Northern Encounter

Northern Encounter
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Welcome to Alaska. A beautiful, harsh wilderness where the men are strong…and the women have to be stronger…Native guide Clint Sisnuket is one of the hottest guys in Alaska! Yet he’s managed to keep a close watch over his battered heart. . . until he meets Tessa Bellingham. In the independent filmmaker, Clint finds the sexual soul mate he’d been dreaming of. Too bad she’s got temporary fling written all over her. Tessa’s in town to film native culture. . . but she can’t seem to turn her camera lens away from Clint.The strong, silent, sexy man can make her tremble with a single smouldering glance. And, oh, what he can do when he actually touches her! Still, even though she feels at home in his arms, she doesn’t fit into his world. And they can’t stay in bed indefinitely…

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Dear Reader,

Welcome to Good Riddance, Alaska, a quirky little town in the Alaskan bush where everyone’s story isn’t quite what it seems. Founded twenty-five years ago by a Southern Belle transplant, Merrilee Danvers Weatherspoon, Good Riddance welcomes an assortment of folks from all walks of life.

Clint Sisnuket is proud of his Alaskan native heritage. The land and his people share a special bond and Clint feels it more deeply than most, which is what makes him the best guide in the area. Strong and proud, his totem is the eagle, Clint protects the land, his customs, and those under his care. Clint deserves a special mate, but what happens when that woman doesn’t fit into his world?

I hope you enjoy your stay in Good Riddance. Don’t forget to come back next month for a Northern Escape.

I always enjoy hearing from readers. Please drop by and visit me at

As always … happy reading,


About the Author

After a varied career path that included barbecue-joint waitress, corporate number cruncher and bug business maven, JENNIFER LABRECQUE has found her true calling writing contemporary romance. Named 2001 Notable New Author of the Year and 2002 winner of the prestigious Maggie Award for Excellence, she is also a two-time RITA>® Award finalist. Jennifer lives in suburban Atlanta with a Chihuahua who runs the whole show.

Northern Encounter

Jennifer LaBrecque


CLINT SISNUKET LEANED against the window frame in the airstrip office in Good Riddance, Alaska, and watched the snow sifting out of the dark sky.

“Dalton will radio for clearance when he’s coming in for landing,” said Merrilee Danville Weatherspoon, Good Riddance founder and airfield operator.

Clint turned to her with a slow smile. He liked Merrilee. He’d been pleased when his clan had grant ed her honorary membership, but there were times she simply didn’t understand the native way. But at least Merrilee respected the native way, unlike Clint’s French-Canadian mother. “I’m not looking for Dalton.” The local bush pilot was flying Clint’s latest client in from Anchorage. They’d arrive when they arrived. “I’m enjoying the sky.”

“Nothing wrong with that,” she said. Clint had discovered that people who shared Merrilee’s southern origins, liked to talk. A lot. It wasn’t unpleasant, simply different. And Merrilee might have spent the past twenty-five years in Alaska, but she still retained her southern roots. Roots were important. They shaped a person, grounded them. “I guess you and Kobuk will see a lot of the sky in the next week.”

The malamute raised his head briefly at hearing his name and then dropped his head back on his paws, soaking up the heat of the wood-burning stove across the room. For once Jeb Taylor and Dwight Simmons weren’t parked in the rocking chairs that flanked the chess board next to the pot-bellied stove. The two old-timers were pretty much permanent fixtures who argued with each other more than they actually made chess moves.

Clint grinned. “T. S. Bellingham wants to video tape the northern lights, so Kobuk and I will help him.” His client was interested in capturing lots of Alaska on videotape, but nothing more so than the beauty of the northern lights, which should be spectacular once the impending storm moved through.

The northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, fascinated many, Clint among them. His people believed the lights were spirits of ancestors dancing in the sky. He didn’t particularly buy that bill of goods but there was a beauty and mystical qual ity about them impossible to ignore. Even after thirty years, he never tired of them. He knew he never would because the lights were never, ever the same.

“But we won’t be seeing the lights tomorrow. Not with this storm blowing in.”

Merrilee looked surprised but not skeptical. “I’d better get a weather update,” she said, reaching for the radio mic.

It crackled to life before she could pick it up, a dis embodied voice announcing through the static an impending storm. They were good for a couple of hours but it was coming. “You sure can call them,” Merrilee said to Clint.

Bull Swenson tromped down the stairs. Bull’s given name was rumored to be Edward, but Bull suit ed him much better. Thick and muscular, he had a mane of white hair and a full beard to match. Even in his sixties he could keep up with men half his age. Bull nodded in his direction. “Clint.”


The older man looked at Merrilee in obvious affection. “He sure can call what?”

Bull and Merrilee had been an item ever since they’d met. It was well-known throughout town that Bull occasionally asked her to marry him and she routinely turned him down. Apparently a bad first marriage could do that to a person.

Merrilee poured a mug of coffee and handed it to Bull. “There’s a storm coming in.”

“I could’ve told you that. My knee and shoulder are killing me.”

“You want a couple of ibuprofen?” Merrilee was already reaching for the bottle on the shelf above her desk before she finished speaking. Clint wondered what it would be like to have someone in his life who anticipated his needs, his responses, that way. If his grandmother had anything to say about it, Ellie Lightfoot was that someone. Clint, however, didn’t feel a connection with Ellie, although that made no sense. A schoolteacher from a neighboring village, Ellie was native, beautiful, accomplished and even-tempered—all the hallmarks of a good mate. He’d tried, but he simply couldn’t seem to work up any real enthusiasm around seeing her.

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