“Well, I had it coming from you,” she said, backing away from him, needing some space.

He leaned back against the door like he was too tired to stand on his own. “And how do you figure that?”

“When I ran out of here ten years ago, I hurt you.” She took another step back.

“Sorry,” he said, mistaking her movement. “I did shower.” He sniffed himself. “Sometimes it takes two or three showers to really get rid of the smell, but I was in a hurry to get out of the station.”

And he’d come straight here.

“I don’t mind it,” she said quietly, and she didn’t. He worked his ass off, putting himself on the line, in danger, and he did it without hesitation.

He was one of the bravest men she’d ever met.

And that terrified her. But he already knew that. He wasn’t quite as emotionally stunted as she, who managed to keep everything bottled up inside, locked down tight, never to be let out and shared. It was a special talent of hers, one she was someday going to learn to fix if it killed her.

But probably not today.

“You busy?” he asked, looking around.

“Yes.” She had a date with a box of cookies and Supernatural season eight, but that was on a need-to-know basis.

“All right, I’ll make this quick.” He met her gaze. “About us.”

“I didn’t sleep with Lenny,” she said. “I was sleeping with you.”

“I know—” He broke off. “Was?”

Oh, yeah, it was very past tense in her book, no matter the fact that even now her eyes were soaking him up, wondering how fast she could get him naked.

Bad eyes.


“No,” she said, and held up a hand to hold him off, because she was weak when it came to him, very weak. So she spoke fast. “I need you to know that I can’t sleep with two guys at the same time. I just …” She shook her head. “I’m not equipped for it. Hell, I’m barely equipped for one man at a time.”

“That’s not what I—” He blew out a breath. “I know you didn’t sleep with Lenny. I know you didn’t talk about the resort’s business. I had a seriously dumbass moment and I’m here to ask you to forgive me for being that dumbass.” He reached out and pulled her into him, still leaning against the wall. He set his hands on her hips and dipped his head to press his face to her throat, which was really freaking unfair because she loved when he did that.

“I do forgive you,” she agreed, struggling to think. Not easy, since he’d slid his mouth to the underside of her jaw now and was nibbling his way to her ear, which set off a whole bunch of reactions. “But this still doesn’t change anything,” she managed, her hands on his shoulder, her fingers digging in. “You actually thought I could sleep with someone else when I was sleeping with you.” And just saying it out loud made her mad all over again.

“I said I was a dumbass, right?” he asked. “Complete dumbass. One hundred percent dumbass. Ask any one of my siblings, they’ll vouch for that.”

His mouth was at her ear now, his breath warm against her skin, and her eyes drifted shut as her hands clung to him. “It’s not that simple, Aidan.”

He pulled back and looked at her. “So you’ve forgiven but … not forgotten? Is that it?”

“Look, it’s not like you’re the only dumbass in the room,” she said, and grimaced. “I have a lot of dumbass tendencies when it comes to you as well.”

“Like?” he asked, eyes locked on hers.

She wanted nothing more than to burrow into him, but he’d made that impossible. Or maybe she’d made it so. “Like I don’t think I can do this,” she whispered. “Regardless of how I feel about you.”

“And how do you feel about me? You’ve kept that pretty tight to the vest.”

She met his gaze with difficulty. “I did start this story with the fact that I’m a dumbass too,” she reminded him, dropping her head to his chest. Panic gripped her. She knew she needed to do the whole talking through her feelings thing, but that was a lot easier said than done.

“Hey,” Aidan said, and when she didn’t look at him, he wound his hand in her hair and gently tugged until she lifted her face.

“What?” she asked, more than a little defensively.

His eyes had softened—when did that happen?—and he kissed her softly. “You take your time,” he whispered.

Stunned, she stood there.

Not Aidan. He went back to nuzzling now, making a low, very male sound deep in his throat, like maybe she was the best thing that had happened to him all day.

And then there were his hands. Big and somehow both rough and incredibly tender at the same time, slipping down her back to squeeze her ass—which elicited another of those sexy growls from him, damn him—and then up and beneath her shirt.

He was hot, too hot, body heat radiating off him, and that feeling she’d had that something was off came back. He was leaning on her again and breathing fast. Too fast.

All hard to focus on when his hands cupped her breasts. He groaned, maybe because she wasn’t wearing a bra. She might have asked him, but his work-roughened fingers rasped over her nipples and she couldn’t form a sentence.

“You smell good,” he murmured. “And you feel good. So fuckin’ good, Lily.”

Giving in, she ran her hands over him, too, unzipping his sweatshirt, peeling it off, letting it fall to the floor. This left him in his dark blue firefighter polo. “Aidan, why’s your shirt wet?”

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