“Am I interrupting something?” she asked.

Cole was grinning like a Cheshire cat. “Yes.”

“No,” Sam said, and pulled out Tanner’s wallet. He flipped it open, pocketed all the cash, then shoved the wallet back at Tanner.

“Hey,” Cole said.

“Hey,” Tanner said.

Ignoring them both, Sam turned to Becca.

She waved an ad that he recognized from the local paper. Their ad. He met her gaze and saw the truth—she was going to apply for the job. “No,” he said. He couldn’t hire someone he’d slept with. No matter how good a time he’d had. And he’d had a great time.

“Too late,” Becca said. “I already applied online as the ad suggested. And I don’t want to toot my own horn or anything, but I’m pretty perfect for this job.”

“Still no,” Sam said.

She gave him a long look. “Afraid I’ll scream at you about you being dead inside like your ex did?”

Cole and Tanner cackled at this like two annoying hens while Becca tapped the ad. “—It says right here that you need someone strong on phones and with good people skills.” She lifted her gaze and looked at all three of them. “I’m both, by the way. I worked as an admin in a New Orleans ad agency all last year while I was writing jingles.”

“Jingles?” Cole asked.

“I write jingles for commercials and stuff,” she said. “It’s all in the application. You’ll see.”

“No shit,” Cole said, looking impressed. “You any good?”

“At jingles?” She shrugged. “I did a big soup campaign. Oh, and you know the commercial for Indie Burgers?” She began to sing, “. . .tell me how you like it, tell me how you want it—”

Cole joined in for the finish, “I want it smokin’, I wanna feel the heat. . .” He grinned. “That was a good one. What else did you do?”

Her smile went a little stiff. “Well, nothing for a while after that. But I just finished up one for Cushy toilet paper. Now I’m stuck on my latest project.”

“What’s it for?” Cole asked.

She paused. Sighed. “Diaxsis.”

Cole shook his head, looking clueless. “What’s that?”

Tanner grinned. “I know.”

“Probably shouldn’t be proud of that, man,” Sam said, laughing when Tanner gave him a shove.

“What the hell is it?” Cole asked.

Tanner held up a limp finger and then straightened it. He accompanied this with a brow waggle.

Becca sighed. “Back to my application,” she said. “The good news is that if I could keep a staff of twenty-five organized, most of them angry women, the three of you’ll be a piece of cake.”

“You think men are easier than women?” Cole asked.

Becca laughed.

“Yeah,” Cole said, smiling at her. “You’re probably right.”

Okay, Sam thought, so there was more to cute, sweet Becca than met the eye. She had brains, and she wasn’t a pushover.

But neither was he. “You’d need references,” he said.

“You can call mine,” Becca said, but then her easy smile faded some. “But as I already noted on my app, I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t say exactly where your business is located, or where I am.”

There was a beat of silence as this request was absorbed, and Sam felt something tighten in his chest. “You in any sort of trouble that we should know about?” he asked, just as serious now as she.

“Nope,” Becca said quickly. Too quickly.


Sam exchanged a look with Cole and Tanner. Not a one of them didn’t recognize a problem when they saw one.

Becca lifted the ad again. “You need someone to start ASAP. Luckily, that happens to be exactly when I’m available.” Her smile was back. “ASAP.”

“I gotta ask,” Tanner said. “You any better at phones than you are at waitressing?”

Cole gave him a dirty look, but Tanner shrugged.

“Yes,” Becca said, not looking insulted in the least. “I’m much better at phones than waitressing.”

As if on cue, the phone rang. Cole, Tanner, and Sam groaned in unison.

Becca gestured to it. “May I?”

Cole waved at her, like Please.

She leaned over Sam, teasing him with her scent and a brush of her arm against his as she grabbed the phone. “Lucky Harbor Charters,” she answered. “How can I help you?” She paused, listened politely, and then said, “I’m sorry, Sam no longer works here. No, there’s no forwarding address. Thank you for calling.” She disconnected.

“What the hell?” Sam said.

“It was Selena.”

Cole grinned. “You’re hired.”

Tanner nodded. “And keep that snooty tone in your voice. Sounds authoritative and sexy. I like it.”

“No,” Sam said.

“Two to one,” Tanner said.

Sam gave him a look.

“What?” Tanner said. “She’s prettier than you and friendlier than you.”

“Plus, I just promised you I’d hire someone today,” Cole said. “Voilà, done.”

Sam ushered Becca to one of the stools in front of the counter. “Give us a minute,” he said.

Then he manhandled Cole and Tanner out the front. The three of them stood on the beach. “No,” he said firmly, arms crossed.