“Get down,” Rio ordered and Gia promptly did, hitting the ground like a gigantic silver inchworm. He ran his eyes over her shelter, checking for gaps or problems, but she’d deployed textbook perfect. Thank God. Resting his hand on her where her shoulder should be, he squeezed gently. There would be no one to check him but she was the one who mattered here.
He eyeballed her one last time before dropping to the ground between her and the oncoming fire. She could kick his ass later. He was bigger. Hopefully, his body would give her one more buttress against the heat. His heart gave an unexpected leap. She’d be okay. He refused to imagine any other ending to this jump.
The fire roared towards them now like an out-of-control semi. Less than a hundred yards, he guessed, but now he was running blind, unable to see what was coming. Pulling his shelter into place, he tamped the edges down under his gloved fingers. If the fire didn’t blow over, if his escape fire hadn’t done its job and chewed up the available fuel… well, what happened next wouldn’t be pretty. And it might not even be fast. The shelter’s glue would melt and then he’d be next. Working fast, he followed out the ground beneath his face and turned his nose and mouth into the shallow space because in seconds he’d want that cooler air. Badly.
Had he done enough?
Had he missed something?
The fire hit and he stopped thinking and just reacted. Held on and held on…