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Rangers Lodge Saga - The Lodge

Rangers Lodge was sprawled over 84-acres of waterfront. Gardens were interspersed with tennis and basketball courts, card tables set up under shady clumps of trees, lounge chairs and tables arranged around an Olympic-sized swimming pool, hiking trails that wound up into dense forests and a sandy stretch of private beach. And that was just a few of the outdoor facilities. There was a myriad other recreational distractions outdoors and in the farmhouse-style main building. Kristen’s favourite place so far was the arbor, a square of towering trees and floral bushes dissected by cobblestone paths and dotted with fountains.

In the kitchen, Adrian’s cousin Raven gestured Kristen to the island where she sat perched on a high stool. For dinner, Raven had decked herself out in skin tight black satin pants and an electric blue halter that made her huge blue eyes glow. Her husband, Jackson, stood beside her, his muscled arms braced on the granite counter as he regarded his wife in amused exasperation.

“Kristen help us out,” Raven said, accepting a drink from Adam and taking a sip while gesturing to Jackson. “He wants to spend the morning clambering around some old quarry. I want to go to the rose garden. Tell him which option is more vacation-worthy.”

“The quarry is not just rocks,” Adam put in. He flashed Kristen a smile and held up a ladle. “Drink?”

Kristen took in the large bowl before him which smelled more of rum than pineapple juice and nodded with a grin as she slid onto a stool. She waited for him to pass her the glass, took a long sip and then turned to Raven with a mock contemplative expression. “That’s a tough one,” she drew out, sipping her drink again. Man, it was yummy. Adam had talent. “Quarry would make a good hike but if it’s romance you’re after, I’d go with the garden at sunrise.”

“Screw that.” Raven made a face. “No garden is worth getting up that early.” She slid lightly to her feet and linked hands with Jackson. “Back out to the campfire. Check you later.”

“Would you actually do it?”

“Do what? The garden at sunrise? Definitely.” Kristen jiggled the ice in her glass, down the last dregs. “I’d need directions from my cabin, though. My head is still spinning from the size of this place.”

Adam refilled her glass and regarded her over the rim of his own drink. “Meet me here in the morning and I’ll show you where it is.”

“You really don’t have to do that. I can find my way.”

“I’m sure you can. But the rose garden is a feather in my cap.”

Adrian entered the kitchen just then and veered to the sound of
Kristen’s voice. He curved his arm around her shoulders in a gesture that struck Adam as more needy than possessive. But what the hell did he know? Adam scoffed as he watched Kristen pass her glass to Adrian and laugh at his grimace. He’d spent the past five years deliberately avoiding both those reactions where women were concerned.

“What do you think of a sunrise walk in the rose garden?” Kristen asked Adrian.

“I think it’s a stupid idea.”

“This one’s not a morning person.” she poked Adrian in the arm. She tried to sound joking but Adam caught the hint of irritation in her voice.

“Well, I am,” he said. “Meet me here in the morning if you want to go. Five thirty.”

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