Wolf Bite (The Blue Mountain Wolf Pack #5) - Emma Dean
Zoe adjusted her backpack, feeling the weight of it after a long day of hiking. She studied the area and decided this was a good place to stop for the night. “I’ll get the fire started,” she told Chris.
They’d been friends for a while now after working the night shift together at Salem Hospital. Both of them worked as nurses and almost always worked the same shifts together.
“I’m going to take a piss,” Chris told her. “Then I’ll start on food.”
He made it sound like he was doing her a favor, but the food they’d brought was easy to prepare and they both knew it.
“Don’t go too far,” she warned him, setting her backpack down and rolling her shoulders to ease some of the soreness. “I don’t want to have to come looking for you.”
Chris winked at her and tossed his bag down like it weighed nothing. “I’ll sing so you know where I am at all times.”
Zoe rolled her eyes and started gathering rocks to make a fire pit, watching as Chris disappeared into the trees, loudly singing a sea shanty of all things. She wished he was a shitty singer, but of course he wasn’t.
Two years of crushing on him and they were still just friends. Zoe may have gone for it despite working together and potentially ruining their friendship, but Chris never failed to remind her how little he was interested in her like that.
She wasn’t his type of girl and she had no idea what that even meant.
When he dated, they were all the same. Some cute little thing in college, or a girl he met on one of his dating apps. They were all beautiful and fun and smart so she couldn’t hate them even though she desperately wanted to.
Why wasn’t she his type?
Ugh, it didn’t matter.
Clearing an area for the fire, she set up the rocks in a circle and then dug a hole with her small shovel. Next was the wood for the fire and she could still hear Chris singing, coming closer until he waved at her through the trees with that huge grin that had won her over the very first day she’d met him.
At least she was good at pretending she had no interest in him.
Zoe started the fire and sat back on her heels, watching to make sure it caught properly. Once she was done, she stood and stretched eyeing the trees, breathing in the sharp smell of the trees and dirt.
It was almost too cold to be hiking, but she’d desperately needed a break. If Chris hadn’t been able to go with her, she’d have gone alone no matter how stupid it was. Silver Falls State Park was gorgeous and relatively well populated, but they didn’t always hike the main paths.
The sun fell fast in the winter and she tucked her hands in her pockets, watching as the flames started climbing higher.
“Need help with the tent?” Chris asked, untying it from his backpack. He tossed it to her, and she managed to catch it even though her muscles were screaming at her.
“Preferably,” she muttered, shaking her head as she wondered how much longer she was going to torture herself this way. Sleeping next to Chris, even in different sleeping bags, was honestly the dumbest shit ever.
But Zoe was a masochist. She’d figured that out the second she’d decided to get her nursing degree.
At this point, even if he begged her, she didn’t want him. Something about commitment issues her therapist had said.
If he really wanted you, if he really was your soulmate, he’d be with you, she told herself, repeating the words over and over as they worked on the tent together.
Her therapist told her she worked the night shift to make herself as unavailable as possible and then fell for emotionally closed off or unattainable men because no matter how much she lied to herself, she was terrified of the commitment.
That had almost made her rage-quit therapy right then and there. It hit too close to home and Zoe really hadn’t wanted to think about everything that said about her.
Without a word Chris started on the food, still singing his sea shanties while she poured two cups of bourbon. Zoe bit down her laughter and shook her head at herself. The only reason she even drank the stuff now was because of Chris.
She handed him a glass at the same time he handed her a bowl of food.
Regardless of her personal feelings and thoughts, they made a good