Page 44

Author: Jill Shalvis

But this time, because she was on the opposite side of where she’d fallen down, she was looking down at the diamond rocks. She dropped her pack and sat on a rock, staring at the most incredible, awe-inspiring, 360-degree vista she’d ever seen.

She pulled out a bottle of water and her sketchpad. She flipped through the drawings, each as familiar as her own face. All her life they’d given her comfort, like a security blanket. That had always vaguely embarrassed her, but Lucille’s reaction had given her something new.



She had her grandma’s drawings, too, and she looked at the last one, with the vista of rough-edged, craggy mountain peaks—

It was Widow’s Peak.

And even more important, it was the exact same view Amy had from this very spot. Heart pounding, she pulled out her grandma’s journal. Standing at the very tippy top, looking out at a blanket of green, a sea of blue…

Here. Right here was where her grandma had come full circle, staring at Widow’s Peak as she’d sprinkled Jonathon’s ashes. The late afternoon sun slanted over the precipices, right into her eyes. Amy shaded them with her hand and looked at the beautiful mountains. It was unbelievable to her that by following her grandma’s adventure, she’d somehow stumbled into her own as well.

She loved this place. She loved that she had real friends. She loved the sense of community here. Lucky Harbor had become home in a way that no other place had.

But there was more. She’d found herself here. She’d salvaged a crappy life and carved out a little niche for herself.

She’d also fallen in love. How was that for making changes and facing fears? She’d been looking for her grandma’s heart, and she’d lost her own.

The sun set a little lower, and its rays burst through the sharply defined rock and trees in such a way that it lit up Widow’s Peak like it was on fire. Quickly she grabbed her pencils, wanting to capture it on paper. It took her less than a minute to stare down at her drawing and realize what she was seeing, and she squinted through the bright sun to look at the view again.

With her eyes squinted in protection, the outline of the peaks took on the shape of two interlocking hearts. And within those hearts, the tree lines seemed to form letters. RS. And there was a J, too. And if she squinted really, really hard, she could just make out an S…

Amy stared in disbelief at the mountains, then down at her drawing, and let out a low laugh. Just her imagination? Wishful thinking? Probably. But it was also fate.

I left my heart on the mountain, her grandma had told her. And it was right there for Amy to see. It’d been there all these years, waiting for her.

Eventually she walked across the meadow and climbed up to the site of her first overnight camping trip. The sun began to sink, but Amy had prepared for it this time, planned to sleep out here. Alone. She’d faced so many of her fears lately that she’d wanted to look her last one in the eye and prove she could do this.

Leaning back, she could almost feel her grandma smiling down at her.

In the morning, she would finish her drawing and hike out in time to get to work for her afternoon shift. She texted Mallory and Grace again with her whereabouts for the night so that no one called out search and rescue.

Or Matt. Not that he’d be looking for her.

Don’t go there…

She started a fire and pitched the tent that she’d borrowed from Ty. Then she sketched until the light was gone.

Once that happened, it was dark. Very dark. But she’d gotten good at facing her fears: letting people in, loving people, trusting people… camping! Yep, she could check off the entire list. She crawled into her borrowed sleeping bag and lay still, listening to the forest noises, wishing she had her sexy forest ranger to warm her up.

Matt pulled up to Amy’s place and stared at her dark windows.

She wasn’t home.

His formal inquiry was at eight a.m. sharp. He would present his findings and hopefully prove that there’d been no negligence on his part or on the part of the forest service. Thanks to Lucille, he had his ducks in a row—at least all the ducks he had—but that didn’t necessarily mean anything in the land of bureaucracy. He knew it could go either way, and at the moment, he didn’t give a shit. The only person he gave a shit about wasn’t home, and he had no idea where she might be.


That’s what it was all about for her, being able to trust. Not that she’d extended the courtesy to him. He stared up at her dark windows and had to admit he hadn’t given her a whole lot to go on in that regard either.

He was such a fucking idiot.

He called her cell but it went straight to voicemail. He’d already checked the diner, but she wasn’t working. So he called Mallory. “Where is she?”

Mallory gave him nothing but an angsty silence.


“I can’t tell you.”

“Tell me anyway.”

More angsty silence.

“Mallory,” he said tightly.

“I pinky-swore, Matt! I’m sorry but us Chocoholics have to stick together. It’s the Good Girl Code of Honor.”

Jesus. “Since when does a good girl hold out on her boyfriend’s best friend?”

“Okay, that’s not fair,” she said. “Asking me to pick loyalties between Ty’s BFF and mine.”

“Nothing’s fair in love or war.”

“And is this love or war?” she asked very seriously.

“I need to see her. Now. Tonight.”

She went quiet, and Matt knew he had to get this right if he wanted her help. “Is there an emergency clause in that Good Girl Code?” he asked. “Say, for guys who are a little slow on the uptake and need to prove themselves trustworthy?”

“Maybe,” she said slowly. “Maybe if, say, I didn’t actually tell you where she was because you guessed.”

“Give me a hint.”

“Okay… Oh! Remember when I called you and said my friend needed a rescue because she’d gotten lost on the trail?”

Jesus Christ. “Tell me she did not go back up the Sierra Meadows Trail by herself.”

“Exactly. I’m not telling you.” She hesitated. “You’re going after her, yes?”

Matt could hear Ty in the background saying, “Of course he’s going after her. He’s whipped.”

Matt ground his back teeth into powder. “Tell him I’m going to wipe that smile off his face the next time we’re in the gym together.”

“You will not,” Mallory said. “I love his smile.”

In the background, Ty laughed, and given the sounds that came over the line next, he also thoroughly kissed Mallory, then he came on the line himself. “You’re going down, man,” Ty said. “Hard.”

Matt wasn’t sure if Ty meant in the gym or over how Matt felt about Amy. Both, probably. He disconnected and started his truck. Amy had gone to finish her grandma’s quest.


At night.

He whipped the truck around and headed to the station, telling himself he was wrong. She wouldn’t be crazy enough to do this, but sure enough, he found her car was parked in the lot. Engine cold.

Okay, so she’d probably left much earlier in the day, which brought a whole new set of problems. Why wasn’t she back? Was she hurt? He thumbed through his contacts and called Candy, the ranger-in-training who’d been running the front desk today.

“Yep,” she said cheerfully. “That car was there when I locked up for the night.”

Damn. He called Mallory again, but this time Ty picked up.

“Man, you’re really starting to ruin my sex life.”

“Overshare. Ask Mallory when she last heard from Amy.”

There was a muffled conversation, and Mallory took the phone. “I got a text from her half an hour ago. She was fine and settled in for the night.”

“She’s staying the night up there? Alone?”


“Cone of silence, Good Girl. We’re in the cone of silence. Just tell me.”

“Overnight camping without a permit isn’t allowed,” she said primly.

Shit. He hung up and glanced at the sky. Dark-ass black, which sucked. He pounded out Josh’s number next. “Problem.”

“Are you bleeding?” Josh asked. “And by bleeding, I mean an aorta nick because I’m in the middle of something here. And by something, I mean sleeping. For the first time in thirty-six hours.”

“I’m going to miss my inquiry in the morning.”

“Ah,” Josh said agreeably. “So not an aortic bleed, but a brain leak. Have you lost your fucking mind?”

“Amy went up to Sierra Meadows. Alone. I’m going after her.”

“This is your job on the line,” Josh reminded him. “Job before chicks, man.”

“That’s bros before ’hos. And irrelevant. I let her think I didn’t believe in her, that I didn’t trust her. I have to prove her wrong.”

“By throwing away your livelihood?”

“If Toby needed you, you’d do the same.”

“I love Toby.”

Matt blew out a breath. “Yeah.”

There was a loaded beat of silence, but it didn’t last long. “Jesus,” Josh breathed. “You’re as bad off as Ty. Go. Go do what you have to. If you lose your job, I’ll hire you as my nanny.”

Matt hung up, grabbed his emergency pack out of the back of his truck, and hit the trail. Ten minutes later, at midnight, his flashlight died. He pulled out his backup. He was halfway there and had downed his five-hour energy drink stash, and now his eyes were flashing and his heart was pounding from the caffeine. He hadn’t slept last night thinking about Amy and Riley. He hadn’t slept the night before because he’d spent the hours tearing up the sheets and expending some high-quality passion with Amy. And the night before that, he’d never hit the sheets at all because of the injured hiker.

If anyone else had come out here in the forest in his condition, he’d think they needed a psych eval. Hell, he did need a psych eval.