“Really?” Lucille brightened. “I’m real good at making stuff up. What product?”

Crap. “Diaxsistheerectiledysfunctionmed.”

“What’s that?” Lucille cupped hand around her ear. “Speak up, hon, I’m old as dirt.”

Becca sighed. “It’s Diaxsis.”

“Shut the front door,” Lucille said on a wide grin.

“It’s an erectile dysfunction med—”

“I know what it is.” Lucille cackled and rubbed her hands together in delight. “And now you’re speaking my language. What are you stuck on exactly? You oughta write a song that someone of an age could sing to her man! Like how he shouldn’t be embarrassed to need the pill, ’cause us women need it, and by it I mean—”

“I know what you mean!”

“I’m just saying, those commercials all miss my age demographic. We’re not dead yet, you know.”

“I’ll take that into consideration,” Becca said. “Soon as my muse comes back.”

“Maybe your muse needs a distraction. Something to fuel your creativity. You ever teach music?”

Becca actually found a laugh at that. She’d played music, dreamed music, worked for and about music, ate and slept music, then run like hell from music, but she’d never taught. “No.”

“Could you?”

“Well, probably,” she said slowly. “But. . .”

“But it’d be better if it was, say, younger?” Lucille asked, reading her mind. “Like, young, eager-to-learn school-aged kids?”

“Well, maybe,” Becca said, failing to see where this was going.

Lucille grinned. “I was hoping you’d say that. The rec center needs someone to teach kids for Music Hour on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons. I’m on the board, and you have no idea how happy everyone’ll be that I found you.”

“Wow,” Becca said, impressed. “You tricked me.”

“Only a little. We’d pay you.”

Becca had already been shaking her head, but she stopped at the pay part. “You would?”

“You bet. We’ll need references, of course, someone who could vouch for you not being a felon or anything of that nature.” Lucille slid her a card. It said ORACLE OF LUCKY HARBOR and gave a cell number, website, and a physical address. “The website is my Pinterest,” Lucille said.

Becca stared down at it. “I’ve been to your boards.”

Lucille smiled. “Yeah, they’re good, right? I used to be on Facebook, but got kicked off. The addy’s for my art gallery. Email me your résumé and references today, okay? We can get you going by tomorrow. The kids’ll be so excited.”

By the time Becca got back home, she was excited, too. Maybe she couldn’t play in front of people, but she could sure as hell teach kids to do so. She sat on her bed and played around on the keyboard, determined to come up with something for Diaxsis and get it off her plate. After a few hours, she had a jingle. She hadn’t been able to give Lucille her wish about aiming the song at the eighty-ish crowd, but hopefully they’d appreciate it anyway. She sent it off and then crawled beneath her covers, her thoughts on the fact she now had three jobs.

She could only hope at least one of them worked out . . .

When Becca’s alarm went off the next morning at the obscene hour of zero dark thirty, she spent a moment revisiting the pros of the charter job. Or, more accurately, the cons. But in the end, she rolled out of bed, showered, dressed, and made her commute into work, which was the short walk across the alley.

Cole was already there. “You look like you could use some coffee,” he said. “Maybe the new girl could do it.”

Becca laughed and headed to the coffeemaker. She went through the motions while yawning, and then realized nothing was happening. The coffeemaker was playing possum. She waited another moment, yawning again. Outside, the sky was dark. This was because the sun hadn’t risen yet, since it was five oh five.

In the morning.

She actually wasn’t even sure that she’d ever seen this time before.

And still no caffeine emerged from the coffeemaker. “I’m counting on you,” she said to it. “I need you, bad.”

“Sometimes you gotta give it a good whack,” Cole said, looking more awake than anyone should ever look at this ungodly hour. He was in loose board shorts and a T-shirt advertising some dive shop in the Caicos.

Unlike her, who in deference to the early chill was in jeans, boots, a tank, a tee, and a sweatshirt, complete with hoodie, hat, scarf, and gloves. Yes, it was summer, but this was Washington State. At this time of morning, it was forty degrees, and she believed in comfort over style.

“Here,” he said, nudging her over. “I’ve got it. If Sam shows up before there’s coffee, he’ll bitch like a little girl.”

Becca had seen Sam grumpy, but he was more of a silent grump. She couldn’t imagine him actually bitching about anything, and at her expression, Cole laughed. “You ever catch him early in the morning?” he asked.

“Nope.” He’d been long gone from her bed by daylight.

“Well, he’s a bear,” Cole said. “We usually just toss him some caffeine and then stay out of arm’s reach until it sinks in.” Cole hit the side of the coffeemaker.

Nothing happened.

He went to hit it again, but the door opened and in came the bear himself. He was dressed almost identically to Cole, with the addition of a backward baseball cap, his mirrored aviator shades—even though the sun still wasn’t up—and a scowl. He met her gaze, and despite that scowl, something shimmered between them.