Bedding Down, A Collection of Winter Erotica

Bedding Down, A Collection of Winter Erotica by Rachel Krame Bussel Read Free Book Online

Book: Bedding Down, A Collection of Winter Erotica by Rachel Krame Bussel Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rachel Krame Bussel
casting its silver light over the cedar and pine. Snow had started to fall hours ago, the kind of snow that turned to
    ice as soon as it touched anything on the ground. The trees
    were leaning with the pressure on their branches. The road was
    impassable already and would remain that way for weeks.
    Fletcher was completely unconcerned with time and content
    to be snowed in. He went on rocking and listening to the snow
    settling on the old tin roof above him. Every now and then he
    spotted an owl, rising on white wings, gliding soundlessly over the treetops. The moonlight turned the owl’s eyes into bright
    prisms of light for an instant before it disappeared into the
    leaves again.
    The shape of a small animal at the end of his long gravel
    driveway caught his eye. Fletcher calmly reached for the shot-
    gun propped up against the porch railing, running his hand
    46
    G wen M asters
    over the smooth barrel, ready to use the weapon if necessary.
    Eventually the animal left the shadows and walked through a
    shaft of moonlight, showing Fletcher the distinctive markings
    on its face—a raccoon. The little fellow waddled its way up the rocky road that surrounded the cabin and occasionally stopped
    to sniff the air, barely bothering to glance at the now-familiar man up on the porch. Fletcher relaxed and let his hand fall from the barrel of the gun.
    Up on Sunrise Mountain, all kinds of animals might come
    hunting at his doorstep, but it was very doubtful any of them
    would be human, and that suited Fletcher just fine. He had
    jumped into the rat race at a fresh-faced twenty-two, straight
    from college to a high-pressure job in Silicon Valley. By thirty-two, the dot-com boom had slammed with the force of a nuclear
    bomb, and he was a millionaire many times over. By the time he
    was thirty-five, he was so burned out he didn’t give a damn if he had a dollar to his name, as long as he had some peace of mind.
    There was no one he trusted.
    It hadn’t taken long for him to realize that the worst preda-
    tors were of his own kind.
    Fletcher looked back up at the moon. It danced into the snow
    clouds, turning the world darker. His ears made up for what his eyes could no longer see in the dim light. Leaves rustled with
    the breeze. Tiny animals scurried around the sides of the cabin, bolder now that they were under the cover of night. A mountain
    lion howled, and though the sound echoed with menace through
    the wide valley between the hills, Fletcher’s confident ear knew the big boy was miles away.
    The raccoon was still making its way up the drive. Fletcher
    S ix W eeks on S unrise M ountain, C olorado 47
    had taken a liking to his furry neighbor and kept back a bit
    of dinner now and again, then set it around the porch for the
    raccoon to find. Fletcher liked to watch the pretty creature in the moonlight. It was the only company he had up here in the
    middle of nowhere.
    He watched as the raccoon stopped in midstride and looked
    toward the top of the ravine. Fletcher slowly stopped rocking
    and listened closely to the sounds he understood just as well as his own language—the slight tapping of one tree limb against
    another, the abrupt silence of a larger animal when it caught the scent of a human on the air, the unholy scream of a hawk as it
    dove for prey. The raccoon listened, too, its tiny head cocked to better hear the sounds on the air.
    Fletcher heard it then, the sound that was so out of place—a
    scuffling, bumbling sound, unlike any of the sleek animals so
    accustomed to wandering through the woods at night.
    He rose slowly to his feet, staring at the place from where
    he was certain the sound had come. The raccoon was down on
    all fours again, sniffing cautiously, still as a stone. The sound came again, but the coon wasn’t making a move to investigate,
    and Fletcher knew that wasn’t a good sign. That raccoon was a
    smart animal. He knew better than to attack anything bigger
    than he was.
    Fletcher thumbed the safety

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