“She’s … on a date,” Gray said.

Aidan blinked. “What?”

“Yeah, she’s wearing that blue dress she saves for weddings and everything. I tried to talk her out of it and she …”

“She what?”

“Laughed at me,” Gray said, looking butt-hurt. “Gave me some line about how our generation has lost all sense of romance. She said she was like a fine wine and deserved to be uncorked and aired out.”

Aidan stared at him.

“I know, dude, my ears are still burning too. So you’re up. And don’t even try reasoning with her. She’s completely unreasonable and illogical. She says she’s going dancing.”

“Dancing?” Aidan repeated. “She’s supposed to be taking it easy. She can’t go dancing.”

“Thank you,” Gray said. “Penny thinks I’m being overprotective.”

The phone was suddenly wrestled away from Gray and then Penny’s face appeared. She took a good look at Aidan and smiled.

Aidan cursed, tossed the phone aside, and ditched the towel for a pair of jeans.

“Gimme that,” Gray said to his wife. Then he reappeared, though he was still glaring at Penny, who was laughing.

“Does he have clothes on yet?” she asked.

“Yes,” Aidan said, buttoning his jeans and grabbing a T-shirt. Jesus.

“Too bad,” Penny said, and got serious. “Now listen to me—both of you have to leave your poor mom alone. She’s going out to The Slippery Slope tonight with Marcus Dolby. She’s a grown woman who’s perfectly capable of taking care of herself.”

“Wait a minute,” Aidan said. “Marcus?” He couldn’t think of anyone less likely to go dancing than the resort’s equipment manager.

“Yep,” Penny said. “He asked her out. She thinks he’s cute. She said that since she hasn’t gotten any action in a few decades, she wants to get back into the game before her womanly parts wither up and die from misuse.”

Both Aidan and Gray winced.

“Your turn,” Gray whispered covertly to Aidan.

“Fine,” he said. “I’ll handle it.”

“Good,” Gray said, and disconnected.

Shit. Aidan jammed his feet into shoes, grabbed his keys, and headed out into the rain to drive to The Slippery Slope.

He checked the bar first and damn. Yep, there was his mom at the far end, hair done, siren-red lipstick on, and laughing at something Marcus had just said to her.

Aidan snarled and headed over, stopping short when Jonathan stood from a barstool and offered a hand. “Hey, man, heard that last fire was a bitch. Join us? Drinks on me.”

Aidan turned to Jonathan’s companion and froze.

So did the companion.

Lily was sitting there in a little black dress, looking like a million bucks, even if her eyes were telling him to just keep walking.

And of course his mom took that exact moment to lift her head, and with the uncanny instinct that could only come from a mother, leveled her eyes right on her son.

Chapter 10

Aidan spared the brief thought that he’d rather be back on Mt. Rose trapped by the fire than sandwiched between his mother and Lily. One was the only woman on earth whose wrath scared him, and the other was the sexiest pain in the ass—er, blast from his past. While he stood at the bar in rare indecision, he felt someone at his back.

Gray.

“Sneaked out of the house,” his brother whispered. “Penny’s engrossed in a Supernatural marathon and a tub of popcorn. It’ll be hours before she surfaces.”

Aidan broke eye contact with his mom only to have his eyes lock in on Lily like she was a homing beacon. “I said I’d handle it,” he whispered back.

“Yeah,” Gray said. “And it looks like you’re doing a bang-up job of it just standing here too. You going to make a move or keep pretending you’re invisible?”

One of the bartenders came up to them, smiling sweetly at Gray and completely ignoring Aidan.

Shelly.

Ah, so the night could get worse.

“What can I get for you?” she asked Gray.

He ordered a beer and then looked at Aidan. “The same for you?”

“Yeah, thanks.”

“Oh, I’m not serving him,” Shelly said to Gray.

Gray grinned at her.

Shelly winked at him and sauntered off.

“A real fan of yours, I see,” Lily noted dryly.

Gray laughed, fully enjoying the show, the ass. “Don’t worry, man, she’ll bring you a beer. She likes her tips too much not to.”

Aidan could only hope that was true.

“But she’ll probably spit in it first.”

Aidan sighed. “Yeah. Thanks.”

At the other end of the bar, Char stood up. She pointed two fingers at her own eyes and then at her boys before heading down the back hall toward the restrooms.

Her date, Marcus Dolby, was looking both relaxed and amused as he sipped his beer.

“Go,” Gray said. “Make our move.”

Aidan slid his brother an incredulous look. “Are you crazy? She just let us know she’s onto us.”

“Just do it,” Gray said in his annoying big brother voice.

“Do what?” Jonathan wanted to know.

“It’s about her date,” Gray said. “He’s gotta go.”

“You’re going to try to scare him off?” Jonathan asked. “I know Marcus. He’s not scared of much.”

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