Little did Pete Kenyon know on the day of his father’s funeral, he would get a call to find a missing hiker and meet the love of his life. Of course, trust doesn’t come easy for an abused kid who grew up in a drug den. Then there’s the puzzle of his uncle’s threats to stay away from the house and land he just inherited. Can Gabriel and the team get there in time when Pete finds out the truth?
“Are you going to get your ass moving over there, or just keep looking at the rock?” Treb’s voice broke through his thoughts.
Gabriel climbed another ten feet. Tipping his head up, he estimated there was about twenty more to go. Treb was just a little ahead of him, but the smaller wiry man had a tough out-crop coming up and was going to have to take his time getting over it.
The warmth of the sun heated Gabriel’s back as he advanced a few more feet, and he was glad for the small breeze that kept him from overheating.
This last week had gone well. It had been decided that he would stay at Cade’s until he found a place of his own. The rest of the team had finally made it back about two days after his arrival and there had been a team-meeting the next day. He had learned then that the team met at Cade’s for a meeting every week, although everyone was in and out of Cade’s office most days.
With one last foothold and using his arm strength, Gabriel made it over the ridge and landed on his back, taking a moment to catch his breath and look up at the bright blue cloudless sky. Seconds later Treb was joining him just a few feet away.
“So, you want to tell me why Pete got all flustered when Damian asked him how everything went, when he took the helicopter out on a rescue with you?” Treb asked.
Gabriel blinked. He really had two choices dealing with the deadly man. He could answer him honestly. Or, he could answer him honestly. The only one scarier than Treb on the team was Cade’s brother Shane, who everyone called, Commander. Gabriel knew a few moves of his own, but he wasn’t foolish enough to take on either of those men.
“You’re taking too long to answer and thinking too much. Am I going to have to cut something off to get you to talk?” Treb asked.
Gabriel would have laughed, but he knew Treb wasn’t kidding. “I’m interested in Pete.” There, he said it. Now he had to see how long it took before he would be fighting for his life.
“Interested, as in screwing? Dating? A hot and now? Or a forever?” Treb’s voice had gone cold and calm. The hair on Gabriel’s arms stood up straight. Shit.
“I want to spend more time with him. Get to know him better,” Gabriel answered. “But I’m planning on a forever.”
Treb was quiet for a long time and Gabriel started contemplating his chances of ever being able to walk again if he threw himself off the rock cliff they had just climbed.
“I’m getting thirsty and I’m sure Damian has left some food in the refrigerator. Want to come over for a beer?” Treb asked.
Gabriel deliberately didn’t look at the belt around Treb’s waist that held a half-full bottle of water. “Sure, that would be great,” he answered.
* * * *
Pete picked up his fork, ready to work on eating a group of large meatballs, swimming in rich red sauce, covering a huge plate of spaghetti. It was good to be back and sitting at Damian’s table ready to discuss any concerns about the planes. They would also go over the maintenance and flying schedules.
“How was the trip? Did Iowa treat you right?” Damian asked.
“It went okay, no problems,” Pete answered. Carefully he separated the meatballs so they weren’t touching each other, before cutting them up into smaller pieces.
“I was a little surprised that you stayed there instead of coming back right away. The clients had said upfront that their meetings would last almost a week, if not more.”
Pete stared at his plate of food. He should have known Damian would eventually ask. His intension had been to find as many hookups as he could, so that when he came back, he could withstand Gabriel’s charms and leave the man in the dust.
Except, that awesome plan completely backfired. Gabriel kept calling and Pete couldn’t stop himself from looking forward to every second of those calls. Meeting men in the bars every night was easy. Taking it a step further, was like hitting a solid wall of ice. He wanted no part of it. He wanted Gabriel’s warm strong arms wrapped tightly around him.
“I just thought a few days in the city would be fun.” Yep, that sounded lame.
“My Treble thought life was easier if he avoided emotions and complications,” Damian said.
Pete looked at Damian, not sure what the man was getting at.
“It took a bit of doing, but Treble eventually found out that life is so much better when you share it with someone.” Damian’s tone was so calm and kind, but his face was very serious.
“What are you trying to say?” Pete asked.
“Five years ago, I gave you the opportunity to get out of that hole you grew up in. I know you hated having to leave your cousin behind, but you did everything you could to help him, and still are. In that time I’ve watched you grow stronger and heal more every day.” Damian set his fork down and folded his hands over his plate. “The Rescue for Hire Company is a team of men who have to work closely together to be as outstandingly successful as they are. That closeness has also made them a family. The kind of family that worries, cares, supports, and meddles in each other’s business.”
“What has that to do with me? I’m your employee.”
“How’s Gabriel adjusting to working with Jack and the rest of the team?” Damian asked, changing the subject abruptly.
“He really likes it. He says it’s the perfect fit for him and he’s been working hard to be ready for their first rescue together,” Pete answered automatically. Then he saw the huge smile on Damian’s face and knew he had been busted.
“Welcome to the family, Pete,” Damian said.