Just This Once (Last Frontier Lodge #3)(8)

By: J.H. Croix


Aidan leaned his head back on the couch and eyed Oscar. “I think he loves everyone to pieces.”

Ellie grinned and stood up from the small table where she’d been sewing. Scraps of brightly colored fabrics were scattered on the table like confetti. Ellie loved to sew and had lately taken up quilting. Every time Aidan wondered how his little sister would get by, she tried her hand at yet another artsy endeavor and made money. Her quilts were selling well at a local fiber arts gallery in Bellingham. They were added onto her stable of pottery.

She sat down across from Aidan and Oscar in a small rocking chair, idly pushing it back and forth with her foot. “He loves lot of people, but you’re in his special category. I wish you’d consider adopting him. He’d make a great friend for you.”

“Ellie, I’d love to, but I work too much.”

“Take him with you. He’s a good boy. He can be your ride along buddy.”

Aidan grinned at that. Oscar would be good company on long days. “”I’ll think about it. Meanwhile, what do you need fixed this weekend?”

He and Ellie were close, which was a good thing because their father died while he was on active duty during the first Iraq war, and then their mother passed away only a few years after Ellie finished high school. They had some extended family nearby, but they weren’t too close. They had each other, and Aidan was thankful they got along well. He’d been around enough to know that wasn’t always the case, even in loving families. As such, Aidan was Ellie’s go-to guy when she needed help with home repairs. Aidan didn’t mind as it gave him a chance to get out of the city, and he enjoyed visiting Ellie. She was easy to be around.

“I need help patching the roof over the garage. I had this grand idea I could do it myself and looked it up online and everything. Then, I tried to get up there and remembered heights make me way too nervous,” Ellie said with a grin.

Aidan chuckled. “Right. Plus, it’s never a good idea to climb up on a roof when you’re alone.”

Ellie rolled her eyes. “I never made it up there, so no need to worry.”

“How come you think you need it patched?”

“Because it’s leaking. Right over where I get in and out of my car. It’s not bad, but the guy at the hardware store said it’s better not to ignore it.”

“The guy at the hardware store is right. Let’s go take a look.”

A while later, Aidan was up on Ellie’s roof. After a quick check and the pleasant discovery that Ellie had ably purchased all the supplies he might need, he’d gotten to work. He worked quietly, enjoying the cool breeze coming off the ocean nearby. His mind kept turning over thoughts of Becca. He’d fallen asleep with their kiss fresh in his thoughts last night. While everything he’d said to her was true, he’d never thought he’d have a chance with her. She kept men at a very clear distance. Meanwhile, he’d long ago accepted his desire for her would likely go unanswered. Then, last night had happened.

It was just a kiss. Don’t go thinking you might have a chance for more. Problem was, more was all he wanted despite the wrinkle of her being Gage’s sister. Aidan doubted Gage would guess at his feelings for Becca because he’d buried them so deep to keep his distance. Not to mention that he’d unintentionally created the impression he wasn’t interested in anything beyond casual with women. He wasn’t, but he’d yet to meet anyone who called to him the way Becca did. With her, even when he was young and half led around by his cock, he’d known Becca was special. Considering her off limits, he’d carried on with his life and had honestly hoped to meet someone else. He dated plenty of women, but he rarely let things go too far. He preferred to keep things uncomplicated, and sex often invited complications. He hadn’t meant for it to look the way it did, but he cared so little for what others thought that he ignored it.

He shook his head and kept working. By early afternoon, he climbed down the ladder and put it away, along with his tools, in Ellie’s garage. When he walked inside, he found Ellie with fabric draped on her lap and her sewing machine whirring.

“All set. Roof should be good to go. We won’t know for sure until it rains again, but I think it’s fine.”

Ellie glanced up and pulled a few pins out of her mouth. “Of course it’s fine. You’re the master repair guy,” she said with a grin.

“Mind if I head over to the Hamilton’s for a bit this afternoon?”

“Of course not! I’m trying to get this quilt done this weekend, so all you’d be doing here is watching me sew.”

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