The longer I’m out here, the harder leaving the mountain becomes.
Damn, it’s crazy to think that just a few years ago I was giving my business partner Jaxon a bad time about selling his shit and staking a claim in the woods, and now, here I am.
A few trips out to these woods sold me on them. The pine trees, the clean air, the clear blue sky, and the quiet.
Well, it was quiet.
Not too quiet anymore. I swear this place ought to be called the Fertile Mountain. There are babies fussing all over the place. They’re cute as hell, but there are a lot of them.
Jax and Harper have four, their three-year-old triplet boys and a one-year-old baby girl. Rosie and Buck have their three daughters--two-year-old twins, and a six-month-old baby, and my brother and his wife have a set of newborn twins to boot.
That’s a helluva lot of babies.
I close my suitcase, wishing I were packing clothes that are a little more me. Flannels and blue jeans. But I’m going to Seattle to fucking charm the pants off some exec who wants to film a reality show out in the woods. Apparently, they think mountain men that build custom homes who have a bunch of babies might equal good television.
What the fuck do I know about TV? Not much, but Jaxon and Buck don’t want the crew around their women unless they’ve been vetted first. We need to know their intentions before we set them loose on our property.
That’s why I’m out here. Before I went into business with Jax, I went to law school. Fuckin’ A, right? But I didn’t last long. Hated the bullshit then, and I hate it now. I didn’t want to be in an office–I wanted to use my hands.
But I’m also the right person to go meet with this show, find out what they are planning. Hell, I don’t have a woman and children to look after. God knows no one is gonna miss me.
After pulling on my winter coat, I lock my front door. Toss my luggage in the truck, and head down the mountain.
On my way out of town, I stop at Rosie’s Diner to have lunch with the guys. Jaxon and Buck are already there, sitting in a booth, shooting the shit.
I slide in next to Jaxon. Facing Buck, I watch as his eyes land on his woman who’s walking toward our table.
Lucky bastard to have a woman like Rosie. Funny, sincere, genuine. Both these jackasses won the goddamn lottery when it came to women landing on their doorstep.
“You boys having your usual?” Rosie asks, pouring us black coffee.
“Yes, ma’am,” I tell her, having a sweet spot for her meatloaf sammy. “I need a Rosie Special, I’ve gotta long day ahead of me.”
“Flying out of Coeur d'Alene?” she asks.
I nod. I’m gonna drive the two hours to the city, then fly over to Seattle for tomorrow’s meeting.
Buck asks for a burger and fries, and Jax grunts out his order.
Rosie pauses before heading to the back and says, “You boys think this is a good idea? Because from where I’m standing, a TV crew is going to make a racket we aren’t prepared for.”
“I know, baby,” Buck tells her, threading his arm around his wife’s waist. “But this fell in our lap, we might as well see it through. Things tend to happen for a reason, you know? And the exposure for the company could be huge.” Buck is a chainsaw artist by trade, but after the babies came, he joined our custom home company. Gotta put food on the table, and all that shit.
Rosie smirks. “I don’t know, Buck. Right now I think Harper and I are mostly worried about our boy Dean Wilder, here,” she says, pointing to me. “About finding him a good, solid wife. And I don’t see how that’s going to happen in Seattle.”
Jaxon laughs. “Yeah, you don’t want some woman who can’t hack it in the woods.”
Rosie furrows her brow. “Buck tells me you weren’t always a mountain man yourself, Jaxon. Careful now.”
Jaxon runs his hand over his beard, shaking his head at us. “Yeah, but you and Harper have the right disposition for this life. Not every woman does, is all.”
“I’m right here, you know,” I tell them, raising an eyebrow at this crew who thinks they know what I need.
“We know, Wilder, we know.” Buck laughs, lifting his coffee to his mouth. “We just feel bad for you. Never getting laid, all by your lonesome up there in your tiny cabin.”
I laugh, “You guys are a bunch of fuckers, you know that?”
Rosie clucks her tongue. “Regardless, we know that you need a woman, but not some city-slicker girl who won’t play nice with us.”
“You’re telling me not to get laid when I’m in Seattle?” I shake my head, knowing I’d never tell Rosie this, but the prospect of getting laid tonight is half the reason I said I’d go.
“You can sleep with whomever, Wilder. I’m just saying, don’t knock anybody up that we haven’t approved.”
“She talks to you like that, too?” I ask Buck. He just grins like a lovesick puppy. Rosie winks at her husband before going back to the kitchen.
“You know she’s just giving you a hard time, right?” Buck says.
“The girls just want you to be happy,” Jaxon says. “And selfishly they want another friend. It’s lonely up here for them, too.”
Living in the mountains is great. I set my own hours, am my own boss, and work with the greatest guys I’ve ever known. But damn, Jaxon, my oldest friend, hit the nail on the goddamn head.
“I know, I know,” I tell them, before I take another drink of my coffee, knowing just how lonely it can be up here.
Damn, maybe I need to get off this mountain more than I thought.
I need to go get laid. And badly.
“I’m not trying to be a pessimist,” Anna assures me, raising her hands in defense. “I just think a reality TV show is so...”
“So what?” I furrow my brows not understanding why my sister can’t just support me. That’s what I need. That’s all I’ve wanted. My family to have my back.
She takes a sip of her mimosa before answering. “It’s so tacky.”
We’re having brunch in a swanky Seattle bistro, something French and something expensive and she doesn’t seem to understand that we all aren’t married to stockbrokers living in posh waterfront homes. Some of us are just trying to pay rent and a reality TV show seems like the best offer I’ve seen lately.