Wild North (The North Brothers, #1) - J.B. Salsbury Page 0,1

them to sleep a platonic distance apart, but they’re both attractive and single, so…

“What’s going on with you guys?” I whisper while keeping my eyes on the trees to make sure Darin doesn’t catch me being nosey.

She curls deeper into her jacket. “He’s really nice.”

“Nice? Does that mean you’re not turning that tent into a sweat lodge—”

“Jo,” Lincoln snaps. “Stop it.”

“What? I’m just looking out for my friend.” I grin at Courtney, who smiles awkwardly back. I’m about to push for more information when Darin comes back, zipping up his pants.

“What’s the plan?” he says and takes a squatted position on the opposite side of the fire from Courtney.

I frown. Not a good sign for a love connection.

“I say we hike back up to that waterfall one last time, eat lunch there, then head back down and out.” I readjust the kettle to get it over more heat.

“I vote we caffeinate, pack up, and get down the mountain.” Courtney looks between me and Lincoln. “That way, we’ll be home before dark.”

Darin nods. “The hike out will take at least three hours, then the five-hour drive. I’m with Court. I say we get moving.”

Court? Okay, so the nickname is promising.

“Sounds like a plan,” Lincoln says and pours hot water into Courtney’s cup, then his, and finally my own.

“Wait, you don’t want to hike up to the waterfall one last time?”

He eyes Darin and Courtney, and, as if not wanting to cause disruption, he goes with the majority rule. “Nah, we’ve been out here long enough. It’s been fun, but I don’t want to add any more mileage to the trip.”

“Oh, come on. It’s only an hour longer. I’ll even drive back to the city, and you guys can sleep.”

Courtney straightens her leg and rolls her foot as best she can in her boot. “My ankle is sore. I don’t want to hike any longer than it takes to get down and back to the car.”

“Yeah, and I’m not carrying her down the mountain.” Darin pokes at the fire with a stick, and I can’t tell if he’s being playful or serious.

“Why don’t you go?” Lincoln asks, his eyes on me. “We’ll pack up here, and you go to the falls one last time.”


He shrugs. “Why not? It’s a straight shot east.”

“I feel bad leaving you guys to do all the work.”

Darin snorts. “You let us do all the work when we got here while you and Courtney killed a bottle of wine.”

I lift and sink my teabag, wondering why his refusal to come with me feels like further confirmation that we need to go our separate ways. I spot the ring on my left finger and wonder how I let things get this far to begin with. Maybe a hike alone will help me to clear my thoughts and give me time to come up with a plan. If Courtney’s ankle wasn’t messed up, maybe she’d come with me, and I could talk to her about crashing on her couch for a few weeks.

Lincoln pulls a protein bar from his pocket. “Go, don’t go, whatever you want. Either way, we need to get down the mountain before sunset. Make sure we’re gone before the storm rolls through.”

I sip my tea and let it warm me from the inside. “I thought you said it comes in tomorrow.”

“That was the report on Friday. But it feels like it’s breathing down our necks given how cold it is, and I don’t want to take any chances.”

“All the more reason for us to head out as soon as we’re ready,” Courtney says while holding her cup with two hands for warmth.

“Fine. I’ll hike up to the waterfall while you guys pack up. And I’ll drive us back into the city so you guys can sleep. Deal?” I hold up my mug.

They all follow suit with a simultaneous, “Deal.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to come with me?”

Lincoln is bent over, pulling up the stay-spikes for our tent, his hipster butt on display in his form-fitting jeans. I never was a fan of a man in skinny jeans, but the style suits him. When he stands to full height, he looks me over and shrugs. “I’m sure.”


“Isn’t it on your bucket list to get a blow job in front of a waterfall?”

He grins and shakes his head. “Nice try.” He presses a quick, hard kiss to my lips.

Wow, if I can’t even entice my boyfriend with a blow job, something is seriously wrong.

“Go,” he says. “And