It’s been a while.

I’ve currently been working on my holiday release, Snowbound. The goal is to release it on or before Christmas...but we shall see.

In the meantime, enjoy this excerpt.

*It’s unedited, subject to change and certain parts have been left out to avoid spoilers I’m not ready for y’all to see quite yet, so this is a bit of a condensed version.*

I have no idea when I dozed off or for how long, but eventually the aroma of good smelling food was what finally roused me awake.

My eyes slid open slowly and I looked over to the kitchen area to find Zane in there at the stove, his back facing me.

I just sat there…staring as he moved around the kitchen.

Eventually he turned around and saw me.

“Hey,” he said. “You’re awake.”

“I am.”

“You have to be hungry,” he said, using a ladle to scoop some kind of soup from the pot into two bowels.

“Starving,” I said. “All I had to eat was a bagel for breakfast and a granola bar during one of my breaks on the slopes.”

Zane nodded, picking up a tray. “Well dinner’s ready.”

He carried the tray over and sat it down on the coffee table and passed one of the bowls to me.

“Thank you,” I said quietly. I inhaled deeply. “This smells amazing.”

“Thanks,” he said. He sat down on the love seat that was perpendicular to the chair I was sitting in.

We tucked into eating and were quiet for a while before said, “So, Doctor Hamilton.”

Zane looked up at me, a knowing smirk on his face. “Yes?”

“I’m guessing it’s safe to assume that it’s not just a coincidence that your last name is the same as the ski resort on the other side of the mountain.”

He sipped a spoonful of soup before he spoke. “Beautiful and has impeccable deduction skills.”

I shook my head, trying not to blush at his compliment.

“But, yeah,” Zane confirmed. “My family owns the resort.”

“I know I’m extremely late with this but…thank you, for finding me and rescuing me.”

Zane nodded. “You’re welcome, beautiful. Now finish your soup.”

“Are you always this bossy with your patients?” I asked, with a teasing grin. “Cause if so, your bedside manner leaves much to be desired.”

“I assure you my bedside manner is impeccable,” Zane said with a wink, which for some reason had me suddenly wonder what his…in bed manner was like. His voice tugged me back from my lurid thoughts when he added, “I’m only this bossy with patients who are hard-headed and don’t do what they’re supposed to. Like when they’re supposed to be resting but instead decide to go snooping around.”

“I thought we’d moved past that,” I said.

“We did,” Zane said.

“Well then why did you bring it up again?”

He looked me in the eyes, a wicked gleam in his eyes. “I just like watching you squirm.”

We kept our gazes locked for a moment before I had to finally look away, his stare just a little too intense.

He stood and gathered our bowls and took them to the kitchen where he rinsed them out and put them in the dishwasher.

“It’s getting late,” he said, coming back into the living room with a box. “I’ve got another spare room down here you can sleep in.”

Once again, he lifted me up into his arms and carried me to the guest bedroom. He placed me on the plus queen sized bed, and then went over to the closet and pulled a box out.

“There’s some clothes in here that you can probably where,” he said. I opened up the box and when I saw they were women’s clothes, I looked up at him, a curious look on my face.

“They’re my ex’s,” he said, answering my unasked question. “Just some stuff she never bothered to come get and I honestly just forgot I even had them, until I got back to town.”

“What happened?” I asked. Then shook my head. "I'm sorry, that is none of my business.”

“Nah it’s cool,” Zane said, shrugging his shoulders. “It just didn’t work out. I got my first assignment with Doctors Without Borders–”

“Oh yeah I saw a picture of you in one of their coats in your office.”

“When you were ‘exploring, you mean?” he teased, with air quotes.

I rolled my eyes at him as he continued. “Anyway…We both knew that that kind of distance and lack of communication wouldn’t be good for a relationship, so we parted ways. That’s it.”

“Right,” I said. “So she didn’t find your secret sex dungeon, get scared and runaway in terror?”

Zane threw his head back and laughed. It was…a delightful sound to my ears.

“Yo!” he said, still chuckling. “What the hell is it with you being so damned determined to stumble across some sex dungeon up in here?” Zane laughed.

“So… that’s a no on the sex dungeon?” I asked, scrunching up my nose.

“Were you hoping to find a sex dungeon?”

“Wh-what? No, I…of course not. I mean, I–”

“Cause it seems like you really wanted to find one.”

“I didn’t–”

“I’m messing with you, Amani,” Zane said, a grin on his face.

“Ha ha,” I said, sarcastically even though I was smiling at him. “Such a fucking comedian.”

“Told you I like watching you squirm,” he said, moving back towards the door. He stopped and turned back to face me. “And for the record, the answer is no. There is no secret sex dungeon anywhere here in my house.”

“Duly noted.”

 “But…” he continued. “If the lady I’m with is into some kinky shit…well we can do that just about anywhere in the house. Don’t really need a special room for that, ya know?”

I felt my face grow hot as his words, his gaze sweeping the entire length of my body.

“Why do I get the feeling that had I said that I actually did have one, it wouldn’t scare you off?” he challenged as his eyes darkened.

My pulse quickened and my mouth went dry as he stared at me heatedly.

I tried playing it cool with my reply.

I shrugged nonchalantly. “I mean given the current weather conditions it’s not like I could go anywhere either way,” I said. “But…I guess we’ll never know.”

His tongue swiped along his bottom lip before his teeth sank into it. “Guess not.” He took a step back, and the movement caused the front of his sweatpants to shift, showing off quite an impressive print. “I’mma let you rest,” he said, hooking his thumb over his shoulder. “Be careful in here, and remember no hot showers tonight.”

“Right, don’t wanna risk increasing the swelling.”

He nodded. “Good girl. Goodnight, Amani.”

“Goodnight, Zane.”

He closed the door behind me and blew out a long breath.

I sat on the bed for a moment and then finally – after digging through the box of clothes and finding something to sleep in – got up and slowly made my way to the bathroom, where I took a cool shower.

It was definitely needed after that encounter with Zane.