Not more than a hundred and ten pounds, she clung to him like a monkey as they hurtled at neck-breaking speed toward the wall. Aidan managed to grip her tight and twist in midair so that he was the one to slam into the brick.
Even as lightweight as she was, it still hurt like hell.
“Jesus Christ,” Aidan heard the captain and Mitch say in stereo as they watched helplessly—one from above, one from below, at the window.
They didn’t know the half of it. With Nicky’s legs wrapped and locked around Aidan’s waist, her arms squeezing his head like a grape and her breasts literally suffocating him, he couldn’t breathe. Somehow he managed to turn his head sideways to suck in some air, but he still couldn’t see. “I’ve got you,” he said. “I’m not going to let go, but you need to loosen your grip.”
Nicky was too busy screaming in his ear to hear him, not loosening her grip at all. “Omigod, don’t you fuckin’ drop me or I’ll sue you the most!”
Mitch had dropped over the edge as soon as Nicky leapt onto Aidan’s back. He was rappelling down as fast as he could, laughing all the way. Aidan couldn’t see shit but he could hear him clearly, the asshole.
“Got his six,” Mitch said into the radio as he came even with Aidan, still laughing. “Though I can’t tell where Aidan ends and Nicky begins.”
You can kill him later, Aidan promised himself. “Listen to me,” he said to Nicky. “I’ve got you. I need you to stop yelling in my ear and look at me.”
She gulped in a breath and relaxed her hold only enough to look at him. Her eyes were wide, wet, and raccooned from her mascara.
“I’m not going to let go of you,” he assured her, staring into her eyes, doing his best to give her an anchor. “You hear me, Nicky? No one’s falling to their death today.”
She nodded and started to cry in earnest at the same time. Aidan preferred her screaming.
“She’s not attached to anything,” the captain reminded them via radio.
“You don’t have to worry about that, Cap,” Mitch responded. “She’s not letting go of Aidan.”
Nope, she wasn’t. She’d embedded her nails into him good, and her legs were crossed and locked at the small of his back, but at least he could breathe. “Just get us down,” he said.
As the team lowered them, Mitch kept alongside, offering encouragement, cracking his own ass up as they went.
On the ground, Aidan’s new companion was peeled off of him and taken away for further evaluation. Aidan took his first deep breath since the rescue had begun. Aching in more muscles than he’d realized he even had, he gathered his gear.
“You okay?” their captain asked. “You took a few hard hits up there.”
“I’m fine.” He could feel where he’d have bruises tomorrow, and he was pretty sure his back had been scraped raw from the demolition derby collision with the brick wall, but he’d had worse.
Mitch grinned at him. “Man, you just had your bones totally jumped by a nearly naked chick. We almost had to resuscitate you. ‘Fireman Asphyxiated by Boobs, news at eleven.’”
Their captain eyed Mitch, and then Aidan. “You remember we have a strict no killing each other policy?”
Aidan reluctantly nodded.
“I’m going to lift that rule for a one-time exception,” the captain said, cocking his head at Mitch.
Mitch’s smile faded. “Hey.”
But the captain had walked away.
“Whatever,” Mitch said to Aidan. “If you kill me, you’ll never find out what I know.”
Aidan slid him a glance. “You never know anything.”
“I know lots, starting with a rumor that you’re about to get a blast from the past.”
“Yeah. I hear Lily Danville’s back,” Mitch said.
Aidan froze at the name he hadn’t heard in a very long time. Years. Ten of them to be exact.
Mitch raised a brow. “Gray hasn’t mentioned it?”
No, Aidan’s older brother had not told him a thing, which raised the question.
“How did you hear?” Aidan asked.
“Lenny. He caught the gossip at the resort. Your family runs the place, how did you not hear this?”
Lenny had gone to high school with them and now worked at the Kincaid resort as a big-equipment driver. Aidan stared at Mitch, unable to process that everyone had known before him.
Lily Danville … Damn. Turning, he started to walk away.
“It’s no big deal,” Mitch said. “It’s not like you’re seeing Shelly anymore, right? You’re a free agent, so if you want to try to get Lily back … Hey, wait up.”
Aidan didn’t wait. And it was true he wasn’t seeing Shelly anymore. Technically, they’d never been “seeing” each other. They’d had a satisfying physical relationship whenever they both felt like it, and neither of them had felt like it in over a month now. He hadn’t thought about her once since.
But Lily Danville …
He hadn’t seen her in forever, and yet he still thought about her way too often.
“Hold up,” Mitch called out. “Your half of the gear’s still—” He broke off when Aidan kept walking. “Seriously?” And when Aidan didn’t so much as look back, Mitch swore and worked to gather the load, making some of the newbies help. He was quiet on the ride back to the station but only because they weren’t alone and also because he was playing a game on his phone.
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