From acclaimed author Cindy Myers comes a big-hearted story of pulling together, facing life's challengesand knowing what it means to really come home. . .
Cut off from the outside world by a blanket of snow, the holidays are usually a time for peace and quiet in tiny Eureka, Colorado. But this year the mountain town is in trouble. Thanks to a corrupt investor, the treasury is bankrupt, leaving residents to struggle through an especially harsh winter. Then there are those with more personal problems, like Maggie Stevens, pregnant and torn between single motherhood or drawing the father-to-be into a life he's not cut out for. And Olivia Theriot, the mayor's prodigal daughter, is harboring a secret so painful she may never be able to settle down. But mother nature is about to put things in perspective. . .
When a blizzard blows through just days before Christmas, some are left strandedand others missing. Now there's only one thing on Eureka's wish list: to live up to its name, and its reputation for coming together, and find a way to bring everyone back homewhere they belong.
Praise for The View From Here
"Cindy Myers strikes gold with this warm-hearted novel about friendship, family, and second chances." Deborah Smith, New York Times bestselling author "I loved this novel! It shines like a jewel. . .like solid gold." Pamela Morsi, USA Today bestselling author"This novel is definitely one to add to your keeper shelf." RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2 Stars
About the Author
Cindy Myers worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent, and medical clinic manager before turning to writing full time. She’s written both historical and contemporary romance, as well as dozens of short stories and nonfiction articles. Her novel The View from Here was the winner of the Colorado Book Award. Former president of San Antonio Romance Authors, Cindy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Novelists Inc., and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She is in demand as a speaker, teaching workshops and making presentations to both local and national writing groups. She and her husband and their two dogs live in the mountains southwest of Denver. Visit her on the web at cindimyers.com.
Read an Excerpt
The Mountain Between Us
By CINDY MYERS
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2013 Cindy Myers
All rights reserved.
Maggie Stevens stared out the front windshield of the Jeep, at the mountainside ahead painted with golden aspen, maroon rock, and purple aster—as if fall were playing a game of "top this" with summer, decorating itself with even more beautiful color. A lot of people probably came to this overlook above Eureka, Colorado, to try to deal with life's big questions, to let the hugeness of the mountains lend perspective.
Really, she'd only driven up here because the cell phone reception was best.
She glanced at the plus sign on the little plastic strip in her hand again. "Maybe the test is defective," she said into the phone. "Maybe that's why it was for sale at the dollar store."
"You bought a pregnancy test at the dollar store?" On the other end of the line her best friend, Barb Stanowski, sounded very far away.
"I certainly wasn't going to buy it here in town." If anyone had seen her with her purchase at Eureka Grocery, the news would have been all over town before she even got back to her place. So she'd driven half an hour up the road to Montrose. "And I couldn't bring myself to pay ten dollars for something I was going to pee on. Besides, I needed three of them."
"Three?" Barb was laughing again.
"I wanted to be absolutely sure. What if they're wrong?"
"All three of them? Not likely. How are you feeling?"
"I told you. Sick. Scared. And kind of elated." Her first husband had refused to consider the idea of children. When he'd left her shortly before her fortieth birthday, she'd resigned herself to never having the baby she'd always wanted. Then she'd met Jameso and now ...
"Any physical symptoms?" Barb asked.
"My breasts are really sensitive. I've been throwing up, but not just in the morning. Yesterday, Janelle brought onion rings with my lunch. I love her onion rings, but one whiff of those and I had to leave the café. And Rick told me I was glowing."
"Your boss told you you were glowing? Have you been around any leaking nuclear reactors lately?"
"He was teasing me." Rick Otis, editor and publisher of the Eureka Miner, made a hobby out of getting people's goat. "He said I must be in love, because I was positively glowing."
"You are in love, aren't you?"
"Yes, maybe. I mean, yes, I love Jameso, but he's not exactly responsible father material." Handsome, sexy, unpredictable Jameso Clark, who'd roared into her life on a motorcycle on her very first night in Eureka. He'd made her feel alive and sexy and hopeful again after the emotional wreckage of her divorce.
"How can you say that, if he cares about you and the baby?" Barb liked Jameso. She'd liked him before Maggie did, and continued to see qualities in him Maggie couldn't.
"He'll probably freak out when I tell him about the baby." Maggie shuddered. She pictured him climbing on his motorcycle and riding away, out of her life forever. "I do love him. I think he's great, but I don't have any illusions about him. He's a part-time bartender slash ski instructor slash mountain guide, whose most valuable possession is a motorcycle. He's estranged from his family, and he probably suffers from post-traumatic stress, though he won't admit it." Jameso refused to talk about his time in Iraq and turned away if she tried to question him.
"I think you're underestimating him," Barb said. "This may be just what he needs to turn his life around. He'll probably make a great father."
"What about me? What kind of mother will I be?" Maggie allowed herself to give in to the panic a little. "I don't know anything about children. I've never spent any time around them. I'm forty years old. I'll be ready to retire when this baby graduates college." She closed her eyes, fighting a wave of dizziness.
"Calm down. Lots of women in their forties have babies these days. And you've always wanted children. You'll be a great mom."
"Barb, I'm scared." She opened her eyes again, shifting her gaze until she found the top of Mount Winston. How many mornings now had she awakened to the sight of that towering peak since coming to Eureka from Houston five months ago? She'd come here intending to stay a week—two at the most—gathering her late father's effects and trying to learn as much as she could about the man who'd walked out of her life when she was only a few days old. But the mountains had pulled at her, refusing to let her leave. Of all the things her father had left her, his greatest gift had been that new perspective on her life and the chance to start over with a different vision.
Was a baby part of that vision? Apparently, it was. Was it possible to be so thrilled and terrified at the same time?
"Oh, honey, I know," Barb said soothingly. "I was scared when I found out I was pregnant with Michael, too. But you'll get over that, I promise."
"What if I screw this up?"
"You won't. You and Jameso will make the most beautiful baby, and you'll love it in a way you've never loved anyone in your life."
"What if Jameso can't handle this and he leaves?" Her husband and her father had bailed on her—why should she expect any better from Jameso?
"If he does, you'll manage on your own. You have a lot of people to help you."
She put her hand on her stomach, trying to imagine a life growing in there. She couldn't do it. It was the most wonderful, impossible, surreal thing that had ever happened to her.
"Where is Jameso right now?" Barb asked.
"At work at the Dirty Sally."
"He gets a dinner break, doesn't he? Go tell him."
"No, I can't tell him at work." The Dirty Sally Saloon was the epicenter of Eureka's highly developed gossip chain. If Jameso really did flake out on her, she'd rather it didn't happen in front of the whole bar crowd. "I'll tell him tomorrow. He's off in the morning and we're supposed to drive up to the French Mistress to check on the new gate I had installed." The French Mistress Mine, another inheritance from her father, had turned out to contain no gold, but it was producing respectable quantities of high-quality turquoise. Work was shutting down for the winter and Maggie had installed an iron mesh gate to keep out the curious and the careless.
"That's kind of romantic, telling him at the place you first met."
"That's Jameso—Mr. Romance."
"You don't give him enough credit. It's going to be all right. I promise."
"I hope you're right."
"Of course I'm right. Don't you believe me?"
"I believe you." Maybe it was talking to Barb, or maybe it was sitting here, letting the beauty of the mountains soothe her. Such a vast landscape made her feel small, and her problems small, too, in comparison.
She said good-bye to Barb, then started the Jeep and carefully backed onto the highway. She had about eighteen hours to figure out how to tell Jameso he was going to be a father. And about that long to let the realization that the thing she'd always wanted most was finally happening-and she'd never felt more unprepared.
Fall always felt like starting over to Olivia Theriot. The first sharp morning chill in the air and the tinge of gold in the leaves made her want to buy a new sweater and sharpen a pack of number two pencils. She'd turn to a blank page in a fresh notebook and start a new chapter in her life.
One of the chief disappointments in being an adult was that fall didn't bring new beginnings that way. No new clothes, new classes, new friends, and the chance to do things over and get it right this time. While she'd sent her thirteen-year-old son, Lucas, off to school with a new backpack and a fresh haircut, she felt more stuck than ever in a life she hadn't planned.
"I've got a bad feeling about this one."
"I feel that way so often I've thought of having it put on a T-shirt." Olivia slid another beer toward the man who'd spoken, a part-time miner named Bob Prescott who was the Dirty Sally Saloon's best customer.
"You're too young to be so cynical." Bob saluted her with the beer glass, then took a long sip.
Next month, she'd turn thirty. To Bob, who had to be in his seventies, that probably felt young, but most days Olivia felt she'd left youth behind long ago. Maybe it was having a kid who was already a teenager. Or having lived in at least fifteen different places since she'd left home at fifteen. Or maybe this used-up feeling was really only dismay that nothing in her life had worked out the way she'd planned. Back when she was a starry-eyed twenty-something, her dreams of happily ever after had certainly never included single motherhood, a job tending bar, and sharing a house with her mother in a town so remote it didn't even make it onto most maps.
She pinched herself hard on the wrist. Time to snap out of it. At this rate she'd end up crying in her beer, like one of her sloppiest customers. "What do you have a bad feeling about, Bob?" she asked. In the four months she'd worked at the Dirty Sally, Bob could be counted on for at least one outrageous story or proclamation a week.
"This winter." Bob shook his head. "It's going to be a late one. We should have had snow by now and there's scarcely been a flurry. Mount Winston's practically bare and here it is into October."
"It has been awfully dry." The other bartender, Jameso Clark, moved down the bar to join Bob and Olivia. Tall, with dark hair and a neatly trimmed goatee, Jameso was something of a local heartthrob, though lately he seemed to have settled down with Maggie Stevens. "It's not looking good for an early ski season."
"You working as a ski instructor again this year?" Bob asked.
"Aren't you getting a little long in the tooth to play ski bum?" Olivia asked.
Jameso's eyes narrowed. "I'm only two years older than you. And there are plenty of guys who are older than me, a lot older, who work as instructors or on ski patrol."
"But it's not like it's a real job. Not something a man can support a family on."
"Who said anything about a family?" Jameso's voice rose in alarm.
She never should have brought it up. Now he was going to get all pissy on her. "Things just seem pretty serious with you and Maggie. I thought you two might get married and settle down."
"What if we do?" Color bloomed high on his cheeks. "That doesn't mean I can't keep skiing. Maggie likes me fine the way I am."
"Forget I said anything."
"You won't be teaching anybody to ski if we don't get snow," Bob said. Olivia didn't know if he was deftly cutting off their argument or merely continuing with his current favorite topic, oblivious to what had just passed between her and Jameso. Whatever the reason, she gratefully picked up the thread.
"I can't believe you two are moaning about the lack of snow," she said. "Why would you even want the weather we have right now to end?" She gestured out the front window of the bar, where a cluster of aspens still held on to many of their golden leaves. The sun shone in a turquoise blue sky, the thermometer on the wall showed sixty-four degrees, and the breeze through the open window at her back was dry and crisp. Olivia, who'd lived all over before coming to this little corner of the Rockies, had never seen such glorious weather.
"The weather's good, all right," Bob said. "Too good. We need a good snowstorm to send all the tourists packing."
She rolled her eyes and started emptying the contents of the bus tray into the recycling bin.
"What about you, Miss O?" Jameso asked. "Have you decided yet if you're staying in Eureka for the winter?" Olivia fixed him with a baleful glare.
"What?" He held up both hands in a defensive gesture. "I just asked an innocent question."
"You're the sixth person who's asked me that question in the past week. I'm beginning to think people are anxious to see me gone."
"You've got it all wrong." Jameso leaned his lanky frame back against the bar and grinned in a way most women probably found charming. "Maybe we're anxious to see you stay."
"People say if you can survive your first winter in Eureka you're likely to stick around for good." Bob regarded Olivia over the rim of his beer glass. "You strike me as the kind of woman who's got what it takes to stick it out."
This passed for high praise from Bob, who regarded most newcomers to town with suspicion-herself and Maggie excepted. Olivia suspected his approval of her had more to do with her ability to pull a glass of beer and the fact that her mother was the town's mayor than with her potential as a mountain woman.
"I don't see what's so special about winter here," she said, going back to filling the recycling bin with the bottles from last night's bar crowd. "The way you people talk you'd think Eureka's the only place to ever get snow."
"It's not just the snow," Jameso said, "though we get plenty of that. We measure storms in feet, not inches. But snow here in the mountains isn't like snow in the city. Some of the roads around here don't get plowed until spring. Avalanches can block the highway into town and cut us off from the rest of the world for days. Most of the tourists leave town, so everything's quieter. The people who stay are the ones who really want to be here, and everybody pitches in to help everybody else."
Olivia wrinkled her nose. "You make it sound like some sort of commune."
"That's community—the two are related," Bob said. "You find out who your friends really are when your car breaks down on a winter road or you run out of firewood with two months of winter left."
"Lucille has gas heat, and I don't plan on exploring the hinterlands this winter," Olivia said.
"You laugh now, but you'll find out soon enough if you stick around," Bob said. "Folks around here look after each other."
"I can look after myself. Thanks all the same." Olivia had a hard enough time getting used to everyone in town knowing everyone else's business—knowing her business. How much worse would it be when there were fewer people to keep the busybodies occupied? She was tempted to get out of town while she still could, but her son, Lucas, liked it here, and though her mother, Lucille, would probably never admit it, Olivia thought she liked having them here in Eureka, too.
Besides, she didn't want to give certain people the satisfaction of thinking she was running away from them.
She hefted the recycling bin onto one hip and headed out the back door, to the alley behind the bar where the truck could pick it up this afternoon.
"Let me help you with that." Before she could react, two strong arms relieved her of her burden.
She glared up at the man whose broad shoulders practically blotted out the sun. "What are you doing here, D. J.? I thought I made it clear I didn't want to see you again."
A lesser man might have been knocked off his feet by the force of her glare, but Daniel James Gruber, too good-looking for her peace of mind and far too stubborn by half, never flinched. "Which do you think is heavier?" he asked. "These bottles or that grudge you're carrying around?"
If he thought her feelings about him were the heaviest thing in her heart, he didn't really know her very well.
But, of course, he didn't know her. If he had, he never would have left her in the first place. So why had he tracked her all the way to middle-of-nowhere Eureka, Colorado? And why now? "Go home, D. J.," she said. "Or go back to Iraq. Or go to hell, for all I care. Just leave me alone."
"Mo-om!" The shout was followed almost immediately by a boy with wispy blond hair, large ears, and round, wire-rimmed glasses. He wore cutoff denim shorts, a too-large T-shirt, and the biggest smile Olivia could remember seeing on him.
"You don't have to shout, Lucas," she said. "I'm right here."
"Mom, you gotta come out to the truck and see the fish I caught."
"Where were you fishing? You know I told you not to go off in the mountains by yourself." Almost two months ago, Lucas had fallen down a mine tunnel on one of his solo expeditions, exploring the surrounding mountains. Ever since, Olivia had been haunted by worries over all the ways this wild country had for a boy to get hurt—mine tunnels and whitewater rivers, boiling hot springs and treacherous rock trails. Lucas had never been a particularly rambunctious boy, but he was still a boy, with a boy's disregard for danger.
"I didn't go by myself. D. J. took me."
She could feel D. J.'s hot gaze on her, though she didn't dare look at him. If she detected the least bit of smugness in his expression, she'd leap up and scratch his eyes out. How dare he think he could get to her by playing best pal to her son!
Excerpted from The Mountain Between Us by CINDY MYERS. Copyright © 2013 Cindy Myers. 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
The Mountain Between Us was a book that could not be put down. Great story and so well written and thought out. Cindy Myers did a fantastic job. I did not want the book to end and look forward to her next novel. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good love story.
I really love this author's appreciation and knowledge of the area she describes in this series. This author does a fantastic job of describing two of my favorite towns in the Uncompahgre National Forest and she builds her characters with skill. I felt I knew many of her characters from my visits to her town. I wish there was a little more mystery to hook me. I hope she keeps writing about these towns and all the colorful people, dead and alive that live in these mountains in their old mining 1800s Victorian homes and old cabins clinging to the sides of the mountain. Good Read. I feel so fortunate to have found a new favorite author.
Seconf in a series
The Mountain Between Us by Cindy Myers I was excited to be picked to read this book because I have read the other two related stories and love the locale and the characters. This is the continuing story about Maggie and she was only going to stay a week to settle her father's possessions after he died but she ended up staying. Now she is in love with Jameco Clark who's back from the war and runs the local saloon/ski instructor in season and rides a motorcycle. Maggie Stevens is terrified to tell him about the baby she is carrying, it is his but she's almost 40 and feels it's too late to start a family. The story also follows Bob and Olivia both think the upcoming winter will be a bad one... The book also follows Lucas, Olivia's son likes to do things with DJ and Olivia likes DJ but doesn't want him to know. Another character is Cassie who runs the library and the annual Founder's Day pageant the telling of the town's history and she wants shelves for the library. And a section also for Lucille the mayor who also runs the local antique shop says they may not even have money for snow plowing... And Gerald is new in town and talks the town council into investing their money... All these things will make the story complete once things work out... Love all the Halloween things going around in town. Love hearing of the mine and all the other secrets that come out over time and how the community comes together... Christmas events are just awesome, so caring and warm the feels leaves me with. Love that this book is happening at the same time as The Room at the Inn by the same author. I received this book from Net Galley via The Kennsington Books in exchange for my honest review