Becca knew she wasn’t going to survive this without caffeine, so she smacked the side of the coffeemaker like Cole had.

“What are you doing?” Sam asked.


“No, I meant why are you beating the shit out of the coffeemaker?” he asked, his voice still morning-gruff, like he hadn’t used it yet.

She had no idea why she found that so incredibly sexy. “Cole said I have to beat the thing up to get it to work.”

Sam gave Cole a head shake and came up behind Becca, reaching an arm around her to stroke the machine. “Come on, baby,” he murmured. “You know what I want.”

Cole snorted.

Becca melted.

And the coffee machine purred to life.

“Show-off,” Cole said, and headed to the door.

“Hey,” Sam said. “Where are you going?”

“Tanner’s on the boat. We’ve got a group of eight.”

“Yeah, I know,” Sam said. “Because I’m taking them out with him.”

“Uh, no. I am,” Cole said.

“Uh, no,” Sam said, imitating Cole’s voice. “You’re training the new girl.”

The “new girl” grimaced.

Cole shook his head. “I’m with Tanner today. It’s on the schedule.”

“No, it’s not,” Sam said.

Cole pulled out his phone and began to thumb the screen furiously.

Becca raised her hand. “Yeah, hi. If one of you would just train me already, I’d be able to straighten out this very sort of thing.”

Cole looked up from his phone. “No one can ever straighten this shit out.”

“I can,” she said, doing her best to look confident in that fact. Scheduling was a piece of cake. It was writing jingles that was killing her. “I’ll bet you.”

“Competitive little thing,” Cole said to Sam. “I like her.”

Sam looked at Becca. “You lost your last bet,” he reminded her.

And the one before that, but who was counting. “I won’t lose this one,” she said, determined. Desperate. She had to get something right. This was it, she could feel it.

She felt Sam’s gaze linger on her, felt the weight of his consideration. “Is everything a competition with you?” he asked.

She met his green eyes, and like it always seemed to between them, the air shimmered.

“Ha! It finally loaded.” Cole waved his phone beneath Sam’s nose. “See? I am the one scheduled for this morning.”

“You changed it,” Sam accused.

Cole’s expression went innocent. Far too innocent. “Why would I do that?”

“So I’d have to stay and train the newbie.”

“Oh, for God’s sake!” Becca exclaimed. “Standing right here!”

“He didn’t mean it,” Cole told her.

“Yes, he did,” Sam said.

Cole rolled his eyes. “I’m heading out,” he said to Becca. “We’re on radio. Our Float Plan’s behind the counter. We’ll check in. Have fun.” He paused and sent Sam a quick look. “And whatever you do, don’t let him intimidate you. He’s all bark, no bite.”

“I’m not worried,” Becca said. She was sure she could handle Sam. She took a peek at him. His expression was cool, irritated, and not in any way as friendly as he’d been while buried deep inside her body. She amended her earlier thought to possibly she could handle him.

“You’ll be great,” Cole said, patting her shoulder. He took one last look at Sam’s face. Whatever he saw there made him smile. “But maybe you should go a little easy on him; he’s had it rough.”

She looked at Sam’s face, too. “Rough as in dating gorgeous blondes named Selena who yell at you in the alley, or rough as in getting to go boating all day long for a living?”

Cole tossed back his head and laughed. “You get a raise for that. I’ll tell our accountant.” He turned to Sam again. “Give her a raise.”

“Sam’s the accountant?” Becca asked.

Cole was full-out grinning at Sam now. “Yeah.”

Sam narrowed his eyes and Cole sidled to the door just as Tanner stuck his head inside. “Come on, man, paying customers waiting.”

“We were just discussing who gets to train the new girl,” Cole said.

“I’ll do it,” Tanner said, flashing a smile at Becca. “I’d be happy to.”

Sam jabbed a finger in the direction of his partners. “You. And you. Outside,” he said, shoving his glasses to the top of his head. “Now.”

Once again, the three alphas moved outside.

Becca moved to the window and watched their shadows have a huddle in the predawn light. This time, unfortunately for her, the window was closed. Still, their body language was fascinating. They stood close—no avoiding eye contact. Clearly they knew each other well enough to get in each other’s faces without worrying about the niceties.

Becca’s inner circle consisted of family, her mom, dad, and brother, and they were pretty laid-back, go-with-the-flow kind of people. They’d rather pull their own teeth than have a confrontation or hurt anyone’s feelings.

Especially Jase’s. Her brother was the desperately yearned-for son, the prodigy, the wonder child. He had to be protected and coddled and taken care of, at any cost. Always and forever. Becca had been tasked with this, and she’d done her best, even through his stress and anxiety and ultimate pain pill addiction. She’d done everything she could for him, until it had cost her.