Wild North, an all-new standalone romance with a broody and swoon-worthy mountain man from New York Times bestselling author JB Salsbury, is coming May 18th and we have the first look!
The temperature is the first thing I recognize as I wake up in a strange place. I blink open my eyes, grateful to see more clearly as I stare at the horizontal logs of a ceiling. Heat blazes from my left side. I cautiously turn my head to see a fire through the soot-stained glass of a woodstove. Everything is quiet except for the distant sound of wind and rain. Heavy weight presses down on me from my toes to my throat, and the musky scent of wet animal hangs heavy in the air. I wiggle my fingers on my stomach and realize I’m wearing nothing but my long underwear. I tilt my chin to see layers of weighted blankets covering me—no, not blankets. Animal hides.
I work my mouth and clear my dry throat. My lips are rough and cracked as I lick them with a parched tongue. I try to think back. To remember how I ended up here. Did I manage to crawl here on my own? Is this heaven? Hell?
I try to swivel my head slowly, taking in as much of the space as I can with only the muted light from the fire to expose my surroundings. Everything outside the fire’s glow is black. I need to sit up and get to my feet. As I take a deep breath to gather my strength, my ribcage roars in protest.
“Ow, fuck.” A moan works its way up my throat as I lie helplessly on my back. Tears spring to my eyes. Shallowly breathing, I lift my head then try to wedge my elbow underneath. I cry out in pain and drop my head back.
“Don’t move.” The deep, booming command comes from somewhere in the dark.
“Who are you?” My voice is weak and shaky and doesn’t sound like my own. A rush of energy fuels my muscles, and I attempt to move again. Gritting my teeth through the pain, I roll to my side toward the heat source.
“I wouldn’t do that,” the masculine voice says in a tone so deep it’s almost hard to hear.
Sweat breaks on my brow. My teeth clench until my jaw aches. I breathe through my nose, waiting for the pain to subside. That’s when I see a large mason jar filled with what looks like water sitting within arm’s reach. I scramble for it and slosh some over the rim while sloppily bringing it to my mouth. With greedy gulps, I down the glass, and water streams down my neck to my chest because of the odd angle. With a blissful sigh, I ease to my back with relief.
“Can I have more water, please?” My voice already sounds better, stronger.
He doesn’t answer.
“Hello?” I stare blindly at the roof of what I’ve gathered to be a log cabin. “Did you bring me here?”
“Where am I?”
He’s so quiet in the dark, I wonder if he’s disappeared.
“Do you have a phone? A car? I need a hospital. I slipped and fell. I remember tumbling and—” I gingerly reach up and touch my shoulder, moving my fingers over it, and press on the tender muscles. “I think I landed in a ditch or something. I blacked out. I don’t remember how long…” Was I lying there, dying, for days? “What day is it?”
My questions are met with more silence.
“Are you there—”
The sound of wood scraping on wood echoes around me, and I feel the air in the room shift. We must be in a small space because I can hear every step he takes. Wood creaks under his weight, and in the dim light of the fire, I see the faint outline of a large man, the yellow light glinting off his tan, bare torso as he climbs a ladder and disappears into more darkness.
The rustling of blankets is my only response.
“Why won’t you answer me—”
“Go to sleep.” Another growled, irritated command.
A flutter of panic works its way to my chest. Who is this guy? And what does he plan to do with me?
The question sends a ripple of fear through me. I’m completely helpless at the mercy of what could be a deranged outsider living like a wild animal in the mountains.
Not exactly the kind of thoughts that usher in sleep.
A woman in my fucking space. And the only person I have to blame for this royal shitstorm is myself.
But what should I have done? Left her out there to die? And she would surely have died. She was nearly hypothermic when I found her, and that was before the temperature dropped and the storm rolled in.
Goddammit, how unlucky can one son of a bitch be?
My answer lies in the form of a woman injured and obnoxiously curious on my cabin floor.
After a sleepless night, I feel her eyes on me before my foot hits the last rung of the ladder from my sleeping platform. My grip on the wood tightens, and I rein in my frustration at her intrusion. When I turn around, I’m surprised to see her sitting up, her back to the wall, still mostly covered in deer hides. Her fiery gray eyes are unflinching as I scowl back at her.
Yeah, I can ask questions, too. Like, how the hell is she sitting up with what I’m guessing is at least one broken rib? And how utterly stupid does a person have to be to wonder the Adirondack Mountains alone and untrained in survival? And furthermore, why the hell is she looking at me like I’m the one who pushed her off that ridge rather than the man who saved her life?
I rip my gaze from hers, not because she wins, but because my guess is she’ll be glaring at me all day, and I have more important shit to do than play the blinking game with this unwelcome pain in the ass.
After tossing more wood into the fire, I pull back the rustic shutters on the window to check the weather. “Shit,” I mumble to myself as I become aware of the grim truth.
An ice storm holds me prisoner inside my own cabin with a woman who irritates the fuck out of me by simply breathing. And it’s my fault she’s still breathing.
I go about making my breakfast, uncomfortably aware of her watching my every move. The kettle on the woodstove is already steaming, and I pull out my single bowl as well as a mason jar and add instant oatmeal. I pull out my instant coffee and grind my molars when I consider having to share my limited resources with my unwanted guest.
“Hello,” she says behind me. “Can you at least look at me when I’m talking to you?”
My hands freeze on the mason jar. An old memory nips at my nerves, causing an internal storm to simmer with a threat to rage. Abandoning breakfast, I grab my coat, slip on my boots, and throw open the front door, sending a gust of freezing ice inside.
“Where are you go—”
Her words are silenced by the door clanging behind me and the roar of the wind in my ears. I push through the waves of stinging ice to the outhouse, where I close myself inside, grateful for the slice of privacy.
If only the weather were clear, I’d have a shot at getting her out of here and back to wherever she came from. But neither of us is going anywhere until the storm moves through.
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To me, he was Grizzly.
To the world, I would learn, he’s someone else completely.
I should have died on that mountain.
But he rescued me.
More animal than man, he’s cold, distant, and fiercely territorial. He seems to hate me for simply breathing, and yet, he brought me back to life.
After my return to the city, I can’t stop thinking about him. His rough hands, intense glare, and the way he cared for me as if I meant something to him.
He tells me he’s dangerous. That I’m not safe around him. I would eventually understand why he warned me away. But by then it’s too late. My heart is his.
About JB Salsbury
JB Salsbury, New York Times Best Selling author of The Fighting Series, lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband and two kids. She spends the majority of her day lost in a world of battling alphas, budding romance, and impossible obstacles as stories claw away at her subconscious, begging to be released to the page.
Her love of good storytelling led her to earn a degree in Media Communications. With her journalistic background, writing has always been at the forefront, and her love of romance prompted her to write her first novel.
Since 2013 she has published six bestselling novels in The Fighting Series and won a RONE Award.