The Reunion: Ashley's Mountain Retreat (Starting Over Series)

BOOK: The Reunion: Ashley's Mountain Retreat (Starting Over Series)
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The Reunion:

Ashley's Mountain Retreat

 

By: Angelina Rose

 

 

Connect With Angelina!

 

http://AngelinaRoseRomance.com/

Chapter 1

 

As Ashley Tate walked out onto the sidewalk to catch her cab, she thought about the promise that she’d just made with her best friends from nursing school, Claire, Emma and Shelby. The reunion had been a smashing success, and getting to catch up with the women was amazing.

 

Always the extrovert, Ashley had enjoyed being the life of the party yet again. When she came up with the idea to challenge her friends to finding the men of their dreams within the next two years, she didn’t really think too much about the implications for herself. How in the world was she going to hold up her end of the bargain?

 

Her friends didn’t know her as well as they thought. After all, she kept a tough outer shell that made people think she was always having fun. In reality, her heart was crushed over the demise of her eight year marriage to Dave Jennings. The worst part was that she wasn’t even allowed to grieve in private. Dave was a well known corporate law attorney in Houston, Texas. When it was uncovered that he was married to Ashley and his wife of fifteen years at the same time, it was splashed all over the news for weeks.

 

His wife lived in San Antonio, and he stayed most of the week in Houston at his apartment. Ashley had no idea that his constant business trips were actually trips back home to sleep with his other wife. Not only that, but he had three children with his wife. He and Ashley were experiencing infertility, and she often blamed herself for not being able to give him children.

 

Her whole world had been turned upside down. People looked at her as “the other woman” when she was married to him too. Her beauty and outgoing personality only seemed to make things worse. Now, she was saddled with finding her true love within two years, yet she didn’t know if she could ever trust a man again. What had she done? Why did she concoct this crazy plan?

 

Maybe she should just email her friends and back out. They would surely understand. But, being the dare devil of the group had always been Ashley’s claim to fame. She wanted to hold on to that part of herself. She had lost so much already, and losing her reputation as the life of the party didn’t seem like a good idea.

 

As the cab stopped to pick her up, Ashley looked back at the hotel where the reunion had been held. She knew that her friends would be expecting a great story from her in two years, and she was planning to give it to them.

 

***

 

The alarm clock went off way too early. Ashley had been staying out too late for weeks now. She had been to every party and night club in the Houston area, but had not found any suitable candidates for a soul mate. Maybe she was looking too hard? Maybe this whole plan was pure insanity?

 

As a labor and delivery nurse, Ashley loved her job. Having infertility issues while delivering babies was a tough job, however. She could hear her own biological clock ticking like a time bomb in her head. At forty years old, she was blessed with a young, healthy body but she didn’t want to be an “old” mother either.

 

Ashley rolled out of bed, hair a mess, and shuffled her way to the coffee pot. She seemed to be running on empty with only wine and caffeine to keep her going for weeks. She wondered if her friends were so stressed out about finding the right man like she was. She was certain that Emma was calm, cool and collected about it, but Emma was also a man magnet with her beautiful blond hair and blue eyes.

 

The phone rang, and she ran across her small Houston apartment to find it. “Hello?” she said breathlessly as she finally located her phone in her purse.

 

“Hey, girl!” said a perky woman on the other end of the phone. It was Candice Fremont, her best pal from the L&D floor at the hospital. Candice was one of the nurses that she worked with on a regular basis.

 

“Hey! What’s up? You don’t need me to take your shift, do you?” Ashley said with a groan. Candice was prone to switching shifts around with everyone.

 

“No… Actually, I have a lead for you…”

 

“A lead? For what? A man?”

 

“No, goofy. Get your head out of the gutter. Remember when you told me that you wanted to buy a vacation cabin in the Georgia mountains?”

 

“Oh, yeah…” Ashley stammered wishing that she could take back her man comment.

 

“Well, my cousin just put his cabin up for sale because he’s being transferred to Colorado. Are you interested?”

 

“Sure. I can’t afford a lot, but I was planning to use my inheritance from my grandmother to buy something for cash. Have you seen the place?” Ashley asked as she stirred her coffee and sat down at the tiled breakfast table in her kitchen.

 

“Yes. We spent Thanksgiving there a couple of years ago. It’s a log cabin and has three bedrooms, a wrap around front porch and a beautiful mountain view. I can email you some pictures and his Realtor’s contact info, if you want,” Candice said.

 

“Yes, please email me. This is exciting!” Ashley said with renewed enthusiasm. Maybe a cabin in the woods would give her time to think and create her “man plan”.

 

About thirty minutes later, Ashley was looking at the pictures online. The place was perfect, but she had to see it in person before making a decision. She picked up her cell phone and dialed the number for the Realtor, Parker Crenshaw.

 

“Hello. Parker Crenshaw,” the voice said on the other end of the phone. He had a deep Southern drawl that made her toes curl a little. Ashley was a sucker for a Southern accent. Although she had attended college in Georgia, she was originally from Maine. Hearing a man with an authentic Southern accent was really attractive to her.

 

“Um… Hi. My name is Ashley. I wanted to get some information on the mountain cottage you just listed on Weaver Road…” she stammered.

 

“Great. What can I tell you about it?” he asked.

 

“Well, I would actually like to fly in and see it, if that’s okay. The seller is the cousin of a good friend of mine.”

 

“Fantastic. When will you be coming in?” he asked.

 

“I am going to book a flight for this weekend arriving on Friday. According to the Internet, I can get a flight that will arrive around two o’clock Friday afternoon. Could we meet at the cabin around five? It will take me that long to get a rental car and drive from the airport…” Ashley said as she multi-tasked by looking at the Internet reservation site.

 

“Sounds good to me. I will meet you at the cabin on Friday then,” he said.

 

As they hung up, Ashley sat back in her chair. Looking around her small apartment, she knew that owning a little getaway would be a good idea for her. She had some sick time and vacation days all saved up, so she might just take an extended vacation to the mountains while she came up with her plan to find the perfect man.

 

 

Chapter 2

 

As Ashley drove her rental car up the steep mountain road, she wondered what she had got herself into. The tiny town of  Mountainview was beautiful and idyllic in many respects, but the terrain was a bit tough on her timid rental car. Still, it barreled up the mountainside to the gravel driveway of the log cabin.

 

When she saw it, she knew it was her picture perfect getaway home. Surrounded by huge pine and oak trees, the log cabin featured a wrap around porch with rocking chairs, dormer windows and a tin roof. She remembered sleeping over at her grandmother’s cabin in Maine when she was a child and hearing the raindrops ping off of the tin roof. It was so relaxing and peaceful.

 

Ashley could see a large black pickup truck sitting to the side of the house. When she got out of her car, she saw him jump down out of the tall vehicle. He wasn’t what she expected when she thought of a real estate agent. Instead of a boring suit and tie, he had on a pair of brown cowboy boots, rugged form-fitting jeans and a white button up dress shirt that was rolled up on his forearms.

 

“You must be Ashley…” he yelled from across the yard as he waved and smiled. His teeth were white and perfectly straight. They accented his sun-kissed tan and dark brown hair. She wondered to herself how he could look like he just stepped off the beach when it was the middle of Fall.

 

“I am. And you must be Parker,” she said reaching out to shake his hand. “Nice truck…”

 

“Oh, thanks. It gets me around up here. Some of these hills can be kind of tough. I’m surprised your little rental car made it up the mountain,” he said smiling as he pointed at her sad little car.

 

“Me too. It was a little dicey…” Ashley couldn’t help but feel a little strange being out in the middle of the woods with this overly handsome, rugged cowboy-inspired real estate agent. For a moment, she wondered if her friend was going to great lengths to set her up on a date, but she quickly dismissed that idea.

 

“So, are you ready to see the place?” he asked with a smile that made her knees feel a little weak.

 

“Absolutely. I’ve been looking forward to it all week,” she said smiling back.

 

They walked up the stairs onto the wide front porch. Ashley caught a chill as the wind swept across the porch. October in the north Georgia mountains was a lot colder than in Texas. Ashley shivered as she looked around the porch.

 

“Are you cold?” he asked looking concerned.

 

“A bit. It’s colder up on this mountain than it is in Texas…” she said with a smile as she tried to keep her teeth from chattering.

 

“Hang on…” he said as he jogged over to his truck. As he came back, she could see a denim jacket in his hands. “Here. I always keep this in my truck just in case the weather changes.”

 

She took the jacket and slipped it on. It was so large that it engulfed her body. “Thanks. Much better.”

 

“It’s a might big, ain’t it?” he said with a laugh.

 

“Just a little. But, I am much warmer now. Thanks…” she said looking down with a shyness that she wasn’t used to feeling.

 

He unlocked the door to the cabin and they stepped inside. Ashley loved the floorplan with its high ceilings and authentic log woodwork. The kitchen was open to the family room and had a breakfast bar with granite countertops.

 

“Wow. This place is really nice,” she said as she walked around and touched her fingers to the log walls.

 

“Yeah, it is. Lots of cabins up here are kind of beaten up, but the owner took real good care of this one. He renovated it not long ago,” he said as he placed the keys and some paperwork on the breakfast bar.

 

“Can we go upstairs?” Ashley asked thinking naughty thoughts in her mind.

 

“Of course,” he said. She could tell he was all about business right now. She walked up the stairs with him following behind her. There were three bedrooms, each furnished with log furniture. There was also a bathroom between two of the bedrooms. It had a stand-up shower and garden tub.

BOOK: The Reunion: Ashley's Mountain Retreat (Starting Over Series)
11.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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