“Mary Margaret Reed you forgot your umbrella, again.” I could hear Mother’s nagging voice in my head as I cinched my pink Columbia Sportswear jacket tighter and trudged through the rain to my office. It didn’t matter that I’ve told Mother a thousand times that no one in Portland, Oregon uses an umbrella. Well that’s not true, maybe tourists or Mother and her group of friends who tote their expensive Burberry umbrellas to lunch. Not me. Nope. I’m not an umbrella girl. And while we’re at it, I go by Meg.
It is a tad ironic that a chance meeting over a mistaken umbrella led me to my current role as a reporter for Northwest Extreme Magazine. Gam, my grandmother and energy healer, would say there’s no such thing as a chance meeting—that my choices led me to me this perfect, now moment. She might be right, and it might be time for me to examine my choices.
Northwest Extreme is staffed by adrenaline junkies and adventure lovers of all kinds. I don’t exactly fit in. Vintage skirts and pink are more my style. Don’t get me wrong I love nature and the wild beauty that surrounds Portland. But heights—not so much. Okay that’s an understatement. Heights terrify me. I’m not exactly a hard-body either. My short legs and petite frame have to work double time to keep up with my lanky colleagues who like to scale mountains for fun in their spare time.
It wasn’t like I hadn’t searched for another job. Times were tight in Portland and all around the country, especially for journalists. It felt like every day there was a new announcement about another paper closing its doors for good. I’d been crashing on my best friend’s couch ever since we graduated from college and getting by on soup and grilled cheese. If I didn’t find a job soon I wasn’t sure the forty dollars left in my bank account was going to last much longer.
It seemed like every kid with a smart phone and blog billed themselves as “journalists” on social media. My degree in communications was already obsolete. I spent months applying to every newspaper in town. They say that Portland is where young people come to retire. It felt like I was retired before I even got started. I had to compete with hipsters in skinny jeans, flannel shirts and beards for any job that came open. My ego took a battering after being turned down by every coffee shop and news outlet in town.
Landing a gig writing for Northwest Extreme felt like winning the lottery. I had a real job as a real life reporter. Of course I kind of overlooked the fact that my assignments might test the limits of my physical prowess. I might have fudged my qualifications a bit, but as a trained journalist I figured I could research and fake my way through it. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the job listing which suggested the ideal candidate would have a lust for adventure and extreme sports.
But thanks to a steady paycheck and an expense account I shoved that thought to the back of my mind and outfitted myself for the part. Did you know they make pink hiking boots? Yep. It’s true. I scored a pair of the cutest hiking boots, zipped up my swoon-worthy pink jacket and polished off my latte. I could do this. It was just a little hike, right?
Let’s just say I definitely overestimated my outdoor skills. If I couldn’t get up to speed—fast—I was going to lose more than my job.
You can read more about Meg in Scene of the Climb, the first book in the new “Pacific Northwest” mystery series, published by Kensington. Book is available at retail and online booksellers.
Back cover copy:
Portland, Oregon, is the perfect fit for someone like Meg Reed. It’s a city with a small town feel, where she can crash on the couch of her best friend Jill, now that she’s graduated from journalism school…
But a girl needs a job, so Meg bluffs her way into writing for Northwest Extreme magazine, passing herself off to editor-in-chief Greg Dixon as an outdoor adventure enthusiast. Never mind that Meg’s idea of sport is climbing onto the couch without spilling her latte. So when she finds herself clawing to the top of Angel’s Rest—a two-thousand-foot peak—to cover the latest challenge in a reality TV adventure show, she can’t imagine feeling more terrified. Until she witnesses a body plummet off the side of the cliff. Now Meg has a murder to investigate. And if the climbing doesn’t kill her, a murderer just might…
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Meet the author
Kate Dyer-Seeley writes the Pacific Northwest Mystery series for Kensington. She lives in the ruggedly beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and son, where you’ll either find her hitting the trail, an artisan coffee shop, or her favorite pub—or better yet, all three.
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