“Give me one good reason,” Cole said.

Sam searched his brain. He couldn’t come up with one good reason. But he had lots of bad reasons, starting with the fact that he’d slept with her.

Except there’d been no sleeping.

And every night since, he’d dreamed of her. Really hot dreams about how she’d felt writhing beneath him. She had this way of helplessly whispering his name over and over again—Christ. He had to stop thinking about it. “This isn’t a good idea,” he repeated.

“She wants the job,” Cole said. “And we need her.” He paused. “Unless there’s a reason working with her would be a problem? Like, say, she’s an ex who’s a nut job? But usually, that’s Tanner’s area of expertise.”

“Hey,” Tanner said.

Cole gave him a long look, and Tanner sighed. “Fine,” he said. “That’s definitely my area of expertise. But Sam doesn’t go for nut jobs. He keeps his entire life compartmentalized. He wouldn’t work with someone he likes.”

Cole’s face changed. “Shit, that’s it.” He turned back to Sam. “That’s why you said she was off limits. You like her.”

“What is this, high school?” Sam asked.

“No,” Cole said. “Because you didn’t like anyone in high school. You loved them and left them.”

Definitely not going there, Sam decided. “We’re not doing this, and before you whine about it, you both owe me. You,” he said, pointing at Tanner.

“Me, what?”

“The night you went skinny-dipping with some chick. She stole your clothes and you had to walk home butt-ass naked.”

Tanner winced. “That was a million years ago, man.”

“You came knocking on my window for clothes,” Sam said, “which I handed over without giving you shit. Well, not too much shit anyway. And you.” He turned to Cole.

Cole opened his mouth, but Sam plowed ahead. “Remember the night you were grounded and not supposed to go out? Except you did, and you got drunk, and I had to drag your trashed ass home, and when your mom caught us at the door I let you pretend it was me who was plastered, that it was me who’d needed saving so that you didn’t get grounded for the rest of your life.”

“Why do you remember this shit?” Cole asked, mystified.

“For days just like this.”

Chapter 9

Becca knelt on the stool beneath the open window, shamelessly eavesdropping on the guys. She’d spent several days now searching for a viable, short-term job that would fit her criteria. One, she wanted to stay in Lucky Harbor for at least the summer. Two, she didn’t want anything too demanding, as after a day of work she’d then be putting in long hours writing her jingles. And three, it had to be something she was good at.

She was good at being in control, good at being in charge.

She could really see herself doing this job. What she hadn’t seen was Sam’s reticence, though she should have. Of course he didn’t want to work with the woman he’d so spontaneously boinked almost a week ago.

Except it’d felt like a lot more than just a quickie.

And really, there’d been nothing “quick” about it, or Sam. He’d taken his time with her, touching, kissing . . . everything. And she’d responded to him. Fully. That’d been the most shocking. She’d more than merely responded to him. She’d gone up in flames for him.

But that didn’t mean he wanted a repeat.

Or that he’d want to hire her to work for him.

Damn it. She leaned in toward the window, trying to see better. The three of them stood close, and though they looked like laid-back surfers, there was clearly a lot more to them than that. Cole was the most approachable of the bunch, but he wasn’t a pushover. Tanner had a look to him that said he’d been around the block and it hadn’t been an easy ride.

And then there was the tough, impenetrable, guarded, hard-to-crack Sam.

At the moment, they were talking, shades locked onto shades. She wasn’t quite close enough to hear what they were saying, but their body language fascinated her. Damn, she wished she could catch their words. She got down, scooted the stool closer to the window, climbed back up, and pressed her ear to the screen.

“If you’re having trouble hearing, maybe you should just stick your head out the door.”

At the unbearably familiar voice behind her—Sam’s—she squeaked in surprise and fell off the stool.

“A peeper to the end,” he said, sounding not surprised at all. His arms easily lifted her up, straightened her out, and released her.

A little frazzled by the way his hands on her reminded her of their night together, she blinked him into focus and flashed a charming smile.

He didn’t return it. “You need this job,” he said flatly.

This wasn’t worded as a question, but she knew he was asking nevertheless. “Yes,” she said.

He didn’t look happy. “You realize that you’re totally overqualified. Why here?”

“I like the beach.”

He stepped closer. “Why else?”

“I—” It was hard to think now, with him in her space. “I need the money to supplement the jingle income, at least until I get back onto a higher tier of products.”

“You could play the piano,” he said. “You’re amazing. I bet you could get a job—”

“Not an option,” she said flatly.