North To Alaska
An original short story copyright 2007 Morgan Ashbury
IF ONE MORE THING went wrong, Lindsay was going to scream.
She stood, her entire body doing a damn good impersonation of a popsicle, and surveyed the landscape before her. The trees, skinny straight conifers, dotted the rolling land reminding her of hatpins that had been wedged into tough leather. In the distance, looking beautiful and forbidding at the same time, a mountain of pure white reached high into the sky. She thought that it might be a glacier. To her left, sparkling blue in the summer sunlight, a lake as pristine as any she’d ever seen lapped gently against the near-by shore.
Summer in Alaska, Lindsay huffed, wrapping her arms around her middle, wasn’t at all what Darryl had told her it would be.
The wind whipped across the lake, and Lindsay shivered, wrapping her arms more tightly around her middle.
As if it had just happened, she recalled her as-of-five-minutes-ago former fiancé’s assurances. He’d secured a position with a research facility on the edge of Denali National Park, a six month fellowship he touted as his “big break”.
“It’s beautiful there, babe. Wild and free, no smog, no pollution.”
“It’s cold.” Why hadn’t she stuck to her guns on this one?
“Naw, it’s summer now. And it doesn’t get as cold as you think. Here, look at the web site. Look at the video!”
Lindsay had looked at the web site and the video. Both had seemed appealing at the time. He’d wanted her to accompany him, stay a week. It would be a fantastic vacation, he’d sworn. So she’d given in, and given Darryl the money to book the trip. He’d made it seem as if they were about to embark on a grand adventure.
When he’d announced that he needed to go on ahead of her, and would meet here there, she’d been a bit annoyed. But she knew how much this opportunity to study northern wildlife had meant to him, so she’d agreed to follow.
That had been her big mistake.
The first plane had taken her from Miami to Chicago. From there, things got a little disjointed. From Chicago she’d been routed to Los Angeles, then from LA to Seattle. In Seattle she’d boarded a jet that took her to Fairbanks, Alaska.
In Fairbanks, her spring jacket had been sufficient.
And in Fairbanks, she’d been led to a very small plane and a pilot who’d appeared to be as old as time.
“Get in, Missy, ain’t got all day.”
At this point, Lindsay was beyond tired. She’d boarded the plane, never thinking to ask a single question.
Like, are you sure this is the right plane?
Now she turned to face the pilot who was tying down his craft and making haste to leave the tiny airfield.
“There’s supposed to be a SUV to pick me up and take me to the lodge,” she said putting herself in front of the grizzled aviator.
“No lodge here abouts, missy. Aint much of anything. You ought to have known that. I told him it was a plum crazy idea, but does he listen to me? No he does not. I told him, just cause those magazines claim to have the real goods, don’t mean ‘tis so.”
“He? Who he?”
“Why, Dusty, of course. Ain’t nobody else crazy enough, least not round here, to do what he’s up and done. You’re right decent enough to look at, I ‘spose. But don’t reckon you’ve got what it takes to last a full summer here, let alone live year round.”
“Year round? I’m only here for a week! Listen, I need to get to a phone. My cell doesn’t have a signal here. There’s been some sort of mix up. I don’t know anyone named Dusty. I’m on my way to Look Out Lodge, in Denali National Park.”
“Aint no phone here abouts, neither. The park? Shit, that’s way hell and gone west of here. Don’t reckon Dusty had plans to take you there.” He stopped and scratched his head. “How many lower 48s could there have been waitin’ down there for a lift?”
Lindsay had no idea what the man was talking about. Before she could answer, the sound of an approaching vehicle caught her attention. Eyes narrowing, she watched the approaching jeep with suspicion, despite the fact that her pilot seemed relieved.
“Whew. Here he comes. He’ll straighten all this out.”
“Here who comes?”
“Dusty. That’s what we all call him cause…er…never mind. His actual name is Calvin. You can see why he’d prefer ‘Dusty’.”
Lindsay closed her eyes and drew on the last of her reserves. She was cold, hungry and tired, and she had a very, very bad feeling in the pit of her belly.
“Who is Dusty?”
“He is. Newest prospector in the region, on accounta he’s only been here for a few years.”
When she continued to stare at him, he shrugged his ancient shoulders. “Dusty will straighten everything out. I reckon you’re just confused. Suppose that’s reasonable. Bet it’s not easy being a mail order bride.”
Dusty scowled at the back end of Pete Mackie’s retreating old Ford pick up. He was tired, and sore, and just about out of patience. The damn jeep had run off the trail into a pit of ooze and mud that in a couple more months would be frozen solid. His back was aching because he’d had to dig the damn thing out, he was wearing what felt like half a swamp, and to top everything off, he was standing here staring at a stranger.
The skinny brunette staring back at him was not Marilyn Canfield.
“Who the hell are you?”
“Did Marilyn send you?”
Dusty knew that had been an absurd question. He thought the brunette considered it one, too.
“There’s been a terrible mistake. I’m supposed to be meeting my fiancé in Denali National Park. He’s a researcher, just beginning a six month assignment.”
“Denali? Hell that’s—”
“Way and hell gone west of here, I know. Can you take me there?”
“The only place I’m taking you is back to my claim. There’s a storm blowing in.”
“I don’t know you! What in God’s name would make you think I’d go with you to your ‘claim?’”
“Well, it’s that or wait here for Pete. He should be back after the storm blows out—tomorrow or the next day. He might be persuaded to fly you over to Denali. Most like, he’ll just take you back to Fairbanks.”
“Damn, damn, damn!”
“What you get, I guess, for getting on the wrong plane.”
“How was I supposed to know it was the wrong plane? The ticket agent directed me to go to hangar 2, I went to hangar 2 and that…that escapee from an old folks’ home grabbed my ticket and snarled at me to get on the plane!”
“Hey! Pete’s a hell of a good guy. Man reaches a certain age, he ought to be referred to – and treated – with respect.”
Dusty had a good mind to jump in his jeep and head home. The last thing he needed was a prissy little fashion plate, and one that insulted one of the few friends he had. When she closed her eyes and rubbed the bridge of her nose, he took a moment to really look at her.
Aside from the fact that she wasn’t dressed warm enough, she was a looker. And he could see the exhaustion all over her.
“I’m sorry. Look, it’s been a hell of a day. I’ve been traveling for about eighteen hours, and I’m beat. I didn’t mean any disrespect to your friend.”
Dusty felt a smidge of pity for the woman. Truth was, he’d begun to worry about Pete himself, lately.
“Come on. You can’t stay here. As soon as the weather clears, I’ll see what I can do to get you where you need to be.”
He held on to his patience as Lindsay looked around, as if weighing her options. He wondered when it would occur to her that she really had only one.
“All right. Thank you Mr. Simpson.”
“You said that very respectfully.”
He fought his grin. Plucky little thing to have a sense of humor after the day she must have had traveling from…
“Where are you from?”
“Daytona Beach, Florida.”
He shook his head. Marilyn, the woman he’d been expecting, was coming from Minot, North Dakota. The weather here wouldn’t be as much of a shock to her. He wondered, briefly, where she was. Snickered when he thought she might be tapping her foot over in the Park.
“You really are a lower 48.”
She didn’t seem to be insulted by the comment. “How far to your claim?”
“About an hour’s ride over rough terrain.”
“Well, at least I’ll be out of this wind.”
He shook his head as he scooped her one suitcase and tossed it into the back of his jeep. He’d put the canvas up only because he’d thought it might rain before he got home again. He left Lindsay to climb in and went around to the driver’s side. The sky to the east was growing darker with clouds. He hoped the rain and winds held off till he got home.
Within moments of setting off, Dusty became aware of the light fragrance that seemed to take up every inch of space inside the Jeep. He turned his head to make small talk – something he wasn’t good at but was determined to try – only to discover his passenger had fallen fast asleep.
As he studied her, he wondered if Pete had made a mistake, or simply taken matters into his own hands.
Huffing out a breath, he also considered, for the first time, that the plans he’s had for tonight weren’t likely to come to fruition.
Unless he could talk pretty Lindsay into his bed.
It wasn’t as bad as she’d feared.
When Dusty had referred to his home as ‘his claim’, visions of a tent in the middle of nowhere had sprung to mind.
Instead she found herself being settled in a log cabin that was spacious and cozy. There was only one thing wrong with it.
“Came up here to get away from being bothered by people.”
“And yet you sent for a mail-order bride?”
“Is that what Pete told you?”
Lindsay couldn’t read the expression that had come over Dusty’s face.
“Isn’t that the truth?”
“Well, let’s just say that Pete was being a gentleman.”
Lindsay was too tired to really think. The nap she’d caught on the way to the cabin hadn’t been very restful. She wanted to sleep. In a bed.
But her mind worked anyway, and the conclusion it came brought color to her cheeks.
“A hooker. You contracted a hooker?”
“None of your business.”
She shook her head. Despite the misleading moniker, there was nothing ‘dusty’ about this man. He was lean and tall, with muscles lining his arms and chest. His face wasn’t soft like Darryl’s. It was a man’s face, full of interesting lines and sharp angles. He seemed strong and capable. The kind of man who would never let his fiancée be stranded at an unfamiliar airport and left to the mercy of strangers.
“You’re too good looking to need to depend on hookers.”
She hadn’t meant to let that slip. The look he shot her curled her toes and fluttered her belly. She didn’t realize she was returning his look in kind until he stepped forward and ran a thumb over her bottom lip.
“Unless you want to take her place, I suggest you go get some rest. Bedroom’s down the hall, door on the right.”
Lindsay felt the rough caress pebble her nipples. Heat flowed through her veins, and she felt herself get wet. Licking her lips, she took a step back.
“Maybe I’d better. I’ll be sure to lock the door.”
She was down the hall before his response reached her ears.
“Wouldn’t make a difference, if I had a mind.”
No sounds came from the bedroom. Dusty closed his eyes, his six foot three frame trying to find comfort on the just-too-shot sofa. Comfort eluded him, as did sleep. The only thing that persisted was the raging hard-on he’d had since being enclosed in the Jeep with Lindsay.
How could he describe the desire that was curling in his belly, prickling his skin? Yeah, it had been a while since he’d had a woman. And he’d been counting on having an extended visit from Marilyn.
A smile ghosted his lips as he recalled Lindsay’s startled exclamation, earlier. Marilyn wasn’t a hooker, and if he’d thought for one moment there was a chance that the two women would ever meet, he’d have set her straight.
She was simply a woman from his past, one he’d dated a few years back. Now, he supposed she was a friend with benefits. She’d wanted a vacation someplace she’d never been. He wanted to get laid. Simple trade.
He still wanted to get laid, and that wanting was different than any he’d ever experienced. Because it wasn’t generic. He didn’t just want to get laid.
He wanted Lindsay. He wanted her as he’d wanted no other woman.
She’d awakened and known exactly where she was. And exactly what she wanted to do.
For a long moment, shivers coursed through her. She knew, down deep inside, that she should really officially call off her engagement to Darryl, first. She’d known for some time that they really weren’t meant to be. Together, in bed or out, they were okay. But Lindsay was beginning to understand that she needed, she deserved, more than okay.
Something about Dusty simply had her feeling wet, wild, and wanting. As she’d fallen asleep, she’d dreamt of being a woman who lived her life outside of convention, one who earned her way with her body, one who would travel to exotic locales to ply her trade, to seduce lonely and hungry men. Now, her face burned in remembrance. She didn’t, of course, want to be a hooker.
But she wanted Dusty Simpson with a passion that was foreign to her. She wasn’t a woman of passionate sex. She was a woman of okay sex.
Tiny shivers of arousal zinged through her body, tingling her nipples, causing her to squeeze her inner muscles as if caressing a lover,
She and Darryl were doomed, she realized that now. If she were honest, she’d known that for some time. Funny how it was easier to just let things slide than to make a decision. But she’d never felt this way about Darryl, never felt this excited just thinking about having sex with him.
She tossed the blankets aside, sat on the edge of the bed. Looking down, she took in the tee shirt and panties that covered her. A hooker would likely have come with satin and lace.
As she got to her feet, she smoothed down the shirt that fell to just below her crotch.
Cotton and nylon would have to do.
“So…what would she do? This hooker of yours?”
Dusty’s eyes had fastened on her the moment she’d stepped out of the hall, into the living room.
Wearing nothing more than a shirt and panties, she was the sexiest thing he’d ever seen. Her hair was sleep mussed, her face wore an expression of hunger, and he could smell her heat.
He didn’t have to ask her what she meant. This moment, beyond time, beyond reason, burned through his senses so that he thought that maybe, just maybe, they could read each other’s thoughts.
“First, she’d drop the shirt.”
As he watched, Lindsay’s arms crossed in front of her body, her hands grasping the bottom of the shirt. Her movements were sleek and graceful as she raised her arms, discarded the garment.
The slight quaver in her voice licked like hot honey up the length of his cock.
“Then, she’d caress her own breasts, show me how much she wanted to please me by playing with herself.”
Her graceful hands moved up to cup the round globes of her breasts, long feminine fingers tweaking nipples, making them hard.
“Yes, just like that. Come closer.”
He was glad he’d discarded his jeans earlier. The boxers he preferred over briefs were roomy enough that his hardening cock was unrestricted. He felt it begin to twitch, and as his gaze held hers, he ran his hand down over it, squeezing it. When Lindsay’s attention was diverted, when her eyes were focused on his cock, he uncovered it for her.
“Then she’d get on her knees, take my cock into her mouth. I’m paying her good money, so for a little while, she’d be my slave, ready to pleasure me however I commanded. Only she’d take off her panties, first.”
He didn’t know if he’d pushed her too far, if he asked for too much. He nearly took it back.
Then she discarded the last scrap she wore and lowered herself to her knees and he knew he wanted to feel her mouth on him more than he wanted anything.
Lindsay couldn’t take her eyes off his penis. She’d only seen two before in her life, and Dusty’s was larger, more arousing to her than either of the previous ones. She’d never before wanted to taste a man in this most intimate way, though she’d given in to Darryl’s whining on his birthday.
She didn’t feel as if she was giving in or giving away. She felt like she was about to receive a wondrous prize. He sucked in a breath when she took him in her hand. As she bent forward, her mouth opening, he groaned. She felt his hand in her hair, fisted, guiding. His hips surged to meet her, and then she closed her lips over him, sucked him in, slowly, deeply.
His flavor intoxicated, the scent of him, musk, sweat, and man, inflamed. This was something she’d needed, unknowing, all her life. This taste, this sense of oneness, this sense of finally. She moved her head slowly, up and then down, sliding his hard hot rod in and out of her mouth. Daring, she sucked hard, stroked her tongue along his shaft. When he cursed, when he anchored his other hand in her hair, she knew she was giving him a deep, true pleasure.
“No more, sweetheart. I don’t want to come in your mouth. I want to come deep, deep inside of you.”
She raised her head, her gaze meeting his.
“I’m not going to take you anywhere, Lindsay, but straight to pleasure. Give yourself to me. Give yourself to me, and stay with me.”
It wasn’t even a conscious decision. As she got to her feet, as she straddled him, she suddenly knew that this was her destiny. This was why she’d come north, to Alaska.
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