I pushed off, pointing my skis down the slope. Snow-weighted spruce trees rushed by, light and dark splotches against a bright cyan sky. Cold, clean air seared my lungs—a bright counterpoint to the deep, pulsing burn in my quads. And in the pillowy, bottomless powder I took flight.
Joy radiated in waves from my heart to my head to my grinning face. A loud hoot floated out of the forest above me.
Dumping speed in three long turns, I pulled to a stop in a small clearing, chest heaving, and peered uphill. My track snaked down the mountainside, a line of sinuous curves painted on a blank white canvas.
He popped out of the trees above me with a smile big enough to catch the sunlight and spooned his turns in next to mine, smooth and easy, caressing each curve of my tracks. Snowflakes shimmered and danced in the sunlight behind him like a golden halo.
Sliding to a stop beside me he leaned in and pressed his lips to mine, warm and soft. Hot and fierce. He sucked on my lower lip until I wanted nothing more than to get naked in the middle of nowhere with this incredible, sexy-as-hell man.
“That—” He nuzzled against my mouth, nipping and nibbling and sending sharp zings of electricity straight to my core. “—was amazing.”
I pulled back for air. “The skiing, or the kiss?”
He lifted his goggles and his sea green eyes met mine. “Both.”
I wrote this little scene thinking about my husband and some of our best skiing adventures. From sharing a day of deep powder, to assessing powerful avalanches, to being tucked in front of a cozy fire, far away from civilization, I know firsthand the options for creating romantic and sexual tension in a ski setting are endless. And I love milking that shamelessly in my books.
This intersection of passion, adventure, and romance is where my best stories germinate.
I adore taking my characters to that place where they’ve pushed themselves to your limits or shared something unique and special with another person. Or those difficult spots where things don’t go as planned (or go horribly, horribly wrong) and they get to see each other’s true selves. Or the moment where they’re forced to make a decision, or take a risk, with potentially life-changing consequences.
Setting two flawed but strong and loveable people at that intersection—somewhere way out in the mountains or woods—is a recipe for lust, danger, and excitement. Plus, it comes with a stunning backdrop every time.
All of this gave me the inspiration to write a series of steamy ski romances.
Exploring mountains and rivers is one of my favorite things—on the page and off.
Even though I grew up in the city of Atlanta, I was a barefoot and muddy pioneer of the neighborhood forests, and the backyards, and the creeks that ran through them. We climbed trees and built forts, and caught tadpoles during the day and fireflies at night.
Bare feet and bmx bikes turned into backpacking and kayaking and mountain biking and skiing in my late teens and early twenties. I made career and life choices as a guide, ski bum, instructor, and Forest Service Ranger that weren’t always easy for a young woman in the nineties. But they were my choices and my adventures, and being out there challenged and thrilled me in ways I never knew possible.
The mountains captured my heart and soul. Outdoor sports defined and filled my life.
I got my start as a writer working for outdoor sports magazines, and then outdoor sports companies. My husband (a fellow Georgian) and I met whitewater kayaking when I lived in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
When he asked me to marry him, I replied, “Yes, with two conditions – you have to move out west, and you have to learn to ski. Twenty years later we’re living in /Colorado and still happily sharing adventures on the slopes and beyond.
For me, romance is about much more than just two people finding each other and falling in love.
Every great romance should be as much about each person figuring out what makes them truly happy, not just in love, but in life, and going after it. Finding their passion, embracing it, and finding someone to share it with. That’s what I try to create in a setting that lets any reader experience the joys of finding love and adventure in the great outdoors.
I throw in a few tasty dashes of my own life and love life, and the lives of my friends who are ski patrollers, backcountry skiers, guides, chefs, kayakers, instructors and more. Then I mix in tough, independent, sassy women like my girlfriends who kick ass at their sports as much as the guys—if not more—and sprinkle a smidge of spicy, smartass dialogue for extra flavor.
The result? Character-driven sports romance with a twist of added risk, adventure, and sexual tension.
If I can’t be in the outdoors playing hard, I want to think and write about it. I always have. These are the stories I want to read, and I hope they are stories you enjoy reading too.
Title: Emerald Mountain Digital Boxed Set
Author: Stacy Gold
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Get all three steamy, stand-alone Emerald Mountain ski romance novellas in one digital boxed set and save almost 40% off the cover prices!
Just Friends – Powder skiing and hot sex combine in this sweet and spicy friends-to-lovers novelette.
In Deep – Sizzling ex-lovers/Ski Patrollers work to control more than just dangerous avalanches in this second chance at love novella.
Never You – It’s the last day of ski season at the backcountry hut. She doesn’t do casual—or egos. He doesn’t do serious. Are some rules made to be broken in this enemies-to-lovers novella?
Emerald Mountain Novella 1 – Just Friends
I wedged my shoulder against the side window of my sister’s SUV and yanked on the backseat lever for the third time. It still didn’t budge.
“Dammit!” I smacked the back of the headrest. Yet another thing gone wrong.
I’d been looking forward to a fun day skiing in the mountains with my family. One day when I could forget about rebuilding my career and my life, and how much I owed my sister and her husband for taking me in. Instead, it was ten till noon, Dan was injured, and I couldn’t even convert the rear cargo area into seat mode so we could get him and his torn-up knee home.
Bending, I probed under the jammed seat lever. My fingers struck hard, sticky gold. I grimaced and plucked at the glob of green with my nails. The semi-melted remains of an old hard candy broke free from the release mechanism.
“Gross.” I flicked the offending blob into a nearby snowdrift.
My last name floated over the buzz of chair lifts and chatting skiers, but I ignored it. Monroe was a common name. And I didn’t know anyone in Washington.
I shifted on my knees, gripped the lever, and yanked again. Nothing moved. With a growl, I yanked harder. The lever broke free with a pop. I rocked back on my heels and snapped the seats into place.
This time the voice pulled me upright so fast I whacked my head on the padded ceiling. Monroe might be a common name, but I’d never met another Taya.
I backed out of the hatch, planted my feet in the snow, and looked around the small, almost empty emergency parking lot. A tall, broad-shouldered man wearing a black helmet, mirrored goggles, and a red ski-patrol jacket stood near the entrance to the old, wooden first aid shack. I couldn’t see his eyes but I could’ve sworn he was staring at me. My hands dropped to my sides as I strained to identify him.
“Don’t you recognize me? I’m hurt.”
A familiar shiver ran down my spine. That deep, smooth voice. That sensual mouth curving into an impish grin. The hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention, almost quivering.
A ball of excitement bloomed in the pit of my stomach.
I made it all of two steps before his long legs brought him close enough to sweep me into a spinning hug, the heavy weight of my ski boots flying behind me. His strong arms engulfed me. I melted into him, heat fusing us together through our jackets and layers. As my boots crunched on the snow-covered ground, frigid air filled the space where his body had been.
Jordan kept his left arm draped over my shoulders and squeezed me close, making up for the sudden separation of our torsos. My right arm twined around his waist. When he pulled his goggles up onto his helmet the full force gaze of his warm brown eyes washed over me, and my knees went weak.
“What are you doing here?” My brain struggled to process the sudden reappearance of my old friend in my life, while my body reacted the same way it always did around Jordan—inappropriately.
“Working.” The corner of his mouth twitched as he glanced down at his uniform then flicked his eyes back up to mine. “What are you doing here?”
“Skiing.” I smirked and glanced down at my ski clothes as I slid back into our old banter. “Or I should say, teaching my nieces to ski. At least, I was. Until my brother-in-law fell on Lucky Ned’s and got an all-expenses paid ride down the mountain in a sled.” I nodded in the direction of my sister, trying to wedge Dan and his bandaged knee comfortably in the backseat, his grunts of pain audible.
My forehead creased. I hoped he wouldn’t need surgery and made a mental promise to find more ways to help out at home.
Jordan’s voice swiveled my head back around. “Seriously, last I saw you, you were headed to Brown to get your Masters and become a famous novelist. What are you doing in Washington?”
My heart dropped into my stomach where it tried to smother that lovely, blooming ball of excitement. The last thing I wanted to talk about was the half-finished novel gathering dust on my hard drive. Not when the first good thing to happen in forever stood right next to me.
“I’m a tech writer. Moved to Seattle three months ago.” I shrugged. “What about you? Still living the ski bum dream?”
“Nah. I work for the Tacoma Fire Department. I just volunteer here on weekends for the season pass.”