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Tiikâan glanced at his watch for what seemed like the hundredth time since he’d arrived at his parents’ place two hours earlier. Laughter pulled his attention back to the bride and groom as they danced to one of Sunny’s old songs from the 50s on the makeshift dance floor Dad and his brothers had built. As much as he wanted to stay, especially since all his family had made it, he had to get going.

He scanned the yard, still surprised his brother Magnus had been able to leave the forest fire he fought in the Denali State Park and that their sister Astryde had taken time away from her busiest commercial fishing season. Though, the way she hustled, every season was her busiest. Tiikâan heaved a sigh and headed to his parents talking with Bjørn and his fiancée, Sadie.

“I’ve got to get back to the North Slope.” Tiikâan pulled his mom into a hug.

“So soon?” She held him tight.

“Yeah.” He kissed her on the top of the head and let go to hug Sadie and shake Bjørn’s hand. “I promised I’d be there to take the boss lady back to Barrow this evening.”

His promise had been what had finally got his boss, Merritt, to relent and let him leave. Well, that and his threat to quit. She’d already been through three other pilots, and he’d banked on the fact that she couldn’t afford anymore delays.

“The job going okay?” Dad shook Tiikâan’s hand and pulled him into a crushing hug.

“Eh, it’s all right.”

He didn’t want to elaborate and have his family worry. They’d just gone through hell and back with Sunny’s disappearance and brush with death. Him telling them about the trouble the work site was dealing with would just make them anxious all over again.

Besides, he was just a glorified taxi in the air and polar bear guard. None of the drama the company was dealing with while cleaning up the gas spill had to affect him. He’d just keep his head down, fly Merritt back and forth to the spill site, keep alert to any bears wandering close, and make the bankroll necessary to get his hunting and guiding business to the next level. Just a few more months and he’d be set.

A text dinged on his phone as he crossed the field to his airplane. He waved one last time to his family as he pulled his phone from his pocket. His steps stalled to a halt at the words.

Merritt: I need to talk to you in private when you get back. I need help, and I don’t know who else to trust.

What could she possibly need Tiikâan’s help with? He knew next to nothing about drilling. Her stress that had filled his small plane so thick he’d pushed his plane to fly faster hadn’t eased in the weeks he’d been flying her. If anything, it’d gotten worse.

He typed her a quick response that he was on his way and sprinted to his plane. If there was something he could do to help, he’d do it. He just hoped it was enough.

Tags: Sara Blackard Alaskan Rebels Romance