The wheels touched down as the airplane bounced across the tarmac. Sophie Carlton jerked awake, her head flinging back to the headrest. Looking around to see if anyone noticed her comical head bob, she really hoped she hadn’t snored. She had been exhausted when she boarded the plane in London to begin the very long trip to the Pacific Northwest.
Her exhaustion was more than physical. She was escaping the heavy load of her parent’s constant disapproval at her life choices. Currently, it was that she dropped out of college to pursue her true passion of cooking at the renowned Le Cordon Bleu, the latest in a long line of disappointments her parents had to endure during her life.
Sophie wasn’t her parent’s ideal picture of a wealthy, well-to-do daughter. Her parents were old money. Not billionaires by any means, but still their family had always lived comfortably. The stodgy manor house in the country, the same boarding schools, the same everything. She had toed the line for as long as she could, the right friends, the right sports.
As she grew older, Sophie became aware, long before anyone else, that she was not going to be taking on the tall trim physique that had run through her family for generations. Nope, apparently there was some kind of recessive gene that reared its ugly little head when she was being formed. She was a brunette, first of all, and everyone knew that Carltons were blonds. As in the last brunette in the family was back at the turn of the century and most assumed that child was the product of some illicit liaison with the gardener.
She also wasn’t lucky to get the Carlton tall thin, statuesque gene. She got the short, busty, and most assuredly curvy gene from that darn gardener.
Sophie learned long ago to embrace her curves. With round hips and an ass with more jiggle than junk, she dressed to impress if not to just annoy her mother.
The one thing she did manage to get to secure her in her family line was the Carlton blue eyes, cornflower blue and clear as the sky. Sophie loved her eyes and everyone she met, that she later became friends with, would tell her they liked her the moment she smiled because her eyes smiled too.
And now Sophie was heading as far away from her family as she could, to a place where she didn’t have any friends or even an acquaintance. This was the first time she had ever been on her own.
She’d graduated at the top of her class and she was proud. She loved to cook and excelled at her studies. Her favorite course was baking, she knew she was a chef at heart, but baking was her drug. Sifting flour, frosting cakes, and rolling dough was like a balm to her soul. The smell of buttery pastry puffing up in the oven was her favorite perfume.
Her parents had thought they were helping when they had grandly informed Sophie they had found her a job at a top restaurant in London after her graduation. Obviously some place they wouldn’t be totally ashamed to tell their friends that she worked there.
Much to their dismay, and in the end, angry shouting, Sophie had refused the position. She wanted to find her own way and she wanted it far from home and the life that was planned for her.
She had been looking online for chef positions and had even interviewed for a few. One in New York and one in some place called Dallas. But then her eye caught on an ad looking for a cook. Not even a chef, just a cook for a logging company in Washington State. Sophie had to consult an atlas to even figure out where that was.
Apparently on the far west coast of Washington, there was a place called the Olympic Peninsula. And again apparently it was full of trees, trees that needed to be cut down. Some of these locations were so far out, that they would set up temporary camps while they were harvesting. This company, Rochon Enterprises, was run by one family, three brothers to be exact. They had been logging in the area for four generations she found out after scouring the internet trying to make sure this was a legitimate job and not some crazy scheme to lure poor naive English girls to their doom.
The ad asked for a cook willing to work in a rugged area that relocated every three months, feeding fifty rough and tough loggers breakfast and dinner six days a week, in a portable camp kitchen.
“What the hell was I thinking?” Sophie mumbled aloud.
“Excuse me?” Her seat partner asked as the plane stopped at the jet way.
“Sorry, thinking aloud,” she explained with a sigh. She really didn’t have much to say to her seatmate, she’d been on the flight six hours with this person and had avoided all contact before she fell asleep. Before that, she’d slept through most of the flight from London to New York, staying awake was too daunting an idea. Her exhaustion and fear of the unknown, driving her into the darkness of slumber to avoid thinking about whether or not she had made a tragic mistake.