Authors: Sicily Duval
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BY THE WOLF
By Sicily Duval
I saved the final draft and mailed it to my boss. “That’s
it, I’m out of here!” I said, shutting down my computer.
“Go and have fun, you lucky duck.” Mrs. Lane, my personal
assistant, took the last files off my desk. I was going on a girls’ holiday.
Ella’s husband had connections and he’d gotten us most of it for free. The bit
that we had to pay for was ridiculously cheap. It paid to have the right
When I left the office, my phone rang.
“Anna! Are you packed yet?” Kate was my closest friend of
the three girls.
“I just got out of the office now. I’ll be ready, I
We were going to be away for a whole week, a glorious week
where I didn’t have to worry about accounts and ledgers and clients who
couldn’t make ends meet. I was going to leave my lonely apartment behind and
find myself a man, even if it was just a holiday fling.
I’d gone shopping the week before for winter clothes. The
clothes I’d found were all the latest stuff, form fitting but warm at the same
time, I would look sexy and on top of my game. I couldn’t wait!
We met at the airport an hour before our flight. I was the
last to arrive, and when I spotted our group I ran to them.
“I can’t believe we’re finally going!” Kate cried out. Her
brown curly hair sat in a messy bun on top of her head and she looked good in
just about anything she threw on. And she knew it.
“This is going to be the best time of your life. And I heard
the ski instructors are hot.” Ella did a little jiggle on the spot.
“You’re married,” Kate pointed out. I laughed.
“Just because we already bought our merchandise doesn’t
mean we can’t window-shop, right Ella?” Ashleigh and Ella were both married.
Kate was in a different relationship every few months because she didn’t like
to commit, but with her body and looks she could get any guy she wanted. I
didn’t look nearly like her. My hair was a redder-brown than hers and my hips
wider. But I was special in my own way. My mom told me so.
“We have to get Anna someone then, at least,” Kate said
and nudged me. I rolled my eyes but smiled anyway. We were going to have the
time of our lives.
The flight from Phoenix to Kalispell took four hours. When
we stepped out of the airport in Montana I smelled the snow in the air. I could
almost taste it. A cold breeze whipped around us, making my cheeks numb. I
breathed deeply, taking a chest full of icy air. It burned on the way in, and
swirled in my chest.
“This is amazing,” I breathed out. Arizona was an oven
with red dirt and merciless sun. It was so hot that even at night the heat
smothered you like a big warm blanket. The crisp white layer that covered
everything here was magical. Nothing like home.
We got a car to take us to Whitefish Mountain Resort. It
was about 21 miles’ drive through winding snowy scenery and pine trees. The
mountain rose in the distance as we drove towards it, peaks frosted with snow.
The resort was just as amazing as everything else. Ella’s
husband had gotten us a condo with four bedrooms so we each had our own private
space. Beige walls with light wood finishes rounded it off. We had a fully
stocked kitchen and a private patio.
“What are we going to do first?” Kate asked after we’d
each dumped our bags in our rooms.
“I want to go skiing! No reason we should wait,” Ashleigh
said. The resort was at the foot of The Big Mountain. Most of the chairlifts
were at the front of the mountain and there were already a lot of people skiing
on the slopes. They were tiny dots sliding down the white strip that ran down
Ella disappeared. With her Mike arranging everything, she
was the one in control of the itinerary. Fine by me. This week I didn’t want to
have to think or take responsibility at all. My brain was conveniently going to
switch off and I was going to spend my vacation in a state of bliss.
I had chosen a bright pink jacket with black and white
gloves to go with it and black pants that were designed to keep the cold out.
Even with my ski gear I was frozen solid five minutes after we’d left the
condo. It didn’t matter how well dressed I was, years of living in Phoenix just
didn’t prepare me for this kind of weather.
“Ladies, this is George,” Ella announced behind us. We
turned around and I looked our ski instructor up and down. Kate nudged me. He
was like a coil, muscle and power wound up in a perfect body. He wore the thick
ski pants with sheepskin lining, but only a thin thermal-type shirt stretched
over his chest and his biceps, and there was more than enough for us to ogle
“Have any of you ladies skied before?” he asked. His eyes
were the color of ice, and his dark hair was shiny and smooth. Like the kind
you would want to run your hands through... He looked at each of us, but his
eyes lingered on mine. A shiver traveled through my body. We all shook our
“Don’t worry about that. We’re going to have a lot of
Oh, I bet we were.
We followed George to a room that looked a lot like a
shop, and he helped us find skis. We walked out onto the snow and sat down on a
bench. I couldn’t clip the ski around my foot, it just wouldn’t tighten. George
kneeled in front of me in the snow and helped me. His fingers were nimble even
with his gloves on. He wrapped his other hand around my ankle. I could feel his
skin burn mine through my pants. Shivers traveled through my body again,
fanning out from his fingers. He was close enough for me to smell. Clean and
“All done,” he said and looked up at me. His blue eyes
smiled at me, even though his face was serious and professional, and like a
love struck teenager, I blushed. When George moved on to Ella to help her, I
scolded myself. I was twenty-four dammit. Not fourteen.
The first session consisted of more falling into the snow
than really skiing. I wasn’t as elegant as I would have liked to be. So much
for impressing the handsome hunk that was showing us how to glide over the snow
like he did. He made it look like he didn’t even need to think about it. The
skis might as well have been an extension of his feet, and his muscles moved
and rippled under his shirt when he pushed himself forward with his ski poles.
We all stared.
Three hours later every muscle in my body complained and
my face felt raw.
“Tomorrow will be easier,” George promised us. I groaned.
Right now I couldn’t think of doing it all again.
We headed back to the hotel.
“Good god he’s hot,” Kate breathed.
“I know, right. Makes you wonder what you’re doing with
Charlie, eh?” I stuck my tongue out at her. She rolled her eyes.
“It’s not like Charlie has to worry about anything. George
was paying the most attention to you. I could stand on my head and he wouldn’t
“Don’t be ridiculous,” I giggled. “Every guy looks twice
when he sees you.”
“Everyone except George, apparently.”
I shrugged. She wasn’t right about that. She was the one
that got all the male attention among the four of us.
In the hotel I showered until every part of my body was
thawed again, and brushed out my hair before I used the hairdryer on it. In
Phoenix I never blew my hair, but nothing dried here by itself.
“Let’s head out to the restaurant. There’s one facing the
slopes,” Ella said. We followed her and got a table at the large window that
faced the slopes.
“They make it look so easy,” I said, watching the people
lean from side to side, gliding down the slope like it was nothing.
“Well, with George teaching us we’ll do that soon.” Ella
said. “Or at least, you will,” she added, looking at me.
“Why is everyone saying that?” I asked.
Ahleigh and Kate laughed.
“You’re too modest, Anna,” Ella said.
The next lesson was easier already, as George had
promised, and this time it was clear he was paying me a lot more attention.
Ella and Ashleigh figured it out by themselves. Kate sat down on the bench and
watched me with a skew grin. When I looked at her she blew me a kiss and I
rolled my eyes.
“No, keep your legs like this,” George said, drawing my
attention back to our lesson. He put his hand on my thigh an guided my leg to
where it had to be. After he took his hand away I could still feel the print of
it on my skin. He straightened out and looked at me, smiling.
“Much better. You have the build for this,” he said.
I chuckled and shook my head.
“Really, there’s a build for skiing?”
“There is. But your build is good for everything.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He was flirting
outright with me. And what was more, I liked it.
When the lesson was over he gathered us together.
“Do you ladies want to meet with a few of my instructor
friends tonight at the bar?” He looked right at me when he asked it and another
shiver traveled through my body.
“We’d love to,” Ashleigh spoke for all of us. Kate grinned
and glanced at me.
“This is going to be great,” Kate said, sitting on my bed
while I put on make-up. “George is a nice one, eh?”
I shrugged. I was trying to make my skin look normal with
concealer, but the fact was that I had really bad sunburn. In Montana. The
sun’s reflection off the snow had really done a number on my face two days in a
“He’s okay,” I admitted. More than okay. Damn hot and his
eyes hypnotized me. But I wasn’t going to admit that to Kate. When it came down
to it he would probably end up going for her, anyway. I still wasn’t convinced
he liked me better. That never happened when Kate and I were together.
I applied light shadow and mascara, and ran a brush
through my hair. I was wearing jeans and tan boots, and a brown leather jacket.
My hair hung loose over my shoulders. I stepped back to inspect myself full
image in the mirror.
“Well, at least my face compliments my red hair,” I said,
Kate laughed. “You look great. Real sexy. I bet even if
George ends up being just a ski instructor one of his friends should be fun to
deal with. If all ski instructors came with muscles like that I’ll take any of
“I bet Charlie would love to hear you say that.”
Kate shrugged. “Charlie understands nothing’s set in
stone. Well, I’m not sure if he does. But it’s not.”
I laughed. Charlie was Kate’s latest and he’d been around
for six months, which was longer than any of the others had lasted.
Ella got us to the bar. She’d managed to get the details
from George before we’d left. If I was ever stuck in a wasteland with no
resources, I’d want Ella with me. Kate was an amazing friend but Ella had
access to literally everything. For that matter, if I was ever stuck in a
wasteland, I’d want it to be with George. Now there was someone I could get
The bar was down to earth and homey, with a dark wood bar
and matching stools, and booths set around the edges with red seats. A cloud of
smoke curled around the lights in the ceiling, and music blared from hidden
George spotted us when we walked in and waved us over to a
booth where he sat with five other men. He dragged a table from the middle of
the room so there was enough space for ten people, and introduced us around. I
only caught two names. Hans looked like he’d escaped from Germany with the
accent to boot, and Pierre had a permanent smile plastered across his face. The
other four all had roughly the same color hair and eyes, and I learned later
they were cousins.
They ordered us cocktails, and we talked. The conversation
was light and easy-going, and after my first two cocktails my blood hummed in
my veins and I’d forgotten about my sunburn and how dull I looked next to Kate.
George moved to sit next to me. His eyes stared right into
my soul, and I looked away, into my cocktail glass because I didn’t know where
else to look.
“You did well on the slopes today,” he said.
I snorted. “You’re just saying that to be nice. I’m pretty
sure I was terrible.”
“You’ll be surprised what some of my other students do,”
he said, grinning. “You did it all with elegance and finesse.”
I was aware how close he was sitting to me. I could smell
the cologne he wore. It filled my nose and it was damn attractive, it smelled
like ice and woods, for some reason, laced with something manly and clean. The
smell of soap on skin.
“How many of your students do you say that to?” I asked
him, looking into his eyes. He smiled with only one corner of his mouth which
made me feel just as unbalanced.
“Only the really beautiful ones.”
I felt a blush creep up from my collar and looked away,
trying to hide my shy smile.
“How many of those have you had?” I asked.
“So far, only one.”
I snapped my eyes back to him and his eyes were on me,
serious. Sincere. I took a deep breath and blew it out again with a shudder.
George leaned closer to me, his lips brushing against mine. A small spark
traveled into my lips. When I didn’t pull away, he leaned in closer and kissed
me, his lips gentle on mine. The bar fell away, my friends around me and the
men we were with, and it was just me and George. He took my hand in his without
breaking the kiss, and his hand was big and warm. I wondered what it would feel
like on my skin, exploring my body. A small flame between my legs accompanied