Ryker by Kali Hart

1

SCARLETT

I’ve missed Alaska.

It’s been years since I’ve been back. Ever since my career as a country singer took off, there hasn’t been time. I’ve been blessed with adoring fans who love my musical talents, but it comes with a price.

As I step into my best friend’s cabin, I feel at peace for the first time in days. It doesn’t get more remote than the Mountain View Lodge in the middle of Alaska. I’ve wanted to visit ever since Ryker and his brothers inherited the expansive property a few years ago, but I guess late is better than never.

I just wish it were under better circumstances.

Fame means all aspects of my life are up for public scrutiny, which includes my latest disaster—my broken engagement.

“Ryker, this is beautiful.” I spin in a full circle, admiring the handcrafted cabin he and his brothers built together. Logs the color of perfectly toasted marshmallows, a fireplace built out of river rock, and a wooded view out the picture windows—all of it is a dream. “You and your brothers really built this?”

“We did.” Ryker carries my bag straight down the hall, waving me to follow. “I was third in line. Lane and Dylan already have their cabins, and we’re working on Lincoln’s next. Eventually, we’ll each have our own.”

“You must be in heaven here.”

Ryker flashes me a smile over his shoulder—the same one that earns him hundreds of comments from adoring fans of the female variety on his social media channels. “You might say that.”

“Thanks for letting me stay here,” I say for what has to be the tenth time today. “Anywhere else…” I let the words trail off with a yawn, but Ryker nods. He understands that anywhere else fans or the paparazzi would’ve found me.

“You’re tired,” he says.

“Jetlag at its best.”

“Why don’t you get some rest?” he suggests. “I need to help Lincoln troubleshoot something with his plane. You take a nap, and I’ll come back later with some dinner.”

“You don’t mind?”

“You came here to slow down.” Ryker rests his arm on my shoulder. It’s odd that warm tingles erupt and spread all throughout my arm. “We have plenty of time to catch up before you’re off on your next adventure. Get some rest.”

Ryker’s right. I am tired. “Okay.” I need some time to lay low before my concert tour starts. A place to forget how humiliated I was—publicly—when I found out my fiancé, the rising county music star Jake Winchester, was cheating on me with his manager. He used my fame to increase his own.

But before I deal with any of that, I just want a nap.

“You’ll be staying in here,” Ryker says, opening the door to a massive bedroom with a king-sized bed. Even the bedframe is made of cedar and has that Alaskan flare. I have to admit, I love it. “I emptied a dresser drawer for you, and there’s space in the closet, too.”

It sinks in that this is Ryker’s room.

“I’ll be sleeping on the couch,” he adds, as if reading my mind. “It’s brand new and feels like you’re floating on a cloud. Still waiting on the guest room furniture to arrive.”

“I can’t take your room,” I argue. “I can stay in a lodge room. Kiera told me there’s still a room open if I want it—”

“You don’t need to stay at the lodge,” Ryker continues, authority in his voice that I admittedly find sexy. I have to admit, my childhood friend has filled out since I last saw him in person. He’s tall, broad shouldered, and all muscle. His social media videos don’t do him justice. I force myself to look away.

The last thing I should be doing is lusting over my best friend.

“I’ll see you in a couple of hours.”

I barely make it under the covers before I hear the front door close. My eyes are heavy, and the last thing I notice before I fall asleep is how manly the sheets smell. I drift off with a smile on my face.

It feels good to be back in Alaska.

* * *

I wake up refreshed, but groggy. I have no clue how long I’ve been asleep because it’s just as light out now as it was when I laid down. The sun hardly sets here in the summer. Odd how much I’ve missed that.

“Ryker?” I call out down the quiet hall. But there’s no answer. He must still be helping his brother.

My growling stomach lures me to the kitchen, but I stop at the bathroom first. All that water from earlier is catching up to me now. I push the door open and freeze.

Ryker stands naked and dripping wet outside the shower. Every hard cut of muscle on display, from his chiseled pecs to that sharp vee above his hips. He’s running a towel over his hair. My eyes drop to his enormous cock, hard and erect. My body tingles with a hungry lust I’ve never quite felt before.

I can’t stop staring at his cock.

It’s so fucking huge!

“Scarlett—”

“—I’m—I’m s—sorry. I didn’t know you were in here.” I turn around and flee so fast I’m sure I leave a dust trail in my wake.

My heart pounds in my chest as I lean against the closed bedroom door, hiding like the chicken I am.

I’m a tad embarrassed at being caught, but the flush covering my neck and half my face is from something different—lust. I’ve never lusted over my best friend before. This is going to be problematic.