Protector of the Mountain - Frankie Love

Dear Reader,

Fox Hollow has a new mountain man in town! Reed is a rugged man on a mission: to find his way back to the woman he loves. Because one night with Rainey wasn’t nearly enough. He’s a dirty-mouthed alpha who needs her in his cabin where he can properly lick… errr, I mean, protect her!

xo, frankie

Protector of the Mountain


As I drive down Fox Hollow Mountain, the rain pours down. Turning on my windshield wipers, I peer up into the darkened sky covered in thick gray clouds. This rain isn’t going anywhere tonight.

Parking in the gravel lot of the one and only dive bar in town, Hollow Hole, I turn off the ignition and shove my wallet in the back pocket of my worn jeans. I spent the day in the barn, working on some custom pieces for my online shop, and am hungry as hell. I make cutting boards of all shapes and sizes and send them all over the world. After getting featured in a home and garden magazine last year, my sales exploded. It’s good, honest work, and I love it. But sometimes, it’s lonely. Working in a shop all day, alone. Coming home to an empty cabin at night. It’s why meeting my buddy is important. Keeps me sane.

At the bar, I order a burger and fries and the darkest beer they got. When my buddy Jasper walks in, he sits next to me, ordering the same.

“You just get off work?” I ask him. He owns the auto shop in town and we meet up for a drink half the nights of the week.

“Yeah,” he grunts, running a hand over his beard. “You hear about James? Got hitched.”

“No shit?” I take a long pull on the beer, considering the rough-around-the-edges man named James who lives up the mountain not far from me. “Good for him.”

Jasper raises his eyebrows. “You looking for a woman? Because damn, boy, it’s about fucking time,”

I shrug. “The right woman, sure.”

Jasper laughs. We grew up here, in Fox Hollow. He’s my oldest, closest friend. And he knows my dirty secret. I’ve never once been laid.

“You do you, man,” Jasper says. “But I’m never getting tied down to a wife.”

I chuckle. “Never say never.” The bartender Jodie brings out my order and I thank her before digging in.

Jasper looks around the bar. The women here are all ones we know. Mostly ladies looking for a ride to someplace else. That’s not the kind of girl I want. I want a woman who wants to stay put. I love this mountain, and don’t plan on leaving. Ever.

“No one here tempting you?” Jasper presses.

“Damn, why do you care?” I ask, frowning. “Focus on finding your own woman.”

Jasper laughs. But I know his reputation. He’s the opposite of me in every way. The popular one. Me? In high school, I took care of my dying mother instead of running down a football field. If I had free time, I chopped wood and sold it. Didn’t have time for girls back then.

Now, I have a shit ton of time but no one to spend it with. Except Jasper, who doesn’t count. We may have a good time shooting the shit, but I want a woman to come home to. To stay home with.

Jasper doesn’t understand that.

“So, any plans tonight?” I ask him.

He nods. “Nothing exciting, though. Gonna help my dad lay some new flooring. Had a leak over the weekend and ruined what he had.”

“Shit, it’s still coming down hard. The leak get fixed?”

Jasper nods. “Yeah, I was there yesterday working on that.”

“If you need any help, I could come with.”

“Thanks, but I need to talk to my old man. Try to convince him to sell his place.”

“Yeah? Where would he go?” Jasper’s dad has a cabin out in the woods not too far from me. Lived there for as long as I’ve known him, which is all my life.

“He keeps forgetting to take his meds. He’s retired military and there are some homes where he could get better care.”

“Damn, didn’t know it was going downhill.”

Jasper shrugs. “Thing is, my dad wants to die in that cabin, says it should be the thing that kills him.”

“Stubborn fucker, like you,” I joke.

“Like you’re one to talk.” Jasper laughs. “You’re pretty stubborn yourself.”

“Me?” I shake my head.

“Hell yeah, you are. Won’t even get your dick wet unless it’s with your one and only.”

I shake his comment off, refusing to let it rile me up. Hell, some guys I might pin