by Rebecca Brooks
Mountains. Skiing. Hiking. Travel. I love to explore new places, whether it’s trekking in the Himalayas, the Andes, and the Alps or finding woodsy trails and small towns closer to home in New York. Is it any wonder the characters in my new Men of Gold Mountain series are always up for adventure?
The first book in the series, MAKE ME STAY, is about an Olympic skier, Austin Reede, who’s made his home in Gold Mountain, Washington after an injury shattered his knee. Now he coaches a high school girls’ racing team and runs in the snowy woods with his favorite four-legged friend. But real estate developer Samantha Kane, CEO of prestigious Kane Enterprises, has her eye on Austin’s home. She’s determined to buy up the land she needs to transform sleepy Gold Mountain into a world-class resort.
Sam plans to spend a night in Gold Mountain, convince Mr. Reede to sell his property, and immediately head home to Seattle. Easy, right? She doesn’t count on running into him on the slopes. She certainly doesn’t expect him to be gorgeous, funny, and kind. Sam makes a split-second decision not to tell Austin who she really is, thinking she can get closer to him and secure her business deal. When instead she gets close to him in a whole different way, she has to decide whether to sacrifice her business…or her heart.
Sam and I couldn’t be more different. Sadly, I’m not the heiress to my family’s billion-dollar company, and nobody calls me “The Wolf” behind my back (um, as far as I know). But writing Sam’s character came naturally. I knew I wanted her to be strong, independent, and eager to hit the slopes for a much-needed break. I love that she goes skiing by herself. I love that she stops to help a high school racer who’s fallen. And yeah, I love that she makes sure the student’s sexy coach gets her number—just to be helpful, of course.
Sam grows a lot over the course of the novel, realizing who she really is and what she wants—not just in a boyfriend, but in life. The setting plays a big role in that. When Sam and Austin spend time together, they don’t just get dinner and drinks. They also race each other down steep trails. They take a snowmobile into the woods and hike up to a 360 degree view. Austin changes Sam, but so does Gold Mountain. And of course through these activities, he changes, too.
I think what I love most about being outside is that I’m able to get out of my head, let go of my worries, and just be. I start to think more about what matters and what’s important to me. Writing about Gold Mountain, I got to capture a piece of that feeling and share it with readers who I hope will be just as inspired—without having to leave the couch and face the cold.
Although, who am I kidding? The best part about setting a book in the mountains is getting to write about the strong, rugged men who call it home!