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Firefighter Under the Mistletoe Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373177658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373177653
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 4.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,432,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Melissa McClone has a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, but analysing airline engines couldn’t compete with her ‘happily-ever-afters’. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest, with her own real-life hero husband, two daughters, a son, too many oh-so-spoiled indoor cats and a Norwegian Elkhound named Chaos. Melissa loves to hear from her readers! Contact her via her website: www.melissamcclone.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Christian Welton shoved his ski pole up the snow cave's air vent. He'd spent much of the night clearing snow from the shaft. Not that he was complaining. This cramped shelter on Mount Hood had saved his and his cousin's lives.

He glanced at Owen Slayter, who lay inside a sleeping bag. A foam pad kept the bottom of the bag dry from the snow beneath. The right side of Owen's face was swollen, bruised and cut. Dried blood coated his mouth. Superficial injuries.

Owen needed to be in the hospital with his multiple fractures. A helicopter rescue would be the fastest way off the mountain, but that hadn't been possible due to the weather.

Until help arrived, Christian would do whatever it took to keep them alive. That meant making sure Owen didn't go into shock or become hypothermic.

The inside temperature was approximately thirty-two degrees, practically balmy compared to the biting late-November cold. Christian listened, but couldn't hear anything outside the snow cave. He preferred the eerie quiet to the roar of wind as the storm unleashed its wrath yesterday.

For all he knew, Mother Nature had taken pity upon them, and the storm had passed overnight. A break in the weather would allow a rescue mission to be launched.

Time to find out if their luck had changed.

Christian slid off the raised sleeping platform. He wanted to see blue sky. He'd settle for gray as long as the wind and snowfall had died down.

At the entrance, he removed one of the backpacks covering the opening. Hope vanished in an instant.

Talk about an arctic hell. Seventy miles per hour winds, freezing temperature and zero visibility. He pushed aside the other backpack and peeked out. Each breath stung his lungs.

Disappointment shot straight to his cold toes. Helicopters wouldn't be flying today. No one would dare risk these conditions in the air or on foot.

Dammit. Christian's blood pressure rose to match his anxiety level.

Stupid dead cell phone battery. The thing was worthless. Useless. He hated not knowing what was going on down below or when help might arrive. If only…

Don't go there.

He had to concentrate on what was in his control. Anything else would only aggravate him more. Maybe upset him enough to make a bad decision.

Outside the cave, he struggled against the wind. He wiped snow from his neonorange based skis—crossed in an X to mark the snow cave—so they would be visible to rescuers either from the air or ground should the weather suddenly improve.

Christian ducked inside the cave. He covered the entrance with the backpacks.

A chill shivered through him. His legs shook. He slapped his thighs with gloved hands.

What he wouldn't give for a steaming cup of hot cocoa right now. No whipped cream, but little marshmallows floating on the top.

Owen moaned.

Christian glanced at his cousin. Fantasizing wasn't going to get it done.

Time to melt some snow. Both he and Owen needed water to drink. Eating snow decreased body temperature and would allow hypothermia to set in quicker.

Carbon monoxide poisoning from using Owen's stove inside the snow cave wasn't a big concern to Christian. Space between the packs, the vent and the wind outside allowed enough air movement and ventilation inside. But he still cleared the vent a couple times while the snow melted to make sure. He didn't want to take any chances.

With enough snow melted, he turned off the fuel then filled a water bottle. He climbed to where his cousin lay, careful not to sit too tall or he'd hit his head. Christian had been in such a rush to carve out the cave and get Owen out of the storm that he hadn't made the cave that big.

"Thirsty?" he asked.

As Owen blinked open his eyes, a grimace formed on his face. "Storm pass?"

His cousin's voice sounded hoarse, raw, like a wild animal. An injured, dying animal.

Christian's insides twisted.

Not dying. Owen was hurting. That was all. He'd groaned in pain through the night. Given his injuries a normal response. Both of them would get off this mountain and be climbing again. Not this season for Owen, but eventually he'd be back at it with Christian at his side. Or rather on his rope.

"The weather still sucks." Christian was a firefighter, used to running into burning buildings and saving people, not having to wait for someone to rescue him. He hated not being able to do more than keep his cousin warm and give him water to drink and energy bars to eat. "But people know where we are."

Owen cleared his throat. "OMSAR will find us."

He sounded stronger, confident they would be rescued.

Christian respected what OMSAR—Oregon Mountain Search and Rescue—did. Helping others when things went wrong appealed to him at a gut level. It was one reason he became a firefighter. He also loved being on a team where everyone watched each other's back and were equals.

Christian wasn't an equal of OMSAR. The mountain rescuer volunteers' skills far surpassed his own. He couldn't wait for them to arrive and get Owen out of here. But this storm would stop even the hardest of the hard men.

Still Christian knew Paulson and Thomas would get here when they could. They weren't only mountain rescuers, but firefighters. Part of the brotherhood. As soon as it was safe, they'd be here. No doubt Thomas would give Christian an earful, as usual. This time, however, he would gladly listen.

"Yes, they will," he said finally. Once the weather improved, OMSAR would know exactly where to locate them. Christian had given the 911 operator their GPS coordinates before his cell phone died. "Even if OMSAR doesn't make it up here today, we have all we need. Sleeping bag, bivy sacks, food, fuel for the stove and my wonderful bedside manner."

One side of Owen's dry and cut lips lifted in something that half resembled a smile. "You sound more like a mountaineer than a rock climber."

Christian straightened. His head brushed the ceiling. "That was the point of this climb."

"Then we succeeded." Owen had been climbing mountains since high school. Christian preferred rock climbing, but Owen thought it stupid to live on Mount Hood and not be able to climb it. Since spring, the two had climbed together throughout the Cascades. "I've always learned more from my failures."

"Then I should be an expert alpinist when we get down."

Owen laughed. Coughed.

Christian wished he could do more to help his cousin. Maybe there was something. When the rescuers arrived, they would need room to work. He reached for the shovel. "I'm going to make this place bigger. It's claustrophobic in here."

"Most snow caves are," Owen said. "Don't bother. You soaked through your clothes digging this out. You can't get your spare ones wet, too."

"If the snow settles—"

"We won't be here that long."

Christian wanted Owen to be right. At least he was more alert. Talkative. Both were good signs after a restless and fitful night.

A little tension released from Christian's tight shoulders. "No worries. Remember, I'm one of Hood Hamlet Fire and Rescue's finest. Strong. Brave."

"Full of it." Owen winced. He squeezed his eyes closed then opened them slowly. "Save the firefighter shtick for the pretty ladies. I got one word. Hypothermia."

"That would suck."

"Damn straight," Owen agreed. "If something happens to you, there won't be anyone to brew water and feed me."

"Yeah, letting you go thirsty and starve wouldn't endear me to your parents."

"Grandpa would be really mad at you, too."

Their grandfather, the patriarch of the Welton clan, would never forgive him. Christian was persona non grata anyway and would remain so until he moved home and embraced his role at Welton Wineries. That wasn't going to happen because of the terms his grandfather attached to whatever carrot he dangled. If Christian ever returned, he wanted it to be on his terms, no one else's.

He forced a smile. "Grandma wouldn't be too happy, either."

"And my sisters. And yours."

Owen's teasing was another good sign, but Christian couldn't deny the truth in the words. He dropped the shovel. "Okay, I'll wait."

Taking care of Owen was the most important thing Christian could do. His family, especially his grandfather, might even see that becoming a firefighter had been a smart decision. Not simply a way to put off working at the winery.

"Thanks." Owen closed his eyes again. "Welton Winery will go on now."

"Yeah." Their grandfather claimed the future of Welton Winery rested in Christian's and Owen's hands. Never mind Christian had other goals that didn't include just the winery and living in the Willamette Valley. But family—make that his grandfather's—expectations overruled individual dreams. Or so they were taught to believe. "Whether we want it or not."

Owen took a slow, deep breath.

Christian cleared the air vent again.

"Sorry for getting you into this." Owen sounded weaker once again.

"Hey, we're in this together." Christian had suggested they climb. His cousin had picked the objective. "No cutting the rope. No blaming each other. No losing it."

No matter how long they were stuck or how bad things got up here.

Things were bad up here. Driving winds limited visibility. The temperature remained in the low teens. The conditions weren't fit for man or beast. Yet here she was.

Leanne Thomas sniffled, her nose runny from the cold temperature. Her breath sounded against the ski mask covering her face. A layer of ice covered her goggles and clothing. Ice probably covered her pack, filled with forty-odd pounds of gear and medical equipment.

But the only other place she wanted to be right now was higher on the mountain. At 10,500 feet to be exact. The approximate location...


More About the Author

I've always been a fan of fairy tales and "happily ever afters", but I'd never read a category romance until my senior year of high school when my A.P. English teacher, Mrs. Cooper, had the class study genre fiction. She assigned each of us a Harlequin Romance to read. Mine was set in the Canary Islands and I couldn't wait to read another one. And another and another. I was hooked. Needless to say, I owe Penny Cooper a debt of gratitude. And yes, we do keep in touch!

After graduating from Stanford University with a degree in mechanical engineering, I worked for Allied Signal analyzing engine performance in Phoenix, Arizona, and my love of romance novels continued to grow. One day, I decided to write a romance of my own. Easier said than done I quickly learned, but I discovered the Desert Rose Chapter of Romance Writers of America and realized how little I knew about writing romances.

After three years in Phoenix (Tempe, actually), I began to hate the Arizona summers. Who cares if it's a dry heat? Anything over a hundred and ten is still hot. So I took at job at United Airlines in San Francisco. I was still analyzing jet engine performance, but now I had travel benefits. I spent five years traveling the globe. My love for writing romances also grew.

Writing became a passion, and the few hours spent at the computer during lunchtime and in the evenings weren't nearly enough. With lots of prodding and support from my husband of six months whom I met working at UAL, I decided to follow my dream and write full-time.

It was a good decision. My first full-time effort, FIANCE FOR THE NIGHT, was also my first sale to Silhouette Yours Truly. When I got the call that Silhouette was buying my book, I was pregnant with my first child. I was jumping up and down so much, my husband was afraid I was going to go into labor.

I moved to the Silhouette Romance line with my second sale, IF THE RING FITS. My daughter was three months old at the time and I was so tired I barely remember the phone conversation with my editor. Thank goodness my husband was home once again when the telephone rang or I might have thought I dreamed the second sale!

I sold my third book, THE WEDDING LULLABY, when I was pregnant with my second child and got a literary agent, too. I'm represented by Annelise Robey at the Jane Rotrosen Agency. I started hoping being pregnant wasn't a trend or a requirement for future sales. It wasn't even though we now have three children.

With the closing of the Silhouette Romance line, I was moved from the New York editorial office to the Harlequin Mills & Boon editorial office in London in May 2005.

I live in Washington with my real-life hero husband, two daughters, a son, lovable, but oh-so spoiled indoor cats and an adorable forty-eight pound Norwegian Elkhound who thinks she's a lap dog. I love to ski, rock climb and read!

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Sweet, funny and touching story.
Dee
I read it in about 2 hours couldnt put it down...would love to find another book like this one...
Karissa Constant
I read this book in one sitting.
Brian's Mom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian's Mom on November 20, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book in one sitting. I was completely swept away in the first chapter when Leanne rescues Christian and his cousin Owen after a climbing trip goes bad. Leanne and Christian work together in Hood Hamlet. She is a by the book paramedic and he's the rookie firefighter. Throw in that she's older than him, she has worked hard to be one of the guys and she won't admit that she does have feelings for him, it makes for a great story. Christian is from well to do family that has a winery. He's heart is being a firefighter not a wine maker.

I will admit that I have read Sean Hughes and Zoe Flynn's story (Christmas Magic on the Mountain) and the online story featuring Cocoa Marsh and Rex Billings (Snow Kissed Reunion-its on the Harlequin website) but I have not read Carly Bishop and Jake Porter's story Rescued by the Magic of Christmas. I plan on reading it within the next few weeks. Leanne has also been a secondary character in each of them so when I read that she was getting her own book, I was thrilled. I knew that Leanne would be a tough nut to crack but Christian was up to the task. From the moment the book opened to the moment that I shut it closed, I sighed, laughed and fell in love with both of them.

Ms. McClone has written a beautiful and emotional story of two people that are finding their way in the world and finding out where they belong in it. Its also the story of family and what defines a family and your place in a family.

Leanne and Christian have sizzling chemistry from the start and it only heats up during the story. Half the fun of a Harlequin Romance is the build up of chemistry through out the story and the gratifying HEA at the end. One thing about this series...will there be more? I love Hood Hamlet and the people that make up the town. Their journeys toward love and family never cease to amaze me.

I highly recommend each of the Hood Hamlet Christmas stories. I read mine in order but each stands alone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Karissa Constant on December 22, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved the humor, the banter, the love, the friendship, the shyness, just everything about this book. I read it in about 2 hours couldnt put it down...would love to find another book like this one...
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By Dee on November 27, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was my first Mt Hood Christmas story and I love it. Went back to buy and read the others I'd missed. Sweet, funny and touching story.
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