Home > Turbulent Waters (Billionaire Aviators #3)(4)

Turbulent Waters (Billionaire Aviators #3)(4)
Author: Melody Anne

“Forgot you were even here,” Nick told Mav.

“I am anything but forgettable,” Mav said with a wink. “Just ask my very satisfied wife.”

“Spare us,” Coop said with a chuckle.

“Yeah, this morning after I got done―”

“Stop!” both Nick and Coop yelled at the same time. Maverick busted up laughing as he added oil to a pan and let it warm.

“Fine. I won’t embarrass you by showing you your own inadequacies,” Mav said.

“Miracles really do happen,” Nick told him with a roll of his eyes.

Mav’s expression became serious all of a sudden. “Yes, they do. You’re proof of that.”

The brothers might joke a hell of a lot, and they might get into some pretty damn big brawls, but when it came down to it, they were family, not just because they’d been born into it, but because they were also friends who would die for each other. Nick felt his throat tighten and he cleared it to cover up the emotion.

“Don’t be getting all mushy on me. I’m not married like you two idiots, so I haven’t tapped into my feminine side,” Nick said with a laugh to cover up the awkward moment.

“Wouldn’t even think about such an emotion,” Mav said with a smile.

“You really are looking better, though,” Coop said.

Mav pushed Nick’s wheelchair aside as he threw steaks into the pan and began cutting up vegetables. Nick decided to back off. It was hard to do anything while sitting.

“I’m getting stronger every day. My arm and ribs are as good as new, and I’m lasting longer and longer on the crutches. I’ll be back to work soon,” Nick boasted.

“Want me to test the arm for you?” Coop pointedly asked.

Nick sent him a glare. The words didn’t warrant a reply.

“Fine, I might not want to take a hit in the arm or ribs right now, but that damn well doesn’t mean I can’t fly,” he said.

“You know you do a lot more than fly,” Coop asserted.

“I try to,” Nick admitted.

“Well, your commander knows you well enough to realize that light duty isn’t something that appeals to you. Sherman is bringing in a new therapist. If you behave this time, you can get your strength back in your knee, then maybe, just maybe, you can get out there on a few dates before you’re back to saving those lost at sea,” Mav said.

Nick glared at both his brothers. “I really don’t need therapy or dating advice,” he warned.

But the reality was, he needed help―maybe in both areas. There was something missing in his life. He was sure it was just because he hadn’t been able to work, hadn’t truly been able to say good-bye to his crew.

His copilot, Gail, had a six-year-old daughter who was now being raised without a mother. When her husband had come to see him in the hospital, Nick had been mortified when he’d felt a tear wet his cheek. Gail’s strong husband had placed his hand on Nick’s shoulder and told him Gail would want him to survive. He’d known Nick hadn’t been able to continue speaking, and he’d left, leaving Nick lying there trying not to fall apart.

His young paramedic, John Francis, had only been with them six months. He’d been so happy to be a part of the Coast Guard, and he’d been far too young to die. His parents’ lives had been forever altered by his loss. Secretly, Nick had paid for his funeral and left a fund for the parents, whose son had been taking care of them. They were lost without him.

Then there was his rescue swimmer, Pat, who had been so damn brave. He’d jumped into the water no matter the risk to himself. He’d always cracked jokes and had come up with the most insane songs to torment them with through their headsets.

And they were all gone while Nick lived. It wasn’t right.

Nick realized that as he’d been reflecting on his crew, his brothers had stopped speaking and were staring at him.

“What?” he grumpily asked.

“We’re not trying to be a-holes, we’re just trying to help you out,” Coop said as he gave a far-too-understanding look to Nick. Nick shook his head and sent each brother a stare that was sure to make them stop meddling.

“Since you and Mav married, you’ve been pestering the hell out of me to do the same. I’m perfectly content to be single,” Nick warned.

Cooper looked as if he was going to keep pestering him, but then he sighed and sat back. Mav continued cooking. But Nick didn’t miss the glance that passed between the two brothers. Something else was going on that they didn’t want to share with him. He was immediately on alert.

Mav turned off the stove and put their lunch on plates, then they all moved to the dining table. Nick waited to see if they would say something. They didn’t and he lost patience.

“What’s going on, guys? I know it’s not my lack of a dating life,” Nick said when the room remained too silent. Mav and Coop looked at each other and Nick grew frustrated. “I was injured, I’m not dead, and I don’t need to be safeguarded. Don’t leave me out of whatever is happening.”

“It’s about Ace,” Cooper said with a sigh.

Nick sat at attention. Their brother had walked out years ago at the reading of their father’s will. He’d been angry, and time had only made it worse. They had all tried reaching out to Ace, but he had only made a couple of appearances, and they hadn’t been happy reunions.

“What’s the news?” Nick asked.

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