They say love can move mountains. Kit’s a free spirit and Raven’s a lone wolf. When opposites attract on the Appalachian Trail, the result is magical. My latest novel, TRAIL MAGIC, is available now on Amazon.
Read the bonus scenes below.
Kit and Raven in the restaurant
Raven laughed, a hint of nervousness in her tone, then she looked out the window beside their diner booth. The mountains rose up in the distance, not too far away, and Kit took the opportunity to admire Raven’s profile.
Then Raven looked back at her and changed the subject.
“Well, it seems like you know my whole life story by now,” she said. “Why don’t you tell me about yours.”
“That can’t be your whole life story,” Kit pointed out. “You were the one who got mad the other day because you thought I was reducing you to your cancer diagnosis, and yet here you are, doing the same thing to yourself.”
“That’s fair,” Raven agreed. “That was my life for a couple of years and it felt like forever, but it’s not everything.”
“So tell me more,” Kit said.
“You’re deflecting,” Raven said with a smirk. “I asked you first.”
“Hmm, where do I begin?” Kit asked, thinking. She had already told Raven that the reason she was on the trail was because she lost her girlfriend and her job on the same day, but she hadn’t gone into details about either of those events yet. And, like Raven, she felt that they were not the only defining moments of her life – they were just the most recent and obvious indicators of who she was beyond the trail.
“Parachute doesn’t have anything to say,” Raven teased. “That’s got to be a first.”
“Meanie,” Kit said. Then she added, “Okay, I’ve got something. So, I’m 34 years old and for the last five years, I haven’t held a job for more than six months. I work through a temp agency to do temporary work. I used to lie to myself and say it was because the economy is bad. Ever since I got out here, though, I’ve been questioning that idea, remembering why I started doing temp work in the first place.”
“Oh yeah?” Raven asked.
“Yeah, and you’re partially to blame for that realization,” Kit said, taking another healthy bite of her burger. “That nickname you gave me – you really hit the nail on the head.”
“So you think a life of shiftlessness and nomadism is no longer for you?” Raven asked.
“I wouldn’t go that far,” Kit said. “But I am starting to wonder what the upper limit of youthful exuberance is. Until I met you, I thought of myself just like Dodger in his buddies. But I’m not really like them anymore, and I’m definitely older than them.”
“Nah, 34 is young. You’re still a baby,” Raven teased her. “Me, on the other hand – I could practically be your mother.”
“Don’t say that,” Kit said, wincing and holding her hand up. “No, you could not. Especially when you look at me the way you do.”
“What way is that?” Raven asked, setting her hand on the table where it would be easy for Kit to reach across and take it. She leaned forward, intrigued.
“The way you’re looking at me right now,” Kit said, a half-smile spreading across her lips. She leaned in closer to match Raven’s posture and said quietly, “Like you want to climb over the table and kiss me.”
Raven sat back and laughed, then said, “Oh, you are bold.”
“I leap before I look,” Kit said with a shrug. “You said it yourself – I’m Parachute.”
Raven and Kit reconnect
Kit was walking by herself – something that she absolutely hated – when she saw a familiar face on the trail ahead of her.
“Raven?” she shouted.
Kit had been hiking alone for two days, trying to figure out what exactly she’d done to make Raven hike ahead without her. It was a new concept for Kit – taking responsibility for something that didn’t seem at first glance to have anything to do with her. Raven had been angry about that stupid apple, blaming Kit when the Highlands ponies ate her afternoon snack, and she never quite got out of that funky mood.
She hiked ahead of Kit all afternoon and when Kit arrived at the shelter where they were supposed to stay that night, Raven wasn’t there.
Kit figured she’d seen the last of Raven and she spent the next two days feeling lonely and confused.
She was surprised when she saw Raven on the trail ahead, and relieved when Raven smiled at her.
She could have been angry, or annoyed that Kit had caught up to her. Instead, she jogged up the trail to meet Kit, looking like she was feeling just as uncomfortable about the whole separation.
“Where did you go?” Kit asked, trying not to sound too hurt. They’d never formally agreed to hike together, so she had no right to expect Raven to wait for her, but she’d been shocked when she found out Raven had hiked on without her.
“It was an accident,” Raven said, although Kit didn’t detect a significant amount of sincerity in her voice.
Raven didn’t even believe her own lie, and Kit certainly didn’t believe it.
“You have every mile of this trail memorized. I bet you could tell me the historical significance of that rock over there, and you accidentally hiked past our shelter?”
Raven looked down at her shoes.
“Well, not accidental in that sense,” she said. “That part was pretty impulsive. I just needed a break, and I regretted it pretty much the moment I walked away.”
“So have you had enough of a break from me yet?” Kit asked. “Or was this meeting accidental too?”
“No,” Raven said. “I’ve been looking for you all day. Look, I’m really sorry. I just have a lot riding on this trip and I started thinking I couldn’t get what I needed with you distracting me.”
“I wasn’t trying to distract you,” Kit said. “I thought we were getting to know each other. I thought we liked each other.”
“I do like you,” Raven said. She took Kit in her arms, pulling her not quite into a hug and leaving that space between their chests that she insisted upon. Then she let go and said, “That was the whole problem. I’m out here trying to discover the new Raven, the post-cancer Raven, and instead, all I’ve been thinking about is how amazing you are.”
Kit couldn’t help but smile.
“Well, excuse me for being awesome,” she said, making Raven smile, too. Then she asked, “So, did you decide that I’m not a distraction after all?”
“Oh, you are definitely a distraction,” Raven said, putting her hand in Kit’s. “But the last couple of days taught me that you are a distraction that I want by my side. Can you forgive me?”
“Yeah,” Kit said. “I think I can find it in my heart.”
They kissed and then Kit pulled away and said, “Oh! I think I have something that’ll make you happy.”
She set her pack down on the ground and rooted around in it until she found her food bag, producing a couple of ripe, juicy red apples.
She handed them to Raven and said, “I hitched into town and resupplied yesterday. There was a fruit stand that made me think of you.”
“Thanks,” Raven said. “Sorry I overreacted on the Highlands.”
“It’s okay,” Kit said. “We all get a little hangry sometimes.”
Raven laughed, grateful for Kit’s levity, then packed the apples in her bag. She stood up and said, “I just spent an entire day backtracking in the hopes of finding you, so shall we get back on schedule?”
“I knew you were gonna say that,” Kit said with an exaggerated groan. “Yeah, let’s get hiking.”
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