But Becca was annoyed, too. And a little insulted to boot. He thought she couldn’t separate out their physical heat from the job. Or even worse, he was worried she’d get attached to him and yell at him about being dead inside. . .“You know there’s a difference between having sex with someone and having a white picket fence with that someone, right?” she asked.

He just looked at her.

Okay, so it wasn’t playtime. And she wasn’t feeling playful anyway. “Seriously, Sam? You want me to choose?” Her lips were still tingling from the kiss he’d laid on her, and if she was being honest, so were other parts of her body—such as every erogenous zone she owned. This was because she now knew exactly what he could do to her. Which was more than any man in far too long. If ever.

And he, apparently, could take it or leave it.

Take or leave her.

“I pick the job,” she said. Look at that, it was an easy decision after all.

He didn’t react. He just studied her for a long beat. “The hours are five to two,” he finally said, giving her no clue as to how he felt about her decision.

“Five . . . a.m.?” she asked in disbelief.

His lips twitched. “You want to change your mind?”

Oh, hell, no. Even if she loved to sleep.

“You could get better hours playing at the Love Shack for their dinner crowd,” he said.

“I want this job.”

“And your brother,” he said. “Didn’t he offer you a good-paying job?”

“Not interested.”

Again she received a long look. And again she got a little tummy quiver. He was good at evoking that.

“The early start is because we’re almost always booked for an asscrack-of-dawn deep-sea trek or a sunrise scuba tour. We need someone to open up shop, start the coffee, greet the customers, and answer the phones.”

“What about the later part of the day?” she asked. “Don’t you take people out for sunset or whatever?”

“Yeah, but it’s the mornings and midday when we get the most traffic. We can handle the evening stuff ourselves for now.”

Five. In the morning . . .

“Think about it,” he said.

She looked out the window. Tanner and Cole were stripping off what looked like scuba gear. They’d both lost their shirts, leaving them in just board shorts.

Holy hotness, Batman.

“In New Orleans, my office view was the brick wall of the building right next to me,” she said. “This view is better.”

She didn’t hear Sam move, but suddenly she felt him at her back, warm and strong and stoic as ever. Her eyes drifted shut as he stroked a finger down the side of her throat, making her body tremble yet again.

Yeah, he was real good at that.

He was good at a lot of things, she was discovering.

“Think about it,” he said again softly.

And then he was gone.

Chapter 10

Becca knocked on Olivia’s door and waited. After a moment, she felt movement behind the peephole and knew she was being studied. She hoisted the bag of sandwiches she’d just bought from the diner. “Hot pastrami on rye,” she said, waving the bag enticingly. “And fries.”

The door opened. Olivia’s gorgeous dark hair was piled up on top of her head, held there with a fabulous silver-and-pearl clip that Becca knew had to be vintage. Olivia looked her usual beautiful and remote, but there was something new.

She was covered in paint.

“What are you doing?” Becca asked.

“You can’t hear my paintbrush as I paint my bathroom?” Olivia asked. “Because the insulation is so nonexistent, I can hear you breathing when you’re not playing your keyboard.”

Well, crap. “How do you know it’s not my radio?”

“The radio doesn’t have the musician swearing Oh shit, that sucks after each song.”

Good point, Becca thought. She sighed. “I’ll keep it down.”

“I like it,” Olivia said.

“You like my playing, but not necessarily me?”

Olivia shrugged. “I made you pizza,” she said. “Which I don’t do for anyone else. So I must like you a little. What’s with the food?”

“Funny you should ask. I’m actually trying to bribe you into liking me more.” She waved the food again. “Is it working?”

“Maybe.” Olivia peered at the bag and inhaled deeply. “Did you say fries?”

“Yep. And brownies.”

Olivia narrowed her eyes. “Store-bought brownies?”

“Yes,” Becca said, “but give me a break here; I need a friend. And trust me, store-bought is way better than my homemade.”

Olivia didn’t look impressed.

“They’re from the bakery,” Becca said, which was a little piece of heaven and everyone in town knew it.

Including, it seemed, Olivia. “Yeah, okay,” she relented, and let Becca in.

Olivia’s place had been transformed. The open, empty warehouse was now filled with warm, comfy furniture, floor lamps, and throw rugs. “Wow,” Becca said. “It looks like a real home now.”

“That’s the idea.” Olivia dug into the food like she hadn’t eaten all day.

“What’s behind there?” Becca asked, gesturing to an antique screen that blocked off a good third of the open space.

“Overflow stock for my store. Now you. You’re doing the hot surfer.”