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Not that it was any of her business. She and Becker were over. The fling had ended. And now she needed to focus on other things, namely writing her article and going back to LA.

“Listen,” her sister was saying, “Mom and Dad are planning a party for Ken’s birthday. We’re using one of his photos as the cover of the invitation, but Mom wanted you to write the text.”

Jane bit back her surprise. Her family never made much of an effort to acknowledge her writing career. Sure, scribbling the text for an invitation wouldn’t showcase her writing or anything, but it was the first time they’d bothered to include her in something. A rush of warmth filled her heart. Maybe almost losing Liz had made her parents realize their younger daughter was important too.

“Tell Mom I’ll call her when I get back to LA,” Jane said. “I’ll be happy to help out.”

“Good.” Liz’s voice softened. “You sure you’re okay? You sound…sad.”

“I’m fine,” Jane lied. “Just busy.”

“Well, finish up that article and come home already. We’ll go out for lunch when you get back, okay?”


The two sisters hung up, and Jane drifted into the bathroom. After she brushed her teeth and took a quick shower, she put on a pair of denim shorts and a yellow tank top, and headed to the dresser across the hotel room, suddenly feeling a burst of inspiration. Talking to Liz had reminded her of the reason she’d come here in the first place. She picked up the laptop case sitting on the dresser and carried it over to the sitting area, which consisted of a tiny table and semi-comfortable chair. She pulled the computer out of its case, booted it up, and got to work.

Jane worked for four hours straight, taking a quick break in the afternoon to order lunch from room service, and then went right back to work. It was nearly six o’clock when she finally leaned back in the chair and rolled her aching shoulders. Done. As she read over her work, she realized she’d completely forgotten about the interview she’d scheduled with Ryan Evans, but she decided she didn’t need it. The story of her sister’s ordeal was just as powerful without the interview.

And it was pretty damn good, if she said so herself. It probably would have been better if the magazine could print that gorgeous photo of Beck standing in front of the helicopter. But Becker had made his refusal clear.

He’d made a lot of things clear, hadn’t he?

Stop thinking about him.

The voice in her head was firm, but it didn’t deter Jane from thinking about him. From remembering the time they’d spent together this week. Damn it. What was the matter with that man? The two of them were explosive together. Jane had never felt a connection like this with a man before, and she knew Becker had felt that same connection. Obviously it hadn’t mattered to him as much as it mattered to her.

The ring of her cell phone jerked her out of her thoughts. Arching her stiff back to stretch it, Jane got up and grabbed the cell from the bed. An unfamiliar number flashed across the screen. Wary, she picked up and said, “Hello?”

“Finally,” came a male voice. “I was beginning to think you were avoiding me, and that was very upsetting. My ego is very fragile.”

She recognized the mischievous rasp of Ryan Evans’ voice immediately. An unwitting smile reached her lips. “I’m not avoiding you. I’ve been working all day on my article and I tend to block out all outside noise when I’m writing. I take it you called before.”

“Three times,” he said with mock severity. “This is the most effort I’ve ever gone to for a woman.”

“I’m flattered.”

“You should be.” Ryan finally grew serious. “So, did you still want to do that interview?”

Her gaze drifted to the open laptop across the room, the screen that showed the finished draft of her article. Technically, she didn’t need Ryan anymore. She could just polish up the article, send it to Maureen tonight, and head back to LA tomorrow morning.

But that still meant she’d be alone tonight. Alone, most likely pigging out on room-service desserts, and thinking about Becker.

That did not sound like fun.

“Actually, I don’t think I need the interview anymore,” she answered. “But…I could use some company, if you’re up for it.”

“I’m up for anything, when it comes to you.”

His voice oozed with sexuality, and Jane felt a blush creep into her cheeks. She thought about her last night with Becker, how the two of them had pretended Ryan was in the room with them. God, that had been hot.

Pushing the memory away, she cleared her throat. “Where do you want to meet?”

“I’m actually heading over to the Sand Bar tonight. I’m meeting Matt—Matt O’Connor, you met him yesterday—in a couple of hours, but I could meet you there now if you want.”

“That sounds good.”

“What’s your poison?” Ryan teased. “I’ll order you something if I get there first.”

“Margaritas,” she said immediately. “I’m going to need a lot of margaritas.”

Jane pasted on a smile as she strode into the Sand Bar, a small but trendy bar located right on the boardwalk. The place was busy when she strode in, filled with a mishmash of patrons, from surfers to a group of suit-clad men who looked like tax lawyers. On the phone, Ryan had told her the place had awesome chicken wings, but Jane was more interested in the alcohol it served. After yesterday’s awful goodbye with Becker, she was looking forward to getting good and drunk.


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