“She coming?” Nick asked.


Nick gave him a don’t-be-stupid look. “The woman who left that bite mark on your neck who.”

TJ put his fingers to the base of his throat, vividly remembering lying on Harley’s bed with her hot little bod squirming all over his as she’d sucked on his skin.

“Annie see that?” Nick asked.

“No. Why?”

“’Cause if she finds out you’re just playing with Harley, she’s going to kick your ass. She loves that girl.”

“Harley’s a grown woman, not a girl, and she bit me. How do you know she’s not just playing with me?”

Nick laughed. “Play is your middle name, man.” He studied TJ a moment, and slowly his smile faded. “Huh. That’s interesting.”

“No, there’s nothing interesting.”

Nick was still looking at him, as if maybe he could read right through the bullshit and into his soul. “Are you, TJ? Playing?”



No. No, he wasn’t playing.

And he had no clue what that meant. All he knew was that for two nights running, he’d gone to bed with a bad case of DSB.

Deadly sperm buildup.

He thought he’d taken care of that problem in the shower this morning, but apparently not.

“So.” Nick was still looking at him oddly. “Is she coming or what?”

“I don’t know. She told Katie she would, but-”

“Look at that, the mighty TJ Wilder actually not knowing something. Even more interesting.” He smiled and clasped TJ’s shoulder. “She’s good for you.”

“How the hell did you get to that conclusion?”

Nick shrugged. “She keeps you guessing. Takes away your careful plans and control.”

Well, Nick had him there. Harley absolutely played havoc on his plans and shot his control all to hell. He heard her truck on the road before it came around the turn and exchanged a look with Nick. “She’s coming,” TJ said to Nick’s smirk.

Harley pulled into the driveway, turned off the engine, and hopped out. The early sun played with her shiny hair and fair skin as she stood there, hands on hips, eyes covered by dark sunglasses. She wore a pair of hip-hugging cargoes and a snug, long-sleeved Henley, both of which were normal clothes for that type of life, but nothing about his heart rate felt normal. He slapped his clipboard against Nick’s chest and headed for her.

Her glasses hid her from him but he knew by her stillness she was watching him. As usual, she wasn’t showing much, but he knew her, knew to look past the exterior. She wasn’t quite sure why she was there, and was even less sure if she wanted to be. “You came,” he said softly when he was near enough that no one could hear them.

A small, slightly embarrassed smile curved her mouth. “Twice now, actually.”

He let out a low laugh even as his brain bombarded him with the memory of how she’d looked when she let go for him, how she’d clutched him close, as if she needed to assure herself that he was right there. And he remembered her eyes when she burst, those usually sharp brown eyes losing focus, practically rolling up in her head as she’d come hard.

And great. Now he was hard. He needed another shower.

“So where’s Stone?” she asked, looking around.

“He already left.”

She blinked. “I thought he needed a co-guide.”

“That would be me.” He paused, studying her face. “I thought you knew.”


“Still interested?”

She didn’t answer for the longest sixty seconds of his life.

“I guess it’s fitting,” she finally said. “After all, I do owe you.”

“I like the sound of that, but it’ll have to wait, since we have an audience.”

She both blushed and laughed, and then met his gaze. “I meant about the backpack. And thank you, by the way, it’s perfect.”

He reached for her hand, ran his thumb over her knuckles. “Glad you like it.”

“You knew I would, but it wasn’t necessary. You’ve already done so much-”

“No tab.”

“So you’ve said,” she murmured. “But…”

“But what?”

“But you’re the one who keeps giving. Your time, your expertise, your resources…”

“Anything. Anything you need.”

“Now, see, that,” she said softly. Looking confused and a little anxious to boot. “I don’t get it. Because in return, I don’t give you anything. I mean I drive you crazy, I’m sure, but that doesn’t count.”

He shook his head. Then let out a low laugh and nodded. “Okay, yeah, you drive me crazy,” he admitted. Hell, he’d told her as much. “But you also make me laugh. You make me feel good. And sometimes, Harley, when you think I’m not paying attention, you look at me like…”

“Like what?” she whispered.

“Like I’m worth something to you.”

“TJ.” She stared at him, her eyes two fathomless pools he could have drowned in. “You always have been.”

Simple words. Simple sentiment. Both went straight through him and warmed him in a way he hadn’t realized he needed warming. “And you wonder what you give me,” he murmured, reaching for her. But the front door on the lodge opened, and his clients came out to sit on the porch.