KISS OF ICE
Alice loves life as a geothermal engineer, searching the globe for her next adrenaline thrill. Falling down a crevice into a glacier and finding a frozen Viking of a man was an adventure she never saw coming. Erik pissed off the wrong witch and she cursed him. Every living thing he touches…freezes. His only escape was to hide away and hope the curse died with the witch. The gorgeous woman who finds him is everything he’s ever craved, but he can never have. Can Alice and Erik learn how to break the curse before it’s too late or will the ice freeze their chance for love?
The ice continued to break, creating a massive racket in the enclosed space. Afraid she might have set off a chain reaction, she hobbled back along the wall and shone her flashlight down the narrow passage she’d entered through. Assured that her exit was still safe, she swung the beam of light back to the ice man. The ice continued to crack and break off until his entire body was exposed. Deafening silence fell around her again, broken by the odd shard pinging off the floor. “Oh, my God. Please don’t be cursed and come back to haunt me, okay? It was an accident.” Alice kept up her talking simply because the sound was comforting in light of what was happening. Curiosity dragged her closer to him; now that the ice was gone, she could see details the ice had hidden. Thankfully, the massive man didn’t tip toward her like she feared he might. She had a flash of him falling to the ground and shattering into a thousand pieces…eeewww. His skin was mottled a bluish white, and ice crystals sparkled in his hair and in the beard that hid most of his face. His clothes didn’t look as ancient as she expected. Her earlier Viking theory didn’t hold up under the obvious zipper running up the front of his coat. A large wooden medallion hung around his neck; runic symbols were carved around the outside edge, but the inside looked like a stone might have been mounted there at some point. “Dude, how did you get here? Were you murdered? Did you slide down the same hole I did?” Angling her head, she peered up under the hair in his face. A dark beard covered his jaw and cheeks, ice crystals clinging to the strands. He fascinated her. “I wish I knew your story. If…when…I get out of here I’m going to figure out who you are.” She wouldn’t allow herself to believe anything other than she would find a way out. Then she’d write an article about her discovery, and go on another adventure. She leaned closer, sliding her fingers over the edges of the large pendant resting against his chest. The angle of her light shifted, and her eyes focused on the pattern the glare had hidden. “Holy shit.” Pulling off her mitten again, she stood up and dug into her pocket for her good luck charm. There were distinctive similarities between the odd-shaped stone and the indentations in the pendant. Once the idea took root, crazy as it was, she had to check. Sliding the crystal over the wooden medallion, she gently twisted and turned it looking to see if it would actually match up. Her fingers felt chilled, but not enough to stop her, especially when she felt the piece slide into place. It was like a Meerschaum Pipe, but how had the stone found its way to South America when it belonged on the pendant of a man frozen in the Arctic? Fate? Destiny? Alice had been lucky enough to experience a few mystical things while she traveled through the Amazon, but this topped every experience to date. Her mind boggled at all the possible paths these objects had traveled. Despite the serendipity of the situation…Nothing happened. “Shit, that’s anticlimactic.” Her words echoed around her in the room, “and it doesn’t help me solve a single thing.” As her last word bounced around the space, she realized that something had changed. The insulated vacuum surrounding her had dissipated. Her heart rate increased, and she stepped away from the large figure in front of her. “As if you had something to do with the echo in here, my ears must have popped or something.” I wonder what color his eyes were. She stared at his face—the beard covered a lot, but she could make out high cheekbones and his nose had a slight crook to it as if it had been broken. The fabric of his coat was frozen stiff, and she wondered what his skin would feel like. He looked so real and perfectly preserved. It was almost as if his eyes would open at any moment. He reminded her a lot of the hot man bun guy she’d seen pop up on her Facebook feed. Before her fingers touched the strands of hair on his face, something gripped her arm. Between heartbeats, she flicked her gaze down to the hand gripping her wrist over her coat and back up to a pair of incredible emerald green eyes.
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