“Excuse me? A prude?”

Skye smiled with affection and fondness. “Do you want to admit how long it’s been since you got naked in a social setting, at least before TJ?”

No. No, she did not.

“Let me get this straight,” Skye said before Harley could open the bag. “So you and TJ did the deed?”

“Depends on the ‘deed’ you’re referring to,” Harley muttered.

Skye burst out with a joyous laugh. “Ohmigod, it’s working! He’s lightening you up already! I love it. Okay, obviously it wasn’t the Deed. But there are plenty of smaller deeds leading up to it. Kind of begs the question though-which one did you do?” She tapped her lower lip with a finger as she studied Harley’s face. “Let’s do this. You tell me how many deeds you know about and I’ll guess which one you did.”

Harley rolled her eyes. “I am not playing that game.”

Skye grinned. “You can’t even think of more than one, can you?”

“I’m older than you, of course I can think of more than one.”

Skye sat down next to her, a wide smile on her face. “Name three sexual acts, Harl. Hell, name two.”

“I’m trying to open a gift here.”

“I’ll go first. A blow job.”

Harley choked. “Skye-”

“Now you. Name one.”

Harley closed her eyes.

“How about the opposite of a blow job,” Skye said helpfully. “You know, when he uses his mouth on you to-”

“Okay, we are so not talking about this.”

Skye was still grinning. “Is that what he did? ’Cause, baby, if that’s what happened, let me just say lucky you. And also, you’re going to owe him.”

Harley stared down at the bow in her hands. She did. She owed him big-time…Worse, she’d started dreaming, both night and day, about ways to repay him.

“And since he’s a Wilder, maybe he’ll want something kinky. Like a threesome. Or some butt-”

Harley covered Skye’s mouth. She could feel the huff of her sister’s laugh, so she narrowed her eyes and tightened her grip on Skye’s mouth. “When I take my hand away, you are going to be silent. You are not going to talk about blow jobs or threesomes or butt-stuff,” she finished. “Understood?”

Skye smiled.

Harley pulled her hand away.

Skye opened her mouth.

Harley pointed at her. “Not a word. Not a single word. And give me my tea back.”

Skye handed her the empty mug.

“Go make more,” Harley demanded as she opened the bag.

Inside sat a brand-new backpack, and she stared at it in surprise.

“Maybe the sex toys are on the inside. You know, like a sex toy adventure pack.”

Harley glared at Skye, who laughed and held up her hands. “Sorry. Not another word.”

The backpack was full of everything Harley could ever need on any trek, and more importantly, it was completely organized. She went through it in marvel, smiling warmly at the can of soup he’d replaced, at the brand-new utility knife. “What do you think?” she asked Skye.

“I think it’s badass. I think he’s badass. And you? You’re a stupid ass if you don’t go for the Main Event with him. Not to be confused with the Deed, mind you. The Deed is sex. The Main Event is bigger.”

“What’s bigger than sex?”


“Oh my God. Why do people keep flinging the L-word around? We’re not-I’m not-” She broke off and found Skye watching her with a warm, little smile on her face.

“Ah, Harley,” her sister said very softly as she dropped to her knees and hugged her tight. “All this time I thought you were just having fun driving him freaking nuts. I mean, you’re so good at it. I also thought you might be in lust. I didn’t know it was love. I’m sorry I gave you such a hard time.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Skye just smiled. “Does he know? What am I saying? Of course he doesn’t know. You’re not exactly forthcoming with your feelings.”

Harley ignored that. One, because while it might be true, she was not in love, and two, because she’d just found the small bag of “magic tricks” that TJ had put together in a side pocket.

“Sweet of him,” Skye murmured.

“Yeah.” Dental floss and Fritos. At the sight of the chips, Harley’s throat tightened. Feeling a little wobbly in the heart region, she sat hard on her butt right there on the step. Without even knowing if she was going to help out Wilder or not, he’d put this together for her, just for her. She looked out into the still dark dawn and wondered when he’d brought it.

And what it meant exactly.

It meant he cared, she decided. It meant she was on his mind.

She decided she could live with that, quite nicely.

But it wasn’t love. It wasn’t.

At least not if she could help it.


The next morning TJ stood in front of the lodge doing a last-minute equipment check with Nick.

Stone had already left for his trip to Eagle Falls at the crack of dawn, and Cam had just driven off for his trek to Squaw Peak.

TJ looked at his watch. In half an hour he’d be gone, too. And yet all he could think about was not the trip, not the clients, not the shitload of work this was going to entail without help, but Harley.