That Deep River Feeling (Alaska Homecoming #3) - Jackie Ashenden Page 0,2

which he was sure Morgan probably knew about, but still. They weren’t grizzlies, but black bears could be dangerous if you weren’t careful.

You always had to be on your guard in the bush. Complacency led to an early death if you underestimated Mother Nature.

Zeke hadn’t been a Boy Scout for a very long time, but if there was one thing he was, it was prepared. Always.

Turning, he scanned the trees that clustered around the house and then the bush beyond. “Should have brought my rifle. You never know what could be hanging around.”

Morgan muttered something under her breath and came abruptly up the stairs, planting herself in front of him and tipping her head back to look up at him.

Damn, she really was a pretty little thing. Wholesome as a pint of milk. Clear pink skin, freckles, a soft rosebud of a mouth, and a button nose. Not a cop’s hard-bitten face. A long strand of that apricot-colored hair had come loose from her ponytail and now draped itself over her shoulder. It almost glowed.

Not that he should be noticing her skin, or her hair, or her prettiness right now. She was Cal’s little sister for Christ’s sake. And a cop.

“Zeke,” she said very firmly. “As much as I appreciate the thought of you helping out, I’m quite happy with the state of my house, no matter what Cal told you.” She crossed her arms over the curve of her—rather lovely now that he looked—breasts, giving a very good impression of a woman who would not be moved come hell or high water. “Have you let Si and Damon know you’re here? They’ve been worried about you.”

He hadn’t told anyone that he was here, mainly because he’d wanted to scout out the lay of the land, so to speak, before he got into any difficult conversations with his friends. But Damon and Si knew that about him. They also knew he preferred the wilderness and often took off for weeks at a time on various expeditions, so would they really be worried about him?

Perhaps they were. He found it difficult reading emotions in people and sometimes he got it wrong—at least, he had in the past. He thought he was better at it these days, but maybe not. Then again, he was getting Morgan West’s irritation loud and clear.

“I’ll let ’em know,” he said, hoping that would close the subject. “Roof’s going to be a problem come winter, though.”

More irritation flickered across Morgan’s pretty face like the wind ruffling the surface of a milky pond. “Did you somehow miss the fact that I said you’re not doing anything to my house?”

She was right in front of him, making it very difficult to move past her without pushing her out of the way, and he didn’t want to do that since he was not a man who felt the need to prove himself physically.

He looked down at her. There were little sparks, like fireflies, in her blue eyes.

His sister, Izzy, had once said, crossly, he could out-stubborn a mule and that was no joke. He’d once insisted on sleeping in a tent instead of his bedroom for entire month back when he’d been a kid, which had annoyed the crap out of his mother.

But that was one of the beauties of living in the bush; he never had to concern himself with other people’s feelings.

“Why not?” he asked bluntly. “If it needs fixing?”

She frowned. “Well, for a start I don’t know you from Adam.”

“I’m not Adam. I’m Zeke. And besides, you already met me at the funeral.”

“Sure, but that wasn’t exactly the perfect moment for chatting.”

“You don’t need to know me in order for me to fix your house.”

Her pretty eyes widened a little. “Seriously?”

Zeke didn’t like having to explain himself constantly since it was a pain in the ass. He preferred his actions to speak for themselves. Then again, perhaps he was going to have to actually do some explanation here. Cal’s letter had been very clear after all: Be a brother to her now I’m gone.

He hadn’t been a great brother to the one sibling he did have, so he wasn’t sure why Cal had chosen him for the task. Still, he seemed to recall that being a brother involved a lot of pissing siblings off, in which case he was obviously doing something right.

“I know it’s your house,” he said. “But I’m only going to fix it, not knock it down.”

Morgan looked him up and down, unimpressed. “I