The wolves began to howl, the pack raced into the clearing, sniffed the air, and took off in a dead run, disappearing through the trees.
Blood flooded my ears, I sagged into his arms. He half dragged me, half carried me into his bedroom and sat me on his bed, gently he brushed the hair out of my face. The soothing motion helped the shock wear off. He gazed at me through intense eyes. I yanked him forward and kissed him, then pushed him away and sprang off the bed. I rushed downstairs, gun drawn, with Max close on my heels.
I threw open the door and skidded toward the snowmobile. I’d almost made it, but Max grabbed the back of my jacket and tugged. I lost my balance, my legs slid out in front of me and I landed flat on my butt. I sat there for a moment with my head in between my knees. The snow began soaking through my jeans; my whole body began to shake.
“Montana, are you all right?”
I sat up, tears streamed down my face. “I’m fine.” I said, howling with laughter. I really needed to get better control of my nerves.
“Good. Get up so I can kill you.”
That put me into a bigger fit of giggles as I stood up. “Whatever you need to do Max.” I put my hands up by my head, still holding my gun.
Max glared at me. He moved forward and slung me over his shoulder so fast it made my head spin. He marched back inside the house.
“What the hell do you think you were doing?” He growled, carrying me back up the stairs. “Drop the gun on my bed.”
I tossed the gun as he carried me into the bathroom and turned on the water in the shower.
I wrapped my arms tightly around his waist, “Don’t you dare.” He wrestled my arms loose, taking my jacket with him, and dumped me in the shower. I attempted to jump back out, but he pushed me back in.
“Stay there, you’re freezing cold!”
I didn’t feel cold until the warm water soaked through my clothes.
“Strip down so I can put your clothes in the dryer.”
I peeled my wet clothes off and threw them at him as hard as I could, getting his face and shirt wet. I knew I should have argued with him, but I was still in shock. I actually kind of got a glimpse of the “he creature.” I had an idea what I was looking for now. My first reaction had me rooted to my spot on the balcony, but my second was to hunt it down and kill it. Max had stopped me, which now that I thought about it, didn’t make any sense. We should have been out there chasing it down.
“No wonder you don’t have a man in your life,” he growled.
I stuck my tongue out at him and gave him the finger as he left the bathroom. The temptation to empty his shampoo and body soap down the drain over-took me, I was so mad. Instead of being childish and vindictive I turned off the water, plucked a towel off the rack, dried off, and put on his robe. I snuggled into it, marched back into his bedroom, avoiding him, and stood in front of the fire he’d just started.
I spun around and glared at him, seeing red. His arms were crossed in front of his chest and he glared right back at me.
“I am on vacation.” I said very softly, my hands balled into fists. “I’ve had it with this thing that is out there! My plans were to spend the winter alone, reading, sitting by the fire, and doing what I wanted to do! Not plying nice with other people and not being locked in my own house. You told me I was safe here,” my voice rose, “but that, that creature was hanging out in your pine trees, spying on me.” I took a deep breath. “You stopped me from finding it and killing it and you’re mad at me? This is my vacation Max; this thing has got to go! Why the hell aren’t we hunting it? It was right there!”
Max dropped his arms to his sides. “Damn, you’re cute when you’re mad.”
I groaned. I should have expected him to change the subject. “Where are my clothes, I’m going home.”
“Hold on Montana, your wet and your clothes aren’t dry yet. Sit down and I’ll get us some coffee.” He disappeared down the stairs.
I wasn’t ready to sit down, so I found a brush and brushed my hair with my head as close to the fire as I could get it. It wasn’t a blow-dryer, but it helped a little.
When Max came back with our coffee I sat down. “I’m sorry about earlier, I had no idea he was here. As far as I know this is the first time he’s ever been on my property. I heard the wolves scuffling around, searched the house for you, and then spotted you bent so far over the railing I thought you might fall. It scared and annoyed me at the same time.” He grinned.
I imagined one of his wolves grinning at me like that and shuttered.
“Emotions I’m not used to having. You drive me crazy Montana.”
“The feeling’s mutual.” I heaved out a sigh. “Any idea yet on why this thing wants me so bad?”
“No, and it’s still classified. I’m done with my calls and Chase should be at your house soon. We’ll head out in a few minutes.”
He was evading my questions and probably lying. I searched his eyes; he didn’t want me hunting the thing down. “I need my clothes.”
He snagged the coffee cup from my hand and killed the fire. “Follow me.”
The laundry room was well placed under the stairs and hidden by a door.
“This is cool.” I said, putting back on my semi-damp clothes. “Do you think your wolves might catch him?”
I wanted to ask him why not? But he’d probably just tell me I was cute again or something, so I let it drop.
We arrived back at my place without a problem. Max lent me his second snowmobile on the promise that I wouldn’t take off. It was a hard promise to make, but I managed to keep myself in check.
“Hey Chase. What’s with all the food?” Chase had already unloaded the truck by the time we reached the house, and over-stuffed bags covered every inch of my kitchen counter.
Chase gave me a huge grin. “Ask Max.”
I raised my eyebrow questionably at Max.
“Thanksgiving dinner, we’re having it here. After tomorrow I have to get back to work.”
“Who’s cooking?” I’m not big on cooking.
Max chuckled, “Chase and I.”
I grinned, “Good.”
After putting away the food I found two pizzas and placed them in the oven for dinner. When the timer beeped we took them into the living room and watched zombie movies until it was time for Chase to check on the animals. Max went with him. I wasn’t invited, of course.
I took Killer outside and lit a smoke. They hadn’t invited him either and both of us were starting to pout. Everything seemed as it should be, so I leaned against the railing and examined the stars while listening to the wind blow through the trees. The night was cold, but at the same time the chill was refreshing. I felt safe at this moment in time and decided to take advantage of it.
“You really shouldn’t be out here by yourself.” Max said softly, climbing up the stairs to stand beside me.
“All is right with the world and Killer is with me.”
“He wouldn’t be able to help you though.” Max slung his arm around my shoulder and held me close as we walked back inside.
“I’m going to bed,” I slipped out of arms, away from him, and covered a yawn at the same time. Having him this close made me uneasy, both in a good way and in a bad way. I was confused. He drove me crazy even though I was insanely attracted to him. Not to mention everything that was happening overwhelmed me and my life didn’t feel like my own anymore.
“I’m coming with you, I’ll be up as soon as I check the locks.”
Damn! I bounded up the stairs as soon as he turned his back and quickly changed into my nightshirt. I sat on the bed, putting on some purple fuzzy socks when Max emerged from my office.
“Nice socks.” He said disappearing into my closet. He strode back out with black sweatpants on and sat on the bed next to me.
“Your clothes are in my closet?” Why didn’t I know that?
“My horse is in your barn, I’m here most of the time, it shouldn’t surprise you that my clothes are in your closet.”
I rolled my eyes at his arrogance. “Just as long as you remember not to get on my bad side, I’ll be nice and keep a roof over both of your heads.”
He grinned, rolling his eyes at me. “I’ll remember, now climb under the covers with me.”
He tucked us under the covers and pressed against me, hand resting on my waist. His breathing was even and he was solid. It was bad enough I had to keep my eyes averted from his beautifully, muscled, naked chest when he’d sat by me, now the intimacy from his closeness produced a rush of heat and desire that filled every part of my spirit. My heart went into over drive.
“Relax Montana; I’m not going to bite. At least not tonight anyway, I’m exhausted.”
I relaxed in degrees, vaguely remembering snuggling deeper into his arms until sleep took over.