Summer on the MountainSummer on the Mountain was the perfect book for me to pick up today. After going out in the predawn light to plant raspberries, I came in hot, tired, and sore (and covered in mosquito bites – this humidity has caused a huge influx of the nasty little buggers!) After a long hot shower, it was time to relax. And this was just the ticket.

Summer Windham loves her job working in an art gallery for her good friend and boss Gwendolyn Lawton. The only thing missing in her life is her painting. Her muse abandoned her when difficult clients put her through the wringer, trashing her self-esteem and self-confidence. Now, a year later, Gwendolyn is determined to bring back Summers Muse. And though Gwendolyn considers the Great Outdoors to be an anathema:

“When I took my vows, I promised to love and honor. I never said anything about roughing it in the wilderness.”

She sees an opportunity to get Summer painting again, and to get back into her husband’s good graces for running out on his sixty-fifth birthday (that whole “wilderness” thing), by sending Summer up to their family cabin to paint the cabin and lands that her hubby, Leonard, loves beyond measure. Summer loves landscapes – surely getting out into nature will help her find her center again?

Summer is excited at the idea of visiting the cabin, though she worries that her muse will never return. And the fact that her first day there is, to put it mildly, an unmitigated disaster, doesn’t bode well for her summer in the mountains. The local game warden, Gwendolyn’s youngest son, Jarrod, manages to cause her to fall into the freezing lake, accuses her of being a burglar, threats her with arrest, and generally leaves her standing around freezing in her sopping wet clothes while waiting around for the sheriff to come take her to jail for a litany of offenses he thinks she has committed. Well, how was she to know you aren’t supposed to fish without a license?! And if the big jerk would just call his mom and check, he would know that she wasn’t a burglar! Sheesh.

Devastating poaching, break-ins and robberies are bad enough, but being covered in poison ivy, suffering a nasty cold from having to stand around in freezing weather after a freezing dunk in the lake, and being chased by an angry mamma bear is bad enough, but the jerky warden next door is nearly as big a pain in the backside as all that combined. But when her cold passes to him, Karma is a beeotch. And my wicked grin made several appearances from that point on.

This is the first book by Rosemarie Naramore I have read. I may not get around to reading any more of her books any time soon – so many books, so little time – but I did enjoy this lighthearted romance with an undercurrent of the terrible things that humans do to animals all in the name of profit. Jarrod comes off from the first as a smug, self-absorbed jerk of the first water (He jumps to the conclusion right away that, since she isn’t a burglar, his mother must have sent her as her latest attempt at matchmaking. HA! “Honey, you’re a good looking man, and as your mother, I love you to pieces, but sweetie, you are an arrogant. . .”). Talk about sticking your foot in your mouth! But his love for the creatures and the land is vividly drawn and believable – and besides, he may be an idiot, but he is a gentle idiot – and maybe not such an idiot at all (if he can just get his head out of up there where it is dark!)

A relaxing book with suspense, mystery, some action, and a gentle, believable romance.