He felt stupid remembering it now, but he felt like they had some kind of connection there on the mountain, in a way he’d never connected with any other girl before.
They’d been two adventurous souls, kindred spirits. Or so he’d thought. He’d always been the glue that had kept his family together, and with her he didn’t have to work so hard. It had been easy, and he’d felt real contentment. Being with Lily, he could relax and just be. When she’d left, he’d lost all that, and nothing had come easy to him ever since.
Not that any of it mattered now. He’d gotten over her a damn long time ago, a fact he had to remind himself of several times as the worn tires on her car spun a little pulling out of the lot. A city car, not meant for the narrow, treacherous mountain roads and conditions in the Colorado Rockies.
Maybe she’d forgotten how they did things up here. Maybe she wasn’t staying long, though there’d been that cryptic “No” when he’d asked if she was visiting.
It didn’t matter. What she did was none of his business.
He pulled out his cell and checked to make sure he hadn’t missed any calls. His schedule for the fire season was three days on and one day off, which was today. But S&R had no such schedule. He was often on call for S&R and when notified, he’d go at a moment’s notice if he wasn’t already on a fire call.
Since he hadn’t missed anything, he called his older brother. Gray ran Cedar Ridge Resort and knew everything about everyone in town. He was an eighty-two-year-old lady hiding in a thirty-one-year-old man’s body. And he had some ’splaining to do, since he’d apparently known about Lily being back but hadn’t mentioned it.
“Mom okay?” Gray asked, in lieu of a greeting.
Their mom, Char, had taken a fall last week and reinjured her bad hip, not that she’d let either of them know how much pain she was in. The woman might look frail on the outside, but on the inside she was The Rock.
“This isn’t about Mom,” he started. “It’s—”
“If it’s not about Mom, you’ve got two seconds,” Gray interrupted. “Penny’s on a twenty-minute break, I haven’t seen her all week, and I have plans for every single one of those twenty minutes.”
Aidan could hear Penny’s soft laugh in the background and grimaced. Gray had been married to his high school sweetheart going on seven years now. Apparently afraid they were starting to act like old marrieds, they’d decided to spice up their marriage. Just last week Aidan had walked into Gray’s office without knocking and found them role-playing Fifty Shades of “Gray.”
There was some shit you just couldn’t unsee. The next day Aidan had installed a dead bolt on Gray’s office door and begged him to use it. He could only hope they would.
“Oh, and before I hang up on you,” Gray said, “Lenny’s an idiot. He got a DUI last night.”
Shit. This made strike two for Lenny—strike one had been getting caught having sex inside one of their machines on the night shift. Worse, a DUI meant that his driver’s license would be revoked for a minimum of ninety days. Aidan shook his head. Lenny was the best of the best when it came to taking care of their equipment, but that didn’t mean shit when it came up against an arrest history. “You want to suspend him until he gets his license back?”
“No, I want him to not be an idiot.” Gray sighed. “Yeah, he has to be suspended at the very least. He’s lucky you suggested that. I was thinking of firing him on his bad attitude alone.”
“I’ll deal with it.”
“Good. I’m going to go get laid now.”
“Wait,” Aidan said. “I think there’s something else you forgot to tell me.”
“Not into guessing games at the moment.”
“Here’s a hint. Lily Danville.”
Silence from Gray.
“Jesus.” Aidan rubbed the bridge of his nose. “You really did know. You knew she was coming here and you didn’t tell me.”
More silence from Gray.
“Answer the damn question,” Aidan said.
“You didn’t ask me one.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Been busy,” Gray said. “And that’s not the question you really want to ask.”
True, but he refused to voice it. Instead he looked up at the sky. No place had skies as big and all-encompassing as Colorado. Things could change in a blink at this altitude, but for the moment the sky was a stark, glorious blue without a single cloud marring it for as far as the eye could see. Which wasn’t all that far because the sharp, jagged outline of the Rockies blocked a long-distance view. “How long have you known about this?”
“A few weeks.”
This staggered Aidan. “Are you kidding me?”
“Look, not everything’s about you, okay? And I have it on good authority that this, her being here, has absolutely nothing to do with you.”
“Then why didn’t you tell me?” Aidan asked.
“I—” Gray broke off, and Aidan could hear Penny murmur something in the background. Unfortunately for him he could make out the words along with Gray, which included a very explicit, very sexual request.
“Holy shit, Pen,” Gray said, his voice low and soft the way it only got with his wife. “Don’t take that off yet. Don’t move. Not an inch.” Then he was back with Aidan. “Gotta go.”
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