and show her the sights, especially those with photo opps. She hesitates, using the excuse she doesn’t know him well enough. She asks him to call a cab for her to take her to her hotel in Jackson. He laughs at her as he puts her carry-on luggage in the back seat of his big, high-off-the-ground pick up truck. A city girl in the country without any of the modern conveniences i.e. stores open 24/7, cabs milling around waiting for a fare, cell phone service, etc. He drives her to her hotel and waits for her to get in, then chastises himself for not kissing her goodnight.
Samantha (Sam) closes her hotel door and slides to the floor, speed-dialing her friend Cindy on the way. She describes how her day ended with meeting a gorgeous cowboy and Cindy lets her know right away he is their landlord. Sam asks to borrow clothes and explains Elliott guiding her around town tomorrow. In the morning, Sam sticks her head out of an unlocked window in her hotel room to smell the fresh mountain air. She can’t get the window locked again and heads out to get breakfast. Sam meets Elliott mid morning to take advantage of photo opps, and while doing so is followed by a white pick up who leaves quickly before she could get a tag number.
At Elliott’s parents’ house, they take a trail ride on a four-wheeler and Sam gets a ton of pictures. Walking back to the four-wheeler Sam feels eerie, as if being followed. Instead, they hear a frightened horse nearby who hurries back to the barn. They eat dinner at Rosie’s. Elliott takes Sam back to the hotel making plans to meet early the next day and plan dinner.
Sam sets up her new office and catches up on email. She reads a disturbing one from an old friend, Larry Albright who is trying to locate her so they can get back together. It’s her opinion they were never ‘together’ in the first place. She responds with get lost, not interested. But sees it as a bad omen. She can’t get it out of her mind.
Sam and Elliott have dinner together and when they return to her hotel room find its been ransacked, and a note on the bathroom mirror “Get Out” in her favorite lipstick. The Sherriff investigates and finds an unlocked window as the means of entry. Sam’s really frightened now and Elliott moves her into Travis’ B&B in Saddle Creek, adjacent to his house where he can keep an eye on her.
The next morning, Elliott finds Sam’s rental car tires slashed. Whoever is following her has found her. He calls the Sheriff and runs into Jackson to meet with his renters, the Solomon’s, from the Gem and Stone appraisal office about harassing his parents for mineral rights. When he returns he finds his house has been ransacked, everything gone through, dishes thrown to the floor and broken. Someone is searching for something from both Sam and Elliott.
Sam searches for a place of her own with no luck and receives another mysterious email from Larry Albright. She also has an argument with her boss/friend Cindy who presents an ultimatum. Cindy wants Elliott for herself and Sam has to choose between her job and Elliott. Sam chooses Elliott and spends the night with him in his bed.
While reviewing her new photos she sees someone in Elliott’s red and black plaid jacket push someone in brown hunting clothing off a cliff and into a river. She suspects Elliott and reports it to the Sherriff, a boyhood friend of Elliott’s who takes the event seriously and investigates. She leaves Elliott’s bed/home and returns to the B&B.
Elliott works with the Sherriff, trying to identify the victim who the Sherriff finds stuck on a branch across the river that runs out back of Jackson. Mitch, the Sherriff, is convinced Elliott is innocent, especially after hearing his alibi, after talking to Elliott, he believes he couldn’t’ or wouldn’t murder anyone. No longer a suspect, Elliott agrees to help solve the mystery.
Later, Elliott goes to Sam’s room at the B&B. As soon as she opens the door they rush into each other’s arms, both exclaiming their sorry’s and asking for forgiveness.
The antagonist, Scruff, visits his bosses, the Solomon’s and owners of the Gem and Stone Appraisal office and admits pushing Ralph off the cliff—had to get rid of him—his big mouth would get him in trouble. Solomon’s tell him he needs to get the girl and make sure she doesn’t have any incriminating evidence, i.e. a picture of his actions. So Scruff starts looking for her camera in her hotel room, in her car and at Elliott’s house. He has no luck. Where else could it be?
Elliott plans an overnight trail ride on horses and invites Sam to come along. Scruff, unknown to either of them, joins the trip. While Sam and Elliott are washing dishes at a nearby stream, Scruff steals Elliott’s best horse. Elliott is furious about the loss and is torn between leaving his paying clients in the wilderness to chase someone who is a novice at riding and on a well-trained horse he knows is going directly back to the barn.
It snows at night and while packing up the next morning, Sam finds her camera missing. They suspect Scruff and hurry down the mountain trail. The stolen horse is in the barn but no sign of the camera bag or Scruff. They report the theft to the Sherriff along with a physical description of Scruff. The Sherriff puts out a BOLO.
Scruff takes the stolen cameras to the Solomon’s and they smash his face with one along with an explanation he needs the tiny scan disk that goes inside the computer. They tell Scruff he needs to get rid of both Sam and Elliott. NOW!
When Elliott parks in back of his store to check in, he notices the Solomon’s back door ajar. Leaving Sam in the heated truck, he trudges around to the front and enters Solomon’s office. Scruff kidnaps Sam from the truck, binds her mouth, wrists, and ankles with duct tape. He throws her over his shoulder and takes her to a back alley, smashes her face for making too much noise, and seat belts her in the white truck. Restrained and unable to move Sam searches with her eyes for someone to see her and help her, but to no avail. Scruff takes her to a mountain line shack that is located on Bouchard property. There, Larry Albright is waiting for her to renew their relationship. Scruff ends up being Larry’s uncle and while Scruff removes the tape from her mouth and ties her arms to the headboard, Larry chastises Sam telling her she’s getting everything she deserves. All she had to do was sleep with him. When she refuses to give them another chance, Larry leaves and Scruff keeps her tied to the bed, waiting for ransom until the following morning when he hauls her butt to the edge of the cliff. There, he admits throwing Ralph off the cliff and would do the same with her. Then he would leave town, change his name and never be heard from again.
Scruff holds her at the edge, she screams for Elliott but Scruff follows through. Once airborne, she reaches for anything she can and grabs a root, which slows her fall onto a ledge where she lands wrong on her an ankle. The ledge gives way and she is forced to fall into the water.
Elliott and Mitch, also a pilot, borrow a plane and search for Sam. They see smoke from a line shack and a red car racing away. They dive bomb the red car, and the driver runs the car into a tree. They find out later the driver was Larry. Mitch calls his deputies to respond to his location.
Elliott watches, horrified, as Scruff pushes Sam into the rushing rapids below. They hurry to the ranch for horses and begin the search for Scruff and Sam. They separate, Elliott going for Sam and Mitch for Scruff. Elliott finds Sam unconscious on the riverbank but still alive; not like his first wife who he couldn’t get to in time and died of hyperthermia. He tries to revive her, warming her up and talking to her while calling for an ambulance. Mitch arrives at the river after tying Scruff to a tree and notifying his deputies of his location. Elliott admits to Mitch that he’s fallen in love with Sam, something he thought he would never have the chance to do again, not since Mariah.
Mitch helps Elliott onto his horse with Sam in his arms and heads toward the waiting ambulance, Elliott talking to her all the way trying to help her stay awake. After getting her broken foot in a cast and discharged from the hospital, Elliott takes her to his house. They spend the day in bed, just as the doctor ordered.
Elliott explains about Larry crashing into a tree and was being extradited back to New York for stalking charges. After a background search, they find the Solomon’s have a long police record of mine grabbing/stealing/jumping and are on their way to prison for a long time. He would need a new tenant for the center office, He suggests making it into an art gallery for her photos.
Finally, Elliott asks Sam if after she gets her cast off, if she would marry him. Of course, she says yes and they spend another day in bed to celebrate their future.
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I live on a densely populated peninsula in the mid west coast of Florida with my husband, (my high school sweetheart), and AJ, my long-haired Chihuahua. With the help of my husband, we raised two grown respectable and responsible sons, who have given me two daughters-in law and three grandchildren. I’ve trekked all over the country, including Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, California, and Montana, which are some of my favorite settings for my books.
I wrote my first story in the fourth grade in the form of a play—something about getting a shot at the doctor—it actually was produced by my teacher for parents and students in a Friday afternoon assembly. When I was older, I spilled my guts in a journal every night and wrote long newsy love letters to Viet Nam to my now husband of 50 years. I majored in English in college and worked in the finance arena as a CFO for thirty-five years.
I am a multi published author of Romantic Suspense; two series, the Deadly series with six books, and the Saddle Creek series of four books but a Christmas trilogy. I have also written and published a compilation of four short Christmas stories: Christmas Awakenings. I am a mentor to others helping them write, complete and polish their books for submission.
After six years as a copy editor for The Wild Rose Press, and two years as an editor I decided to devote more time to my family and my own writing career.
An author of romantic suspense, I love reading almost as much as writing. I have filled my book shelves with my favorites, i.e. Harlan Coben, Eliza March, Johanna Lindsey, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Desiree Holt, Catherine Bybee, Kendra Elliott, Shirley Jump, BJ Daniels, Andrew Gross, and Bobbi Smith, just to mention a few, as well as all the classics.
Personal Interest: I love scrapbooking and genealogy, connecting stories with pictures. I’ve sewn, quilted and have machine embroidered but my interests have changed as I’ve grown older. (I’m not really that old.) Now, I really enjoy writing stories, many times using my real life experiences, to tell the tale.