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Storm (Ashes & Embers #1)

By´╝ÜCarian Cole

u got yourself stuck in this ditch?"

"To the Falls Inn."

"The Falls Inn?" he repeats and lets out another laugh. "Baby, you ain't anywhere near the Falls fucking Inn. It's about fifty miles away. I guess if your car had kept going about fifty miles through the woods, you might have landed there. Is that what you were trying to do?"

Damn GPS! I should never have relied on that useless device. My situation is starting to feel worse by the minute. Where the hell am I, and how am I going to get to my meeting? Or home, for that matter. I can't even call my boss to tell him I'm delayed, or Michael to come get me.

"-and it's about a few miles up the road." Oh. Sasquatch has been talking to me while I was having a conversation inside my head.

"I'm sorry, what did you say?" I ask him. Snow is accumulating on the brim of his hat. Almost a quarter-inch, it seems. That can't be good.

"I said I have a cabin a few miles up the road. We can go there and wait out the storm. My truck is parked on the road. I pulled over when I saw you spin out and crash. You almost hit me, ya know."

Oh, hell no! The old 'cabin in the woods' story. I wonder how many psychos have used this line. It seems to be the basis of many a horror movie or creepy novel.

I shake my head. "I don't think so, but thank you for the offer." Yes, be polite and maybe he will go away without killing me, leaving my body bloodied and beaten in the snow on the side of this mountain.

"Well, I can't fuckin' leave you here. This snowstorm is supposed to go on for almost the entire weekend. My cell phone doesn't work here, and I'm assuming yours doesn't either or else you'd be on it right now. They're expecting two feet of snow or more. You could freeze or starve to death out here. I'm not going to hurt you."

"Oh, so murdering psychopaths announce their intentions to their victims now?" I lower my voice to a mock man's psycho voice. "Excuse me, miss, but I shall commence killing you now. Please, remain in the vehicle until I have reached the designated killing area."

He lets out a deep laugh and then a long sigh.

"You're cute . . . but I'm not a psycho. I'm just the guy who was driving behind you when you lost control of your car. And, I might add, you should be grateful I'm even here. Not many people drive this road."

Terrific! Backwoods road that no one ever uses! The murder scene could not be planned out any better.

I stand my ground, determined to heed the advice we are all given as children: Never get in a car with a stranger. "I'm not going anywhere with you, so you can just get yourself out of my doorway and head up to your cabin. Thank you for the offer, though."

He lights up another cigarette and takes a few long drags before responding to me. "Look, I'm not leaving you here. I don't know if it's 'cause you hit your head, or if you're just mentally unstable, or what . . . but I sure as shit am not leaving you here in a blizzard, no matter how annoying you are. So, stop being unreasonable. A friend of mine owns an auto repair shop in town. I'll call him when we get to the cabin and have him tow your car out of here when the storm is over."

I know Sasquatch is right. I can't stay in the car and just wait for someone to find me, or hope I might get more than zero bars on my cell phone. I can either stay here and surely die, or go with him and hope he isn't some deranged killer on the loose.

"Fine," I mutter in defeat.

He stands up and brushes the snow off himself then shakes his head, flinging snow everywhere before he takes his sunglasses off to wipe away the snowflakes. "Let's go."

I squint up at him, thinking I might be hallucinating. He's wearing black kohl eyeliner under his incredibly emerald green eyes. Seriously, eyeliner?

"Excuse me," I say, narrowing my eyes at him. "Are you wearing eyeliner?"

He rolls his eyes and shrugs. "Never mind that. Let's just go already." He puts his sunglasses back on.

I can't let it go. "Are you some kind of cross-dresser or something?"

"Fuck to the no."

"Then why are you wearing eyeliner?" And wearing it very well, I might add. I can never create the smoky, perfectly smudged look he's got going on.

"It's part of my persona. Can we talk about this shit later? We're in the middle of a fuckin' blizzard. Not exactly the time to be talkin' about makeup."

I suppose it's part of his weird Goth look, which I've only really seen on TV in music videos and vampire movies. Maybe he's a Twilight fan? Good Lord, I hope not. I can't take any more sparkly vampires. My best friend is a huge Twilight fan and insists on watching the movies every time we have a girls' night in.

He holds out his hand to help me out of the car, a polite gesture, which doesn't quite match the rest of him.

"I can't walk in the snow," I say meekly.

"Huh? Why not?"

"Because I'm wearing heels."

"Heels? Who the hell wears heels in weather like this?" He throws his hands up in exasperation. "Fuck my life!" he screams up into the snow-filled sky. "I just wanted an uneventful weekend. Alone."

"It wasn't snowing this bad when I left, okay? Yeesh. What the hell do you know about fashion anyway?" I nod my head at his ensemble of faded ripped jeans and work boots, which in reality is much better than the business pantsuit and high heels I'm currently wearing.

"I'm going to have to effin' carry you to my truck then."

"Carry me? No way. You are not touching me." I cross my arms. I know I must look like a pouting child, but I don't really care.

He sighs, reaches into the car and before I can even protest, he has me scooped up without effort into his arms.

"Enough of your bullshit. Done," he states, then kicks my door shut and starts to walk up the snowy hill. I have no choice but to put my arms around his neck. Even with his coat on, I can feel very muscular shoulders and arms. He's a big guy; my guess