Against the Heart(36)

By: Kat Martin

Dylan just nodded. From the terminal, he led her out outside, carrying her heavy suitcase as if it were full of feathers instead of a month’s worth of clothes, wheeling her carryon, too.

“I hope you had a decent flight,” he said as they walked along, Finn trotting quietly at the end of his leash.

“As far as I’m concerned, any flight I can walk away from is a good one.”

His smile came easy this time, genuine and warm. It made her stomach lift alarmingly. This was the reason she had come, this amazing attraction. And yet it scared her to death.

“Up here, flying’s mostly the way we get around,” he said. “Maybe I can teach you to like it.”

She knew he was a pilot. She had also known he would be flying her into his recently purchased fishing lodge.

Instead of heading for the parking lot, he turned and started walking toward the water. Since the Ketchikan Airport was built on an island with only ferry access to the mainland, there were docking facilities for the float planes that carried passengers to inland destinations.

“I have a feeling you’re a very good pilot,” she said. “I’m actually looking forward to the trip.” Though she didn’t know that much about him, there was an air of confidence in the way he moved, the way he handled himself that made her think he was probably good at anything he attempted.

Dylan seemed pleased by the comment. “I think you’ll find the scenery pretty amazing.” But he was looking at her and not the incredible view of the ocean, and Lane was having a hard time catching her breath.

Too late to back out now, she reminded herself. Followed by, just remember to keep her head.

A ramp appeared in front of them, bobbing in the water. It swayed a little beneath their feet as Dylan led her toward a white float plane with blue striped sides, rocking at the end of its tether.

“Beautiful airplane. What is it?”

“De Havilland Magnum Turbo Beaver,” he said proudly. “Some Microsoft exec from Seattle was the original owner. Sold her to a guy in Newport Beach, but it didn’t work out. Now she’s mine.”

“This is the plane you bought in L.A.?” That was what had led to their meeting. Dylan had stopped to visit his cousin, Tyler, who lived in the city. At the time, Ty was working with Lane’s best friend, Haley Warren.

“I found her on the Internet. She was in fantastic condition, and the price was right. It was worth the trip down to pick her up.”

Since then, Haley had married Ty and become a partner in Modern Design, giving Lane the freedom to make the trip. Her gaze went over Dylan Brodie in his worn jeans and plaid flannel shirt, looking like every woman’s macho fantasy. After the shooting at the wedding, while the EMTs were cleaning the wound in his side, she had seen him shirtless, seen a portion of his incredible body.

Now, just thinking about all that hard male flesh had her nerves kicking up again.

Lane shifted a little closer to Finn as Dylan loaded her bags into the cargo compartment. He urged the dog up into the seven-seat passenger section of the plane and helped her into the co-pilot’s chair. After a final check of the exterior, he climbed aboard, settled himself in the pilot’s seat, and began flipping switches.

Her nervousness built. She still couldn’t believe he had talked her into leaving her business and flying up for the weeks it would take to complete the remodel job. She couldn’t believe she had given in to her wild attraction to him and accepted the job.

But as she looked over at Dylan Brodie, saw the confident way he went through the pre-flight check, the ease with which his hard hands moved over the controls, she understood exactly why she had come.

Not since Jason had died had a man attracted her the way Dylan did. Aside from his irresistibly challenging project, she had come to explore that attraction. She would take things slowly, keep her emotions in check and make sure she was doing the right thing, but if the attraction was mutual and as strong as it had been before, she would act on it.

She was a woman, after all. She had needs, desires, just like any other woman. After three long years of grieving, she deserved a little physical contact with an amazingly attractive man.

Or at least that was what she had told herself.