Kallie’s mountaintop respite is shattered when she runs into Hank Fogle with his drop-dead gorgeous eyes and frat-boy attitude. Denying the unmistakable chemistry between them, Kallie steels herself against the attraction, determined to remain aloof and free of the mess this man would surely bring into her life.
Can the magic of the Smokies allow her to let things flow naturally between them or will she fall into a lustful trap that will only break her heart in the end?
Kallie finished her shower and dressed. Her tensions gone and her skin alight with a glow, she went downstairs to make coffee. “It’s been awhile since I’ve had coffee after sex,” she mused. “Is it sex if you’re alone?” she pondered and decided she didn’t care. She was sated and that was enough for her.
A travel guide lay open where she’d left it the night before and she browsed the various activities and attractions, searching for the perfect solo thing to do. Page after page depicted families and lovers enjoying the various restaurants, shops and shows. Kallie realized the best thing she could think of was to go for a hike. She loved the mountains and it was something she didn’t need a ‘partner’ for. So, she swapped her sandals for running shoes and filled a fanny pack with a few Band-Aids, gum, cell phone and her keys before she set off down the lane that led to the trails.
Kallie walked and climbed, using her cell phone to snap pictures everywhere she turned. There were no words to describe the feeling of being in that national forest. It was a deep, emotional experience to walk so close to the animals as they went about their daily routines.
“You can feel the history here,” she said as she trekked a path that was only a few feet wide. The narrow ledge was part of a trail that led to one of the park’s most famous waterfalls. This particular waterfall was believed to have healing powers in its waters. Many touted the spiritual experience they’d had as ‘miraculous’ and ‘enlightening.’ When Kallie reached the landing, she believed them. Her breath caught in her throat and she felt herself tearing up as indescribable peace came over her. It was the most beautiful place she had ever seen. With its thousands of layers of rock being caressed by the purest water, all surrounded by mile high trees and foliage in every shade of green, Kallie could feel her spirit being soothed with every breath she took. The scents of dirt, animals and clean air seemed to push away the stress of her everyday life.
“No wonder so many people from all over the world come here. I can’t imagine a more perfect place.”
For the second time in as many days, she found she was alone at a little slice of heaven. She slipped off her shoes and waded through the cool water. The ten foot fall poured down the mountain side almost magically and created a small pool before travelling further down into another fall which led to a two hundred foot drop into the river. Kallie stood gazing in awe at the majestic scene.
She again tried to capture the perfect picture of the natural structure. “How can a world full of evil, corrupt people also contain such beauty?”
“I’ve often wondered that myself.”
“Aaaah!” Kallie spun to see who had intruded her sanctuary and lost her footing. Strong, tanned arms caught her before she plummeted into the raging river two hundred feet below. However, her phone took the steep plunge and disappeared into the river below.
“Whoa, there.” He held her in his embrace as Kallie’s heart tried to right itself. “Lady, how do we keep meeting like this?” His crooked smile fading quickly as Kallie struggled and broke free of his grasp.
“Dammit! You! Now look what you’ve done! Are you stalking me or something?”
“Easy there. No need to freak out. I was just passing through on my way to the next waterfall on this park map.” He held up a cranberry, green and white brochure featuring a large map of the state park’s many trails. “You should be glad I’m here. Seems you’re a bit clumsy and this is the worst place for a clumsy gal to be alone.” His eyes, the color of endless pools danced with amusement as Kallie’s cheeks turned crimson with frustration.
“Clumsy? Are you serious? I was doing fine on my own until you showed up…again. Do you have some kind of grudge against electronics and mobile devices or something? That makes three things of mine you’ve ruined.” Tears slid down Kallie’s face. Losing her phone, her camera with pictures of her incredible retreat trampled the last bit of composure she had.
“Okay, my mistake. Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you drop your phone. You really should’ve kept a better grip on it, you know.”
Kallie summoned every ounce of patience she could as once again, the man’s patronizing tone sent sparks of irritation throughout her body. What a jerk! She didn’t need this kind of treatment. Kallie was there to relax and get away from jerks like him. Was it too much to ask for one weekend without drama?
Natural Lust is now available for ONLY 99 cents at the following places:
Secret Cravings Publishing
All Romance Ebooks (ARe)
Barnes & Noble