Smitten At First Sight
by Marie Astor
Maggie Robin has been dating the irresistibly good-looking, successful Jeffrey Preston for two years. But when Jeffrey proposes marriage a week after Maggie’s college graduation, she is no longer sure if she wants to marry a workaholic TV producer.
Maggie’s doubts culminate when during a ski trip to British Columbia, she meets Taylor Denton, a handsome, free-spirited big mountain skier who is the complete opposite of Jeffrey. It does not take Maggie long to realize that she has fallen in love with Taylor and she decides to break off her engagement with Jeffrey. But just when she thinks she has found the love of her life, an ill-fated misunderstanding tears Maggie and Taylor apart.
A week later, Maggie is told that Taylor has died in a tragic ski accident; yet, her heart refuses to believe in Taylor’s death. When Maggie returns to Taylor’s native town, she learns that Taylor is indeed alive, but has been seriously injured. Resolved to bring her lover back to life Maggie stands by Taylor’s side, convincing him to embrace life again.
“So, what’s next?” Jeffrey asked impatiently. “I hope you saved the best for last, Taylor.”
“I think you’ll be pleased with this one, Jeffrey. It’s one of the longest runs on the mountain,” said Taylor. The run Taylor planned for the group to ski started from the very top of the mountain, which he hoped would appease Jeffrey’s zeal, but was still temperate enough for the entire group to be able to ski it. Just as long as everyone followed the guide’s lead, they would be fine.
“All right, let’s see it!” Jeffrey pointed his skis toward the incline.
“Shawn and Hannah, you go first, and I’ll be in the back,” Taylor called out.
What happened next was so unexpected that Taylor barely had time to think. As Shawn and Hannah were about to begin their descents, Jeffrey veered off course, turning all the way to the right, to take the steeper route.
“I’ll catch up with you at the bottom!” Jeffrey yelled as he whizzed down with incredible speed.
If only it were that easy, Taylor could not have cared less, but while it looked like the two inclines would converge at the bottom, the illusion was far from the truth. The incline that Jeffrey was racing down led to a glacier, and if Taylor did not get to him in time, there was a good chance that Jeffrey would end up at the bottom of a hundred-mile long crevasse – the only way back from a fall like that was in a body bag.
“Hannah, Shawn, take the rest of the group – I’m going to get Jeffrey.” Taylor plunged after Jeffrey: he was going as fast as he could to overtake him.
“Jeffrey, stop!” Taylor shouted. “Keep left!” He waved at Jeffrey frantically, but Jeffrey kept going straight down – another two hundred yards and he’d end up at the bottom of the glacier. “Jeffrey! Stop!” Taylor kept yelling at the top of his lungs.
Finally, just as Taylor was about to catch up with him, Jeffrey called over his shoulder, “You like to race? Let’s see who comes in first!” At that moment his skis veered out of control and Jeffrey rolled on the snow, his skis snapping off.
Taylor had never been glad to see anyone fall, but in this case his emotion was justifiable since Jeffrey’s fall had saved his life.
“What the hell are you doing?” Jeffrey struggled to get up in the knee-deep snow. “You almost got me killed!”
“And you would have gotten yourself killed if you hadn’t stopped in time,” Taylor retorted calmly. “You see that last stretch of the incline?”
“Yeah, I was going to take that to meet you guys,” snapped Jeffrey, “what’s wrong with that?”
“Only that it does not converge with any other line – this slope leads straight into a one hundred-mile long crevasse.” His heart pounding wildly, Taylor stared straight at Jeffrey – he had had enough – unless Jeffrey was going to clean up his act, Taylor was ready to walk away from any further association with this maniac.
“Jeffrey, are you all right? Taylor, what happened?”
Abruptly Taylor turned around and saw Maggie standing behind him. What was the girl thinking following them when he had explicitly told the rest of the group to follow Hannah and Shawn? A small part of him could not help admiring her skiing skills, but that was a small part, and the larger part of him was outraged by her carelessness. She was just as pigheaded as Jeffrey – no wonder the two of them made such a happy couple.
“Maggie! How did you get here?” exclaimed Jeffrey.
“Well, I was so worried something happened to you, I went in right after Taylor.”
“I’m fine – not to worry. Seems that Taylor here saved my life,” Jeffrey added.
Taylor had had enough. “And who would go after you, Maggie, if something happened to you?”
“I knew what I was doing,” retorted Maggie. “I’ve got enough skills to ski this route.”
“Do you? And do you know that it leads to a deathly crevasse?” Taylor exploded – in his opinion this kind of carelessness deserved no mercy.
Not surprisingly, Maggie did not say anything – what was there to say when she was clearly in the wrong? Well, hopefully she will learn from this lesson, Taylor thought, but he sure would not stick around to find out. He no longer harbored any illusions about Maggie either – her crazy behavior was all the proof he needed to understand that she and Jeffrey were made for each other.
Marie Astor is the author of contemporary romance novels Lucky Charm, Smitten at First Sight, This Tangled Thing Called Love, romantic suspense novel, To Catch a Bad Guy, and a short story collection, A Dress in a Window.
If you would like to find out more about Marie’s books, please visit Marie at her website: www.marieastor.com.
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