USA Today Bestselling Author
A real estate agent, a billionaire, and a mudslide…
On the bright side, not much else could go wrong, right?
Real estate agent Cambria Baker needs to make a sale, or she’ll be homeless. So, when her broker asks her to do a showing on Mount Hood, Cambria jumps at the chance. The only problem? The buyer is as gruff as he is gorgeous and not impressed with her or the dilapidated cabin.
Tech billionaire Adam Zeile wants to build the perfect mountain lodge where he can forget about work and the women who are only interested in his net worth. He’s excited to see a property with a dream view, but the beautiful real estate agent’s eagerness to make the sale raises his suspicions.
When a mudslide traps them in the cabin, they must put aside their differences. As mutual respect grows into attraction, an unforgettable kiss changes everything. But can their newfound connection last once they’re rescued? Or are they better off burying it and saying goodbye?
In the middle of a torrential rainfall, Adam Zeile and his friend Henry Davenport were heading out to look at a property. According to Henry the other interested buyers wouldn’t come out in the storm so it was Adam’s best change to purchase the property if it meets his specifications. One particular photo had caught his eye and if the view was the same he would buy it.
Unfortunately Henry had a meeting to attend so he left Adam at the property with the promise take a look at it when he got back. Adam was hopeful this would be the perfect property and even though the agent Cambria Baker was honest about the condition of the cabin he only needed to see the view. Once he had it was off, this was not the place for him.
While he was waiting for Henry to return, Cambria cleaned up the snack she had prepared and changed into clothing more appropriate for the weather.
This is a favorite scene.
A protectiveness welled up inside him, which was stupid when he was the one who’d made her feel bad. The least he could do was not make her wait.
“Go ahead and lock up the cabin.” He was still damp from when he arrived. A little more rain wouldn’t hurt him. “I’ll wait outside.”
Her forehead wrinkled. “Listen to the rain. It’s pouring again. You’ll get soaked out there.”
“My friend will be here soon,” he countered. “You should get on the road, given the weather.”
An uncomfortable silence descended.
Come on, Henry. Adam shifted his weight between his feet.
A noise sounded.
Henry and Frank must be here. Adam blew out a breath before opening the door, but no SUV was parked next to the other car.
Rain pelted the ground, and water poured like a sheet from the roof. But the noise he’d heard became louder— rumbled.
Her face paled.
Adrenaline surged. “Earthquake?”
“Slide.” Cambria pushed him aside, slammed the door, and grabbed his hand with her free one. “Upstairs!”
The rumble turned into a roar— deafening and frightening and all-consuming.
The bag on her shoulder swung and nearly took him out, but he stayed upright.
As she ran up the stairs and into the bathroom, she never let go of him. “Get in the tub.”
Adam’s pulse raced. He shouldn’t be winded, but his breaths came fast. “Isn’t that for a tornado?”
Cambria released his hand and climbed into the bathtub. She flashed him a stop-being-stupid look.
The rumbling continued.
He didn’t need to be told twice and got in next to her. “We should be safe here,” she reassured him.
Something crashed into the house with an earsplitting blast. The cabin shook.
Adam bounced against the wall and then fell. He held back a shout.
Cambria curled in a ball, so he covered her with his body. He had no idea what was happening, and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to know.
His heart pounded, threatening to explode, but that didn’t drown out the horrible sounds of breaking glass and splintering wood.
Is this how it ends?
He imagined his mom, dad, brother, and sister. A carousel of his friends followed.
Adam gulped in air as if it might be his last breath. Images of the future he wouldn’t have filled his mind— a wife, kids, and a forever kind of love.
“I think it’s over,” a quiet voice said from underneath him.
He straightened so that Cambria could sit up.
She was correct. Everything had stopped, but he had no sense of time or how long they’d been in the bathroom.
Her face was paler than before. Her lower lip quivered.
Adam touched her shoulder. “It’ll be okay.”
She raised an eyebrow. “And you know this how?”
Her sarcastic tone surprised him.
“I don’t.” Tired of cowering, he stood and found his footing in the tub. “But we’re alive. I wasn’t sure if we would be by the time everything stopped. And you look like you needed to hear it.”
She didn’t disagree. Nor did she say anything.
“Thanks for getting me upstairs. I had no idea what was happening.” Adam didn’t know the extent of damage on the first floor, but he assumed— hoped— the immediate danger had passed. “How did you know to run upstairs?”
“My grandpa was on our neighborhood’s Community Emergency Response Team. He stopped when he and my grandma moved into an assisted living center, but now he’s the head of the CERT he formed there. He taught my brother and me what to do in different, um, situations.”
Her voice shook, and her hands trembled.
Was she afraid or in shock? Perhaps both?
Adam hadn’t taken a first aid class in years. His security team included a medic, so he hadn’t needed to remember anything and didn’t. “You okay?”
She nodded. “Delayed reaction.”
That was a relief.
“You should check on your friend,” she added.
Henry and Frank.
Adam’s heart dropped. As he yanked out his phone and hit call, he held his breath.
One ring. Two…
“Are you okay?” Henry asked in a breathless rush.
Tears pricked the back of Adam’s eyelids. He exhaled, letting his tension go, and cleared his throat. “If by okay you mean standing in the bathtub on the second floor, then yes, I’m okay. What about you and Frank?”
“If we’d been two minutes earlier, we would have been caught in the mudslide.”
“Mudslide,” Adam repeated so Cambria would know she’d been correct. Not that he’d doubted her. She’d taken action while he stood frozen, unable to make sense of what was happening. “Something hit the house, but we haven’t been downstairs to see what. How bad is it where you are?”
“The road is covered with mud. There’s no way to pick you up.”
Adam let the news sink in. “But you and Frank—”
“We’re fine.” He needed to hear that again. “How long do you think cleanup will take?”
“Frank is on the phone with someone. But I doubt it’ll be fast. With this weather, calling in a helicopter isn’t an option.”
That meant… Adam scrubbed his face. “So, I’m stuck.”
“Yes, but at least you’re not alone.”
Melissa McClone. The Gold Digger (Kindle Locations 215-266). Cardinal Press, LLC.
Lots of mud, damage to the cabin and no way to get out until either the weather or the road is cleared.
Sparks begin to fly between them even as Cambria’s world starts falling apart more than it already had.
A wonderful romance that is fun and playful in difficult circumstances.
5 Contented Purrs for Melissa!
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USA Today bestselling author, Melissa McClone has published over forty novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group.
With a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters.
Her first full-time writing endeavor was her first sale when she was pregnant with her first child! When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities.
Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds, and cats who think they rule the house. They do!