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In the shadow of Denali, she has a home, and he finds adventure.
Charlotte Cooper wants to stay near her parents' home in Alaska. But her dreams of being a writer call her away to college or work, and she has to choose her own path in life.
Henry Reeves is a wealthy New Yorker seeking a summer adventure when he travels to Kantishna near the proposed Mt. McKinley National Park. He discovers two passions, one for Charlotte, and the other for keeping Alaska wildlife from being wiped out like the buffalo.
Charlotte and Henry find an attraction they can’t deny, but can they build a new life together between the wilderness and high society?
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Copyright 2015 Lynn Lovegreen
Henry swatted at the mosquitoes again. Charlotte was glad she had a net over her hat. She heard the louder buzz of a bee as she looked for the next bend in the river.
Stinky wiped the white stubble around his mouth like he was trying not to laugh. “Bees doan like it when you swat ’em.”
Henry inspected his right wrist. “I think I’m allergic to bees.”
“You think you’re allergic?” She hoped he wasn’t.
“Last time I had a bee sting, it got all swollen.”
If that was all, that wouldn’t be too bad. “Well, we’ll see if it happens again.”
“And I had a little trouble breathing. Not very much.”
She took another breath.
“The last time, I was hunting, too. My father and I were deer hunting in the Adirondacks. We spend a lot of time hunting and fishing. I practically grew up outdoors.”
That was probably true by New York standards, but he still seemed like a cheechako to her. A greenhorn.
He scratched at his wrist.
“Don’t scratch it. That’ll make it worse,” she said. It was already pink.
They passed by a creek tumbling down the hills to the east and turned another bend in the river. When she looked at Henry’s wrist again, there was a pink lump. Henry scratched it again as he looked up at an eagle circling overhead.
“Is that an eagle?”
“Yes, a golden eagle. Stop scratching at it. Here, put this over it.” She untied the bandanna from around her neck and tied it over the sting. As she touched his skin, she felt an electric thrill that she hadn’t expected.
“Thank you, Sharon.”
“Charlotte. My name is Charlotte.”
His face was red again when she looked up. “I’m sorry, Charlotte. I keep putting my foot in my mouth. Thank you again, Charlotte.”
He couldn’t even get her name right. Maybe he was just bad at names. Some people were. But she hadn’t felt anything like the sensation when she’d touched his hand. Was it because he was so attractive? Or just part of his vibrant energy?
“You’re welcome.” She was starting to get concerned about his bee sting. It was swelling quite a bit. At least his breathing seemed all right. He was irritating, but she didn’t want him to get sick.
One more turn to the right, and then they were home. They navigated the last stretch and brought the boat in to the loading dock. Charlotte glanced at the bandanna on Henry’s wrist as Daddy and Stinky unloaded the supplies.
“I think we’d better show your bee sting to Mama. She can put something on it for you.” She grabbed his left hand and pulled him toward the house, ignoring the vibration that went through her at touching him.
“Thank you, that’s very kind.”