With: Katie Ruggle
Congratulations to "Trish J.", the winner in Katie's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!
HOLD YOUR BREATH
In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder…
As the captain of Field County’s ice rescue dive team, Callum Cook is driven to perfection. But when he meets new diver Louise “Lou” Sparks, all that hard-won order is obliterated in an instant. Lou is a hurricane. A walking disaster. And with her, he’s never felt more alive…even if keeping her safe may just kill him.
Lou’s new to the Rockies, intent on escaping her controlling ex, and she’s determined to make it on her own terms…no matter how tempting Callum may be. But when a routine training exercise unearths a body, Lou and Callum find themselves thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who will stop at nothing to silence Lou—and prove that not even her new Search and Rescue family can keep her safe forever.
She’d been kidding—well, kind of kidding—when she’d hollered at him to cook, but there was a definite smell of bacon in the cabin when she emerged from the bathroom twelve minutes later, smug about her speediness. After she threw on some warm and not-too-smelly clothes, she followed her nose to the kitchen, where Callum was indeed slaving over a hot stove. Leaning against the wall, she enjoyed the view of him standing at the stove, his sleeves pushed up to reveal his muscled forearms, lining up the strips of bacon into perfect formation.
“You know,” she teased, “you could have your own calendar. You’d only be wearing an apron in this shot. Although that’s kind of asking for spitting bacon-grease burns, isn’t it?”
He flushed, and she realized she was getting pretty proficient at making him turn red. “Did you want breakfast or not?” he grumbled, forking the bacon onto a paper-towel-lined plate.
“Yes.” She reached over to steal a piece, but he smacked her hand before she could reach her prize. “Ow. Did you happen to notice my twelve-minute prep time?”
“Wait for the eggs. And yes, very impressive.”
“You’re making eggs, too? I might just keep you.”
Although he was trying to hide it, a smile was fighting to break free. “You’re on toast duty.”
Lou glanced at the digital display showing the charge left in her batteries. “If you want me to use the toaster, I’m going to have to turn on the generator. The sun’s not high enough yet to produce much power. That’s what happens when you get up at the crack of dawn.”
He just gave her a look. “We don’t have to have toast.”
“No, it’s okay.” Heading for the front door, she said over her shoulder, “If you made bacon and eggs, the least I can do is make toast.”
Throwing on her boots but skipping the coat, she ran outside to the small shed that housed her generator. She opened the valve that allowed propane to the generator and reached for the start switch. A strange hissing sound and the strong smell of propane made her hesitate. Instead of turning on the generator, she pulled her hand back and closed the valve.
Trotting back to the cabin, she made a face. There always had to be something going wrong. Why couldn’t she just eat bacon with Callum in peace?
Inside, she nudged her temporary chef aside to grab a spray bottle from under the sink.
“What’s up?” he asked, turning off the burner, immediately slipping into calm and competent mode. It was like he could smell the start of a potential crisis.
“Propane leak,” she said, squirting some dish soap into the bottle and filling it the rest of the way with water. She grabbed her coat on the way out this time. Callum followed her silently. As they crossed the yard, the only sound was the crunch of snow beneath their boots. Although she had on her brave face, Lou couldn’t help glancing around at the surrounding trees. Everything was still and quiet, without even a breeze or the chatter of a squirrel. It felt like the forest was holding its breath, watching.
When she’s not writing, Katie Ruggle rides horses, shoots guns, and travels to warm places where she can SCUBA dive. Graduating from the Police Academy, Katie received her ice-rescue certification and can attest that the reservoirs in the Colorado mountains really are that cold. While she still misses her off-grid, solar- and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains, she now lives in Rochester, Minnesota near her family. Katie Ruggle: http://katieruggle.com/
Katie will be giving away one physical copy of HOLD YOUR BREATH to one lucky person leaving a comment or email entry. US & CANADA residents only.
Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST March 31st. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.