Rescue Me | Chapter 19 of 25

Author: Susan May Warren | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 1934 Views | Add a Review

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15

NO MATTER HOW MUCH YELLOW PAINT THEY USED, everything seemed brutally gray.

“We need to get our hearts broken more often,” Jess said, setting her roller into the antique yellow paint bin. “We’ll have the house remodeled in record time.”

“If I eat any more gelato, I’m going to roll down the stairs.” Willow leaned on a paint-splattered stool, surveying the first truly finished bedroom. With the whitewashed antique fireplace, the window seat, and the pale yellow walls, it would be the perfect escape.

For any of them. Because Willow had noticed the distinct absence of one blond handyman around the house this week. Thankfully, Ty showed up once to help Jess put up Sheetrock in this very room, but for the most part, Jess had been upstairs, alone, the radio blaring, working out the kinks of her broken heart by spackling and sanding her walls, adding primer, and painting over the marks of her remodel.

She refused to talk about Pete or anything that might have happened to cause his sudden disappearance, and even Willow noticed her tight-lipped, dark moods when she returned from training at the ranch and probable run-ins with Pete.

Not that any of them had anything to say about their dismal love lives.

Jess mentioned seeing Ian at the hospital, and Willow could do the algebra. Ian plus Sam meant Sierra was probably swearing off men and dating for a while.

As for Willow, well, at least the dog still liked her.

From the doorway, where they’d affixed a baby gate, Gopher whined, pushing his snout into the holes.

“We’ll be done in a minute, Goph,” Willow said, standing up and grabbing a towel to wipe her hands. “I’ll get you some food.”

Which seemed to be the only thing she was good at—serving people their food. She’d picked up more hours at the Summit Café now that she didn’t have youth group responsibilities to weigh her down.

Apparently, Pastor Hayes had taken her resignation to heart. She’d half hoped someone might call and beg her to return. She’d even kept her cell phone charged in the faint hope of a text.

Nope.

Clearly, everyone—from the parents, to the youth group, Josh, and even Sam—sighed in relief when she walked out of their lives.

Because no, Sam hadn’t come back to her, despite his promise.

Not that she expected him to.

Nothing happened, he’d told Sierra.

Except something had happened. At least for her.

She’d fallen in love with a man she couldn’t have. Sure, she’d always had feelings for Sam, a high-level crush that she’d managed from afar.

Much different from getting up close and personal, inside Sam’s way-too-intoxicating attention, discovering the man underneath the darkness, the one who wanted to start living again . . .

Who had, in her arms, seemed exactly the man she’d dreamed about. Honorable, brave, sacrificing. No, she might never be healed from the pain of loving Sam Brooks.

The fact was, maybe she didn’t want to get over Sam. Didn’t want to purge from her memory those pale blue eyes searching hers, the feel of his arms around her, his words still resounding in her head.

You’re smart and beautiful and kind and the one I should have been kissing from the first.”

Which made her the most pitiful of all of the brokenhearted club.

She climbed over the gate, and Gopher started jumping up on her. She crouched down and petted the animal behind his ears. He leaned against her hand, and she laughed. “Oh, Gopher, you’re so easy to love.”

She got up and headed downstairs. Outside, a perfect blue sky pressed against the jagged, blackened Rocky Mountains.

A beautiful day for a walk in the park, one filled with sunshine, the last glimpse of fall, the smell of pine needles and the rich loam of autumn in the wind.

Willow choked back her own thought. With her luck, any step into the park would end up with a callout of the entire town in some sort of massive search for her.

She filled Gopher’s water bowl, filled another with puppy food.

A knock sounded at the front door, and for a second her heart gave a traitorous leap.

Especially when she spied the hazy figure of a man through the glass.

She opened the door, probably too eagerly, and then fought to keep her smile when she spotted Quinn.

It faded at the look on his face. His jaw tight, his mouth in a grim line.

“Quinn, are you okay?”

He shook his head, frustration nearly radiating off him. In fact, if she didn’t know better, she’d say she spotted tears in his eyes.

“Come in,” she said.

He shoved his hands in his pockets, looked away. “I need your help.”

She didn’t know why his words rushed joy through her—invariably any help from her would only end up front page news. Still, “What’s going on?”

“Bella’s parents! They still won’t let me talk to her. I show up every day on her doorstep, but they don’t believe me.”

Willow came out onto the porch. “Don’t believe what?”

“That I wasn’t trying to make out with Bella when I took her into the woods.” He turned, walked out to the edge of the porch. “I love her. And I was going to give her a gift. A necklace. Then the bear showed up and I lost it and—” He closed his eyes, as if in pain. “And now everyone thinks I’m a jerk.”

“Nobody thinks that.”

“I need to find the necklace.” He turned, his eyes in hers. “But my dad’s taken the keys, and I need a ride up to the pit.”

Oh.

“You’re the only one who believes in me, Willow.”

“That’s not true, Quinn.” Although, maybe . . .

“I just need to find the necklace, show them I’m not lying. Then maybe they’ll let me apologize to her, tell her . . .” He looked like he might cry again, his mouth a bud of anger. “My dad is going to send me to a prep school out East to finish out my senior year, and I have to tell her that I’m not going to forget her.”

His sweet gesture, the desperation in his voice . . . Oh, Willow was too much of a romantic.

“I’ll need to get back in time for my shift at the Summit.”

“I know exactly where I lost it,” he said, his eyes brightening.

“Let me get changed. Come in and say hi to Gopher.”

She heard the puppy barking as she changed into jeans, a sweatshirt, and hiking boots.

The sun turned her Jeep warm as they drove up to the pit.

“It’s at the overlook—you know the one, right?”

“Mmmhmm.”

They pulled into the pit, and she got out. The rain and snow from last weekend had stripped the remaining leaves from the oak and maple, leaving only the lush, rich pine. Still, the absence of leaves opened up the view of the mountain.

“It’s even prettier in the fall, without the leaves,” she said as she headed up the trail with Quinn. “I used to think the summer was the best time to hike the park, but fall gives you the best views when you’re in the foothills.” She shoved her hands into her pockets, the afternoon breeze filtering through her sweatshirt. “Sort of like getting a new perspective on your life.”

“Oh, good, another inspirational talk,” Quinn said. He looked over his shoulder, and she might have been offended, if not for his smile.

“Sorry.”

“It’s okay. You can’t help it. And I might miss it a little when I move.”

“Why is your dad sending you away?”

“He thinks I need to focus. I talked him into letting me stay through football season, but after that . . .” He shook his head. “He’s not budging on the Naval Academy.”

“Seems like a good place to hone those hero qualities,” she said.

“I thought out of everyone, you’d be against it.”

“Why?”

“Because . . . you always follow your heart. You don’t live by the rules. You do what you want. Sheesh, you grew up in a commune. That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard of.”

Hardly. “You know what growing up in a commune is like? My mom renounced her parental role, and suddenly, I only had my own rules to follow.”

“Awesome.”

“Not really. Imagine you have no one to turn to for advice. No one who pays attention to what you’re doing—or not doing. No one who shows up to make sure you’re okay. Quinn—your dad is a United States senator, and yet he shows up in your life. He’s been at the hospital, he led the parents in their vigil to find you, to pray, and frankly, the fact he cares enough about your future to hound you should tell you how much he loves you. It takes energy to show up—and yeah, maybe you don’t like his influence, but he’s not doing it to wreck your life. He’s doing it because he cares.”

Quinn said nothing.

“You have no idea what it feels like to know that there is no one who would go looking for you.”

She made a face at her own words. She sounded a little too needy, too pitiful.

Too much heart pinned to the outside of her body.

“You have someone who would look for you, Willow,” Quinn said.

She glanced at him, away from the breathtaking mountain views.

“When Sam was dying on the side of the mountain, he still begged Pete to let him go back to where you were waiting.”

Um, where she wasn’t waiting. “If he had, he would have died,” she said quietly. “They wouldn’t have gotten him out in time.”

Now all the sunshine had gone out of her day.

Quinn stopped at the overlook and stood at the outcropping, staring up at the magnificent rise of Huckleberry Mountain.

“My dad talks to our football team every year, and he tells this story about his life in the SEALs during Operation Desert Storm. A buddy of his was wounded and they called for an extraction but were pinned down by the enemy and couldn’t move. All he could do was wait for help. Said it was the longest six hours of his life as he waited for his fellow SEALs to get to them. But he talks about patience and trusting your team—he uses it as a metaphor for cooperation and teamwork.” Quinn looked at her. “You’re always helping everyone else. Maybe you should let someone else help you?”

She stared at him, her mother’s words finding her, winding in from a week ago. “Isn’t that what you Christians call grace—letting God love you, and letting that love change you?”

“When did you get so smart?” she said.

“Hey. I listen.” Then he offered a crack of a smile. “Is this where we sing?”

She gave him a push. “Let’s find that necklace for your one true love.”

Funny, he didn’t contradict her.

“We were sitting here,” he said, moving over to a boulder, a natural seat in the overlook. “I had the necklace box in my hand, and that’s when I spotted the bear. I don’t remember much after that.”

Willow had walked over to the boulder and began to search around it, then into the woods.

“You know, we all listen, Willow. Like Vi—she outed Dawson to their parents, and he’s going into counseling, as well as getting a tutor. Zena applied to some photography school in Missoula. And Maggy and Gus are dating. Riley is organizing some kind of youth group event. I think even Josh listened to you. He told us in youth group meeting this week that we should remember that God kept us safe. And that if we think we can save ourselves, we’re missing the point of the whole Bible, or something to that effect. It sounded like something you would say.”

Quinn was on the other side of the trail, kicking through the weeds. The wind picked up, rushed through the woods, stirred up a scent.

Something feral.

She lifted her head.

“I found it!” Quinn said, bending to work from the wet soil the damp and mangled box.

“Quinn.” She stepped toward him, searching for the source of the smell.

He stood, opened the box. “It’s okay.”

“Quinn.” She put her hand on his shoulder, dug her fingers in.

“It’s still here.”

“Uh, yeah, it is,” she said quietly, her voice dropping to a guttural whisper.

Maybe it was the change in her tone, or perhaps her grip on his shoulder, maybe even the shift of wind carrying the rank scent, but Quinn slowly looked up.

Froze.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

divider

The ache in Sam’s chest was only getting worse.

And it had nothing do with surgery, or the three broken ribs. Or the fact that his mother was determined to make him leave her condo about twenty-five pounds heavier than when he arrived a few days ago.

Sure, he could have gone home, but Pete seemed to think trading places with him—letting Mom fuss over him—might be exactly what Sam needed to get back on his feet.

The home-cooked chicken casseroles helped, but he needed a remedy for the bereft, hollow place inside. He didn’t want to be a sap and label it as a broken heart, but with a bandage across his chest, with his ribs wired into place, the only explanation for the way the great cavity inside seemed to expand with each day was because he ached for the only remedy that would heal him.

Willow. Her smile, the way she could wheedle right through all his dark layers with her light, make him laugh, and cry, make him want to lose his mind with frustration and . . .

The idea of not having her in his life could drive him out of bed to pace the cold floor.

His mother found him this morning, staring vacantly out the back window at the mountains. She’d touched his back, taken the wooden spoon from his hand, and turned the heat off his overcooked eggs.

Sat him down in the chair to point out the obvious.

“You love this girl, don’t you?”

Sadly, she thought she was talking about Sierra, and he couldn’t take it. “No. I don’t. But . . .”

It came out in a story that took three cups of coffee and his mother making him a fresh omelet, bacon, and three pancakes.

“So, you are in love, just with the other sister,” she said, handing him syrup.

Love? “If love means feeling as if I’m drowning or can’t take a full breath or even as if there’s something alive and burning in my chest—I don’t know if I want it.”

His mother slid her hand over his. “It’s just because you’re afraid, Sam. You’re terrified of giving away your heart. But if you give it to the right person—Willow—she’ll keep it safe.”

“She doesn’t want to see me.”

“You’ll never find out if you don’t get out of that recliner and go after her. C’mon, it’s time for you to live a little.”

He retired to his recliner, her words cooking inside him.

Until a knock at the front door, sometime after he’d woken up from a nap.

His mom came down the stairs. Please let it not be Chet. The man had been awkwardly here for the past three evenings, watching television, eating his mother’s dinners, and generally making Sam want to run from the room.

Since when did his mother have male friends? Especially a widower? He didn’t buy the “we’re just friends” line from Chet. Not at all. Chet might be nearing his sixties, but he was still a man.

“Sam, you have guests,” his mother said, and Sam pushed pause on the remote, stilling the current Arrow episode. His brother had him hooked on all things comic book.

Reliving the years they’d missed together, apparently.

“Hey, Deputy Sam.” Gus’s voice led his way up the stairs. He wore a Mercy Falls Mavericks sweatshirt and had his hat on backward, his blond curly hair spilling out the sides and back. He flashed his signature good-ole-boy grin. “We came to pry you out of your chair.”

We?

Maggy appeared right behind him, looking cute in a pink T-shirt and a fresh haircut, a soft curly bob that took about ten pounds off her face. And makeup. Huh.

“Josh and Riley are putting together a pizza thing. We’re on strict orders to drag you down to the Summit.”

The Summit. Where Willow worked. Sam kept his voice easy. “Really? Now?”

Gus grabbed the remote off the edge of the chair. “I hate to drag you away from Oliver Queen, but your fans are calling.”

His fans?

Maggy set his cowboy boots next to the chair, held his leather jacket. “We never got to thank you for saving us out there. It’s a fan party.”

His mother stood by the door, wearing a strange smile.

“I wasn’t the only one who saved you. We all worked together—the team, and Josh, and, of course, Willow.” In fact, he’d been sitting here for five days rolling Sierra’s words through his thick skull. “One of these days you’re going to figure out that you need to be rescued just as much as the next guy.”

Maybe more than the next guy. “And God.”

“Yeah, yeah, we know. Put your boots on.”

He pulled on his boots, grabbed his jacket, and refused to ask if Willow would be joining them.

But as they drove into town, him sitting on Gus’s bench seat, Maggy behind them, he couldn’t help but notice that the simmer in his chest only stirred to life.

If she was there, he’d . . . what? Apologize, yes. And then . . . He wanted to tell her that she was beautiful and smart and brave and that he’d been a coward—a problem he didn’t realize he’d had in spades until last weekend.

He’d meant what he said to Pete. He wasn’t going to live in darkness anymore. So, God, if you’re listening, please. Rescue me. Please help me put this thing between Willow and me back together.

They pulled up to the Summit and Sam got out, took a breath of crisp late-afternoon Saturday air. Maybe Willow would be inside and be willing to forgive him.

It couldn’t be that easy, of course, because when he walked in, Willow wasn’t at the long soda bar, wasn’t waiting tables.

Instead, Zena stood near the door to the party room. She waved at him, and he headed to the back, followed by Maggy and Gus.

Inside, three pizzas sat on elevated serving platters, pitchers of Coke all around. Josh and Ava sat at the head of the table, Josh looking better than he had last time Sam saw him, his nose bandaged.

“Surprise!” said Vi, who was sitting in a chair with her leg in a cast.

“He knew about it, Vi,” Gus said, letting go of Maggy’s hand. “We told him.”

“It was supposed to be a—oh, forget it. Where’s Willow?” Vi asked.

“She’s not at home.” This from Dawson, who came in with Riley, right behind Gus. “Jess said she left a couple hours ago with someone—she didn’t see who. A guy, she thought.”

Sam tried not to let Riley’s words find footing.

“I can’t get ahold of Quinn.” Bella came into the room, holding her cell phone. “It keeps ringing like it’s on but then goes to voice mail.” She slid onto a chair, bit her lip. “He was so mad after he left my parents’ house. I’m afraid he’s going to do something stupid. Like run away.”

That caught Sam’s attention. “What do you mean, so mad?”

“They still won’t let us talk to each other. Quinn stood outside on the stoop for a half hour trying to reason with my dad. He finally left. Now I can’t get ahold of him, and I’m worried. He wouldn’t do something stupid, would he?”

For a woman he loved? It seemed that a man couldn’t love a woman without doing something spectacularly stupid.

“Where could he have gone? My dad accused him of terrible things. Said Quinn had taken me up to the overlook to . . .” She made a face. “Quinn was so mad.”

“I just wish I could prove to him that I’m not the guy he thinks I am.”

“I know where he is,” Sam said before he could stop himself. Bella looked at him, surprise on her face.

“He was going to give you a necklace that night—but it got lost. I’ll bet he’s up at the overlook searching for it.”

As he watched, Bella’s expression turned white, her hand moving almost instinctively toward her bandaged arm.

Sam glanced at Gus, who nodded.

“Can I grab some pizza on my way out?” Gus reached for a napkin.

Sam was reaching for his phone when it came alive in his hand. He read the number.

And then he didn’t know what to think. “Willow?”

He could barely hear her; her voice cut into a whisper. “Sam?”

“Yeah, I’m here.” He closed his eyes.

Just hearing Willow’s voice allowed him to take a full, fresh breath. To calm the swirl inside. He turned away from the kids, toward the door. “I need to talk to you—”

“Sam—”

“I know I hurt you—”

“Sam—”

“—and I’m so sorry, I’ll never—”

“Sam!”

“—do it again, if you’ll just let me—what?”

He stopped talking when she took a deep, ragged breath.

“I’m with Quinn. We’re up at the pit—and we’re in trouble.”

That’s when he heard it—the guttural, feral growl reverberating through the phone.

He froze as he imagined Willow putting her hand over her mouth, maybe trying not to scream.

He was trying not to scream.

“Willow, stay where you are. Don’t move. I’m coming to you.”

Then he hung up, looked at Gus, and started moving toward the door. Pressed speed dial as he hit the street.

Pete picked up on the second ring. “’Sup?”

Sam held out his hand for Gus’s keys. Good boy, he handed them over.

Sam only took a quick breath, skipping right over the past, into the present. No, the future, to the truth. “Pete, get the tranq gun and meet me at the pit. I need you, bro.”

divider

“We should run.”

Quinn spoke quietly in Willow’s ear, his voice so muffled she almost didn’t hear it.

Or maybe she’d simply thought it. Because as the sun began to set, she did the math. Once the sun went completely to bed, darkness would descend.

They’d have no idea where the bear would be. Make that bears, plural, because right behind Mama Grizzly, with the silver mane and the gray-black jowls, lingered two cubs about six months old.

Not a small grizzly, either. Maybe four hundred pounds, the size of a buffalo. Her powerful limbs had ripped apart a downed tree, and she was rooting through the log for insects.

The cubs dove in, ate their fill, then lay in the middle of the path, out for a lazy sunning.

Quinn hunkered down next to Willow, who was hidden in the brush and looking for a nearby tree to climb. He’d dropped his phone on the path, and every time it vibrated, a thread of terror tightened around Willow.

So far, the animal hadn’t come over to investigate, but as it moved toward them up the trail, she prayed the battery would die.

The cell phone ringing did press into her brain one thought.

Sam.

Nothing else but that emerged, and even as she pulled out her phone and dialed his number, she had to roll her eyes at the sheer absurdity of calling Sam to her aid, again.

Certainly she was the last person he’d want to hear from.

Except, he was a rescuer—and even if he didn’t love her, he’d show up.

“I know I hurt you, and I’m so sorry, I’ll never do it again . . .”

She barely registered his words until after she’d hung up the phone, after he’d said the most important part.

“Don’t move. I’m coming to you.”

How she wanted to believe that it wasn’t just his heroism that ignited those words.

But she’d gladly take just heroism at the moment.

She watched through the foliage as the bear wandered past them, stopped for a moment at the overlook, then moved up the trail. Mud matted its fur, and she could smell the rank odor of feces and rot and not a little blood. It wore a jagged scar on its shoulder, which was infected and seeping.

Willow covered her nose to keep herself from gagging.

“It’s moving up the trail. If we don’t go now, we’ll be stuck here all night.” Quinn started to move, but she grabbed his shirt.

He looked back at her, his eyes wide, probably from fear but also the adrenaline pulsing in his veins. She felt it too, the bolt impulse.

Especially since the animal and the cubs had moved past them, maybe kept going.

Except: “Don’t move.”

She couldn’t get Sam’s words, his soft, solid voice, out of her head.

No, not Sam. Because the words went deeper, into her bones, resounding through her.

Be still.

Yes, there it was again, finding her heart, her soul.

That was her problem, wasn’t it? She just couldn’t . . . wait. Couldn’t curb her fear that no one would want to rescue her. So she jumped out ahead, on her own. Saving herself.

Quinn edged forward, his breath shallow.

Be still.

She put her hand on Quinn’s back. “Shh.”

Quinn hunkered down next to her, his voice low. “We need to go now, before we lose the light. With the bear and her cubs behind us, we can outrun—”

“No.”

“Willow.”

“We’re staying.” She pitched her voice as low as she could make it. “First, now we’re upwind, so if we go out there, we’re going to smell like a piece of pizza that’s been sitting under the warmers. Second, bears can run something like forty miles an hour. I’m not sure about you, but I can’t top a seven-minute mile.”

The old saying about not being able to outrun a bear as long as you could outrun the person behind you flickered through her mind.

Yeah, well, she’d be bear bait.

“Run if you want, but I’m not leaving. As your former youth leader, I don’t want to see you become a tasty snack. Stay here. Sam is on his way.”

“That was fifteen minutes ago.”

“He’ll be here.”

She pressed her head into the forest floor.

Be still.

She counted her heartbeat, forcing herself not to panic, even when she heard the rooting of the bear, a low growl, way too close.

Quinn hadn’t moved, but he’d begun to tremble.

“Quinn,” she whispered. “We’re going to live through this. You’re going to give Bella the necklace and tell her that you love her. Then you’ll find your dad and thank him for offering you a decent education.”

Quinn looked at her, his golden brown eyes shining in the fading light. “And you’re going to tell Deputy Sam that you love him.”

She froze, and the slightest smile tweaked up Quinn’s face.

“I don’t—”

“Oh yes, you do. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.”

Okay, yes. But, “He doesn’t want me. If he did, he would be—”

“On his way to save you?”

“That’s his job.”

“He could have sent Pete. Or Gage. Or Ty.” He lifted a shoulder. “But it was his panicked voice that said”—and Quinn affected Sam’s low baritone—“I’m coming for you.”

Huh. “You heard that?”

“Hard not to—he was practically shouting.”

Branches snapped not far from them. The darkness had fallen to almost lethal shadows, and she strained to look out onto the path.

Then, a feral roar lifted into the night, the kind that could strip the bones from her skin and leave her crumpled.

It happened so fast, Willow struggled to sort it out.

Branches breaking, something barreling through the forest. Something—no, someone—landed on her and covered her entire body with his warm, solid protection. He put his arms around her head. “Don’t move.”

On the trail, feet thundered and shouts rang out.

Another roar shredded the twilight; the grizzly exploded down the trail toward them.

Then, the voice beside her. “Now, Pete!”

The thump of a tranquilizer gun—one dart, two, another.

And all that time, Sam hunched over her, his elbows bracketing her shoulders, his head down beside hers, his long legs tucked around her.

Shielding her body with his.

“She’s down!” Pete said. Two more shots. “Cubs are hit.”

Only then did Willow realize that she was shaking.

“Shh,” Sam said softly, his voice in her ear, steady, tender. “It’s over.”

Next to her, Quinn got up, launched himself out through the forest, to the trail.

Sam, however, simply held her, his hands on her arms, his forehead against her neck. He seemed to be trembling. “It’s okay,” he said, his voice roughened. “You’re okay.”

He took a breath and sat back.

She rolled over, sat up.

He was sitting on the forest floor, breathing hard, looking a little stripped. He wore a flannel shirt, his jeans, his hair rucked up as sweat trickled down his face. Such a handsome face, even in the purples of twilight. The bruises from last week had healed, just the slightest gray over his eye, and the cut on his cheek was now a thin line. The barest layer of whiskers darkened his jaw, and his eyes were so devastatingly blue and filled with something she couldn’t quite place.

Or maybe . . . love? Shining out from a heart that he wore right there, on the outside of his body. “Willow, you really scared me.”

She couldn’t speak. Couldn’t move. Then, in a whisper, “You came for me.”

“I told you I would.” The warmth in his eyes elicited a shiver, right down her spine, and he reached out, cupping her face with his hand. “I’m so sorry it took me so long.”

“You got here just in time—”

“No, Willow. I’m sorry it took me so long to stop being a fool. To come to you and tell you that I love you.” He said it without pause, no fear, and even chased it with a smile. “I love you so much that I can’t breathe if you’re not around me. If you don’t say you love me back, I might just—”

“I love you, Sam. I have for a while now. You make me feel smart and beautiful and—”

“It’s because you are smart and beautiful. And brave. And—”

She kissed him. Curled her hand in his shirt and pulled him to herself, just in case he thought he could escape.

Which, apparently, he had no intention of doing because he put his arms around her and dove in. The kind of kiss that told her that, while she’d started it, he’d take it from here. That she didn’t have to worry about who wanted whom, or if he’d show up.

He poured everything he had into his touch, all his heart, no fear, no darkness. Pure light.

All Sam.

He finally gave a soft, sweet groan of desire and broke away, just as she decided that she could stay forever tucked into the piney forest of the Rocky Mountains with Sam in her arms.

“We’d better get going before Pete decides you need rescuing,” Sam said, winking.

“Or you.”

“Oh,” he said, helping her up, catching her in his arms, his eyes sparking with mischief, with life, “I’ve already been rescued.”

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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