He’d taken his time driving up the mountain. Nine thousand feet was pretty damn high, but most of the way the brilliant colors of September trees had given him some peace.
Dan Hogan was on leave, away from the burning sands of Afghanistan or the warm Pacific of Coronado Beach. He hadn’t been in the mountains in a long time. Three years, he figured, although he didn’t measure time in years but in missions.
Parking the rental Jeep next to Renee’s old Outback, he figured she knew he was there, would have heard the car amongst all this silence. As he stepped out of the vehicle, he registered the speed of the wind on his face, the height of the sun by the length of the shadows, the underscore of quaking Aspens and somewhere close, a creek. When he finally looked at the cabin he was there to fix up, Renee Crocker opened the door and stepped out on the front porch.
Seeing her again made his chest tight and his cock pay attention. They weren’t even lovers, but try telling his johnson that when she was so damn beautiful. He’d thought about it, so had she. Talked about it. But the timing had never worked out in college, then he was in training, and once he made it as a SEAL he’d decided it would be better not go there. Ever.
“You waiting for applause or something?” she asked, folding her arms across her chest. Her dark hair was windblown and wavy, cut blunt above her shoulders. Last time he’d seen her it had been red, a deep red that matched her temper, but this looked good, too. Not as dramatic, but then she was stuck way the hell up on a mountaintop in Utah for a year, so who did she need to be dramatic for? He was pretty sure he recognized her worn-in jeans, but he hadn’t seen her in a flannel shirt before. He preferred her in softer clothes, dresses that showed off her legs, although he’d never tell her that.
“Getting my bearings,” he said. “It smells like Christmas.”
“Pine trees will do that,” she said. Then she smiled at him and the pressure in his chest relaxed. “I was about to have some lunch. Get your gear. You can scope out the cabin after.”
Visit the author: Jo Leigh
Jo Leigh has written over 50 books for Harlequin Inc, is a triple RITA finalist, and teaches writing whenever she can. She lives in a tiny Utah town with her many rescue pets, and sends care packages regularly to her nephew who is currently serving in Kabul, Afghanistan.