Business must be good, I thought, ambling through the halls. The house went on forever, it seemed and eventually I entered a computer lab with mounted screens. Every single one was blank.

“The storm knocked out our communications,” Dan said from behind me and I whirled, gasping guiltily. He smiled and I exhaled.

“I-I’m sorry,” I muttered. “I wasn’t snooping. I was just—”

“You’re free to roam,” Dan told her, holding up a tray of something unidentifiable. “When you’re strong enough.”

I grinned weakly and followed him back toward the dorm, my eyes still taking in every detail of the cabin. I paused at the bay window and choked.

“I-is that a helicopter?” I demanded.

Dan snickered.

“Yes,” he replied. “But again, it’s not going to do you a lot of good right now. If not for the backup generator, we’d be in complete darkness right now. Come back to bed and eat something.”

I didn’t argue and when I was settled back under the quilt again, Dan lay the tray on my lap.

I eyed the slop in a bowl warily but I didn’t want to be rude so I took a hearty bite. It was as awful as it looked.

What do you expect with seven men and no women? I thought, stifling my ungratefulness. It was warm, it was food and I needed it, no matter how flavorless it was. Whatever it was.

“Thank you,” I managed to mumble.

“We’re not really cooks,” Dan chirped and I blushed with embarrassment, wondering if he could read my thoughts.

“No,” I agreed, shoving aside to the food to stare at him with warm, thankful eyes. “You’re my guardian angels.”

Our eyes locked and I felt a rush of emotion fill my body, overriding the pain which had returned to my leg.

“You’re in pain,” he commented. My brow furrowed in surprise.

“How can you know that?”

“I have some training as a medic,” he replied. “Every team needs one and that fell on me.”

He moved the tray off the bed and reached for a medical kit on the floor.

“I’m going to give you another shot of Demerol,” he said. “To help with the pain.”

I started to shake my head but I wondered why I would. It wasn’t like I was going anywhere, not with the storm raging outside. There was no sense in battling out the pain when he had medicine for me in arm’s reach.

“All right,” I agreed. “Thank you.”

The needle slid into my upper arm and gently, he helped me back onto the pillows, his face inches from mine.

For a hopeful second, I thought he was going to kiss me but he didn’t and the warmth of the painkiller spread through me, making me sleepy at once.

“You’re safe here, Sasha,” Dan murmured as I succumbed to my tiredness and although it wasn’t necessary for him to say it, the words filled me with such comfort, I wanted to cling to the feeling forever.

8

Graham

I gathered everyone in the front room while Dan stayed with the girl. I stood near the fire, one eye on the door in case Dan ventured through, not that I was concerned that he’d overhear.

He should be here, listening to this and not tending to that woman.

“What’s this about, Graham?” Seth yawned, looking at his wristwatch. “All this excitement is killing me.”

“You know what this is about,” I retorted. “We have this stranger among us.”

My announcement was met with a round of deadpan looks.

“Come on!” I cried. “You can’t tell me this doesn’t bother you.”

“Graham,” Harry sighed. “Can we not do this tonight? I’m with Seth. I’m exhausted.”

“When would you like to do this?” I growled back. “When everything goes south?”

Stevie snickered.

“You are such a drama queen,” he laughed and lowered his voice, furling his brow in mock seriousness. “When everything goes south.”

He was mimicking me and I resented it. I was always looked at as an alarmist but oh, how quickly they forget.

“You don’t think there’s anything suspicious about this?” I barked at them, willing them to think for once. “She just happens to be out here, at the end of the earth, in our place? You don’t find that a little suspect?”

“It’s not a mystery,” Jim muttered. “My bear trap got her.”

I could hear the guilt in his voice.

“Jim, how did she get out here to get into your bear trap in the first place,” I snapped, trying to keep the exasperation from my tone. I loved the guy but sometimes he just didn’t use his brain.

“Maybe she’s a tourist,” Bash suggested unexpectedly and I glowered at him. Were they all purposely being dense? I could see the others weren’t nearly as concerned as they should be.

“I don’t like this,” I muttered, turning to pace before the huge fireplace. The flames crackled intelligently, working as intensely as my mind was in that moment.

“She’s a hurt girl,” Stevie sighed, rolling his eyes. “Why do you always have to make such a big deal out of nothing?”

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