Don't Write What You Know;
Write What You Care About -- Passionately!
- Eileen Schuh
Wildlife biologist, Peter Kane, would much rather be in the wilderness studying his wolves but he’s committed to his role as a research subject for the Wainwright University’s Olfactory Project.
The extension of the project has left him short of cash so although things haven’t worked out between him and Marie, when the police need his nose for their investigation into her past, he reluctantly agrees.
His acute sense of smell proves invaluable and the investigation leaps forward. He’s hailed as a hero but when Marie suggests he’s a mere pawn in a dangerous conspiracy, he listens. She does, after all, have analytical skills comparable to a super computer.
Absolutely nothing, though, can prepare them for the stark truth.
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“Quick! Climb on, NOW!” he barks. “You’re in danger!”
He has a feral look about him, standing astride the quad, nodding to the seat behind him, his dark hair mussed and his wolfen eyes on me. His jeans hug tight across his crotch, as a man’s jeans are prone to do when straddling the saddle of an off-road machine.
The butt of a rifle protrudes from the gun boot mounted on the left fender and a shotgun is strapped across the basket in front. As I’m feeling half-feral myself this brilliant autumn afternoon, I only briefly consider my options before clambering up behind him. As soon as I’m settled, he sits his ass between my legs, revs the machine and reverses into a three-point U-turn. We are soon heading down the forest trail the way I’d come.
My decision to climb aboard isn’t a reckless one. Since before I can remember, I’ve been honing wilderness survival skills. Both strangers and rides are more often saviors than enemies in Canada’s boreal forest, so my skill set doesn’t include refusing rides from handsome men on ATVs.
That said, although I’ve been doing a heck of a lot of honing and surviving since before I can remember, I can’t tell you much of my adventures because ‘before I can remember’ is a point in time which shifts with the sun and is never very long ago.
As we race full speed over the roots and rocks and logs, I somewhat fall into a trance, mesmerized by the long poplar shadows splaying across our path—hitting my face with shadow and light, shadow and light.
My stupor snaps when he begins maneuvering the machine down a steep incline. Gravity draws me forward on the seat, forcing my groin dangerously close to the small of his back. I brace, pressing my boots against the footrests, but the incline steepens, forcing me to give in and cuddle up. I lay my head against his broad shoulders, wrap my arms around his middle and close my eyes.
‘You’re in danger!’ he’d said. His warning came as no surprise—I’ve been in danger since before I can remember. Being rescued by such a gorgeous creature is a surprise though, and one I relish…for only a few moments before the quad grinds to a halt and gears click. He rips free of my arms and stands, sending a blast of engine heat surging between his legs and into my face.
Fearing he’s stopped because he’s read my mind and found my sexual musings offensive, I straighten and lever myself to where I ought to have been seated. However, it is soon apparent he’s simply surveying the trail ahead.
“Hang on!” he shouts as he stands on the footrests and leans over the handlebars. Low gear catches and the quad lurches forward. What he expects me to hold onto now that he isn’t seated in front of me is not apparent. I reach for the gun boot but its smooth polyethylene finish offers no grip.
He’s working the gears, struggling for the best combination of traction and speed as we head up an incline that puts Mt. Everest’s slopes to shame. I glance over my shoulder, wondering what the chances are I’ll tumble off the rear. I’m relieved to see I have a full upholstered seatback behind me as well as a massive toolbox. Looking forward, all I can see is his silhouette and the red nose of the quad inching into the cerulean autumn sky—sparking my next worry that the entire machine will topple backward over me.
The pistons don’t miss a beat though, the engine holds a steady roar and the giant tires just keep rolling up the hill.
He half-turns when we reach the top. “You okay?” he asks.
I shrug, relieved to see a flat field of pasture grass spreading before us to the horizon. He faces forward and turns his head left, right, up and down. Operating the gears once more, he takes us from a roll to a gallop in just seconds. He remains standing with his face into the wind, working his nostrils as a dog does when it sticks its head out the window of a moving car.
Ah, yes. Judging by the welts on my arms from the late autumn grasses whipping by, I’d say we are hitting close to one hundred klicks. Too bad tomorrow, I will not remember the thrill.