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Why would he download her videos, but not call, text, or email? Nothing.

“Because they… you make life brighter.” He groaned and buried his face into the space between her neck and the sleeping bag. “Now, I sound like some kind of stalker.”

She didn’t know what to do with that. Was he being honest with her or just playing her? Her tendency was to see the good in people. It was incredibly naïve and had stripped everything from her. Her money, her job, her confidence. Nevertheless, being on guard wasn’t in her nature. She was just too gullible, which was why she figured being by herself would keep her safe from emotional hurt. She could live with the gaping hole of loneliness solitude left in her, couldn’t she?

No. No, she really couldn’t. This last adventure taught her that.

She rolled over, grunting and shifting awkwardly in the tight space.

“Sunny—oomph.” Davis’s breath rushed out as she accidentally elbowed him in the gut. “What are you doing?”

“Sorry.” She giggled as their legs tangled together, and she sputtered as her hair escaping her braid got in her mouth. “I just—”

She sighed, not knowing what to say. Her knowledge of this man could fill a teaspoon, and yet… she wanted to believe that what he’d said earlier was true. That he had worried about hurting her and that was why he hadn’t called. Didn’t him downloading her videos contradict his not contacting her?

“Sunny?” He brushed her wild hair from her face, shifting to give her more space.

She didn’t care if she was naïve, gullible, or just plain dumb. Having Davis here, knowing he cared enough to keep her show on his phone, cinched that hole of loneliness closed a bit. Not all the way, but enough that she could breathe a little easier than before.

She leaned forward in the dark and pressed her lips to his. He smelled of rain and spruce. He froze like a snowshoe hare just noticing danger. His heart pounded fast against her palms pressed to his chest. She smiled at how both their pulses raced.

Kissing him one more time, she whispered against his lips, “I’m so glad you’re here with me.” She sighed and snuggled into him, pressing her cheek against his collarbone and pulling close to him. “You make me feel safe, cared for.”

“I want to protect you.” He tucked his chin on her head and pulled her tightly to him like any minute someone would rip her away. “I just don’t know if I can.”

She shook her head. “I trust you.”

She did?

Searching into her heart, the statement held.


“You shouldn’t.” His barely whispered words plinked like ice cubes in her gut.

She squeezed her eyes shut to the doubt that chilled her.

Tags: Sara Blackard Alaskan Rebels Romance