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When driving snow and high winds force the Wapiti Creek Ski Resort to shut down the lifts, ski patrol Mark wants nothing more than to round up the last stragglers and get safely indoors. Chef Allan is still out in the blizzard on a borrowed snowmobile, delivering meals so a hundred people don't go hungry. While Mark's protective instincts scream to drag his lover inside, he respects Allan's need to honor commitments, even at the risk of frostbite.
Allan's got another problem bigger than the storm. Mark has the solution -- but Allan will never accept it if they don't reach the decision together.
"Do storms always move in this fast?" shouted the skier, who let me hoist him off the snow.
"They can. Are you with anyone?" I yelled.
"No, I kept falling and they left me, the bastards." He shook his fist downhill, and tried to stay on his feet on the way back to the warming hut. "No, I can do it," he protested when I suggested calling the snow cat, but he was running on macho and should have said yes. I called the 'cat before the shivers got to the uncontrollable stage, and parked him inside with the other four skiers. A woman in blue poured him a cup of steaming coffee from the big jug, and the 'cat driver said he was headed straight to the first aid station. I couldn't do more for him here besides hope that the hypothermia wasn't severe and curse the man's friends for leaving him.
We didn't find anyone else on the slope, and a good thing, too, because they would have seen me shake information out of Kim.
"What do you mean, homeless?" I had to yell twice before she heard me over the wind. "Allan's not homeless!"
"He will be!" Kim yelled back. "His room-mate's going to ask her girlfriend to move in! Chelsea said so!"
She had, had she? Randi had hinted that Allan was growing less welcome, and a man on a fold-out couch in the living room would be downright embarrassing to a girl with a live-in sweetie. "Don't you have somewhere else to do that?" was a pretty broad hint, dropped when she'd walked in on us doing nothing more than a little making out. If she'd been five minutes later she could have gotten a real eyeful -- I'd been trying to unbuckle his belt. Yes, we did have somewhere else to do that, but Allan had already said that I was jumping the gun on "I love you." After that I didn't dare try "Come live with me."