A Promise of Winter
Part of the Season of Seduction Boxset
A broken promise. A broken heart. Can a helicopter crash mend both?
Tanner Owens and Noelle Oakley were the couple most people wanted to be. High school sweethearts that everyone believed would be together forever. That was the plan right up until the moment Tanner realized that Noelle’s career choice could take her from him forever. In a moment of supreme stupidity he lost her, anyway.
Noelle had grown up with two great loves in her life. Tanner and flying. When she started out with the Colorado Highlander Search and Rescue teams, she had everything she had always wanted. A career where she made a difference and the man she’d loved since third grade. It all fell apart spectacularly when a promise was broken, along with her heart.
Everything just seems too hard, until one night Noelle is in need of a little rescuing herself, and Tanner gets the chance to make things right.
The excerpt below contain explicit adult language and sexual content. By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.
A Promise of Winter
All rights reserved, Maia Dylan
Bang! Something slammed into the side of the helicopter, making it shudder violently. Noelle jerked in surprise before she lifted her head from where she had it tucked beneath the blanket and squinted at the door. She should get up and look to see what it was. She should, but she was just too damn tired. And cold.
The sliding door across from her rattled, and Noelle frowned over at it. Then someone was banging on the outside, and over the sound of the wind she thought she could hear someone calling her name. Surely Captain Underwood wouldn’t have sent up a rescue party. Not for her. The banging came a second time, and Noelle forced herself to leave the stretcher and make her way across to the door. Jesus, she was so cold, everything ached. She reached out with numb fingers to try to unlock the door. After a few moments filled with colorful curses, Noelle cried out in triumph as the lock disengaged.
The door opened and Noelle lost her breath completely as the icy wind filled the space. She stumbled back toward the stretcher as a figure dressed in an all in one mountaineering suit pushed a few black bags into the body of the chopper before climbing in after them and sliding the door closed.
Noelle wrapped her arms around her middle in a pathetic attempt to regain a warmth she never really had, and watched as the figure turned, pulling off gloves before reaching for the goggles that obscured their face.
“Tanner.” She whispered his name like a benediction when his handsome face and startling blue eyes came into view. She noted there was no surprise in her tone. Somehow, on some level, she’d known he would come for her.
“Jesus, Noelle.” There was no missing the concern in Tanner’s tone. “When Faith told me you were stuck up here, I figured you at least had some appropriate equipment. You’re fucking turning blue.”
“Y-you always said I-I looked h-h-hot in blue,” Noelle stuttered, a hysterical giggle escaping at the end. There was nothing remotely funny about this situation, but for some inexplicable reason she felt amused. Maybe it was because of her situation, or perhaps it was being alone with Tanner for the first time in six months, two weeks, three days and change, or it might well be the hypothermia she was now suspecting she was suffering.
Tanner scowled at her as he removed the crampons fixed to the bottom of his boots, and then the boots themselves. “You look hot in any fucking color you wear. But this is more than that.” She watched as Tanner turned to the bags he’d thrown into the chopper, dragging one of them closer. She blinked, and he suddenly had something large and cylindrical in his hands that he hadn’t before. Either Tanner had been working on his magician skills in the time they were apart, or she was having difficulty keeping her eyes open. And that was not a good sign.
“Ta-tanner,” she whispered, and she winced at the fear she heard in her own voice.
Tanner must have caught it too because he dropped whatever the hell he’d had and spun toward her. Whatever he saw it had him looking concerned as he swiftly crossed the short space between them and dropped to his knees before her.
“Noelle, baby,” Tanner said urgently as he tugged the thin blankets from the stretcher around her shoulders, stripped off his own jacket, and wrapped it around her shoulders before sliding his hand to her cheek. Noelle moaned at how warm it felt against her skin and she nuzzled her cheek against it. “I need you to stay awake for me, okay? Just a little bit longer and I’ll have you warm and feeling better in no time, I promise.”
Noelle blinked slowly up at him. “You… promise?”
Tanner nodded, his jaw clenched no doubt due to the query she couldn’t keep out of her tone.
“Yeah, I promise. I know I’ve let you down in the past, but not now, and not ever again."