A Little Too Close – Madigan Mountain Read Online Rebecca Yarros

Categories Genre: Contemporary, Sports Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 105
Estimated words: 100202 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 501(@200wpm)___ 401(@250wpm)___ 334(@300wpm)

Just not taking pictures of the things she obviously loved.

She cocked her head at me. “But what about you?”

“What about me?” I put down the Going Bananas and reached across her this time, snagging the pint of White Chocolate Madness.

She snorted.

“What?” I took a bite. Good. It wasn’t on the same level as the orange, but it was good.

“What was your astronaut dream? Come on. I shared mine.” She nudged my shoulder with hers.

“I wanted to be one of the Freeride world champions. Extreme backcountry skiing. You know, real Warren Miller stuff.” Now I was the one shrugging.

“What stopped you?” She dug into her pint again. “It’s obviously not your genes…or the body.”

I lifted my eyebrows at her, and she grinned and took another bite. “Family stuff. My mom got sick, so I stopped competing. Then my only dream became flying the hell away from here, so that’s what I did once I was able—I flew.”

“And you came back.”

“Reed needed me to.” I went back to the orange. This shit was phenomenal.

A doubting smile played across her face. “You’re telling me that in the decade you’ve been gone, this is the only time Reed asked you to come back.”

“No. But it’s the only time he’s needed me to.” I focused on my pint, tucking away bigger mouthfuls.

She slowly took another bite, appraising me with those crystal blue eyes. “Huh. I can see that about you. You’re the guy who shows up when he’s needed.”

“Everyone shows up when they’re needed,” I argued.

She snorted. “No, they don’t. They like to think they do, but people who show up are rare.”

I lifted the spoon to my mouth twice but didn’t take the bite, weighing the option of asking, with the respect of, well…not. Curiosity won out. “Sutton’s dad?”

“No.” Surprise flared in her eyes, and she blinked rapidly, looking away. “Not Gavin. He was always…dependable, until he wasn’t.”

“You don’t have to tell me.” And yet, I really, really wanted to know. Where had he been that night in the rain a decade ago? Where was he now? Was she doing this all on her own? We locked eyes and she swallowed.

“We live together. We might as well know the basics,” she said, digging back into her pint with focus. “And I’d never want you to think Sutton wasn’t loved. Gavin died our freshman year in college when I was three months pregnant with Sutton.”

“I’m so sorry.” My stomach hit the floor, and I immediately regretted asking. Hadn’t I just been thankful she hadn’t gone digging into my past? And yet here I was, asking about hers.

“Thank you,” she replied softly. “We were high school sweethearts. Dated all through junior and senior year. Then we went off to USC together, and he got cancer and I got pregnant.”

“Holy shit.” I set my pint down on the counter.

“Yeah, it was a hell of a year.” She forced a smile and hopped off the counter, putting the lids back onto their matching pints. “Did you realize I only had a freshman photography class when you hired me that night?”

I thought back to the pelting rain that had turned to hail, and the silent tears of the blonde in my truck as I’d filled up the spare gas can. “Yep. I knew.”

“And yet you hired me as the resort photographer?” She lifted a brow and matched every pint but the one I was eating, then started to file them away in the freezer.

“I may have done it to fuck with my father for not keeping your appointment,” I answered, wincing slightly at how that sounded. “Not that he was ever really around during those days.” He’d been a raging alcoholic with a temper to match. “But mostly, I saw that you desperately needed the job, so I gave it to you. It was that simple.”

She leaned back against the refrigerator and smiled, shoving her hands into the front pocket of her Madigan Mountain hoodie. “See? You’re the guy who shows up when he’s needed.”

“I’m the guy who does what needs to be done.” I shrugged. “Why did you get into my truck that night? I could have been an axe murderer.”

“You’re not an axe murderer.”

“You didn’t know that.”

“While I was waiting for my interview, a little kid stumbled into the lobby all lost and helpless, and you sat her down with a blanket and cup of hot chocolate and started calling every room in the hotel to find her parents.” Her expression softened. “An axe murderer would have walked off with the kid and never returned.”

“Never liked kids.” I shrugged.

She laughed. “We’ve lived together for a week, and the only person I’ve seen you smile for is Sutton. You know that?”

“She’s funny.” The kid was blunt, which I appreciated. Reminded me of Crew when he was that age.

“Well, I’ve decided that I’m making it my personal mission to make you smile more often. It’s the least I can do for everything you’ve done for me.” She proclaimed it like the warning it was.