Northern Magic

"On a clear day you can see the twin peaks of Mount McKinley, roughly a hundred and fifty miles north," Cody told her. "It's the highest mountain on the continent. At twenty-thousand-plus feet, it's the third highest in the world. Aconcagua in Argentina is the second highest, and there's a hill called Everest over in the Himalayas that claims to be the highest."

Catching the mocking emphasis on the word, she glanced at the man seated next to her. The gleam of dancing amusement sharpened the blue of his eyes, his rough-cut features lazy with humor. It was impossible not to be drawn into his light mood.

"It only claims to be?" Amused, she questioned his choice of words, the sparkle of laughter in her brown eyes.

"It cheats," Cody replied, the corners of his mouth deepening without an actual smile showing.

Shannon laughed in her throat. "How does it do that?"

"Very easily. It rises from a plateau that's already at fourteen thousand feet, which gives it quite a head start. The land at the base of McKinley has an elevation of some three thousand feet and the mountain rises seventeen thousand feet from there. Now, if we just discount the fact that Mount Aconcagua exists, then Alaska rightfully has the highest mountain in the world," he concluded.

Shannon laughed. "But you're not bragging," she countered with a mocking twinkle lighting her eyes.

"Texas, we don't brag," Cody chided, a smile slowly widening his mouth, warmly mocking and captivating in its effect.
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