When I stirred the next morning it was to total silence. I rolled over and spotted Max sleeping in a chair next to me. I watched him, remembering the love he emanated the night before. Did I really pick up those emotions from him? I couldn’t be certain, last night was too hazy. It may have just been a dream.
I sighed, pushing the memory aside to dwell on later and glanced at the clock, still early, good. I wanted to get out of the house and up to the springs as soon as I could. I snuck out of bed and into my closet, put on several layers of clothes, and packed my backpack. Sleep had such amazing healing properties, I felt refreshed. I was on a mission. I peeked at Max to make sure he was still sleeping, then silently descended the stairs.
Chase and Killer were also asleep by the fireplace. I tiptoed by them and started the drip coffee machine, no need to wake them with the espresso machine. I slipped by them again, into the solarium, and glanced out the windows. Snow flurries, fog, and dark gray clouds lined the horizon. We were snowed in. So much for my mission, I grumbled. I remained stuck in the house with Max.
Sighing heavily I went back into the kitchen and stashed my backpack. I poured some coffee into a mug and proceeded quietly to the back door with my boots, jacket, and other paraphernalia. I lightly tugged on the door, opening it without making any noise, and managed to get out without creating a landslide of snow. My feet sunk into the light fluffy stuff and disappeared. I stepped back, up against the wall, lit a smoke, and drank my coffee.
If I couldn’t get out of my own house maybe the psycho-man thing couldn’t get out of the cave. I thought about Max’s snowmobiles and wondered how he got here. Most likely on Ace, but I walked to the front deck anyway to make sure. I’d definitely get out of here on one of those. No snowmobile in sight, and I might as well re-enter the house from the front door, Max was awake and getting more upset by the minute.
Bracing myself, I stomped my feet as I opened the door. “Good morning,” I said, trying to remove some anxiety from the room before I stepped fully into the house.
The tension left the room faster than I thought it would, Max smiled at me.
“Told you,” Chase said, yawning.
Chase raised his arms and arched his back, his phone started to ring. He grunted in mid stretch before hitting the speaker on his phone, “Yeah.”
“We’re snowed in,” Alexis chirped. “You should get dressed and come down here; we’ll build a snowman and make snow angels. I’ll even brew you up some hot chocolate mixed with coffee and make you breakfast.”
Chase winked at me. They wanted me to be alone with Max, and weren’t being subtle about it.
“Let me call you back when I’m awake, then I’ll stop by.”
I shook my head no behind Max’s back as he turned around grinning at me. Oh boy, I knew where his thoughts were. He was standing there, wearing just his black sweats, looking totally sexy, and staring at me like I was breakfast.
“I’m going back outside to shovel the deck,” I said, picking up a snow shovel. It took every bit of strength I had not to check out his half naked, gorgeous body.
“Wait until I get dressed,” Max coaxed, “I’ll help you.”
“I’d rather not.”
The heat radiating from him started to envelope me or maybe it was the heat from me. I wasn’t sure. All I knew was that I needed to get outside and cool off quick. I turned toward the door; he grabbed my wrist, sending a volt of intense hot lightning licking through my body. Before Max or Chase could stop it I dropped to the floor.
“Let go of her now.” Chase’s words echoed around me.
Max squatted beside me, attempting to collect me into his arms, when a blurry Chase pushed him away, picked me up, and put me on the couch.
“Get a cool wet cloth from the kitchen,” Chase growled the order at Max
“Christ!” Max exclaimed, he hurried to kitchen and back, handing Chase a damp towel.
Chase pointed to the upstairs, motioning Max to leave while patting my face. I swatted his hand away, rested my head on his shoulder, and closed my eyes. Wow! And I thought Max was intense before. It was nothing compared to now.
“You’re burning up Montana.”
“It will pass.” I thought about Max upstairs. Blowing out a breath I opened my eyes and spied him standing in the hallway watching us.
“Get dressed Chase and help us dig out, so you can go play with Alexis and Trina.” I mumbled standing, still off balance.
“I’m not sure if I want to leave you here alone with him,” he whispered in my ear, glancing in Max’s direction.
“It’s too late for that.” I whispered back.
“Take care of her.” Chase told Max as he went to change.
Max strode up to me lifting his hand, as if to touch me. I stepped back. Max stopped short, dropping his hand back to his side. I could still feel little electrical pulses fluttering under my skin.
“Let’s get to it,” Max said, handing me a shovel. He took a step closer to me, brushed his lips across mine before realizing what he was doing, and stepped back. “I never meant for any of this to happen.” His voice was rough.
Ignoring him I stepped outside. The snow should have melted by now, I thought, with all of the heat pouring off me. At least I wished my body heat would melt the snow, because it was piling up higher than before, and we hadn’t even started shoveling yet.