“Not until you tell me why she’s here.”

“Really don’t have time for this right now, man.”

“He really doesn’t,” Penny piped in. “What he does have time for, my dear brother-in-law, is a quickie. Since I know you don’t want details, we’re going to hang up now. Oh, and don’t forget the board meeting in twenty minutes, and the staff meeting after that for the upcoming Tough Mudder event.”

“I’m coming,” Aidan said.

“Me too,” Penny said cheerfully, and disconnected the call.

Aidan shook his head and rubbed his eyes to dispel the images of Gray and Penny knocking it out, but he’d probably need an entire bucket of bleach for that.

And shit. He still had to call Lenny, who answered sounding hung over.

“What?” Lenny snapped, not friendly.

“We need to talk,” Aidan said.

“No can do, compadre. Got a date with my bed.”

“It’s important,” Aidan said. “It’s about work.”

“I called in sick today. I’m off the clock.”

“Sick or hung over?” Aidan asked.

There was a pause. “We used to agree those two were one and the same.”

“That was before we got responsibilities,” Aidan said.

“Aw, shit,” Lenny grumbled. “Don’t talk down to me, man. And I haven’t had any caffeine yet. This conversation is way too heavy without caffeine.”

Aidan scrubbed a hand down his face. Lenny wasn’t taking this seriously, but Aidan felt a huge responsibility. He’d been the one to vouch for Lenny when he’d needed a job. “I’m coming over after my meetings,” he said, reluctantly realizing that this was going to require a face-to-face.

There was another beat of silence and then all levity drained from Lenny’s voice. “Just say what you want to say.”

“Not what I want to say,” Aidan said. “But what needs to be said. This DUI is strike two—”

“You’re counting?” Lenny asked in disbelief. “You? The guy who once got arrested for possession of pot?”

Aidan had been sixteen and stupid. No doubt. But he’d grown up in the decade plus since then.

Way up.

“Lenny, you got a DUI when your job is to drive large pieces of equipment. Our insurance company—”

“Skip the legalese,” Lenny said. “I get it. You hired me when no one else would. You’re a saint, I’m a world-class fuckup.”

“You’re not—”

“Let’s not sugarcoat anything,” Lenny said. “I messed up last night and I know it, okay? It won’t happen again.”


“I promise you, A.”

Aidan closed his eyes. Lenny’d had it rough. He’d grown up with a distant great-uncle who’d preferred the assholery technique of parenting. He’d recently been dumped by his girlfriend. Lenny needed this resort job, and he needed Aidan’s friendship. Which wasn’t so hard to give when Aidan could still remember all the times Lenny had stood at his back. When they’d been accused of cheating on a math test in seventh grade. When he’d gotten in a fender bender with a local cop. When he’d found out he had two younger brothers and a sister, and that his dad was a spineless bag of dicks. “A DUI for you has consequences,” he said reluctantly. “Your job requires you to have a license.”

“Shit.” Lenny blew out a breath. “I was barely over the legal limit—”

“This isn’t up to me,” Aidan said. “It’s a done deal.”

There was a long silence. “You firing me?”

“No,” Aidan said. “But you have to be suspended until you get your license back, and it can’t happen again.”

“I know. I’ll get this straightened out and be done with it.”

Aidan only hoped that was true. They disconnected, and he eyed the time. He’d hoped for something big to stall him so he couldn’t hit the board meeting, but since that hadn’t happened, he got into his truck to make the drive up Pine Pass Road to the lodge at Cedar Ridge Resort. In winter this could take twenty minutes or more, but today, in early summer with no weather to slow him down, it took five.

Gray handled the day-to-day running of the resort, one of the last family-owned mountain resorts in Colorado. Though “owned” wasn’t exactly accurate. Thanks to their dear old dad, they had a very large balloon payment due next year and it was breathing down their necks.

If they went under, they’d lose the only place they’d ever called home, not to mention the fact that they seasonally employed half the town of Cedar Ridge. A mass unemployment would hurt more than just the Kincaids.

Not that they’d get any help from town. Cedar Ridge wasn’t that big, but the people in it had long memories, and over the years Aidan had heard it all.

Those Kincaids will never amount to anything.

Those Kincaids, they’d hustle their own mama.

Those Kincaids run with the devil.

Hard to argue the truth. If it’d been just Aidan, he wouldn’t give a shit if the resort crashed and burned. To him, the legacy and his father’s memory were tainted by the vastness of the man’s betrayal. Aidan had absolutely zero loyalty to his dad. But for his siblings and his mom, who’d been hurt way too much, he’d do anything and everything, even though the Kincaids could’ve been pictured in the dictionary under dysfunction. But one thing they did and did well was stick together.

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