Hot Winter Nights

A Bear Mountain Rescue Story


By Codi Gary

Foreword by James Patterson

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around December 6, 2016. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

The Bear Mountain days are cold, but the nights are steamy….

Allie Fairchild made a mistake when she moved to Montana. Her rental is a mess, her coworkers at the trauma center are hostile, and her handsome landlord, Dex Belmont, is far from charming. But just when she’s about to throw in the towel, life in Bear Mountain takes a surprisingly sexy turn….

BookShots Flames Original romances presented by James Patterson

Novels you can devour in a few hours

Impossible to stop reading



When I first had the idea for BookShots, I knew that I wanted to include romantic stories. The whole point of BookShots is to give people lightning-fast reads that completely capture them for just a couple of hours in their day—so publishing romance felt right.

I have a lot of respect for romance authors. I took a stab at the genre when I wrote Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas. While I was happy with the results, I learned that the process of writing those stories requires hard work and dedication.

That’s why I wanted to pair up with the best romance authors for BookShots. I work with writers who know how to draw emotions out of their characters, all while catapulting their plots forward.

You’re about to fall into a plot that doesn’t stop. All of us enjoy a good love story between a fated couple. In Hot Winter Nights, Codi Gary raises the stakes by tempting her heroine, Allie Fairchild, with two strapping men. Who will she choose? I guess you’ll have to race through these pages to find out.…

James Patterson

Chapter 1

Allie Fairchild stared out her windshield at the ramshackle cabin.

Please tell me I have the wrong address.

Scrambling for the MapQuest printout amid the fast-food bags and other evidence that she had blown her diet once again, she read the directions over and over. Finally, sure that she hadn’t misinterpreted them, she looked up at what had been described to her as “charming and rustic.” She was pretty sure it had been the setting for her favorite horror movie, The Cabin in the Woods.

In fact, she half expected to see flesh-eating zombies pop out from behind the thick pine trees surrounding it. When her landlord, Dex Belmont, had warned her that they were a few miles outside of Bear Mountain, Montana, he had definitely been bending the truth a bit. According to her car’s odometer, she was a good ten miles from the town limits on a curvy road that had made her stomach queasy.…

And in the middle of the freaking forests of Narnia.

Leaning her head on the steering wheel of her Jetta, she groaned in defeat. After thirty-two years, she had thought that she was making a solid choice for once. She’d planned to come to small-town Montana to turn a poorly run trauma center into one of the best in the country, and therefore erase all of the potholes in life she’d been unable to avoid thus far.


Allie jumped a foot in the air, shrieking. Outside her window was a huge hound with its mouth practically pressed to the glass, vibrating her door with its deep bellow.

“Bluebell!” a deep voice said loudly, out of sight. The car-shaking sound stopped and the dog sat, its hot breath fogging her window. Allie’s hand gripped the front of her blouse, sure her heart was going to pound its way right out of her chest.

Suddenly, her passenger door opened and a man peeked in.

“Sorry if she scared you. She likes to be the welcoming committee.”

Allie blinked, taking in a head of tousled, sun-streaked brown hair and green eyes set in a tanned, gorgeous face. The man’s smile was wide and boyish, completely dispelling her previous surprise and terror. The muscles of his shoulders stretched the lightweight T-shirt he was wearing, and the brief flash of a tattoo beneath the sleeve tempted her to reach out to get a better look.

“Do you always spring out at people like a serial killer?”

His golden eyebrows rose, but he didn’t lose that smile. “Not usually, but we’ve been waiting for you.”

Clearing her throat, she said unconvincingly, “Yeah, that isn’t helping your whole stalker vibe.”

He held his hand out to her, hovering over the center console. “I’m Dex Belmont. Allie, right?”

This guy was her landlord? Taking his hand hesitantly, she tried to ignore the pleasant warmth of his palm against hers. He had lured her out to his property with a bunch of misleading photos, after all. None of the shots of this cabin had shown an iffy-looking roof or a porch that was missing a sturdy railing.

“Yeah, I’m Allie, and I have a bone to pick with you—”

“Hang on, before you start picking, why don’t I come around and get your door?”

“I can get my own door, thank you very”—he slammed her passenger side door before she finished and was coming around the front—“much.”

She reached for the handle at the same time he did, and when he pulled it open, she practically fell out on her face, putting her nose-to-nose with his dog. Big, droopy brown eyes stared at her from inches away, and then a large, wet tongue smothered her nose with slobber.

Mustering whatever dignity she had left, she started to climb to her feet, shaking off his hands as he attempted to help. Swiping at her nose with her arm, she glared up at him. Wow, he was tall. She liked tall.

She shook away her thoughts and said, “This is not at all what you promised me. You told me that the cabin was ‘cozy’—”

“Look, I may have tweaked the truth a bit, but you’re also here two weeks earlier than I was expecting.” He crossed his arms in front of his chest, and Allie tried to ignore the way the muscles flexed as he scowled down at her as if she were the one who had bait-and-switched him. “So, before you start throwing a walleyed fit, how about you take a look inside and I’ll tell you about all the improvements I’ll be making?”

If Allie was smart, she’d get her butt back in her car and hightail it out of there, but this had been the only place for rent, according to the realtor she’d spoken to over the phone. She could buy a place, but she hadn’t been ready for that kind of commitment. She wanted to take a few months and get used to Bear Mountain before she actually bought something.

And the few motels she’d passed hadn’t looked better than this.

“Fine. Lead the way, McDuff.”

That smile was back in place, doing crazy things to her insides, although her outsides were freezing. She rubbed the arms of her lightweight sweater. “How are you only wearing a T-shirt? I wasn’t expecting it to be so cold already.”

“We start getting snow around mid-October, but so far we’ve been storm-free.” He glanced back at her over his shoulder and she finally understood exactly what the word smolder meant. “And as to my attire, my temperature runs hot. Wanna feel?”

“Get real.”

Dex chuckled as he climbed up onto the porch. “You never told me why you decided to move from New York to Bear Mountain. I can’t imagine it was for the culture.”

Allie hesitated in answering when the first porch step squeaked loudly under her foot. “Are you sure I’m not going to fall through here?”

“Front porches squeak, I promise. The first thing I did was start on the porch, so I’ve already reinforced and replaced a lot of it.” He stood at the top of the steps and held his hand down to her. “I won’t let anything happen to you.”

Despite the temptation, she ignored his hand and walked past him, her shoulder brushing the front of his shirt. She snuck a glance at the hard outline of his chest, swallowing.

“You were just going to tell me why you left home?”

“I needed a fresh start and figured rural Montana was as good a place as any for a change.”

“What exactly will you be doing here?” he asked, holding the front door open for her.

“I’m running Bear Mountain Memorial Hospital.”

He seemed skeptical. “You’re awfully young to take on such a big job.”

“If I’d wanted to work in a state-of-the-art hospital, I could have, but I wanted to go where I could really help people.” She didn’t want to throw charity events or expensive dinners just to “Save the Otters,” like her parents did. “As for my qualifications, I have a double major in business and nursing, with a master’s degree in hospital administration. I may look young, but I have experience. I know what I’m doing, Mr. Belmont.”

When she turned back toward the door, his arm shot out, blocking her way. He leaned down until their faces were only a few inches apart, and her palms started sweating as her heart thumped.

“Why don’t you just call me Dex?”

Chapter 2

Dex Belmont waited for Allie to hightail it back into her car and take off, but she just stood there, her pretty brown eyes never flickering away. He could tell he affected her, but he didn’t know whether it was because he pissed her off or because she was attracted to him, and he was more than tempted to find out which.

That wouldn’t be a smart move on his part, especially since she would be living next door. She’d get attached, and once she found out he wasn’t the kind of guy for a long-term relationship, drama would ensue.

And he was over drama.

“Are you going to show me the cabin or kiss me, Dex?”

Her question sent a shock wave of awareness through him, and for a second, he thought it was a proposition. Until…

“Fair warning: if you attempt the latter, I know six easy moves that will leave you broken and bleeding on the floor.”

Picturing this short, curvy woman bringing him low made him burst out laughing. He dropped his arm and let her pass. “I like the brass on you, Allie.”

She frowned as she surveyed the kitchen, and he could tell she wasn’t happy with its current state. Hell, he couldn’t blame her one bit. The place did look like shit, but he was supposed to have had more time. She’d called him a week ago and said she wouldn’t be arriving until the first week of November. Then two days ago, she’d called again from Nebraska to let him know she’d be there two weeks ahead of schedule.

“I know it looks bad, but really, there are no leaks and I’ll have it looking brand new in just a few weeks. You know, the few weeks I would have had if you’d given me more notice?”

“Fine, you have a point,” she said. “I shouldn’t have changed the game plan on you like that, but with all the work I have to get done at the hospital and with the weather report saying that it’s supposed to get bad soon, there didn’t seem to be any time to waste. Plus, I have to get to know the doctors and nurses, and judging by some people’s reaction to my age and gender, I can’t imagine all of them will be too welcoming.”

Dex nearly choked as he tried to hold in his laughter. Including his best friend, Hunter, there were four trauma surgeons at the hospital who were all seasoned military vets. He could just imagine how they were going to react to this curvy blonde with just the slightest New York accent walking in there and pointing out everything they were doing wrong.

Actually, he’d pay money to see that…or at least charge admission.

“Yeah, that’s true. If you want to whip that place into shape, you will definitely need a firm hand and a good night’s rest, which won’t be a problem. She might not look like much, but this cabin’s sturdy and safe. I’m putting up the new porch railing this weekend, but like I said, I reinforced the deck, so there’s no problem there.”

Dex saw that she was staring up at the hole in the ceiling and could feel warmth steal up his neck. Okay, so he felt a little guilty for misleading her, but when Heather Dolan at the real estate office had asked him if his cabin was ready to be rented, he’d jumped at the chance to get a little extra scratch during the winter months. Not that he was struggling, but he liked to have a nest egg, something he’d learned from his parents. It was about the only thing he’d inherited from his mathematician father and psychology professor mother. As a child, he’d had to beg his friends’ dads to take him along on their camping trips, while his parents had preferred museums and working on their latest publications.

Of course they had loved him, but they’d never really understood his love of the outdoors. Or his decision to become a search-and-rescue specialist after eight years in the army. He’d stopped trying to explain it years ago, and just let it be. He was happy, financially stable, and doing what he loved. His parents came to visit a couple of times a year and spent most their time doting on his quiet, bookish younger brother. It worked.

That being said, if his mother ever found out he’d been less than forthcoming with his current tenant, he’d be in for a damn long lecture on ethics and honesty.

Maybe that was why he was so defensive with the irritated woman standing before him.

“I’ll be fixing that, too,” he said.

Allie crossed her arms under her breasts and he tried like hell not to look down as she berated him. “I can’t believe you rented this place to me in this condition. Even if I had told you I wouldn’t be here in three months, the amount of work this place needs…”

She turned away from him as she trailed off, her gaze scanning the room again, taking in all the things that were wrong with the place. Dex knew for a fact that the repairs weren’t as extensive as she assumed. He’d had a contractor out months ago to give him an estimate, but Dex had sent him on his merry way. Dex could do everything he’d listed for a quarter of the guy’s “conservative estimate.”

“Wow, so you’re a construction worker, too?” he asked.

She turned those big brown eyes on him. “No, but I don’t need to be to tell you this place needs a lot of work.”

“Not as much as you think, sweetheart. A little patch here and a bit of paint there, and it will be grand.” His fake Irish accent didn’t even crack the skeptical look on her face. He’d never met a woman immune to it before.

“I’m sure you think so, but until you get the repairs done, I’m withholding rent.”

Outrage blazed through Dex and he took a step toward her. “Now, just one damn minute—”

“No, Mr. Belmont


On Sale
Dec 6, 2016
Page Count
160 pages

Codi Gary

About the Author

Codi Gary is the author of twenty-nine contemporary and paranormal romance titles including bestselling books Things Good Girls Don't Do and Hot Winter Nights under the name Codi Gary and the laugh-out-loud Mistletoes series under the pen name Codi Hall. She loves writing about flawed characters finding their happily ever afters because everyone, even imperfect people, deserve an HEA.

A Northern California native, she and her husband and their two children now live in Southern Idaho where she enjoys kayaking, unpredictable weather, and spending time with her family, including her array of adorable furbabies. When she isn't glued to her computer making characters smooch, you can find her posting sunsets and pet pics on Instagram, making incredibly cringy videos for TikTok, reading the next book on her never-ending TBR list, or knitting away while re-watching Supernatural for the thousandth time!

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