Jackie Sullivan was drawn to the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona after a failed marriage and an out-of-the-blue job loss. But did she move cross country to chase a dream or a dreamy tour guide?
She had it all – the husband, the house, the job…but that’s in the past. A chance encounter with Rick, a sexy tour guide, gets her dreaming of a new life in Sedona. Jackie’s efforts to re-invent herself in the tight-knit desert community are, well … complicated. Sedona is terrific, but as the locals note, ‘it’s not for everyone.’
Does Rick want a relationship or just a friend with benefits? And in the case of her ex-husband..is it her imagination or is Rob even more amazing than ever? What happens when you hit a bump in the road?
Buckle Up- time for JEEP TOUR!
5.0 out of 5 stars "Mid-life fantasy fulfillment!" -Greta (Los Angeles), Amazon Verified Purchase
5.0 out of 5 stars "Who hasn't been tempted to run away and start all over?" -Betsy Bertuzzi, Amazon Verified Purchase
12 Months Earlier “Need a hand?” Our tour guide looked down at me. I was the last one to board the brightly colored Jeep.ABOUT THE AUTHOR
“Yes, thanks” I mumbled as he took my hand and helped me into the open back seat.
“You dropped this” he told me as he handed me my water bottle. Glistening with condensation, it slipped from my hand a second time and rolled under the Jeep.
“Sorry” I apologized when he bent down to retrieve it. When he stood upright, I really saw him for the first time. I gave a small gasp. God, he was gorgeous! Tall, built and tan, with a shock of blond streaked hair and dazzling green eyes.
“It’s OK” he said. “I always end up crawling around under the Jeep for one thing or another”. X- rated images of him crawling around on me flashed before my eyes, but I quickly dismissed them. I’m a middle-aged tourist, not some sex-starved guide groupie. But could I be both? “Don’t be ridiculous” I told myself. Obviously, my lustful thoughts were not reciprocated. Mr. Hunk patted my hand rather absentmindedly, then swung himself into the driver’s seat. He turned the key and the Jeep roared to life.
“OK then, ladies….. before we set off today, I’d like to introduce myself, find out a little about you and go over a few ground rules. I’m Rick and I’ll be your tour guide. Have any of you been on a tour of the desert before?” I looked over at the other two inhabitants of the Jeep, my colleagues Kate and Linda. Linda spoke for the three of us, since she was riding shotgun and since she was Linda.
“No, we haven’t. You’re our first, Rick,” she replied. Oh grief, was she flirting with him? We’ve been there before, me and Linda. She gets this southern-fried thing going on and although she’s never lived further south than Rhode Island, it somehow works for her. But it’s wrong on so many levels.
‘Not now, Linda,’ I begged silently.
“So Rick, is this really the best tour in all of Arizona?” she drawled.
“Why yes, ma’am” Rick replied. “You ladies have come to the right place.” He beamed at Linda, who smiled back at him like they were sharing a secret. Leave it to Linda. She always spoke up first, always got noticed and always took center stage. Bitch.
“I’m Linda”, she said as she extended her hand to Rick.
“Well hello there! And who are your friends, Linda?” he responded, still grasping her hand.
“That’s Kate and her camera and this is Jax” said Linda pointing to me.
“Hi Jack” said Rick shaking my hand, before turning to Kate.
“It’s Jax”, I said.
“What?” said Rick turning back towards me.
“It’s Jax” I murmured, not Jack.”
“Jax?” he questioned. Knowing I should just shut up, I found myself explaining how I had been named after former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. What can I say? My Irish American parents came of age in the 60’s, ok? But as a toddler, I lisped and referred to myself as Jackth and the name stuck.
“But you can call me Jackie”, I finished rather inanely.
Gail Ward Olmsted is a professor in the School of Business & Information Technology at Springfield Technical Community College in Springfield, MA. She was the recipient of the 2011 Deliso Endowed Chair Award and was recently recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s Department of Higher Education as one of “29 Who Shine”.
Olmsted’s first visit to Sedona, AZ prompted her to start writing JEEP TOUR, her first novel. A few years later, her second visit provided the incentive to complete it. A return trip is being planned! A hopeless romantic, she is married to the love of her life, is mom to two young adults, and enjoys reading, music and travel.