Slope of Love

By: Melissa Foster

The Remingtons, Book Four

Love in Bloom Series

Chapter One

THE MUSCLE ON the side of Rush Remington’s jaw bunched as he glanced out the window at the snow that had been falling since the plane touched down in Colorado. Rush didn’t need much to be happy—a snowy slope, a set of skis, a daily dose or two of protein powder, and a little time with his best friend. The ski team equipment had been shipped separately and had already arrived at the Colorado Ski Center, where he and a few other Olympic ski team members were teaching ski workshops this week. Rush pulled two duffel bags from beneath his seat. One was packed tight with protein powder, movies, and gummy bears—his best friend’s go-to snack—the other stuffed to the hilt with his clothes.

He dug his vibrating cell phone from his pocket—another text from Jayla. He and Jayla Stone had been best friends for more than fifteen years, and this was supposed to be their week to hang out. He eyed the reporters waiting by the entrance of the lodge before stealing a look toward the back of the van, where Jayla sat beside Marcus White, pretending to rummage through her purse for something. Rush knew that she was really avoiding making eye contact with him because of Marcus. The only thing in that damn purse was a man’s wallet—because women’s wallets are too bulky—her keys, personal products (wrapped in tissues and hidden in a zippered pouch because they’re embarrassing), and probably a few empty bags of gummy bears.

He read the text from Jayla. Cute reporter. Blonde. Red coat.

At six foot two, with a shock of dark brown hair, an ever-present tan, perfect teeth, and an insatiable appetite for exercise, the media—and women—loved Rush, but today he was in no mood to smile for the camera.

He laughed under his breath and shook his head. A year ago he’d have scoped out the hot blonde, scored by midnight, then forgotten her name by the next morning when he and Jayla met for breakfast. She’d have teased him about adding a notch to his belt or some other random shit, and then they’d have hit the slopes. A year ago he was a totally different guy.

He texted her back. If she’s not made of powder, I’m not interested. Just wanna ski.

In a week, the competitive ski season would be over, and Rush could have all the women he wanted without worrying about them messing with his head and, in turn, screwing with his ability to win. But getting laid by some random woman wasn’t anywhere on Rush’s agenda. Rush had planned on revealing to Jayla that he finally realized he was truly, madly, and infuriatingly in love with her. Now his plan was shot to hell, and he had no interest in doing anything other than making it through the week and coming out on top of the North Face Competition, the last race of the season.

He didn’t have to look at Jayla to know that her eyebrows were drawn together and she was reaching for that empty bag of gummy bears, hoping to find just one more to calm her nerves. Or to know that Marcus fucking White was eyeing every move she made.

Rush followed the other members of the ski team who had volunteered to teach the ski workshops off of the van. Cliff Bail and Patrick Staller looked like they had just walked out of Skier magazine with their strong physiques and dirty-blond, sun-streaked hair. They checked out the female reporters as they headed for the resort with Kia Lyle and Teri Martin on their heels. Rush hung back, hoping the reporters would get their fill of interviews with his teammates and give him a break. He inhaled the crisp, cold mountain air, kicked the blanket of fresh snow with the toe of his boot, and surveyed the grounds of the place that he’d call home for the next week. The majestic three-story stone and cedar lodge was set against the backdrop of snowcapped mountains. Curvy slopes carved wide white paths through the trees, snaking from the mountain peaks to the valleys below, and it took his breath away.

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