After The Climb – River Rain Read online Kristen Ashley

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Billionaire, Contemporary, Drama, Romance Tags Authors:
Total pages in book: 95
Estimated words: 98350 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 492(@200wpm)___ 393(@250wpm)___ 328(@300wpm)

Read Online Books/Novels:

After The Climb - River Rain

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Kristen Ashley

Book Information:

They were the Three Amigos: Duncan Holloway, Imogen Swan and Corey Szabo. Two young boys with difficult lives at home banding together with a cool girl who didn’t mind mucking through the mud on their hikes.
They grew up to be Duncan Holloway, activist, CEO and face of the popular River Rain outdoor stores, Imogen Swan, award-winning actress and America’s sweetheart, and Corey Szabo, ruthless tech billionaire.
Rich and very famous, they would learn the devastating knowledge of how the selfish acts of one would affect all their lives. And the lives of those they loved.
Start the River Rain series with After the Climb, the story of Duncan and Imogen navigating their way back to each other, decades after a fierce betrayal. And introduce yourself to their families, who will have their stories told when River Rain continues.
This series was started with the help of you, my readers, during the pandemic crisis of COVID-19. The first book in this series is free, a gift to my Chicklets for their loyalty and support over the years, and a project we all banded together to produce during a challenging time. Thank you for years of kindness and encouragement. I hope you enjoy what we built together.
Please note: This book is a love letter to my readers, a project we worked on together, and as such, for the time being, will only be available right here on my website. In time, I will put it on vendors to be made available widely, but now, it’s just for you.
Books by Author:

Kristen Ashley

Chapter One

The Box


My head came up when the Rolls made a turn and the road got bumpy.

We’d been following a mountain path for so long, the twists and turns, I’d been lulled. We were at least a half an hour, maybe longer, from the center of town.

Truth be told, to keep my mind from this upcoming meeting, I wished I didn’t get car sick when I focused on something while riding in a vehicle. I’d have been all over marathon texting one of my kids. Getting caught up on Insta. Playing that game I downloaded which I seemed to be able to get lost in for hours.

Hell, just last week, before I found out what had happened with Corey, my phone had warned I was at 10%. I’d looked at the time and it was two in the morning. I’d started playing when it was 8:30.

But then life changed.

I got the call.

Corey had killed himself.

Then I got other calls.

From my agent.

My publicist.

I needed to make a statement.

Corey Szabo, self-made tech billionaire behind Corza computers had committed suicide.



And, of course, being one of his dearest long-time friends, Imogen Swan, America’s sweetheart, had to have something public to say about it.

What to say about my beloved Corey?

My childhood friend.

The boy, and then man, who’d been in my life the longest.

There weren’t enough words in all the languages of the world to share how shattered I was that he’d taken his own life.

I closed my eyes tight, before I opened them and stared out the window at the thick trees we were (very slowly on this gravel road) passing.

Because this would be what Corey would do.

What was happening right now.

Me, on my way to visit Bowie.

Bowie hadn’t come to the funeral. I had no idea why. And I thought the worse of him for it.

Then again, it didn’t take much for me to think the worst of Bowie.

In grade school, all through high school, they’d been the best of friends.

Duncan “Bowie” Holloway and Corey “The Stick” Szabo.

The jock and the nerd.


But there you are.

Then, when Bowie got shot of me, he got shot of Corey.

I had no idea why.

On both counts.

Though, Bowie had told me, rather explicitly, if completely, tortuously and heartbreakingly erroneously, why he was done with me.

Therefore, it was only for Corey’s sake I would be in the back of that car, right now, heading to Bowie’s house.

I knew he lived in Arizona, like I did.

I knew this because somehow, the fates had made him impossible to avoid.

Like Corey.

And me.

Knowing Duncan was that close, it had honest to God been the only reason why I hesitated moving my family from LA to Phoenix.

But he didn’t live in Phoenix.

And I was done with the industry, the traffic, the mudslides and fires, and it bears repeating, the industry, but I did not want cold, snow or the possibility of days filled with fighting what humidity did to my hair.

I’d talked Tom into it.

Then we moved to Phoenix.

Suddenly, the landscape opened up, and I wasn’t the only one in the car that gasped. Rodney, my driver did too.

Good Lord.

Was that…?

I clenched my teeth as my heart squeezed.

This would be what Duncan would pick if he had the money.

And he had the money.

So there he was.

That lake.


And that house.

Sheer sprawling, rustic, monied perfection.

Even with the lake surrounded by the trees and mountains being such a breathtaking vision, I couldn’t take my eyes off the house as the Rolls rounded the graveled drive and came to a stop at the bottom of the steps that led to the carved-wood front door.

Wrap-around porch. Pine-green tin roof. Log cabin style. Multiple stone chimneys.

Outbuildings, several of them.

It was like I drove two hours out of Phoenix and found myself on the set of the Yellowstone series.

But with better scenery.

As Rodney got out, my stomach pitched, not with nerves, but with fury.

Why did Corey, as one of his last wishes, decide to put me through this?


I pushed open my own door and folded out, just as Rodney got to my side.

“Can you get the box, do you mind?” I asked him.

“Of course, Ms. Swan.”

I nodded. Smiled.

And braced.

I looked up the steps.

As the years passed, I tried not to pay attention. He wasn’t like Corey. Me. You couldn’t escape Corey or me.

But he looked how he looked. And he did what he did.

Therefore, he was in the public eye and he got photographed.

And I figured he lived up here in the middle of nowhere to do what he could to avoid it.

Duncan “Bowie” William Holloway, founder and CEO River Rain Outdoor stores. Where you go for your every outdoor need.

Duncan William Holloway, ardent environmentalist, giving and raising millions to save any and every species, our wetlands, our rain forests, anything from fracking. You name it, he was on the front lines to save it.