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Shelter Mountain (Virgin River Series #2)

Shelter Mountain (Virgin River Series #2)

4.4 159
by Robyn Carr

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Welcome back to Virgin River with the books that started it all…

For the second time in a year, a woman arrives in the small town of Virgin River trying to escape her past

John "Preacher" Middleton is about to close the bar when a young woman and her three-year-old son come in out of the wet October night. A marine who has seen his


Welcome back to Virgin River with the books that started it all…

For the second time in a year, a woman arrives in the small town of Virgin River trying to escape her past

John "Preacher" Middleton is about to close the bar when a young woman and her three-year-old son come in out of the wet October night. A marine who has seen his share of pain, Preacher knows a crisis when he sees one—the woman is covered in bruises. He wants to protect them, and to punish whoever did this, but he knows immediately that this is more than just instinct. Paige Lassiter has stirred up emotions in this gentle giant of a man—emotions that he has never allowed himself to feel.

Then Paige's ex-husband turns up in Virgin River. And if there's one thing the marines' motto of Semper Fi—always faithful—has taught Preacher, it's that some things are worth fighting for.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is an utter delight."-RT Book Reviews on Moonlight Road

"Strong conflict, humor and well-written characters are Carr's calling cards, and they're all present here....You won't want to put this one down."-RT Book Reviews on Angel's Peak

"This story has everything: a courageous, outspoken heroine, a to-die-for hero and a plot that will touch readers' hearts on several different levels. Truly excellent."-RT Book Reviews on Forbidden Falls

"An intensely satisfying read. By turns humorous and gut-wrenchingly emotional, it won't soon be forgotten."-RT Book Reviews on Paradise Valley

"Carr has hit her stride with this captivating series."-Library Journal on the Virgin River series

"The Virgin River books are so compelling-I connected instantly with the characters and just wanted more and more and more."-#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber

Product Details

Publication date:
Virgin River Series , #2
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.13(w) x 6.57(h) x 0.97(d)

Read an Excerpt

A fierce and unseasonably cold September wind blew chilly rain against the windows. Preacher wiped down the bar, and while it was only seven-thirty, it was already dark. No one in Virgin River would be out on a night like this. After the dinner hour was past, people tended to stay in on cold, wet nights. The campers and fishermen in the area would be locked down tight against the storm. It was bear-and-deer-hunting season, but it was unlikely any hunters would pass en route to or from lodges and blinds at this hour in such weather. Jack, his partner and the owner of the bar and grill, knowing there would be little if any business, was tucked away with his new wife at their cabin in the woods. Preacher had also sent home their seventeen-year-old helper, Rick. As soon as the fire burned down a little more, Preacher planned to switch off the Open sign and lock the door.

He poured himself a shot of whiskey and took it over to the table nearest the fire, then turned a chair toward the hearth and propped up his feet. Quiet nights like this were to his liking. He was a solitary kind of guy.

But the peace was not to be. Someone pulled on the door, causing him to frown. It opened a little bit. The wind caught the door and it flew open with a bang, bringing him instantly to his feet. Entering and then struggling to close the door was a young woman holding a child. The woman wore a ball cap and had a heavy quilted bag slung over her shoulder. Preacher went to get the door. She turned, looked up at him, and they both jumped back in surprise. She was likely startled because Preacher looked intimidating—he was six foot four, bald with bushy black eyebrows, a diamond stud earring and shoulders about as broad as an ax handle was long.

Under the bill of the baseball cap, Preacher saw a pretty young woman's face bearing a bruise on her cheek and a split lower lip.

"I'm… I'm sorry. I saw the sign…."

"Yeah, come on in. I wasn't expecting anyone to be out tonight."

"Are you closing?" she asked, hoisting up her burden, a little boy, not more than three or four years old. He was asleep on her shoulder, his long legs dangling limply. "Because I… Are you closing?"

"Come on," he said, stepping back for her to pass. "It's okay. I don't have anyplace better to go." He extended an arm toward a table. "Sit by the fire there. Warm up. Dry off."

"Thanks," she said meekly. She went to the table by the fire, and when she saw the drink, said, "Is this where you're sitting?"

"Go ahead. Take it," he said. "I was having a shot before calling it a night. But there's no hurry. We don't usually close this early, anyway, but with the rain…"

"Did you want to get home?" she asked him.

He smiled at her. "I live here. Makes me real flexible on the hours."

"If you're sure…"

"I'm sure," he said. "If the weather's decent, we usually stay open till at least nine."

She took the chair facing the fire, the boy's gangly legs straddling her lap. She let her quilted shoulder bag drop to the floor and pulled the child closer, hugging him tight, stroking his back.

Preacher disappeared into the back, leaving her to warm herself for a minute. He came back with a couple of pillows from his bed and the throw from his couch. He put the pillows on the table next to her and said, "Here. Lay the kid down. He's probably heavy."

She looked up at him with eyes that seemed to want to cry. Oh, he hoped she wouldn't do that. He hated when women cried. He had no idea what to do. Jack could handle it. He was chivalrous; he knew exactly what to do with a woman under any circumstance. Preacher was uncomfortable around women until he got to know them. When you got down to it, he was inexperienced. Although it wasn't intentional, he tended to scare women and children simply because of how he looked. But they didn't know that underneath his sometimes grim countenance he was shy.

"Thanks," she said again. She transferred the child to the pillows on the table. He immediately curled into a ball and put a thumb in his mouth. Preacher stood there, lamely holding the throw. She didn't take it from him so he put it over the boy and tucked it around him. He noticed the boy's cheeks were rosy and his lips bright pink.

When she reclaimed her chair, she looked around. She saw the stag's head over the front door and flinched. She turned full circle, noting the bear skin on the wall, the sturgeon over the bar. "Is this some kind of hunting place?" she asked.

"Not really, but a lot of hunters and fishermen pass this way," he said. "My partner shot the bear in self-defense, but he caught the fish on purpose. One of the biggest sturgeons in the river. I got the buck, but I'd rather fish than hunt. I like the quiet." He shrugged. "I'm the cook here. If I kill it, we eat it."

"You can eat deer," she said.

"And we did. We had a great winter of venison. Maybe you should have a drink," he said, trying to keep his voice soft and nonthreatening.

"I have to find a place to stay. Where am I, anyway?"

"Virgin River. Kind of out-of-the-way. How'd you find us?"

"I…" She shook her head and a small laugh escaped. "I got off the highway, looking for a town with a hotel…."

"You got off the highway a while ago."

"There aren't many places wide enough to turn around," she said. "Then I saw this place, your sign. My son…I think he has a fever. We shouldn't drive anymore."

Preacher knew there wasn't anyplace to get a room nearby. This was a woman in trouble; it didn't take a genius to figure that out. "I'll fix you up with something," he said. "But first—you want something to drink? Eat? I've got a good soup tonight. Bean and ham. And bread. I made the bread today. I like to do that when it's cold and rainy. How about a brandy to warm you up first?"


"Or whatever you feel like…"

"That would be good. Soup would be good, too. I haven't eaten in hours. Thanks."

"Sit tight."

He went to the bar and poured a Remy into a snifter—fancy stuff for this place. He hardly ever used the snifters on the usual crowd—but he wanted to do something special for the girl. For sure she was down on her luck. He took her the brandy and then went back to the kitchen.

The soup was put away for the night, but he took it out of the refrigerator, ladled out a scoop and put it in the microwave. While it warmed, he took her a napkin and some utensils. By the time he got back to the kitchen, the soup was ready and he got out the bread—some of his best: soft, sweet and hearty—and nuked it for a few seconds. He put that and some butter on a plate. When he came out of the kitchen he saw her struggling out of her jacket, like maybe she was stiff or sore. The sight of it stopped him briefly and made him frown. She threw a look over her shoulder, as if she was caught doing something bad.

Preacher put the food in front of her, his mind spinning. She was maybe five foot five and slight. She wore jeans and her curly brown hair was tucked through the back of the ball cap like a ponytail. She looked like a girl, but he guessed she was at least in her twenties. Maybe she'd been in a car accident, but it was more likely someone had smacked her around. The thought alone got him a little hot inside.

"That looks great," she said, accepting the soup.

He went back behind the bar while she ate. She shoveled the soup in, smeared the bread with butter and ate it ravenously. Halfway through with her meal she gave him a sheepish, almost apologetic smile. It tore through him, that bruised face, split lip. Her hunger.

When she'd sopped up the last of her soup with the last of her bread, he returned to her table. "I'll get you some more."

"No. No, it's okay. I think I'll have some of this brandy now. I sure appreciate it. I'll be on my way in a—"

"Relax," he said, and hoped he didn't sound harsh. It took a while for people to warm up to him. He transferred her dishes to the bar, clearing her place. "There isn't anywhere around here to get a room," he said when he returned to the table. He sat down across from her, leaned toward her. "The roads aren't so good out this way, especially in the rain. Really, you don't want to head back out there. You're kinda stuck."

"Oh, no! Listen, if you'll just tell me the closest place… I have to find something…."

"Take it easy," he said. "I got an extra room. No problem. It's a bad night." Predictably, her eyes widened. "It's okay. It's got a lock."

"I didn't mean…"

"It's okay. I'm kind of scary-looking. I know it."

"No. It's just—"

"Don't worry about it. I know how I look. Works great on guys. They back right off." He gave her a small smile, not showing any teeth.

"You don't have to do this," she said. "I have a car…."

"Jesus, I couldn't stand to think of you sleeping in a car!" he said. "Sorry. Sometimes I sound as bad as I look. But no kidding—if the kid's not feeling so good…"

"I can't," she said. "I don't know you…."

"Yeah, I know. Probably makes you wonder, huh? But I'm way safer than I look. You'd be okay here. Better here than at some hotel on the freeway, guaranteed. A whole lot more okay than out in that storm, trying to deal with those mountain roads."

She looked at him hard for a minute. Then she said, "No. I'm just going to press on. If you'll tell me how much—"

"Pretty rough-looking bruise you have there," Preacher said. "Can I get you anything for that lip? I have a first aid kit in the kitchen."

"I'm fine," she said, shaking her head. "How about if we settle up and—"

"I don't have anything for a kid's fever. Except a room. With a lock on the door so you feel safe. You don't want to pass up an offer like that in this weather, with a kid who might be coming down with something. I look big and mean, but I'm about as safe as you get. Unless you're wildlife." He grinned at her.

"You don't look mean," she said timidly.

"It can make women and little kids real nervous—and I hate that part. You on the run?" he asked her.

She lowered her eyes.

"What d'you think? I'm gonna call the cops? Who did that to you?"

She immediately started to cry.

"Aw. Hey. Don't."

She put her head down on folded arms on the table-top and sobbed.

"Aw. Come on. Don't do that. I never know what to do." Hesitatingly, squeamishly, he touched her back and she jumped. He touched one of her hands, very lightly. "Come on, don't cry. Maybe I can help."

"No. You can't."

"Never know," he said, lightly patting her hand.

She lifted her head. "Sorry," she said, wiping her eyes. "I'm exhausted, I guess. It was an accident. It was really stupid, but I was struggling with Chris—" She stopped suddenly and looked around nervously, as though worried about being overheard. She licked her lower lip. "I was trying to get Christopher in the car, hanging on to stuff, and I opened the door right into my face. Hard. You shouldn't be in a hurry, you know? It was just a little accident. It's fine." She lifted the napkin to her nose.

"Right," Preacher said. "Sure. Too bad about that. Looks sore."

"It'll be fine."

"Sure it will. So—what's your name?" When she didn't answer for a long moment, he said, "It's okay. I'm not going to repeat it. If anyone came looking for you, I'd never mention seeing you." Her eyes grew round and her mouth stood open slightly. "Oh, damn, that was the wrong thing to say, wasn't it?" he said. "All I mean is, if you're hiding or running, it's okay. You can hide or run here. I won't give you up. What's your name?"

She reached out and ran her fingers gently through the boy's hair. Silent.

Preacher got up and flipped off the Open sign and threw the latch on the door. "There," he said, sitting down with her again, the little boy taking up much of the table beside them. "Try to take it easy," he said softly. "No one here's gonna hurt you. I can be a friend. I'm sure not scared of the weak dick who'd do that to a woman. Sorry."

She looked down to avoid eye contact. "It was the car door…."

"Not afraid of any mean old car door, either," he said.

She gave a little huff of laughter, but had trouble looking him in the eye. She picked up her brandy with a slightly trembling hand and lifted it to her mouth.

"Yeah, there you go," Preacher said. "If you think the boy needs a doctor tonight, there's one right across the street. I could go get him. Or take you over."

"I think he's just coming down with a cold. I'm keeping a close eye on him."

"If he needs medicine or something."

"I think he's okay…."

"My buddy, the guy who owns this place, his wife is a nurse. A special nurse—she can give medicine, see patients…. She takes real good care of the women around here. She'd come in ten minutes. If a woman makes a difference, under the circumstances."

"Circumstances?" she asked, a panicked look floating across her features.

"Car door, and all that."

"No. Really. It's just been a long day. You know."

"Yeah, must've been. And the last hour or so off the freeway, that must've been pretty awful. If you're not used to those roads."

"A little scary," she admitted softly. "And not having any idea where I am."

"You're in Virgin River now, that's what matters. It's just a little crimp in the road, but the people are good. Help out where they can. You know?"

She gave him a small, shy smile, but her eyes were downcast again.

"What's your name?" he asked again. She pursed her lips tight, shaking her head. Her eyes welled up again.

"It's okay," he said softly. "Really."

"Paige," she whispered, a tear running down her cheek. "Paige," she repeated in a small voice.

"Yeah, that's good. That's a pretty name. You can say your name around here without being afraid."

"Your name?"

"John," he said, then wondered why he had done that. Something about her, he guessed. "John Middleton. No one calls me John, though. I'm known as Preacher."

"You're a preacher?"

"No," he said with a short laugh. "Way far from it. The only one ever to call me John was my mother."

"What did your father call you?" she asked him. "Kid," he said, and smiled. "Hey, kid," he emphasized. "Why do they call you Preacher?"

"Aw," he said, ducking shyly. "I don't know. I got the nickname way back, when I was just a kid in the Marine Corps. The boys said I was kinda straitlaced and uptight."

"Really? Are you?"

"Nah, not really," he said. "I never used to curse at all. I used to go to mass, when there was a mass. I grew up around priests and nuns—my mother was real devout. None of the boys ever went to mass, that I remember. And I kind of hung back when they went out to get drunk and look for women. I don't know…I never felt like doing that. I'm not good with women." He smiled suddenly. "That should be obvious right away, huh? And getting drunk never really appealed to me."

"But you have a bar?" she asked.

"It's Jack's bar. He watches over people real good. We don't let anybody out of here if they're not safe, you know? I like a shot at the end of the day, but no reason to get a headache over it, right?" He grinned at her.

"Should I call you John?" she asked him. "Or Preacher?"

"Whatever you want."

"John," she said. "Okay?"

"If you want. Yeah," he said. "Yeah, I like that. Been a while since anyone called me that."

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
This book is an utter delight."-RT Book Reviews on Moonlight Road

"Strong conflict, humor and well-written characters are Carr's calling cards, and they're all present here....You won't want to put this one down."-RT Book Reviews on Angel's Peak

"This story has everything: a courageous, outspoken heroine, a to-die-for hero and a plot that will touch readers' hearts on several different levels. Truly excellent."-RT Book Reviews on Forbidden Falls

"An intensely satisfying read. By turns humorous and gut-wrenchingly emotional, it won't soon be forgotten."-RT Book Reviews on Paradise Valley

"Carr has hit her stride with this captivating series."-Library Journal on the Virgin River series

"The Virgin River books are so compelling-I connected instantly with the characters and just wanted more and more and more."-#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber

Meet the Author

Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than forty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr’s website at www.RobynCarr.com.

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Shelter Mountain (Virgin River Series #2) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 159 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was another great book to the series ! Preacher is every girls dream. I liked how the other characters in the book were still kept involved and not forgotten . One of her best !!!
Katie321 More than 1 year ago
Every book in the Virgin River series by Robyn Carr leaves you anxiously awaiting the next. I've read them all without one moment of disappointment. Shelter Mountain is the story of Paige and Preacher who find each other after Paige escapes an abusive marriage and Preacher comes home from Iraq and is cooking at the little bar in Virgin River. Their relationship slowly evolves into such a wonderful love story that is full of twists and turns along the way. It is so heartwarming, sexy, funny, moving and totally absorbing like all of the other Virgin River books. I love the way the characters from the previous books are woven into the following books so that they continue to grow and you are kept up on what is going on with them. New characters in this book are introduced who will leave you dying to know more about them. I read these books so quickly because I can't seem to put them down. The way Preacher protects Paige and gives her shelter from her horrible previous life is every girl's dream. Their awakening sexual attraction is sexy and romantic and Preacher loves Paige's little boy just as though he were his own. Don't miss this book or any other in the series, I have given the entire series as gifts and everyone has more than loved them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just recently discovered Robyn Carr in the 2nd Virgin River series. I like her characters and setting for this series. I have made an effort to get the other books she has written.
marius greene More than 1 year ago
Seriously could not put this book down. Great story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so good! Preacher is stern, silent, alone & not happy. Till Paige wanders in to the bar, beaten & broken & starving. All she needs to do is survive one more night & protect her precious son. Boom...Preacher's hooked & love wins again. This author has whatever it is that makes a great story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent story line; all in the series are captivating and kept the reader interested throughout the experience. Not only is the series an exciting and spellbinding group of books; but these books stand well on their own. Each character pulls the reader in and yet each character also adds to every other character in the series. Can't wait for more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book a great deal. I have read many of Robyn Carr's books - this was one of the better ones!
Jacque48 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed all the characters and the story line. It was easy to fall into the whole experience and believe these people do exist. I could relate to all, even those that I have no real knowledge of. So far every book of Ms Carr's has been wonderful
Michele_S More than 1 year ago
Robyn Carr writes so perfectly that you envision the characters & the settings like you are really there
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this secound book it allowed you to be more apart of the little virgin river town.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The men in this series are amazing. I was so glad to find out what happened to Jack & Mel. And Preacher is such a big, strong dreamboat. This book was wonderful and very emotional. I do hope Ms. Carr will write Rick's story someday.
NCGirlAtHeart More than 1 year ago
I came to the Virgin River series late and started reading from book 1. Preacher is one of my favorite characters so far - he's strong, masculine, loving, tender and smart - what is there not to love? A wonderful story about two individuals who come together in a spectacular way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book like all her Virgin River books pulls you into the story so you forget that you don't live in Virgin River. I love all the characters but I have a soft spot for Preacher, he is big and awkward but super sweet and protective to no end. I couldn't put this book down. I highly recommend this book and series!!
gina-bookjunkie More than 1 year ago
After completing Virgin River, I immediately opened this second book. There was no wait or downtime. I couldn't get enough of the town, the people or the stories that are so well intertwined to make a great book. Preacher, I think is my favorite Virgin River resident. His devotion to Paige and Christopher never faltered and was immediate. I loved how the other stories from the first book also continue, grow and progress like the birth of Jack and Mel's baby. What a great event that was! I was as nervous for Jack as Jack was. And I laughed at Mel's flippant responses during labor! And the continuing story of Rick and Liz was something so touching and not what I expected. I cried with them. The final showdown with Paige's ex was also not what I expected. Can't wait to see if I've figured Dan out...glad he has a name now. And, once I finished this book, I immediately opened number 3. Robyn Carr has me hooked.
Anonymous 4 months ago
I was really looking forward to reading Preacher's story, but was disappointed at how watered down it became compared to other characters' problems. This book attempted to encompass too many peoples' stories and failed in portraying Preacher and Paige's story as thoroughly as it could have. I am all for revisiting old characters and having side character action, but this book was supposed to be focusing on Preacher and Paige, and by the time I sifted through everyone else's issues, I found the "main characters" story lost its importance. You would think this book was about Jack and Mel again, soul based on how much it was written in their point of view. And then there were Rick, Liz, Brie, and Mike, all of which got their own parts, but are also getting their own book a later down the line. I am invested in the characters and like the suggested plots of her books, but the way this is written makes the book longer than it needs to be and quite choppy in my opinion.
Pure_Jonel More than 1 year ago
Carr is one of those rare authors who can rip out your heart, and put it back together all the better for the events you’ve lived through in the lives of her loveable characters. She shows that hope exists in the darkest corners of our lives. This well written novel brings Virgin River to life in an excitingly suspenseful manner that had me on my toes while also completely engaging my emotions. The beautiful scenery combines with the exciting yet also low key lives of the characters to paint a quaint picture of this small town that has me dying to move there. The characters definitely made this novel for me. Carr creates a wonderfully realistic cast that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. Seeing Preacher come to life in so many different ways was fantastic. His heart is as big as he is and I couldn’t help but fall in love with him. Countered with Paige’s vulnerability and newfound strength this was a real couple that was easy to connect with. Surrounded by the rest of the strong, approachable individuals who live in and around Virgin River, Carr has a winning cast that truly does her story justice. Once again Carr has taken me to Virgin River, and created a seamless novel that I can’t stop thinking about. I’ll definitely be reading it time and time again.
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Judy-Ree More than 1 year ago
The Virgin River Series has been on my TBR list for quite awhile. When I recently got book one, Virgin River in audio format, I was thrilled at how good it was. Thérèse Plummer continues as the narrator and again does a wonderful job of voices the characters of every one from 3 year old Christopher to crotchety old Doc. She totally makes the book come alive.   This story is mostly about Preacher and Paige... mostly.  About half the book is Preacher & Paige, a quarter of the book is Jack & Mel and the baby, and the other quarter is split between Rick & Liz and Bree & Mike. Oh yes, I can see that we will be revisiting these 2 couples later down the line. I really liked that we got to return to Jack & Mel and the consequences from Rick & Liz are addressed from book one. But I wish we had more with Preacher & Paige.  Though looking back, neither one of them is overly complicated. They are simple people wanting a simple life. There is a sweetness there that is attractive and lovely, but let's face it, also a bit boring. So I am glad that we got to check in with the other characters, making this more an ensemble story.  I am about to get a bit spoilery, but I need to vent. A solid theme in this book was maternity. At one point, Mel, Paige and Liz were all pregnant. However, Mel's is the only child that survives.  I understand that in reality things happen, but it just left a bad taste in my mouth the way it was set up. It wasn't enough to keep me from getting the next book, but other smaller things now annoy me more, like how everyone use "buddy" all the time. The more that pulls me out of the story, the more I find that irritates me in the story. Anyone else have that problem? This was a very emotional book: physical abuse, miscarriage, death and near death, multiple divorces. But I didn't have the emotional connection that could have made this book a real tear jerker. And I don't think it was just the maternity thing. I have book 3, Whispering Rock, but I think I am going to take a small break first to make sure it's not just a my mood issue.  Overall I liked the book, was really pleased about the narrator and enjoyed the town, so I went with 3 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG!! best book ever!!! Must Read! I read book #2 so I then got book #1 in the Virgin Series. To date I have read all the Virgin Series books!! Love this series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read I need to know #8in the series
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