Shelter for Adeline

Shelter for Adeline by Susan Stoker

Book: Shelter for Adeline by Susan Stoker Read Free Book Online
Authors: Susan Stoker
get home.”
    “Fuck. Okay. We’ll figure it out. Next Sunday for sure?”
    “You’ll need to sleep, won’t you?”
    Crash kissed the top of Adeline’s head. She was so sweet. “Not really. We sleep when we’re on shift. Yeah, we get calls, but we usually get plenty of shut-eye between them. Besides, I’d rather spend time with you than sleep.”
    “Then I’d like that,” she whispered.
    “We’ll text and talk on the phone until then though.”
    Crash pulled back a bit. “You think we can go over a week without talking to each other?”
    He felt her shrug.
    “Well, I can’t,” he said definitively. “I like you, Adeline. I want to know how your day’s been. I want to know if Douglas has been giving you shit. How you’re feeling. If you’re thinking about me. What your sister thinks about our first date, ‘cause I know you’re gonna call her tomorrow and talk to her about me and tonight.” He smiled, remembering the text Adeline had received earlier that night from Alicia. She’d shown it to him. Her sister had wanted to know if she needed to put into motion “Operation First Date Dud.”
    Adeline had explained that it was code for her sister calling with a fake emergency, and she’d let him watch as she’d replied to her sister that there was no need for the drastic measures, that she was having a great time and would talk to her tomorrow.
    “We’re gonna make this work, Adeline. If you think I’m gonna let you go without getting to see you in that corset, you’re crazy.”
    “Okay. Sunday. But this time I get to pick where we go and what we do.”
    “Deal. You gonna let me pick you up this time?”
    “Adeline,” he growled.
    She giggled, and Crash knew he’d spend the rest of his life trying to make sure she always sounded as carefree and happy as she did right then.
    It was insane. One date and he was already thinking long-term, but he knew a good thing when he saw it, and no way was he letting her slip away. No way in hell.
    “Oh all right. You can pick me up.”
    “Thank you. One more kiss and then we’ll head down.”
    The word was more a breath than an actual word and Crash’s head was already moving before it left her mouth.
    He couldn’t see her very well anymore, could only feel her body against his, her lips against his, and her tongue brushing against his own, but it was as if he’d suddenly woken up from a long coma. He could see his future, with Adeline by his side, as clearly as if they were standing in the middle of a stage with every light focused right on them.
    Reluctantly pulling away and licking his lips, getting one last taste of Adeline, Crash told her, “Cover your ears.”
    She moved her hands up between them and put them over her ears.
    Crash turned his head and whistled one long, loud note, and within moments the bucket started descending.
    Adeline’s hands came down and wrapped around his waist once more, giving him her weight. Trusting him to help her remain balanced as the bucket jerked and bounced as they got closer and closer to the ground.
    “Looks like y’all had a good time,” Moose drawled when the ladder reached the bottom.
    The lights from the building shone on the truck and Crash could see the blush that bloomed on Adeline’s face. He ran his thumb over the apple of her cheek and smiled at her. “We did.”
    “Thanks for letting Coco hang with us,” Taco told Adeline. “He’s a great dog.”
    “I know,” she returned.
    “Arms up,” Crash told her softly.
    She did as he said and he unhooked the safety line from around her waist, then did the same with his own, removing the harness and storing it in a small metal box at their feet inside the bucket. “Come on, Cinderella. Time to get you home.”
    Adeline ducked under the chain and took the hand Moose held out to her. He helped her to the ground and she crouched and greeted Coco, who acted like she’d been gone for weeks rather than only an

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