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)

“Everything in order?” the broker asked Theo.

“Serial numbers match up on everything,” Theo said with a nod, handing over the clipboard. “Ramos is still doing her once-over.”

Thankfully, Maria Ramos had been approaching her ETS date and been able to turn in her combat boots with us for this insane little venture. It was almost like the stars had aligned, or fate had smiled, or some other cliché bullshit. Either way, she was the best crew chief we’d had in our unit and the final piece I’d needed.

We left the building and stepped out into the early October air, where Maria was closing one of the compartments on the helicopter.

“How does it look?” I asked.

“Good,” she answered. “It’s well maintained. I mean, there’s every chance you two assholes could still fly it into the ground, but that would be pilot error.” She shrugged with a deceptively sweet smile.

We did the walk-around and I signed the last of the paperwork.

The broker reached out his hand and shook all three of ours in turn. “I wish you guys better luck than the last company that owned her.”

“What happened to the last company?” Theo’s brow furrowed, giving the helicopter a second look.

“Went under.” The broker shrugged. “Everyone thinks they have what it takes to own and manage a heli-skiing operation here, but…well…” Another shrug.

My ribs tightened like a vise.

“Anyway, I’ll go make some copies inside and then you guys are good to go.” The broker headed back into the terminal.

“They went under,” Maria said slowly, lifting her ball cap to tuck a strand of her brown hair back under the brim.

“Guess so.” I shoved my hands into the pockets of my cargo pants. Gone were the multicam flight suits and the rank on my chest I’d worked my ass off for. I was starting over from scratch—well, not entirely since I had Theo and Maria with me, but their support also meant I was responsible for them.

“West.” Theo turned and put his hands on my shoulders, looking me dead in the eye. “Look me in the eye and tell me this isn’t going to fail. I did not move my wife and kids to the whitest town in America—and I am not talking about the snow—for this to fail.”

“We’re not going to fail,” I assured him.

“Right. Now say it like you mean it.”

“We aren’t going to fail.” I cracked a wry smile and stepped back, taking in the clean lines of the Bell 212 and her shiny new paint. Failure wasn’t an option, not here, not with my family’s name on that paperwork.

“It’s not like we’re starting up on our own,” Maria added, zipping her jacket over her coveralls. “Scott signed for our new apartment last night, and he told me that little operation your family owns isn’t quite the mom-and-pop shop you described.” She tilted her head to the side. “I believe the words boutique resort came out of his mouth.”

“My brother Reed is expanding it,” I said by way of explanation. My friends knew everything they needed to for our business to succeed—my family was the owner of Madigan Mountain Resort, a small, family-oriented ski resort in Summit County, Colorado. They knew I’d been asked to open a heli-skiing operation to take Madigan Mountain up a notch. We weren’t competing with Breck or even A-basin or anything, but the expansion Reed was overseeing was going to catapult us in that direction. My friends also knew that I’d walked away from the resort, and every string that came with it, eleven years ago and hadn’t looked back once.

Not until Reed called nine months ago.

“You’re regretting this, aren’t you?” Theo asked, studying my face. “Because Jeanine is closing on a house I’ve never even seen before right now, and if you’re having second thoughts—”

“I just signed for a three-million-dollar aircraft.” I curled the brim of my hat, the only nervous gesture that eleven years in the army hadn’t cleared me of. “There are no second thoughts.”

“Good, because Scott is already unpacking,” Maria said, shooting me a sideways glance.

“We’re not going to fail,” I repeated. “I know these mountains like the back of my hand, and with us”—I looked over at Theo—“taking turns flying and guiding the backcountry tours, we’re going to be just fine.”

It was our love of backcountry skiing that had bonded Theo and I during the months we’d spent TDY in Europe that first year. The guy was just as good as I was, and I was damn good.

The broker came back from the terminal with a large blue folder that had his logo stamped across the front. “Paperwork is all here.”

“Thank you.” I took the folder. It wasn’t every day someone held his life in his hands, but here I was.

“You ever fly out of Leadville before?” the broker asked, two little lines appearing between his eyes.