Janna sat with her friends at the best table the gorgeous mountain lodge had to offer. It was on the upper floor overlooking the main hall and provided a great view of both the front door and the majestic, white-tipped mountains rising up around the isolated lodge.
In the small tourist town of Bearstone Park, there wasn’t a lot to do other than mingle with (or avoid) tourists. But the Bearstone lodge had become a fun place for the women to go once a week to catch up on their lives.
When Janna had first moved and found herself alone in a new place with no way to leave and nowhere to go, she’d found kindred spirits in Leslie and Kylie, and the three had been fast friends ever since.
“Oh my gosh,” Leslie murmured, setting down her mug and letting her jaw hang open as she stared at the front door. Janna turned to see what her friend was looking at.
“Wow,” Kylie said. “And doesn’t the one in the middle look familiar?”
“They all look vaguely familiar,” Janna said, narrowing her eyes on the three tall—no—enormous men entering the room and silencing it with their beauty.
The first was the most intimidating.
Dark hair curling around his face and collar in rough waves, a sharp face with dark eyes that were a clear, sparkling deep blue, even from a distance.
Janna felt her heart skip a beat when the man looked up into her eyes. A slow grin spread over his face. She blushed and pulled her chair back a bit, making herself less visible as she looked at the other men.
“Oh, the one on the end,” Kylie said, pointing at a tall man with golden-blond hair, ice-blue eyes, and a muscular, toned build. He wore a ski jacket and had his hands in his pockets, looking over the place like he was already bored.
“I recognize him. He was just in the X Games last year, wasn’t he? Didn’t he take gold in the half-pipe?”
“I think you’re right,” Leslie said. “Ryan… something?”
“Hart,” Kylie said, biting her lip and squirming a little in her chair.
Janna grinned at her friend’s overt attraction to the man below. Kylie was such a shy, bookish type but always tended to go for the athletes. Janna didn’t watch the X Games, so she couldn’t say she recognized the tall man, but she had to admit his only rival in beauty were the two other men standing with him.
Janna did, however, recognize the third man, who was standing between the other two.
His hair was a medium brown, slightly waved, with golden highlights strewn throughout, and he had tanned skin and hazel eyes. He was handsome, no doubt about it. But he also had a face that almost anyone in the world knew.
“Holy crap, that’s…”
“I know… Riley Hart.”
Kylie shook her head. “Do you think they’re all related?”
Janna didn’t answer. Her gaze had wandered, as if pulled by a magnet, back to the man who was leading the trio forward. Did she recognize him from anywhere? She must. What else would make it so hard to peel her eyes away? Her whole body felt melted into liquid want the longer she looked at him.
He and his brothers towered over everyone in the room, at around 6’7”, and he was clearly the leader, with his dark looks and sharp eyes. And when they reached the front of the room and talked to the front desk, she swallowed, trying to tear her gaze from his perfect, taut ass.
“I recognize him, too,” Leslie said, nudging Janna.
“The one you’re slobbering over. That’s Ryder Hart. The tech mogul.”
Janna’s throat tensed and her heart stuttered. “I’ve heard of him. I didn’t know he looked like that.”
“Honestly, Janna, it’s like you’ve been living in a box.”
Janna shrugged, knowing they were right. Ever since she’d moved here and been so utterly disappointed, she’d not been very interested in men in general, preferring to simply work and keep her mind off the thought of any kind of future that involved males. And she had Leslie and Kylie to keep things interesting and to talk to if she got lonely.
Judging by the looks on her friends’ faces, however, neither of them suffered from any of the same hang-ups. “You want to go talk to them, don’t you?” Janna asked.
Leslie nodded. “Let’s go.”
Kylie fidgeted. “Are you sure? I mean, they could talk to anyone in the room.”
Leslie grinned, eyes sparkling, and tossed her soft, dark curls back over her shoulder. “That’s the thing, though. We’re women, and men like that will probably prefer our company to that of the hunters and hikers down there.”
“Oh,” Kylie said quietly, blushing as her eyes targeted in on Ryan’s ass again.
Janna set her mug down and looked at it drearily. When did she lose the ability to be excited when a beautiful man appeared? Maybe after she followed the last beautiful man who showed interest and it landed her here.
Her friends tittered about their plans to go approach while she sulked over her mug, but then she felt eyes on her. It was unmistakable. She was being watched. And just knowing it made her heat up inside, made her body forget the promises her mind was trying to keep to herself.
Just one night with a man like that…
No, she couldn’t think that way. She had a job now, a life, and friends. She didn’t need to be wrapped around a man’s finger. And Ryder Hart, with that devilish blue gaze, could definitely throw her life out of whack again.
* * *
Ryder Hart waited for the front desk clerk with a rising sense of irritation. He couldn’t wait to make his move on the gorgeous brunette on the upper balcony. Her pretty dark skin and warm, sparkling brown eyes had caught his eyes the moment he walked in out of the cold.
Warmth at a time when he desperately needed it. He didn’t know exactly what it was that drew him to her, but he knew he wanted to get up there quickly and find out more about her.
The only trouble seemed to be she didn’t seem too eager to meet him, withdrawing from view when he had smiled at her. But he didn’t become a billionaire by not being able to close a deal and overcome objections.
What Ryder wanted, Ryder got.
And what Ryder wanted right now was to get his damn key and head up with his brothers to meet the luscious ladies and potential mates on the second floor.
“Which one do you like?” Riley asked, propping his sunglasses atop his head. With his tanned skin, killer smile, and pretty-boy features, Riley was braver with the women than either he or Ryan. Part of it might have to do with the fact that as the star of several breakout romantic films, there didn’t seem to be a woman in America or elsewhere that didn’t recognize him. Thus the sunglasses, even in the dead of winter.