“Seems like you’ve got your company after all,” Mitch said, smiling. “You two make sense.”

“I have no idea what we’re doing,” Aidan admitted.

Mitch laughed ruefully. “Isn’t that always the case with us? All in control and on the ready for whatever our job brings. But when it comes to our personal lives and the women in it, we’re the ones who need rescuing.”

“Fuck you. I don’t need rescuing.”

Mitch laughed.

Aidan got out and shut the door.

Lily rose to her feet and stared at him uncertainly.

He felt no such uncertainty. Not a single lick. He dropped his pack, took the bag she was holding and set it on top of his pack, and then he backed her to the front door and kissed her.

Lily moaned against his mouth, hot and sweet, and he curled his hand around the back of her neck and took what he’d been thinking of for four-plus straight days. He kissed her until they both ran out of air and then as he pulled back, he tugged her lower lip between his teeth for a beat, unable to let go.

She let out another soft sound of arousal in her throat and if he hadn’t already been hard at just the sight of her, and then the taste, that would have done it.

So of course his phone went off with the tone of a five-alarm fire. “What the—” He pulled his phone from his pocket. The ID screen read: Mom. “I’m going to kill Mitch for constantly changing the ringtones on my phone,” he muttered before answering. “Mom, not a good time.”

“No? Well when would be a good time to call your mama and tell her you’re alive?”

Still holding Lily flush to the door, Aidan thunked his head to the wood a few times next to hers. “I’m alive and well,” he said, “and you know it because you called my captain—twice—and he told you so. And, by the way, he’s not real thrilled that you stole his contact info from my phone. He wants you to lose his number.”

“What? Are you kidding me? I used to babysit that man!” Char complained. “He wasn’t potty trained until he was five. He sucked his thumb until second grade. He can answer my damn calls—he owes me.”

“Mom.”

“Okay, whatever, I’ll ‘lose’ his number,” she said. “But that means that in the future, I get to hear you’re alive from you.”

“Duly noted,” Aidan said.

Lily snorted.

Aidan met her gaze. Clearly she could hear every word and just as clearly she was enjoying this. Her amusement—at his expense—looked great on her.

“Thank you,” his mom said, sounding slightly mollified. “Now, about your fight with Hudson.”

Oh, Christ. “Mom—”

“Don’t you ‘mom’ me. Tell me.”

“I didn’t have a fight with Hudson,” he said.

“He told Gray about it. So now you can tell me about it and also, while you’re at it, why you would lie to your mama?”

Aidan grated his teeth. Sometimes Gray was such an old lady. “Mom, I really have to go—”

“Fine. Soon as you tell me one thing—you get any good packages lately?”

At her oddly innocent tone—and she was far from innocent—Aidan lifted his head and met Lily’s eyes.

Her hands still fisted in his shirt, she bit her lower lip.

He sighed. “Mom, stop meddling.”

“I will if you will,” she said, and disconnected.

“So,” Lily said. “Old and feeble and not exactly with it?”

“Yes, well, I’m adding evil to her list.” Cupping Lily’s face, he leaned in, feeling human for the first time in days. She was warm and soft and smelled like heaven, and he couldn’t get enough of her. “So my mom’s the reason you’re here?”

“No.”

“Good.”

“Gray is,” Lily said.

Damn.

Lily felt Aidan go still and then he lifted his head and met her gaze.

“I ran into him outside the salon,” she said, hoping she sounded nonchalant. “He was on his way out with Penny and asked if I’d bring this to you.”

“And you said yes …” He rasped his thumb over her lower lip and she shivered. Maybe moaned. “Because you missed me,” he said huskily.

“I’m here because of the package,” she said firmly.

“Which you could have just left for me,” he pointed out.

Very true story. “Right,” she said, looking around. “But it didn’t seem super safe to just leave it out in the open, so …” She shrugged and tried to look like seeing him hadn’t been in her plans when it totally had. “Anyway, you have it now, so I should go.”

She’d barely gotten two steps when Aidan caught her arm. “You haven’t given me the package yet,” he said.

She picked it up off his dropped duffel bag and offered it to him.

“Sorry,” he told her. “My hands are full. Bring it in, could you?”

“I—”

But he’d grabbed his duffel bag and was unlocking his door. Then, leaving the door open, he walked inside, leaving her to follow or not.

And dammit. She had way too much curiosity not to. Which he damn well knew, because he didn’t even turn around to check. He’d known she’d follow him.

Hopefully he had no idea just how far she’d do so.

In truth, she had no idea, either, but she suspected it was to another zip code entirely. One she’d never been to.

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