After getting into trouble, Hollywood starlet Shasta Pyke is sent to cool her heels in the wilderness of northern Ontario. There, she meets hunky mountain man Blake Walker. While the world sees a bratty, over-privileged former child star, Blake sees a frightened little girl in need of a firm hand and unconditional love. Is Shasta the perfect submissive to quench his Dominant craving?
In honor of this momentous occasion, here’s an excerpt.
Pushing her sunglasses to the top of her head, Shasta unscrewed the white lid and began ladling water into the container. She figured it must have been about half full when she’d first arrived at the cabin. She decided to fill it completely, the better to make fewer trips.
She still had about three inches to go before the water level was at the top of the container when she heard a motor. Dropping the ladle into the cooler, she scrambled back up to the top of the hill. Blake was just easing up to the dock in the same skiff he’d used to drop her off a few days ago.
She couldn’t stop the smile on her face as she hurried down to the dock. “Hi! How are you?”
Blake looked up as he tied off the boat and stepped out onto the dock. “Hi, yourself. I’m well. How about you?”
Shasta watched him closely, taking in his scuffed boots, his faded jeans, the navy plaid flannel shirt hanging open over a white wife-beater tank top. And his thick dark hair kissed with caramel, pulled up into a knot on the back of his head, his neatly trimmed dark beard framing his square jaw.
God, I forgot how hot he is. “I’m good. Great, even,” she answered quickly. “I was just,” she hooked a thumb over her shoulder, “refilling my water at the spring.”
He nodded. “Good. That’s good.” He gestured into the boat. “I noticed that you had a fire in the fireplace last night. I thought maybe you could use more wood.”
Shasta crossed her arms in front of her. “That’s really nice, thanks.” She glanced around uncomfortably. “Listen, I’m sorry about the radio. I didn’t realize…”
“Forget about it,” he murmured.
“I should also, um, apologize for throwing a rock at you.” Her eyes were on the ground.
He stood straight and crossed his arms. “Yes, you should.”
She huffed in exasperation. “Well, that’s what I’m trying to do. I just…” She gazed out across the lake and took a deep calming breath. “I was having a very bad day. I’m sorry I was rude and I apologize for throwing a rock at you. My bad day was not your fault.”
He smiled amiably. “Apology accepted.”
Blake reached into the boat for a large grey canvas bag filled with split logs. “I’ll just go put it with the rest behind the cabin.”
She trailed along behind him and helped him stack the logs with the rest of the wood.
“You didn’t have any trouble starting the fire?” he asked.
“Well, I did at first. But then I found the box of fire starter sticks. I put one of those in and it went right up.”
Blake glanced at her. “You used a whole stick? You can break those up into about six pieces. You don’t need a whole one.”
Shasta blushed. “Oh.”
When the bag was empty, Blake carried it back to the front of the cabin. “You said you were getting water?”
“Yeah, I was almost finished when I heard you coming.”
This time, she led the way and when they reached the cooler, she picked up the dipper. Blake looked down at the container and frowned. “This is nearly full.”
Shasta grinned up at him. “I know. I figured, the more I put in, the fewer trips I’ll have to make.”
He gave her a look like one would give a slow child. “But how will you carry it back to the cabin?”
Shasta could feel hot tears threatening and there was a knot in her throat. “Once again, I get it wrong.” Her voice was a whisper. She pulled her sunglasses down over her eyes.
“Don’t worry, I’ll get it for you,” he said. He dumped out about half of the water and replaced the lid, hefted the cooler, and carried it back to the cabin.
Shasta waited outside for him, her arms crossed, the toe of her right shoe digging aimlessly into the dirt. “So, thanks for the wood and everything.” Her eyes were on the ground.
Blake gently closed the screen door. “You’re welcome. I wanted to check in on you before I leave. I’m flying out to get one of the remote cabins ready for a fishing party.”
Shasta’s eyes bulged as she pushed her sunglasses back up. “Wait! What? You’re leaving?”
“I have to go to Big Birch Lake to lay in supplies and get the cabin ready for guests.” He saw her panicked expression. “I’ll be back late this afternoon.”
“Please take me with you,” she blurted.
Slightly taken aback, Blake shoved his hands into his pockets. “I don’t know…”
“Please! I promise, I won’t be in the way. Maybe I can even help.”
His eyes narrowed. “The cabin is even more remote than this one, only accessible by float plane. There’s not a road for miles, only wilderness. There’s no place for you to go.”
Shasta shook her head. “No, I’m not trying to leave, I just… I’m so tired of being alone.” There was raw hope in her eyes. “Please let me go with you.”
The “No” was on his lips as he drew in a deep breath and debated with himself. The vision of her the previous night, alone and sobbing in the cabin, filled his mind and he still felt like a shit for making her cry. He’d come damn close to it just now, without even meaning to. “Okay, you can come.”
She jumped up and squealed, gripping his hand tightly. “Thank you, thank you so much! I’ll help, I promise.”
Blake waited as she retrieved her pink hoodie and locked the cabin door. He noticed that she’d also taken the time to plait her long red hair into a thick braid down her back. When she was ready, he led the way down to the skiff, holding it still for her to get in. This time, Shasta faced him as he steered them across the lake toward the lodge’s dock.
“Can I get one of these things to use while I’m here?”
Blake frowned. “One of what things?”
“A boat. Is there one I can rent?”
His eyes sparkled with amusement. “Where do you want to go?”
She shrugged lightly. “I don’t know. It would be nice to not feel stuck.” Glancing around, she pointed to a rocky outcropping on the shore to the north of the island. “I was looking over there. It looked like it might be a cool place to explore.”
“That’s Winchester Point,” he said. “There’s an old trapper cabin up there. It’s mostly ruins now, but it is kind of cool. And there are blueberries.”
Shasta grinned. “See! I could go pick blueberries.”
“There are also bears.”
Her grin dropped as her eyes widened. “Bears. Seriously?”
Blake had to laugh. “They like the blueberries. But you’d probably be okay. I’m sure I can scrounge up an extra skiff for you.”
They pulled up to the dock and Blake reached for Shasta’s hand, helping her out of the boat. She stood uncertainly as he finished tying up the skiff and climbed out. Bear came bounding down the dock to meet them.
“Hello, puppy!” Shasta leaned down to pet the huge black dog.
“He’s usually a little shy with strangers,” Blake commented, just as Bear flopped down and rolled onto his back, offering his belly for a rub.
“He doesn’t seem shy to me, do you, puppy?” She knelt down to scratch the dog’s underside. Bear, for his part, panted and happily swished his tail on the wooden dock. “What’s his name?”
“Bear,” Blake replied. “And he loves proving me wrong. I won’t forget this, pal. Payback’s a bitch.”
“He’s just a sweetie, that’s what he is,” cooed Shasta.
“Alright. I’m going to start bringing down the supplies and provisions for the fishing cabin.”
Shasta gave Bear one last rub and straightened up to follow Blake up the hill to the main house. Off of the reception area where she’d been the day she’d arrived, a door opened onto a large storage room. Near the door were several boxes filled with nonperishable food and other supplies. Blake appeared from around a corner pulling an oversized wagon constructed of yellow wire mesh. The rubber tires were large and knobby, giving the contraption an all-terrain appearance.
Together, Blake and Shasta loaded the cartons and bags onto the wagon. Shasta ended up carrying two of the lighter ones in her arms as Blake pulled the wagon down the slope to the dock. They took everything to the end of the dock, where the float plane was tied up. Shasta set down the boxes she’d been carrying and looked to Blake.
“I’ll get in the plane. If you can pass me the boxes one at a time, I’ll fit them into the tail section and we’ll be on our way.” He opened the back door of the plane and climbed up, leaning down to take the first of the boxes from Shasta.
“What do you want next?” she called to him.
He appeared back in the doorway. “How about that big one over there?” He watched as Shasta leaned down to pick up the box he’d indicated, appreciating the way the yoga pants hugged the curves of her ass. Keep focused, man. There’s nothing but trouble there.
But his cock wasn’t interested in reason. God bless yoga pants. They’re like a push-up bra for your ass.
“Here you go,” she smiled up at him.
“Thanks.” He disappeared again into the back of the plane.
“Aren’t you glad I’m here?” she asked. “I mean, you’d be doing all this by yourself. It would take you at least twice as long.”
“I would take me longer to load the plane, that’s true.” He watched her pick up another carton. “I’m glad you brought other shoes. Those high heels you were wearing the other day would be useless.”
She handed him the box and rested her hands on her hips, smiling. “Don’t hate on the pink Manolos. They’re my power shoes.”
“Power shoes?” he laughed.
Shasta nodded. “Pink Manolos, Donna Karan skirt, the Chanel blouse, fierce makeup…” She pulled down her sunglasses. “Prada shades. It’s all part of the armor. They make me invincible.” She laughed lightly, but Blake had the impression she wasn’t joking.
“You look different than you did the day you came here.” It was an honest observation.
She crossed her arms. “Yeah, well, I didn’t bother with makeup today. I figured I’d be safe from the cameras.”
“They always want to catch you without makeup, looking like crap. Then they plaster it all over the internet.” She shook her head in disgust.
He assessed her for a long second. “You look better without all that makeup. You don’t need it.” He took the next box from her and disappeared again.
I’m aiming to launch Lost & Bound in the New Year. Stay tuned right here for all the latest news and updates.