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Dillon was staring at her as if he was shocked as well, though.
Bree took a second to enjoy big bad Dillon Alexander being struck dumb.
Then she decided to give Kit the time-out she clearly needed.
"Okay, Dillon," Bree said, pointing to the ambulance. "In there with the patient. Kit," she said to her friend. "Avery's car-go home. And change your shoes."
Kit looked down at her black-leather fashion boots. They were covered in blood and stuff that Bree didn't need to know the name of.
"I haven't dressed for a delivery in a long time," she said.
"Or for the snow, apparently," Dillon said.
"Ambulance," Bree repeated to him, pointing.
He got in, muttering.
Bree turned to Kit. "Wow. You two are something."
"Yeah." Kit was frowning at the departing ambulance. "I couldn't just let the woman go without helping."
Bree rubbed her hands up and down Kit's arms. "Honey, of course not. And even Avery and I are trained in emergency deliveries. I'm freaking glad you were the one here before me."
Kit gave her a small smile.
"Why do you let him get to you?" Bree asked. "Dillon Alexander is the only person in the world who could make you apologetic about what you did out here."
Kit shook her head. "I don't know. I hate it."
"Okay, well, you did good," Bree told her. It was too d.a.m.ned cold out here for a long conversation about Kit and Dillon-that could take days. And required liquor. "Now go home. Get warm."
"I've got Avery covered," Bree said.
She needed to help with the rest of the scene, but neither she nor Avery was going to be leaving until it was all wrapped up. She was going to be an ice cube by the time she got home. She hoped Max was ready and willing to thaw her out.
She couldn't help but grin at that. Of course he would be.
Bree watched Kit make her way to Avery's car, picking her way carefully over the slick ground in her boots. She'd never say it to Kit, but she agreed with Dillon's opinion of Kit's footwear.
A minute later, Kit drove off, and Bree headed toward the heart of the accident scene, shaking her head.
It was kind of sad that the craziest people in town were the doctor and the shrink.
She turned toward the familiar voice and felt her smile grow as the warmth spread through her body. Max was coming toward her.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
He caught her by her upper arms and pulled her in for a long, hot kiss.
When he let her go, Bree had to blink a few times and remember where she was.
"What was that for?" she asked, a bit breathless.
"There are lots of parts on you I don't want getting too cold out here, either," he told her with a grin.
That grin. It was almost the one he wore before bailing out of a plane. It was almost the one he gave a roomful of students before launching into a lesson about the weather or emergency management. It was almost the one he gave Jake and Dillon and his mom and dad. But it was even more than all of those. It was the grin he saved just for her. The one that said he'd never been happier.
There was absolutely no fear of her getting too cold out here. She could just conjure up that look on his face and she warmed right up.
But she was really glad he was here. "I'm nice and warm now," she a.s.sured him.
He gave her a wink. "I know."
"You sticking around?" she asked, knowing his answer would be "Of course."
That also warmed her. Max would always be there beside her when she was hang gliding or hiking or snorkeling. But he'd also always be there beside her protecting the people they loved and making the place they lived better.
"Awesome. Let's get to work, then," she told him, taking his hand and heading right for the middle of the excitement.
"Right beside you, babe."
She knew he was.
And the best part of all, it was never too cold for ice cream with Max around.
I grew up in Tornado Alley. Going to the bas.e.m.e.nt and spending the night there because of severe weather was a regular occurrence for us in the summer months. I was just a kid, living thirteen miles from Grand Island, Nebraska, on June 3, 1980, a night that would become known as the Night of the Twisters. That evening a tornado outbreak produced a series of seven slow-moving tornadoes in Grand Island over the course of only a few hours. It's been called an "unparalleled event in meteorological history."
There's no doubt that the seed for this series was planted way back then. I still remember that night. The days after. The fear and the sadness, yes, but I mostly remember the stories of bravery and hope and recovery.
To all the people who helped Grand Island recover after that night, thank you.
There are some really amazing resources out there about weather and tornadoes, including safety, spotting, recovery, and more. Knowing how to be safe in the event of a tornado, and the people who are dedicated to storm spotting and tracking, are the two things that stand between these destructive storms and people's lives.
Some of the websites that were instrumental in the writing of this book include:.
Grand Island Tornado National Weather Service page: www.weather.gov/gid/53032.
National Weather Service: www.weather.gov.
National Severe Storms Laboratory: www.nssl.noaa.gov/education/svrwx101/tornadoes/ Federal Emergency Management Agency: www.fema.gov/ Weather Underground: www.wunderground.com/resources/severe/tornadoFAQ.asp The Tornado Project: www.tornadoproject.com/index.html.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Erin Nicholas loves reluctant heroes, imperfect heroines, and happily ever afters. She's written more than thirty s.e.xy, contemporary romances, which have been described as "toe-curling," "enchanting," "steamy," and "fun."
Erin lives in the Midwest, where she enjoys spending time with her husband (who wants to read only the s.e.x scenes in her books), her kids (who will never read the s.e.x scenes in her books), and her family and friends (who claim to be "shocked" by the s.e.x scenes in her books).
MORE FROM ERIN NICHOLAS.
The Sapphire Falls Series.
Getting Out of Hand.
Getting Worked Up Getting Dirty.
Getting in the Spirit (Christmas novella).
Getting in the Mood (Valentine's Day novella) Getting It All Getting Lucky.
Getting Over It Getting to Her (novella) Getting to the Church on Time (wedding novella).
Getting His Hopes Up (a Hope Falls Kindle World novella) Getting Wound Up (crossover novel with Jennifer Bernard).
Getting His Way.
The Bradfords Series.
Just Like That Just My Type Just the Way I Like It (novella).
Just for Fun Just a Kiss Just What I Need: The Epilogue (novella).
The Anything & Everything Series.
Anything You Want Everything You've Got.
The Counting On Love Series.
Just Count on Me (prequel).
She's the One It Takes Two Best of Three Going for Four.
Up by Five The Billionaire Bargains Series.
No Matter What What Matters Most All That Matters.
The Boys of Fall Series.
Out of Bounds.
Illegal Motion Full Coverage Taking Chances.
Twisted Up Tangled Up Opposites Attract Completely Yours.
Forever Mine Single t.i.tles Hotblooded Promise Harbor Wedding.