“I had a good time,” she said, and made him grin.

He’d had a good time, too. It was in every line of his body, and holy smokes, that body. Milk did a body good, and sex did it better.

He hugged her hard, pressing his face in her hair. “Remember how we both said that being out here on the mountain, away from all the bullshit, made us feel alive?”

She tilted her head back and looked into his warm eyes. “Yes.”

His gaze searched hers, his smile slowly fading. “I’m starting to think it’s not the mountain at all, that maybe it’s you. You make me feel alive, Harley.”

On that shocking statement, he took her hand and led her back to camp.

The next day on the river was a rinse and repeat of the one before. Except instead of otters, they saw three huge, gorgeous bucks on one of the ridges watching them from afar. Later, they heard a pack of coyotes howling. Harley assured the girls they were not about to be coyote bait, and to distract them, told them a little about what she was doing for her internship, and from that moment on, they looked at her with what might have been respect instead of competition for TJ.

By nine o’clock that night, the coeds were once again in their tents, out cold.

“Kayaking takes it out of you,” TJ said from the fire, where he was putting on more wood.

“The way you do it, it does.” Harley moved toward the heat, hands out. Her legs were chilly since she was still in her bathing suit with a hoodie sweatshirt and board shorts over it. “You pushed them a little hard today.”

He slid her an inscrutable glance.

She met his gaze, raised a questioning brow.

And he caved with a smile.

“I knew it,” she breathed. “You did it on purpose. For a replay of last night, perhaps?”

His eyes dilated black. “I had to dunk myself in the cold water every time I thought about last night.”

“I was wondering why you kept going in.” She grinned. “Did it help?”


She was quiet a moment, then voiced what had been on her mind all day. “Maybe it’s not the mountain?” she whispered, repeating his words from last night.

He just looked at her.

“Where did that come from?” she asked. “Because aren’t you the guy who isn’t into commitment. I mean, did the rules change?”

“I’ve never been much of a rule man.”

More off balance then ever, she shook her head. “You say that like…like you’re sure.”

His gaze remained steady and thoughtful.

“But…you can’t be sure,” she whispered. “No one I’ve ever known is sure.”

“Stone and Cam seem pretty sure.”

She was having trouble processing the words. “But they’re not playing the temporary game that we are. We have one week. Even that could be too long if you think about it. What if you get tired of being with just one person? Tired of the banality of it, tired of the daily grind? What if you get tired of sleeping with just one person, of having sex with just one person? Hell, maybe I’ll get tired of it.”

“You wouldn’t get tired of the sex.”

She stared at him. “Only a man would say that.”

Tossing aside his stick, he rose and came toward her. Unlike her, he’d changed. His look was the usual, basic badass mountain man…a pair of faded blue jeans, beloved battered trainers, and a long-sleeved Henley. It was the jeans that held her attention. They were molded to him and like the night before, there was no indication of anything between him and the denim.

He got real close. “Sounds like maybe you’re the one that has the commitment problem.”

Before she could comment on that, he tugged her into him, nudging his hips to hers.

“Um, are you”-she swiveled a finger in the region of his crotch-“commando again?”

“I took a quick dip in the river to wash off.” He shrugged. “Got dressed in a hurry.”

“And forgot your underwear?”

Some of the tension left him, and he smiled as he nuzzled his face into her hair. “Is that turning you on?”

Duh. “Not at all.”

He laughed. “Let’s go for a walk so we can talk.” One of his hands went to her hip, his fingers slipping beneath the hem of the sweatshirt to touch bare skin.

“Where to?” She did her best not to sound all breathy and failed. Miserably.

Taking her hand, he turned and headed out of the clearing, away from camp. She followed him alongside the water’s edge for a good quarter of a mile, even more breathless by the time they finally stopped at a small protected inlet. TJ sat on a fallen log, haloed by the moon’s glow on the water behind him. “Come here.”

Perfectly willing for a repeat of last night, she stepped closer, then between his long legs, but he smiled and shook his head. “Here.” Tugging her into his lap, he snuggled her in.

His hand slid to the nape of her neck, his fingers in her hair as he touched his forehead to hers. After a moment, he wrapped his arms around her and kissed her, a warm, sweet kiss. Lots of warm, sweet kisses. He took his time, and the slow buildup was incredibly…hot. And she could feel that he felt…hot, too. “I thought you wanted to talk.”

“Always.” He smiled against her mouth. “But maybe not right now.” He kissed her again, his fingers holding her head in place as he took the delicious buildup to the next level, still taking his damn time, but plundering now, taking what he wanted, pleasing them both with deep rhythmic thrusts of his tongue that made her think of what she wished he was doing to the rest of her body. She wanted to tell him so, but it felt so unbelievably good she couldn’t speak, and when her toes curled, she began to wonder if she could orgasm from a kiss alone. When he finally pulled his mouth from hers, she heard a moan of protest and realized it was her.