Elise von Switzer has vanquished her own demon by surviving breast cancer. Now, she's determined to help others make it through their own struggles by championing the fight to legalize medical marijuana in the state of Kentucky. Taking control of her own destiny, she ventures into the great beyond to find the answers she craves.
One man deep in the hills of Kentucky holds the promise of help. Trouble is, Dane Lasseter's as elusive as the cure for cancer itself. Even those who know him stay away. Rumor is, he likes it that way. People are always out to take what he has. When the lovely Elise encroaches on his territory, however, Dane has no problem making an exception to his own rule.
Dane knows Elise is hiding something, but discovering her secret only makes him more determined to prove to her what makes a woman roar. But some scars run deep. Will Dane's healing hands be enough to calm the skittish Elise, or will she jet back the city, leaving her mountain man behind? When lust, love and hope get thrust together, all bets are off!
***This contemporary IR breast cancer survivor romance is full of emotion.***
There was nothing quite like the deserted mountains in rural Kentucky. Dane Lasseter had fucking missed them like he’d miss his fucking nuts if they’d been gone for three fucking months. Though it was the height of summer, Dane had been in Miami helping his brother and new sister-in-law get settled in their second home. Why they wanted to live there and why Dane chose to leave his mountain to help them, he had no idea. He as just glad they were all back for the moment. Living in a place that big and covered in people made him crazy. It took away his edge. Sure, he could hunt gators, but where was the sport in that? Damned things were practically crawling all over the swamps. But Miami…
He hated them. Could barely tolerate going to Lexington or Louisville for the occasional meeting and continuing education class. If it weren’t for the work he and Blake did for cancer research in both cities, he’d never leave his mountain or the bluegrass of Kentucky. Alas, cancer research centers like Markey, James Graham Brown, and Norton couldn’t serve patients by being located in the woods. Which meant, every now and then, Dane and Blake had to come off their mountain and face civilization. As far as Blake was concerned, civilization was highly overrated.
He’d only been home a few days. Was trying to decompress when he decided the best way to do that was to hunt. He needed fresh meat anyway. City food was so full of preservatives he was sure he’d be backed up for a month. He needed country grub. Fortunately, their cousins had maintained both his and Blake’s multiple gardens while they were away. Potatoes, onions, beans, cabbage, and radishes were all in abundance. Corn too, though it would be a few more weeks until it was ready. Now, he had new taters, beans, and peas waiting on a bit of meat to go with them at home. After a week of city food, his mouth watered just thinking about his own home grown goodness. That distraction was probably why it had taken until nearly sunset to get a deer in his sights.
Still as he could be, Dane brought tension to his bow, his arrow ready to fly. The big buck and his baby mama had been picking at his garden for the past several nights. While Dane couldn’t bring himself to kill the doe or the fawn, this fellow was fair game as far as he was concerned. Being in the city mean he smelled like the city. Which meant he was now covered in wonderful fragrance of pine and deer urine to mask his own scent.
“Shouldn’t have gone into another male’s territory, you bastard,” he muttered to himself as he got ready to take the shot.
The buck stood there, sensing the danger but unable to pinpoint where it was. If he’d turn just a little to the right, Dane could get the perfect kill shot. Just a little bit more… a little bit more…
A twang sounded to Dane’s left. A bowstring? A split second later, a thunk sounded and the deer bolted. As the creature fled, Dane spied an arrow shaft in the exact spot Dane himself was aiming for. Someone had gacked his shot? What the fuck?
Relaxing tension on the bow, Dane swung his aim to his right, wanting to see who trespassed on his land. His bow scope ensured he could see whoever was poaching on his property. The guy was good. He was still, blended nearly seamlessly with the greenery. It was only when he moved to adjust his field glasses that Dane saw him at all.
The guy stayed perfectly still, tracking the deer visually before taking off deeper into the woods. The moonlight gave Dane a glimmer of dark skin shimmering with sweat. The glimpse was fleeting enough he couldn’t tell if the person was black or just darkly tanned, but the absence of feminine…attributes lead him to believe it was a young man. He was slight of build and short, but his arms were lean and strong. The rest of him was covered in camo gear, but he moved with a swift grace as he tracked the deer through the brush. Dane followed at a distance, not wanting to spook the child but needing to warn him off his property. But if the kid was only looking for something to eat…
But that made no sense. No one lived in these mountains. Dane and Blake owned everything from the outskirts of the local town to the next. Everything was nearly virgin wood except where they’d made their homesteads. So why was this kid hunting out of season in Dane’s woods?
As Dane followed the deer’s trail, he had to admit the kid was good. Really good. If it hadn’t been for the deer’s headlong dash and bloody trail, he doubted he’d have been able to follow the kid at all.
It took thirty minutes before Dane caught up to the pair. Despite the mortal wound, a deer could run for several minutes before the adrenaline left and blood loss took over. Now, he saw the kid gutting the fucking deer, a hole already dug to bury the internal organs.
“You’ve either got a set of balls bigger than I do or you’re just not very smart, kid. No one hunts on my land.” Dane knew his gravelly voice could be menacing and used it to his full advantage. In the dusky dark, the full moon just beginning to lighten the sky, the bloody scene was creepy enough. He’d been known to terrify grown, battle-hardened men. How would a kid stand up to him?
“Not balls,” came a decidedly female voice. “Ovaries. And I’m more intelligent than you.” The voice came from the “kid,” who never looked up from her work. “I killed my deer and still managed not to smell like I pissed a Christmas tree.”