Jake’s Biggest Risk
Harlequin SuperRomance, Oct 7 2014, $6.75
In the Arctic, Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Jake Hollister and his assistant Toby Mahoney work a dangerous shoot from the air of a polar bear and her cubs. Suddenly the pilot Gordon complains of chest pains before he dies as the plane crashes leaving Jake severely injured.
Toby tells him no more treks for him into the wild. Needing a year to recover, Jake leases Huckleberry Lodge in Mahalaton Lake, Washington from teacher Hannah Nolan. While he heals, the photographer plans to work on a wildlife book in the area. When Hannah and Jake meet, he is rude even towards her young son Danny. Not long afterward Hannah and her dog Badger arrive at the lodge to clean it; to her surprise he welcomes the canine and asks her questions about the Cascades. Considering himself a dog person, Jake is shocked when Louie the kitten moves in and is further stunned when he enjoys his time with Danny whose father abandoned him. As he and Hannah fall in love, Jake fears his wanderlust dooms their relationship since he normally stays home two weeks of a year; and her doubts about trusting a man makes her hesitate.
This is a terrific Pacific Northwest contemporary in which Julianna Morris’ tour of The Cascades Across Four Seasons is incredible; as the hiking romance enhances the vivid descriptions. The lead couple and the key secondary players add depth to Those Hollister Boys’ entry (see Challenging Matt and Winning Over Skylar), but it is the trips that the protagonists make together into the mountain wilderness that grips the audience.