My latest book,Â Under the
Northern Lights, is about Mallory Reynolds, a driven, passionate woman who is
pursuing her dream of photographing wild animals in remote locations. On the way to her
favorite spot in the Alaskan wilderness, the unthinkable happensâ€”the engine on her plane
stalls and she crashes. Mallory survives the crash only to find herself injured with limited
supplies and no hope of returning home. Just when all seems lost, Michael Bradley, a
mysterious mountain man, comes to her rescue.
Mallory soon discovers that she has to spend the entire winter in a small, isolated cabin with a
stranger. The remoteness, the caregiving, the constant threat of dangerâ€”it all creates a near-
instant intimacy between the characters that is both real and understandable. I love writing
tension between characters, so having them stuck together for months was a writing
playground for me. It led to some great interactions early in the story, keeping the pace
flowing in a fun and realistic way.
Here is one of my favorite interactions between my hero and heroine fromÂ Under the Northern Lights:
â€śHow was work?â€ť I jokingly asked.
A brief laugh escaped him. â€śGood and bad.â€ť
â€śOh, how so?â€ť I asked, amused that he was playing along.
Scratching his beard of frost, he said, â€śGood because I shot a moose. Bad because I had
to cut it up and drag the pieces back to camp. Then I had to prep it, store it â€¦ Iâ€™m a mess. I
think itâ€™s a bath night. But on the bright side, weâ€™re having moose steaks for dinner.â€ť
That was when I noticed that his clothes and hands were stained red. Having hunted
with my father before, I knew what a mess dissecting a meal was. It was easy to sympathize
with wanting to feel clean after an ordeal like that. And man, a bath sounded amazing. Iâ€™d
combed out my hair as best I could with my fingers, but it was greasy and dirty. Me too. But I
had to wonder â€¦ how did one bathe in a cabin with no running water? And where exactly could
he bathe here? Iâ€™d only ever taken a bath in a bathtub, and I didnâ€™t see one of those in the
cabin. â€śAnd how does that work exactly?â€ť I asked.
He pointed at the large basin heâ€™d used as a sink this morning. â€śI heat up water, one pot
at a time, until thatâ€™s full. It takes a while, but itâ€™s just about the best thing on earth. Totally
worth it.â€ť His grin suddenly turned massive, and my breath caught in my throat; he had such
an amazing smile. His face still bright, he indicated my leg. â€śOnce your stitches are healed
enough to be removed, I can make one for you.â€ť
His smile infectious, I grinned too. â€śIâ€™d love that. I feel disgusting.â€ť
He laughed at my comment. â€śIâ€™ve seen worse,â€ť he said, then he winked at me.
Immediately afterward, his smile fell, like heâ€™d just realized what heâ€™d done and felt weird about
it. Before I could react, he grabbed a pot and headed to the corner of the room, where a few
five-gallon buckets with lids were waiting. Water. Removing the lid from one of the buckets, he
filled the pot, then returned to the stove and set the pot on the top.
While the water was warming, he dragged the large metal basin closer to the stove. My
face felt flushed, and I wasnâ€™t sure if it was because of his mild flirting earlier â€¦ or because Iâ€™d
suddenly realized that he was going to take a bath right in front of me. â€śAre you going to do
that â€¦ here?â€ť
A bit of his humor returned as he looked over at me. â€śYou want me to freeze to death
outside? Itâ€™s easier and safer to do it in here. And so long as I donâ€™t dump the basin, it wonâ€™t
make too much of a mess.â€ť
Yep. He was going to strip and bathe in the middle of the room â€¦ with me watching him.
â€śDo you have a curtain or anything?â€ť
Clearly trying to keep a straight face, he shook his head. â€śNo. Iâ€™ll just have to trust you
not to look.â€ť
Right. I could do that. I was a responsible, thoughtful, considerate, mature adult. And
besides, if the tables were turned, heâ€™d probably do the same for me. Because if he didnâ€™t, Iâ€™d
toss him out into the snow.
From the number one New York Times bestselling author of the Thoughtless series comes a
sweet, thoughtful romance set high in the Alaskan wilderness.
Mallory Reynolds is a driven woman fueled by her passion for photographing wild animals in
remote locations. Every year she makes a trek deep into Alaska, but this time the unthinkable
happens: she crash-lands after her plane stalls out in a storm. Injured, vulnerable, and
threatened by the very creatures she loves, Mallory fears the worstâ€”until sheâ€™s rescued by
Michael Bradley, a mysterious mountain man living in self-imposed exile.
Mallory is grateful for Michaelâ€™s help but desperate to return home to let her family know sheâ€™s
alive. Unfortunately, neither of them can leave Michaelâ€™s secluded cabin until spring. Malloryâ€™s
stuck with a stranger for months.
As Mallory recovers, a deep bond begins to form between the pair. Mallory is convinced that
fate brought them together, but Michael is buried in his past, unable to move forward.
Undaunted, Mallory tends to Michaelâ€™s heart as tenderly as he cared for her woundsâ€”but will
her love be enough to heal him?
Romance Contemporary [Montlake Romance,
On Sale: April 30, 2019, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781542093545 / ]
S. C. Stephens is a #1 bestselling author who enjoys creating stories that are packed with
emotion and heavy on romance. In addition to writing, she likes spending lazy afternoons in
the sun reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and
family. She and her two children reside in the Pacific Northwest.
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