“See,” she managed. “You’re helping already.”
Aidan was in the main office, playing Ruler of the Universe for Gray, who was out on the mountain overseeing a biking event.
After working all night at the fire station, Aidan was tired and feeling out of sorts because he hadn’t had a chance to see Lily again. He’d been thinking of her though, plenty, as he flipped through the files, like how he felt when she smiled at him. How soft her skin was. How she tasted …
Lenny stuck his head in the door. “Finished the shelving unit at the salon yesterday,” he said. “Thank Gray for me for getting me some work.”
“Glad it worked out,” Aidan said. “Invoice the resort so you can get paid.”
“You sure? Because I heard the bills aren’t getting paid right now.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I get that you’re keeping this tight. You never did do failure well. But come on. Since when do your friends get left out of the loop?”
Aidan felt his temper stir. Standing up, he closed the office door before turning back to Lenny.
“Right,” Lenny said, before Aidan could speak. “Wouldn’t want anyone else to hear this.”
“Actually, I don’t want anyone to see me kick your ass,” Aidan said, definitely pissed off now. “The only thing that’s ever come before my friends is my family.”
“Then explain Lily.”
Aidan narrowed his eyes. “What’s your problem today?”
“I’m practically one of the Kincaids. Or I was, until you got too busy for me. Still, the rumor is that you’re losing the resort. You could’ve told me yourself that you’re going to have to cut employees next quarter to save yourselves.”
Aidan let out a long breath. “Okay, I want you to listen to me very carefully. We’re not losing the resort. And any employee layoffs have not been decided on.”
“Got it,” Lenny said snidely. “So as long as you Kincaids stick together all is good, right?”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“I got the four-one-one at the salon. People talk about all sorts of things there, including you and your daddy’s money issues.”
Aidan stilled at that. There were damn few people who knew about his relationship with Richard and how it affected the future of the resort. Gray, Hudson, Kenna … but they’d never say a word. They just wouldn’t.
Lily knows, too, a small voice said—which he ignored.
Or tried to.
“Something else the salon has,” Lenny said. “Nice view, your latest hot piece working there.”
He narrowed his eyes. “I know you’re not talking about Lily like that.”
Lenny smiled grimly. “She grew up nice, yeah? I mean she has a smart-ass mouth on her, but she’s still sexy as hell. I heard things were getting hot and heavy between you two, but apparently not that hot and heavy if she’s still open to chatting it up with other guys.”
Aidan stared at him. “Why don’t you just come right out and tell me what it is you really want me to know.”
“All right,” Lenny said. “You give me work. You let me tag along with you when you’re feeling generous. You throw me a lot of bones, we both know that. But this time, it’s my turn to win.”
“I wasn’t aware we were in a competition,” Aidan said as mildly as he could.
“What exactly is it that you think you’re going to win?” Aidan asked.
“Maybe your girl.”
And that’s when Aidan’s radio went off with a fire call.
Aidan swore, then grabbed the radio and headed to the door. As he passed Lenny, he stopped and sniffed. “Have you been drinking?”
Lenny tried to brush past him, but Aidan put a hand on his chest. “I can smell it on you.”
Lenny knocked Aidan’s hands away. “I’m out of here.”
“Good,” Aidan said. “And you’re wrong about—”
“Lily?” Lenny stopped in the doorway. “You sure about that?”
Aidan wasn’t sure about much when it came to Lily, but he was sure she’d never hurt him purposely. “About practically being a Kincaid,” he said. “Kincaids don’t turn on each other. Ever. You’re done here at the resort, Lenny, and not because we’re losing it. You’re done because I no longer trust you.”
“Maybe Gray feels differently.”
“Gray wanted to let you go a long time ago. Your job here was a favor to me. Favor revoked. Get your stuff and get the hell out.”
Lily took a quick break between appointments and checked her email. Still no responses to any of her resumes.
She waited for the usual ball of panic to kick in, knowing that this left her still stranded here in Cedar Ridge.
But the panic didn’t hit.
Instead she got a brand-new feeling. A warm fuzzy. It confused her at first, until she realized that it meant she was okay with being stuck here indefinitely.
Maybe even permanently.
“Liking that smile,” Jonathan said. “Did you get a response on a resume?”
“No.” She turned to look at him. “The opposite actually.”
Jonathan looked confused. “And this is making you happy because …?”
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