1. Honey Apiary - Landing

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The phone announced the sweet words - you have reached your destination. Finally. The well-known resort, on the edge of a Rocky Mountain lake, hadn't been easily found. She turned the steering wheel, all the way, for the sharp left. Her new boss's instruction informed her cabin was down the dirt road before the Juniper Resort sign.

Just when she thought her car would fall apart from the rocky, rutted road, the lake came into view with a simple cabin to the right. Honey stopped the engine and rested her head on the steering wheel. Part of her wanted to sleep, here, and not move. Another part wanted to get the feeling back into her ass.

Driving across the country to her new and improved job and, hopefully, new and improved life was not a romantic adventure. It was grueling. Each moment she spent staring at the back of a semi-truck, she wished she'd sold the clunker and spent the money on a plane ticket.

Her shut eyes had almost stopped telling her brain about yellow lines when there was a knock on the window. Every nerve of her overly caffeinated body jumped. She glared out to a view of the midsection of a fit man. She reached for the door handle, and he stepped back out of the way.

Then, failure. The first move into a new life was a complete failure.

In one motion, she tried to exit the car though she'd forgotten about the seat belt. It trapped her. She didn't enter her new life with grace. The sensation of the strap across her chest and lap held her together on the journey and now kept her from moving forward. It was not a good sign. She rolled her eyes at her ineptness.

The man snickered at her failed attempt to exit.

"Damn seatbelt." Honey cursed as she unbuckled and got out of the car. In front of her stood a six-foot-four-ish Nordic god deliciously clad in khaki shorts and a white linen shirt. Had she stepped into a model shoot for mountain resort wear?

"Damn," she inaudibly swore as an expression of appreciation for the male specimen. And in contrast, she looked like hell and smelled of gasoline and convenience store food. He, she could tell without taking a whiff, smelled of linen hung in the sun to dry.

"Sorry to startle you. I started to worry. It had been a while since you got here." His lack of accent hadn't given a clue about his background. "I'm Larkspur Cascade. I'm on the welcoming committee. You're Honey Apiary, right?"

She expected to peer into blue eyes when she tore her gaze from his torso to his face. Instead, she was met with warm brown hazel eyes. Her knees turned to jelly as she grasped the top of the car door. Was it that he was the male from her dreams or the fact she hadn't eaten a vegetable since she left Ashville?

The last bit of coherent brain internally moaned, shit, a welcoming committee before a much-needed shower and nap. "Yes, That's me, Honey Apiary." She extended her hand and hoped it wasn't clammy while she let more words tumble out of her mouth. "I hope I'm making a good first impression."

He laughed and grasped her hand that disappeared in his. "Yep, your ability to exit a car on your second attempt, having only one coffee stain on your shirt after what I can imagine being a grueling drive and all with a smile is a great first impression." A heartwarming and joyous laugh lilted over and emphasized the end of the sentence.

She looked down at the white t-shirt with a Pabst beer logo across her chest and one huge dried coffee stain screamed class. Why hadn't she thought of the possibility of a welcoming committee and had cleaned up at the last rest stop? The great first impression shirt was coupled with a black t-shirt material skirt and then oh-so-responsible driving shoes, flip-flops. Wow, what a perfect first impression outfit. She looked like a perpetually hungover college student during finals which was a fairly good assessment of her style during her entire college career.

"My road warrior look might not have survived but the bunny did." She twirled her keys on one finger trying to act collected in front of this put together man whose blonde mane framed his strikingly masculine face.

He chuckled. "I'm glad you're not a bunny killer." He hesitated a moment. "Umm, my boss and your boss said my duties as a welcoming committee was to help haul your stuff into the house, leave, and let you be until dinner time. I'm to come back at seven and take you to the resort's restaurant for dinner."

She hit the button to open the trunk while thinking about her wardrobe. Did she own anything clean and suitable for dinner with a Norse god? And, shit, potentially seeing her new boss. Lost in thought she ducked her head into the car and grabbed the phone, purse, and small travel bag from the front seat.

"I have keys for the house for you," Larkspur said as he balanced two boxes in his arms and headed for the door. She watched him walk. Damn, his rear was as god-like as his front.

It was great to have someone take in the boxes since she probably would've left them in the trunk for at least a week or until she was in desperate need of something in them. When they reached the door, he easily balanced the boxes in one arm, pulled out the keys, and opened the door. She wondered if he was the resort handyman as she watched every move he made. They made one more trip to the car and that was it.

"Thanks for your help," she said while looking at the living room space which opened to a kitchen. All that separated the two spaces was a long island creating a galley type kitchen. There were two doors to the right of the kitchen.

"I was expecting more. Are you having stuff sent?" he said.

"Nope. All a graduate needs is a few versatile outfits and a laptop. Besides, I was told it was a furnished house. I mean cabin."

"Yeah, it's not much, strictly a bare essentials cabin."

"No, it's great. Just what I'm standing in is more space than I've had in a long time. I like the woodsy feel. Yarrow, Ms. Cedar said cabin, so I was trying to use the correct western terminology. A cabin to me is a permanent tent with the woods for a bathroom. And, if the two doors to the right of the kitchen are a bathroom and a bedroom it has more space than I've ever had and ever would imagine in a cabin."

Larkspur walked over to the fridge and opened it. "Then welcome to your palace with a few basic food items to get you started."

She smiled at the fully stocked fridge and saw that filling out the part of the employment questionnaire on likes and dislikes wasn't a joke. All of her favorite items were there and a bottle of champagne.

He closed the fridge. "Also, as part of your welcoming packet, there are linens for the bed and bathroom."

Despite the exhausting trek across the country, she knew it was the right decision to accept the job she was truly under-qualified for. She'd dreamed of living in Montana. And now, here, she stood in a fully equipped cabin surrounded by a pine forest on the edge of a lake with a Nordic god smiling at her. She could feel the failure of her disastrous college life fading.

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