Becca choked on a bite of her sandwich.

“Sam,” Olivia clarified.

“I know who you mean,” Becca said on a laugh. “I’m just not sure my question and your question are on equal measure.”

Olivia smiled. “Yeah. You’re totally doing him. You going to eat your brownie?”

Becca sighed and handed it over. “I want points for that.”

“You get points for the hot surfer.”

Sam punched in the phone number for Becca’s first reference. He was leaning against their front counter. Tanner was sitting on it, absently rubbing his aching leg, watching him. They’d just come in from a scuba excursion with a bunch of college students, which had been a little bit like herding wild horses.

“You trust her,” Tanner said, reading her application on his tablet. “Or you wouldn’t have slept with her.”

Jesus. “Cole has a big mouth,” Sam said in disgust.

Tanner flashed a grin. “Cole didn’t tell me shit. You just did.”

Sam considered putting his fist through that grin.

“You won’t,” Tanner said, reading his mind.

“Only because I wouldn’t want to mess up your pretty face.”

Tanner couldn’t be deterred. “So,” he went on. “You trust Becca, which means you’re calling those references for something else. It’s about her, not you. You’re wondering about her.”

Wondering. Worrying . . .

“You could do this the old-fashioned way, you know,” Tanner said, “and just ask her what you want to know.”

“Calling her references is the smart thing to do,” Sam pointed out. But Tanner was right, he did trust her. At least as much as he trusted anyone. What he didn’t trust was the flashes of unease he sometimes saw in her pretty brown eyes, or her claims that she wasn’t in trouble.

He wanted to know her story.

Her first reference was her boss at the ad agency.

“Excellent employee,” the guy said when he came on the line. “Hard worker, loyal, compulsively organized. A great office manager, not so great at the jingles. We were sorry she had to leave town so suddenly. I’d hire her back in an instant as an admin, but she said she wouldn’t be coming back to New Orleans for a while. Shame. Still, she’s on contract for the jingles, and I’ll take what I can get from her.”

Next up was a co-worker. “Becca Thorpe?” the woman asked. “Loved her. Very hard to see her go. She struggled with jingle writing, I know, but she didn’t struggle to keep us organized. Such a sweet thing, too. She’d give a stranger the very shirt off her back. Certainly gave much of her life over to her family. Her brother mostly. That was a rough situation, but she’s resilient. You’d be lucky to have her.”

Sam didn’t believe in luck. Sam believed in good, old-fashioned determination and making one’s own path. He knew what his path was.

But now he wanted to know about Becca’s.

Not in the mood to put together a meal for herself, Becca went back to the Eat Me diner for dinner. She was halfway through bacon and eggs—nothing said comfort food like a hot breakfast for dinner—when an old woman slid into the booth across from her and smiled.

“Hi,” she said to Becca. “You don’t know me, but I know you. And I just wanted to say that you play the piano like an angel.”

“Um,” Becca said. “Thanks.”

The old woman just kept smiling at her.

Where Becca had come from, if a stranger slid into your booth, you had your cell phone in hand, your thumb hovering over 911. Especially if that stranger knew something about you, like, say, the fact that you played the piano—which you’d told no one.

But the thing was, this stranger was barely five feet tall, had blue-gray bristle for hair, matching blue-gray eyes gone filmy from age, and wore bright red lipstick. She also had more wrinkles than an uncooked chicken, and a harmless-looking smile that Becca didn’t buy for a minute.

“I’m Lucille,” she said. “I kinda run this place.”

Becca looked around. “The diner?”

“No, Lucky Harbor.”

“So you’re the mayor or something?” Becca asked.

Lucille smiled. “Not the mayor, but actually, that’s a great idea. I’m more of a . . . social organizer.”

“Oh,” Becca said, having no idea what a social organizer might do for an entire town, but impressed that a woman of her age had a job at all.

“I was at the bar the other night, late,” Lucille said. “I got my hormone meds mixed up and couldn’t sleep. Jax makes a mean hot toddy.”

Becca went still. Late the other night she’d walked to the Love Shack, and when the bar had emptied out, she’d played. “I didn’t see you.”

“I know,” Lucile said, smiling. “I’m geriatric stealth. You’re an amazing piano player, anyone ever tell you that?”

Becca felt nauseous. “Maybe once or twice.”

“You playing tonight?”

“No.” Maybe.

“I’d sure like to hear you again,” Lucille said.

“Sorry, but I don’t play for an audience.” Anymore. “I write jingles now.”

“Yeah? Like what?”

“Like for soup, and toilet paper.” She grimaced, thinking of her latest assignment, which she still hadn’t figured out. “I’m currently a little bit stuck.”