“Jill Shalvis is a total original! It doesn’t get any better.” —Suzanne Forster
“Shalvis breaks new ground with this sexy paranormal romance…told from both his and her perspectives.” Booklist
I SHOULD HAVE STAYED IN BED
Three weeks ago I, Rachel Bond, inherited a bed-and-breakfast. In Alaska. Just this morning I was in my warm bed in LA but now here I am, up north—and this is, like, nosebleed north—sorting it all out. So:
1. Bears and wolves and moose can’t be any worse than LA guys.
2. You’ve heard of “starving artists?” I‘m about to faint. So it’s probably time for a change.
3. My good friend Kellan—you’ll like him, unlike me, he’s cool under pressure—suddenly has this animal sexiness I’ve never even seen before.
2. The house chef can’t cook, and the guide can’t read a map.
3. Kellan’s sudden hotness is getting very hard to ignore.
4. I just got hit by lightning.
And I’m not sure if this is a pro or a con just yet, but since that lightning bolt, I can see through everything. As in completely transparent. That was before things started to get really weird . . .
|Product dimensions:||4.20(w) x 6.80(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in the Sierras, where she regularly attempts her own wild mountain escapades. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her book is, um, mostly coincidence. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning novels wherever romances are sold, and check out her website at www.jillshalvis.com, and her humorous daily blog where she chronicles her crazy adventures.
Read an Excerpt
Out of This World
By Jill Shalvis
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2006 Jill Shalvis
All rights reserved.
It was one of those should-have-stayed-in-bed days. I should have given my alarm clock a one-way flight out my window courtesy of my old high-school softball arm, and just stayed home watching soap operas and stuffing my face with ice cream.
And I might have, if there'd been a nice, warm, hard male body next to mine. But nope, just as my mother has been woefully predicting since puberty, I'm still single. Not for lack of putting myself out there, mind you. But trust me, no matter what you read, the men in Los Angeles are slim pickings.
Oh, there are lots of them available. But they're attached to their mirrors, or to their cell phones, where they have their shrinks and personal trainers on speed dial.
I could move away, of course, but where else could I go and have people pay me to paint murals on the sides of buildings? Where else could I wear flip-flops all year long, and have my biggest decision be whether to paint a night sky or a city panorama?
Yeah, despite myself, I am perfectly suited to L.A. living, to the come-what-may, no-plan-ahead lifestyle.
Most mornings I get up, toast half of a sesame-seed bagel and drink a large iced tea with lemon, heavy on the sugar. I shower, pull on a T-shirt and shorts (the upside of three hundred sixty-five days of sun a year), grab my paints and go to work, where, like my father before me, I paint on-spec murals to my heart's content, while wishing it could be to my checkbook's content as well.
But at least I love my job, right?
At night I go out to dinner with friends and bemoan the fact that we're living the best years of our lives single. We have dessert — even though in my case, my shorts are getting a little snug around the waist — and then I go home, feed the fish, get into bed and dream of the cute FedEx guy, who still hasn't noticed I'm alive.
Then I get up and do the whole thing all over again.
Or that's what I always did, with some variation — until my great-great-aunt Gertrude died and changed my life.
She didn't leave me a forgotten fortune or even a diamond necklace, though either would have been nice. No, what dear old Great-Great-Aunt Gertrude willed to me was a B&B in the wilds of Alaska — specifically, just outside the Katmai National Park and Preserve.
I, Rachel Wood, owner of an inn just outside a preserve — it boggled the mind, or at least my city-grown one.
Why had she owned such a thing in the middle of nowhere? Probably because she was mean as sin and liked being far from her entire family. But that's another story entirely. In this story, here I am: a twenty-seven-year-old L.A. muralist with a B&B in Alaska. What's a girl to do but go look?
Which means that this morning, instead of grabbing my paints, I packed a bag (okay, two bags), and I was now on a plane heading north.
And I mean waaay north. Nosebleed north.
With some trepidation, I faced my fear of heights and peeked out the plane window, then promptly got dizzy and clutched the armrests.
Wow, Alaska sure was big. And green.
As far as my eyes could focus lay jagged peaks, some still white-tipped, and it was August. August. It was almost beyond my Southern California imagination.
Lining those rugged mountains were ribbons and ribbons of trees. No buildings to paint murals on — not a single one. No coffeehouses in sight either.
Or movie theaters.
My stomach dropped some more, because in fact there were no signs of life at all — at least, not human life.
And more than just my stomach hurt now, because a world without concrete, without drive-throughs and drive-bys, seemed ... alien. I knew this was a bit wussy of me, but fact was fact. If I ever had to go on the TV show Survivor, I wouldn't make it past the first day. I need food on a regular basis. I need a bed every night.
And I need a bathroom, complete with electrical outlets, thank you very much.
"This is insane," I whispered.
"Tell me about it."
That voice belonged to Kellan, brother of my best friend, Dot McInty. Kellan was squished into the seat next to mine, his long legs banging up against the seat in front of him, his equally long arms hugging his beat-up leather saddlebag.
Dot is a physical therapist and therefore has a regular job and regular hours, complete with a boss who frowns on his people taking unplanned long weekends simply because their "best friend inherited a B&B in Alaska and needs hand-holding."
So Dot sent Kellan in her place. Kellan is an actual, true-to-life dolphin trainer at Sea World. What this means is that he's a tall, lanky brainiac who communicates with animals better than with humans and smells like the sea.
I have no idea what help Dot thought Kel would be to me here in the middle of Nowhere, USA, but he got the long weekend off, and I do have to admit, he's funny and smart, even if sometimes he is so easygoing and laid-back that I have to check him for a pulse.
The plane dipped, and I gasped.
"Hey, it's okay," Kellan said. "Just turbulence."
"I don't mean to sound like Chicken Little, but we're falling out of the sky."
"No, we're just coming into Anchorage for our landing. No worries."
Right. No worries. No worries at all.
I bravely looked down, ignoring my stomach, now somewhere near my toes. The entire horizon was nothing but that disconcerting blanket of rugged peaks and wild growth for as far as I could see. "Where are we going to land?"
Kellan pushed his glasses up his nose and pulled a file from his saddlebag. He flipped through some papers and located a map. With his disheveled brown hair falling into his eyes, the strands at least six weeks past the need for a trim, and the glasses already slipping again, he looked a little like an absentminded professor as he unfolded the map and studied it. "Here." He pointed to a circle in red ink. "Here's Anchorage. See it? We're going to land there, then take a float plane up King Solomon River to ... here." He tapped his long, work-roughened finger on another spot on the map. "There we're going to be dropped off at a spot where we can rent a Jeep and ride up a short road to Hideaway."
Apt name for a B&B in the wilds of Alaska, I decided.
He looked up, his eyes meeting mine. "You know all this already."
Yes, and I knew that in this current leg of the trip, we were heading nearly three hundred air miles to the Alaska Peninsula, directly into unspoiled, unpopulated wilderness.
No highway system touched the area. Access was by small plane only.
And yet here we were. Willingly heading into isolation, into unstable weather, into an area where even the winds could be life threatening, where time seemed to be measured in terms of pre- and postvolcanic eruption, judging by all the articles I'd read.
Good God. Volcanic eruption ...
"Somehow it all seemed far less threatening from inside my apartment," I said, "surrounded by four walls and electricity, with the comforting sounds of traffic coming in my window."
"No traffic here." Kellan leaned over me and glanced out the window, his bony shoulder poking me. "Unless you count the four-legged variety."
"Oh God." This was a whole new horror I hadn't considered. I looked down at my pink ruffled top and Capri jeans. Not much protection against wild animals. "You think there'll be wolves?"
"I was thinking even bigger."
"Moose," I said. Were moose friends or foes?
"No, not moose." His face gave little away, which was exactly the problem with Kellan, because I could never quite tell when he was kidding. "Bears."
"Yep, bears. And maybe mountain cats, too." He had these intense baby blue eyes, which always seemed slightly magnified behind his glasses, eyes that were amused now, at my expense.
"Well, that settles it," I said, only half-kidding. "We have to turn around."
He smiled, pushing up his glasses again. "You wanted to come out here, Lucy."
As if I'd forgotten that this was completely of my own doing. Or that my nickname was I-Love-Lucy, due to my uncanny ability to land myself in outrageous situations without even trying.
Welcome to my most outrageous situation yet.
"In fact," he went on, still amusing himself, "I think your exact words were 'I want to broaden my horizons, Kel. I want to take my adventures to a whole new level.'" "I did not say that."
"Yes, you did. You said Alaska was going to be a good start on the rest of your life. A change from the dull and mundane."
Okay, I'd actually said that, but it hadn't sounded so cheesy at the time. "Thanks for throwing my own words back in my face."
His knowing smile said "any time," and I rolled my eyes and stared out the window again, at the sharp, craggy precipices and dizzying valleys coming up to greet us at stomach-shrinking speed as we came in for a landing.
Nerves hit me like a one-two punch, knocking the air out of my lungs. I didn't need a restart, I thought hastily. My life was just fine! But unfortunately, they weren't kidding when they said "starving artists." And though I wasn't exactly starving (in fact, I was stuffed into my Capris with some overflow), I wasn't exactly flush with cash either.
Truth was, I barely scraped by each month.
Being broke wasn't anything new to me, but this B&B hadn't come with a college fund. So really, I had no choice but to come here and check it out, to decide what to do with it before — I don't know — someone got stepped on by a moose and sued me.
"Hard to believe that just yesterday I was hanging off the CFS building," I said, "painting a forty-five-foot mural of a seascape, while ten thousand cars passed by on the 405 during rush hour."
"Nice dolphin on the far right, by the way," Kellan said. "I caught it yesterday while stuck behind that two-car pileup."
I managed a smile, sidetracked by the praise. "It was harder to do than I thought."
"No, you got the dorsal fin just right."
If I'd gotten it right, it was because he'd hounded me about it night and day since he'd learned I'd be painting it, sending me e-mails, faxes, pictures. "Thanks."
"You're really good."
"He said, sounding so amazed."
A grin split his face, and he went back to his notes, his too-long hair falling over his forehead and into his eyes. He wore his usual faded Levi's, athletic shoes that looked as if they'd been on their last legs for a while now and a T-shirt that invited the general public to KEEP THE OCEAN BLUE.
He was, undoubtedly, a complete geek, but he was my geek, and I was very fond of him.
The plane dipped again. Just beneath us, I could see treetops, dense undergrowth and narrow canyons, which challenged the contents of my stomach, and I clutched Kellan's big, warm hand. "Should we say our last rites? Admit our sins?"
"Oh, you don't have time for that," he said. "We're going down."
I think I squeaked.
"Down as in landing. It's going to be fine, Rach. An adventure, remember?" Right. An adventure to the land of snow and moose and mountain men.
And it wasn't as if I had something else to do. Long-term planning was not a strong suit of mine, much to my perpetually exasperated mother's frustration. She'd long ago given up trying to coax me into a "real" career, or a marriage, for that matter.
I love painting, and I don't intend to give it up. A man, however, that might be nice. But I've been through quite a few, and I've learned a few lessons.
Such as that a good thing never lasts.
The nose of the plane took a sharp dip. Oh God, oh God. Just descending, I told myself. As if I couldn't tell by the way my eyeballs pressed back into my head.
Finally the wheels touched down. Actually "slammed down" would be more accurate, so hard I nearly ate my own teeth, and I reminded myself I'd done this out of curiosity, which was a good thing, a healthy thing, and I'd make the best of it.
Then I remembered something else: Curiosity was all well and fine, but it'd also killed the cat.
We switched planes in Anchorage, and now we sat in a tiny tin can, a butt-squeaker of a float plane.
"Oh. My. God." I gripped Kellan's hand, and stared at the lake below, racing past us at a dizzying speed. We'd been on the float plane for only five minutes.
The wind made tears stream out of my eyes, and I think I had a bug in my teeth. "Kellan!"
"You're going to break my fingers." He tried to free his hand from mine, but that wasn't going to happen. I had a death grip on him, and the only way he was getting free was to chew free.
Supposedly this "air taxi" could handle both water and air, though as near as I could tell, we hadn't left the water more than a foot or two below us. The top was open, like that of a biplane, the noise incredible.
The landscape whipped by so fast, I couldn't catch more than a brown-green-blue blur, the only constant being Jack, the pilot. He sat behind the controls yelling "Woo hoo!" at the top of his lungs as he dodged trees like we were playing some sort of Xbox game with our lives.
Jack looked the mountain-man part: long hair held back by a leather string, the mass flying out behind him. He wore aviator sunglasses, beige cargo pants whose every pocket was filled with God-knew-what and a long-sleeved shirt open over a T-shirt that said FLY MY FRIENDLY SKIES — PLEASE.
The light in his eyes as he flew the plane said he was either very good at what he did or he was thoroughly, one-hundred-percent insane. I was betting on the former, while praying it wasn't the latter. In spite of the way I had led my life — that is, without much precaution or a single thought-out plan — I was not reckless.
And yet, here I was, on a plane I could have parked in my bathroom, with a man who might have smoked a crack pipe for lunch, flying over the wilds of Alaska.
I'm telling you, the crazy streets of Los Angeles were tame compared to this. Here, there were peaks on peaks, each bigger than the last, layers upon layers, stabbing up into the sky to heights I'd never imagined.
"Seriously, Rach" — this from Kellan, at my side — "I need my fingers back."
We made another heart-stopping turn at the speed of light, following the river below. Ignoring Kellan, I closed my eyes, then felt my stomach leap into my eyeballs. Whoops. Definitely not a good way to fight vertigo, so I opened them again. "Are we almost there yet?"
Jack craned his neck. "Why, what's up? You need a pit stop?"
I looked at him hopefully. "You have a bathroom on board?"
He laughed. "Nope. But I can find you a tree."
Even Kellan laughed at that — the jerk — and I squeezed his fingers harder, until he paled.
There. That made me feel marginally better, but the only thing that could fix this situation entirely was to have Dot at my side. She wouldn't have found any humor in my need to pee. She'd have been right there with me, demanding a bathroom complete with blow-dryer and scented hand soap.
"Serious," Kellan gasped, "my fingers —"
I squeezed harder. Suck it up, I thought. And then I couldn't think, because right in front of us — right in the middle of the river whipping by me so fast that the landscape looked like one of my paintings, still wet and also blurred, as if I had swiped my fingers over it — was a fallen log the likes of which Paul Bunyan had never seen. The thing was massive, with branches still reaching into the sky, like the arms of a downed giant ghost.
And we were going to hit it.
So I did the only sensible thing: I closed my eyes, opened my mouth and screamed.
My stomach bounced, down to my pink toenails, then back up into my freshly touched-up roots and finally to somewhere near the region where it was supposed to be, so I knew Jack was doing some fancy flying — not that I looked. No sirree, my looking days were over.
Then I realized Kellan was saying "It's okay" over and over in my ear, his breath tickling my skin. Maybe it was the fact he'd grown up with only his mother and three sisters, smothered in feminine woes and Barbie dolls. Or maybe it was from all that practice with the dolphins. However he'd gotten the gift of knowing the right thing to do and to say to a woman, I was grateful. Especially since comfort was an almost foreign concept, given that the men I dated tended to be, well, badasses, and badasses typically don't do comfort.
Excerpted from Out of This World by Jill Shalvis. Copyright © 2006 Jill Shalvis. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Rachel Wood has inherited a B&B from her Great Great Aunt Gertrude in, of all places, the Alaskan wilderness. Working as a muralist in LA and living paycheck to paycheck, Rachel decides she¿ll go to Alaska and check out the B&B, see what is has to offer maybe even sell it. Rachel thanks her lucky stars that her best friend¿s brother, Kellen McInty, was able to go with her. After a harrowing, white-knuckled arrival in a float plane, and being left in the middle of nowhere by a pilot who apparently believes that a successful flight means landing with both wings intact, Rachel and Kellen hike their way to the B&B. The strange characters and even more strange happenings eventually push Rachel and Kellen together, and once Rachel begins to see things as she never has before, she begins to wonder why she has never seen Kel for the man he truly is.***** Kellen has loved Rachel for what seems like forever, and being thrown together with her in such close quarters in the plane and later in her aunt¿s cottage, is almost more than he can resist. He is determined to keep her at arms¿ length, no easy feat given how she in all of her glorious girliness, is afraid of her own shadow and is constantly plastering her gorgeous self to him. Kel doesn¿t know what to think about the weird goings-on at the B&B, the two on-site caretakers and two visitors who put the s-t-r-a-n-g-e- in strange, but he¿s determined to get to the bottom of their bizarre behavior.***** Rachel and Kellen are so wonderful for each other that readers will be crossing their fingers for them to get together. The secondary characters and their motives are questionable to say the least, but you can¿t help but care for them and want them to all be happy. Excepting the bad guys that is ¿ but with that being said, who would ever have expected pirates to show up in the middle of Alaska?***** Jill Shalvis has outdone herself with the humor in this book - and as for first person writing? I¿m a full-fledged convert and will never reject another book written in this style.
Out Of This World by Jill Shalvis is a wonderfully funny and wickedly sexy tale. ________________ Artist Rachel Wood has inherited a B & B from a distant relative. Problem is the place is in Alaska of all places. Rachel enlists the help of her best friends brother Kellan McInty to go with her to check the inn out. Hideaway B & B is deep in no mans land and for a city girl like Rachel it¿s a shocker. ___________________ Rachel and Kellan decide to explore around the place and something very strange happens. Rach can now see through things and Kel has gone all supermanish. Getting to the bottom of these bizarre goings on test their patience. Plus all of sudden these two friends can¿t keep their hands off each other. ___________________ Out Of This World delivers a funny, quirky and hotter then hot romance. Both Rach and Kel give their take on things and that really made it an enjoyable read. Added to this mix are the employees, guests of the inn and some out of this world pirates that really up the laughs. This book was such a treat to read, made me laugh out loud so many times. The romance is top notch and it¿s a joy to watch friends become so much more.
Late Great-Great Aunt Gertrude bequests her Hideaway B&B to Rachel Wood. That would be a nice windfall for the Los Angeles resident as it is just outside a preserve only this inn is just outside the Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska. Still though Alaska is cold, Rachel decides to see her new holding, but needs someone to hold her hand while she does so. Her best friend Dot McInty cannot leave her day job so she sends her brother Kellen, a dolphin trainer at Sea World who communicates better with animals than humans.--------------- At the Hideaway, Rachel finds a competent staff awaits her starting with a chef who cannot cook and a tour guide who gets lost easily. Whether it was the lightning that hit Rachel or the moose that tried to hit Rachel, she suddently finds herself attracted to Kel, her brainac hero. To her shock he reciprocates proving he knows how to communicate one kiss at a time.---------------- This novel is a zany Alaskan romance with a touch of the supernatural to enhance the tale. The story line switches perspective between the lead duet so that the audience obtain varying he said she said viewpoints on the same event. Though that tends to slow down the plot, Jill Shalvis rules with this way OUT OF THIS WORLD tale.--------------- Harriet Klausner
Odd.... lots of questions, then it all is answered in the end. Seemed to be a lot of build up and then rushed ending.
The very first book that got me hooked on Jill Shalvis. A bit on the quirky side with some supernatural things mixed into this friend to lovers story and you've got a fun read. Absolutely loved it!
Don't waste your money. Love Jill Shalvis's books, but this was terrible.
Hey jethro. Luv ur name!
How do we do this Rp? Is it myths or...
BLACK BUTLER ROCKS!!!!!!!!