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Wild Man Creek (Virgin River Book 14) [Kindle Edition]

Robyn Carr
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (271 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Colin Riordan came to Virgin River to recuperate from a horrific helicopter crash, the scars of which he bears inside and out. His family is wonderfully supportive, but it's his art that truly soothes his troubled soul.

Stung personally and professionally by an ill-advised affair, PR guru Jillian Matlock has rented an old Victorian with a promising garden in Virgin River. She's looking forward to cultivating something other than a corporate brand.

Both are looking to simplify, not complicate, their lives, but when Jillian finds Colin at his easel in her yard, there's an instant connection. And in Virgin River, sometimes love is the simplest choice of all….

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than forty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr’s website at

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

It gave Jillian a sense of relief to pack a few bags, lock up her small town house in San Jose and just drive away. Nothing could make a woman want to run for her life like being used and betrayed by a man.

To appease Kelly, she drove only as far as San Francisco for her first leg of an unknown trip. That night she had dinner in her sister's restaurant. It was so hard to get a table in the five-star restaurant where Kelly was the head sous-chef that those people willing to wait usually stood around the bar for two hours after checking in with the maitre d', and that was if they had a reservation. The chef de cuisine was a man named Durant, known only by one name, and he was regionally famous. But Jillian was seated immediately, and at an excellent, semiprivate table. Then she was served every specialty the restaurant had by the best of the waitstaff. Kelly must have called in a lot of favors to make it happen.

After dinner, Jill drove over to Kelly's small San Francisco flat where she planned to stay the night. Kelly didn't get home from the restaurant until well after one in the morning, so the girls had their chance to visit over a late breakfast together. Kelly asked, "What now?"

"Many possibilities," Jill said. "Maybe Tahoe. I've never been to Sun Valley, Idaho. The point is not where I'm going so much as just driving. Watching the miles stack up in the rearview mirror—figuratively and literally putting things behind me. I'll stay in big, comfortable, anonymous hotels or resorts, relax, eat good food, watch all the movies I've missed over the past ten years and do many, many bookstore prowls. Before I go back to the grind I'm going to see if I can remember what having a life was like."

"You have your phone, of course?"

Jillian laughed. "Yes. I'll keep it charged in the car, but I'm not taking calls from anyone except you and Harry."

"Will you do something for me?" Kelly asked. "Will you please just text me in the morning every day and let me know where you are? And can we talk before I start work in the kitchen? Just so I know you're all right?"

Jillian was so far from all right it was almost laughable. She felt like an utter nutcase. Her attention span and focus were so disturbed that driving was probably not a great idea. But traveling by air to a vacation spot like Hawaii or Cancun, or being held prisoner on a cruise ship were so unappealing that she rejected those ideas immediately. She wanted her feet on the ground; she wanted to get her mental awareness back. She felt almost as if she didn't know herself anymore. The inside of her car, alone, made total sense to her. There she could think, undisturbed, and try to get things in perspective.

But she put on a brave face. "You bet," she said to her sister. Then she smiled. "If you call, I'll answer if I have a signal."

Right after they said their goodbyes Kelly left for work and Jillian got in her car and immediately drove east. She was halfway to Lake Tahoe when she remembered the vacation she'd taken with Kelly and two girlfriends the previous autumn. They'd driven to Vancouver—which was an excellent option for right now—but on the way home they'd stopped off at some dinky little town in the mountains—she couldn't even remember the name. While they were there they'd wandered into an estate sale and the old house where it was held reminded her of the house she and Kelly had grown up in with their great-grandmother. Nostalgia had flooded her and she'd become almost teary with remembering, even though the two houses had very little in common. The other image that came to mind were the little cabins along a river where they'd stayed for a couple of days—nice little cabins, remote yet comfortable. They had left the windows open at night and slept to the sounds of nature, the river rushing by, the wind whistling and humming through the huge pines, the quacks, caws, honks and calls of wildlife. They'd put their feet in the icy river last fall, watching trout jump and turning leaves flutter into the water. It had been lovely. Soothing.

With those thoughts in mind, Jill made a turn and headed north. She'd go up through Napa—that would point her in the right direction. Those little cabins weren't like a motor lodge or Holiday Inn, not the kind of place you could show up at midnight asking for a room. It was owned and run by a guy named Luke and his young wife; they lived on the property.

Jill spent the second night on the road at a little roadside inn in Windsor, probably halfway to her destination. First thing in the morning, she headed north again. Even a phone call to Kelly hadn't produced the exact name of the town, but Jillian knew roughly where it was.

A couple hundred miles and a few wrong turns led Jill to a remote intersection in Northern California where she saw a couple of guys had parked their pickups at odd angles. They were clearly just passing the time. She pulled up alongside. "Hi, guys," she said. "There's a little town back in here somewhere. I had dinner at a place called Jack's—I think—and there are some cabins along a river run by a guy named—"

One of the men pulled his hat off his head and smoothed his thinning hair over his freckled scalp. "Luke Riordan owns those cabins in Virgin River. Luke and Shelby."

"Yeah!" she said. "That's it! Virgin River! I must've missed the turn, never saw the sign."

The other guy laughed. "Ain't no sign. You didn't miss it by much," he said. "Up 36 a quarter mile. It's a left. But to get to Luke's you're gonna wanna go another left after 'bout another mile and a half up that hill. Then you'll go down again, then around a curve at the bottom of the mountain. Your second left ain't marked, but there's a dead sequoia stretched out by the side of the road right where you turn. Big mother. Then you'll prolly see the river. Take that road along the river to the cabins. Ain't far."

She laughed. It might've been one of her first belly laughs in a couple of weeks! Yeah, she remembered the dead tree, the up, down and around of the road. "I remember now—I remember the dead tree. Thanks. Thanks so much!"

Off she drove in the direction of the first left and then the dead tree, laughing as she went. She was laughing at how different it was! She might as well have traveled to a different country—these people were as removed from iPhones and iPads and daily stock reports and board of director meetings as she was from fly-fishing and camping. And now that she'd seized on this idea and spontaneously

found herself in Virgin River, of all places, she realized hardly anything in her baggage was going to be right for this kind of break. Thinking she might end up at some hotel resort in a place like Sun Valley she'd packed her country club casual—clothes she had on hand for corporate events or company picnics. She had linen slacks, a couple of stylish but casual dresses, wraparound skirts, sweater sets, that sort of thing. Low heels; lots of low heels. She had exactly one pair of Nike walking shoes and two sweat suits, and they both had designer labels.

As she recalled, Virgin River was very rugged, not to mention cooler. And boy, was it wet! It was early March; it had been drizzling on and off all day. It was a little bleak—except for the new green growth on the trees and the eruptions of plant life all along the side of the road.

Also muddy! Her pretty little Lexus Hybrid was splattered and filthy.

Jill followed the road along the river and when she came into the cabin compound she saw that Luke was on top of one of the cabins doing a little roof repair. He turned toward her as she pulled in. She stopped the car, got out and waved at him.

He smiled before climbing down his ladder. "Hi," he said when he got to the bottom. He grabbed a rag out of his back pocket to wipe off his hands.

"Any chance you remember me, Luke?" she asked him. "I came up here last fall with my sister and girlfriends. We spent a couple of days in one of your cabins. You invited us to the estate sale—that old woman's house."

He laughed. "Sure I remember you, but I don't remember your name."

"Oh—sorry. I'm Jill. Jillian Matlock. I apologize. I didn't even call ahead. I just thought if you had a vacancy…"

"This is a lucky time of year for vacancies," he said, grinning. "Lucky for you, anyway. Good time of year for me to make repairs anytime the rain lets up. You have your choice of cabins. The key's hanging on a hook inside the door."

"Thanks, I remember. Hey, if I stayed a few days, would that be okay?"

"No hunters, very few fishermen and the summer folks don't show up until June. June through January are busy for me, but early spring is a light load. What are you going to do around here for a few days?"

"I don't know." She shrugged. "Rest, sleep in, explore… It is safe to explore, right?"

"If you stay away from marijuana grows, but they're usually hidden. Bear aren't all the way awake yet. Fish?

You fish?"

"Not since I was about seven or eight," she said.

"Art will teach you," Luke said. "There's an extra rod and reel in the shed. Art knows where. In fact, anything you might need, we probably have an extra one. Just remember—the river is up—snow from the mountains is melting. And the weather is wet two out of three days. Just let us know what you need." He looked her up and down. She was wearing jeans, heels, a silk blouse and suede blazer. "Um, Shelby's got some waders she'd let you borrow. Those shoes will be wrecked in no time."

"That's so nice of you, Luke."

"Just want you to enjoy yourself and be comfortable, Jillian."

Jillian knew she would have to buy some knocking-around clothes; stuff that could hold up for long walks, fishing or sitting under a tree with a book. The next day she drove to a bigger town and texted her sister from the parking lot of the Target in Eureka.

You'll never guess where I ended up! Virgin River! Remember Virgin River?

Jillian was trying on jeans before a response came back. Kelly's text said, Why?

To relax and unwind and think, was Jillian's reply.

Jill bought some lace-up boots for possible hiking, jeans, cargo pants, sweatshirts and sweatpants without designer labels, a rain slicker and a hoodie, some warm pajamas and a bunch of socks. She was going to just decompress in the natural, cold, wet beauty. She wasn't giving up civilization altogether—she had her laptop, portable DVD player, iPad, iPhone and several DVDs she'd been meaning to watch.

But relaxation was easier said than done. Jill had fantasized for years about taking time off, having a break, but after a few years of such fantasies she had to admit that wasn't what she wanted at all. She wanted to work! Perform! Compete! Knock herself out! Win! She thrived on success, on the praise of her staff, her boss.

Jillian had been fresh out of college with a brand-new marketing degree and a bunch of credits toward her MBA when Harry Benedict offered her a low-paying job in a start-up firm. His start-up capital was limited, but he needed a few key people—a CPA, a software engineer and someone to pull together marketing demographics for his software products. Jillian could be that marketing person if she was willing and able to take a gamble. Harry had a good track record; he'd successfully started several companies, all of which he subsequently sold. What he offered her was an opportunity—to learn from him, get in on the ground floor of a new, high-tech manufacturing business and grow professionally.

Kelly was right about her—she was impulsive. She'd jumped at the chance. She had not been in a hurry to land the biggest job on the planet but the one with the most challenge and excitement. Plus, she liked Harry; liked his gruff, no-nonsense ways; liked his confidence and experience. His drive was addictive. She remembered one late night when they were still working at four in the morning, he'd said, "When we stop having fun, we're outta here, right?" She bet on him just as he bet on her. And she missed him so much.

There was nothing more fun than helping to build a company. She became close to the Benedict family, rose in Harry's software development and manufacturing business and, in fact, helped to formulate the company from its start-up to the day it went public. At the age of twenty-nine she had been made the vice president of Corporate Communications with a full staff and had become one of Harry's inner circle execs. Along the way she'd collected bonuses, stock options and her salary grew along with her responsibilities. Careful investments meant that she had a significant portfolio that was well diversified.

Over the past ten years the only vacations she was successfully able to indulge in were those with her sister and their two best friends from high school. They were four women of diverse occupational interests who were all hardworking, ambitious, competitive and single. They managed to get away once a year for a week to ten days. Other than those vacations, Jillian didn't know what to do with time off.

The thing that had always worked for both Jill and Kelly was hard work to turn their big dreams into successful realities. Kelly's plans had been more focused right from the beginning—culinary school to line cook, to line cook in better and better restaurants, to sous-chef, to head chef to her own restaurant one day. Jillian's path had never really wavered. After college, she jumped into the first opportunity that felt right. But both their paths proved to work. Kelly was definitely going in the direction she'd always planned and Jill had a nice nest egg from her ten successful years at BSS.

Product Details

  • File Size: 520 KB
  • Print Length: 361 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0778329313
  • Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004JF6DJO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,537 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars solid romance January 26, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The helicopter crash left Colin Riordan severely injured. While his body heals, he paints wildlife scenes to help his mind mend too. Seeking inspiration he wanders onto property rented by public relations expert Jillian Matlock, who is also healing but her pain is from a broken heart and a probable second order effect of a broken career. To heal, she is working a garden.

Jillian and Colin are attracted to each other and agree to a tryst while they heal in Virgin River. Once either returns to their previous world, the affair is over. However, as they spend time together each learns the answer to How To Mend a Broken Heart (Bee Gees) is love that could let them live again if they take a chance.

The latest Virgin River romance focuses on love as a major healer, a theme used in previous series tales like Whispering Rock. The entertaining straight forward story line contains two likable leads needing emotional and mental recovery from recent trauma. The census aside, seemingly the fastest growing area in the country, Wild Man Creek is a fine tale that Robyn Carr's Virgin River readers will enjoy.

Harriet Klausner
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid and satisfying read February 2, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wild Man Creek, book 12 in the Virgin River series by Robyn Carr, is the story of two scarred people, software executive Jillian Mattock and former Blackhawk helicopter pilot Colin Riordan who both end up in the tiny Humboldt County town of Virgin River. Jill is escaping a case of shattered trust that cost her her Silicon Valley job and Colin is recovering from a helicopter crash that ended his military career. He has fought painkiller addiction and rehab and is now turning to painting wildlife but still plans to pursue flying. Jill, on the other hand, turns to her childhood love of gardening for therapy. Neither is looking for romance or commitment, so when their initial meeting turns to attraction, they both embark on a relationship they know will be short term. Colin will go to Africa to photograph wildlife and in the hope he can land a bush pilot job that will enable him to resume flying, while Jill gardens furiously, but knows she'll be returning to the corporate world come September. Meanwhile the two find comfort in each other, and for the first time for either of them, they begin to trust, to heal, and to live.

Jill rents an old Victorian on ten acres and begins returning the land to the garden paradise it once was, this time growing high end fruits and vegetables used in five-star restaurants-the same vegetables her great-grandmother used to grow when she lived with the older woman. The gardening adventure rolls forward with the addition of greenhouses and a helper, and before long, Jill wonders if there's a future in raising organic vegetables for commercial use.

Colin paints, and with Jill's encouragement, decides to see if his work can sell.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Virgin River Books! February 8, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved this book. I liked the story and each of the story lines. Their specific and varied interests and stories were solid and their independence admirable.
I would rate this to be my third favorite Virgin River stories!
Definately a keeper, take the time to read this one if you are a Virgin River fan.
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19 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Gardening 101 January 25, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Colin Riordan, recovering from a horrific crash of his Blackhawk helicopter, comes to Virgin River with his body, psyche, and career in shambles. He plans to spend his summer in semi-isolation revisiting his childhood passion of painting. On September 1st he will take off for an African adventure of photographing wildlife and perhaps finding work as a Bush Pilot.

Jillian Matlock, a hard driven career woman to the core, is rocked by a scandal where she is accused of sexually harassing one of her employees. Her employer puts her on leave while they work out the legal ramifications. She soon finds refuge in the garden plot and large Victorian house that is owned by the Virgin River town trust.

The title of this story "Wild Man Creek" is in part a play on Colin's former reputation as an off the cuff, barely controlled, no holds barred Wild Man. Perhaps a bit unfortunately (at least for us readers) his accident and resulting recovery process seems to have knocked all that wildness right out of him. What we are left with is a quiet artist whose wildest thought seems to be contemplating whether he next wants to paint an eagle or a deer. As for Jillian, she takes gardening to heart with a true passion and we learn all about heirloom seeds, organic chicken manure and tomatoes. Lots of tomatoes in this book.

And so in what is an extremely heavy handed metaphor, the garden and the relationship grow hand in hand. Jillian tills the dirt for a garden. And they talk. Colin paints. They reminisce. Jill plants some seeds. Colin paints. And they have sexy talk. They have sex. The garden grows. They kiss. They have sex. And they talk. Tomatoes ripen. Colin paints.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to the Virgin River series April 5, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Jillian Matlock was a PR executive at a software company when she gets the rug pulled out from under her: her "boyfriend", someone who worked for her, accuses her of sexual harassment. To deal with this situation, her boss recommends that she takes a leave of absence. After working 60+ hours every week for years, Jillian isn't sure what to do with herself. She remembers visiting Virgin River and decides to go there. While there, she rents a house and begins to garden - something she enjoyed when she was a child.

Colin Riordan was a Black Hawk helicopter pilot. But after an accident - and problems related to that accident - he's retired from the Army and is at loose ends. He's always loved to fly and is not quite sure what to do with himself. For now, he's at Virgin River for the summer painting, but plans to leave Virgin River in September.

Jillian and Colin meet and decide to have a summer romance. Both aren't looking for anything permanent - they're not sure what's happening in their lives. Both consider what they're doing currently at Virgin River to be temporary. But their romance blossoms even with the threat of September coming.

I've read about half a dozen Virgin River books and this is one of my favorites. It's got great characters, a heroine that you can relate to, and a believable ending - I can see these two living happily ever after - without either one regretting the decisions they've made. This is a pure romance - no killers lurking, no bad guys (well, except for the "boyfriend"). It's just a nice romance.
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More About the Author

Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of almost fifty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. Her highly anticipated new series, Thunder Point, will be released March 2013. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr's website at

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