“Becca gave you a sandwich.”

“Yeah, and she put chips on it. The girl’s brilliant, I tell you.”

“When did she feed you?”

“After I left your shop, I sat on the beach for a while, then wandered back to the hut. Becca asked if I needed anything, and I said not unless she had a sandwich, and she said she did have a sandwich, and yeah. It was amazing.”

“You realize that you probably ate her lunch.”

“She said she didn’t want it.”

Sam rubbed his temples again but it didn’t help. The headache was upon him. “She was just being nice,” he said. “Next time, if you’re hungry, come to me. Got it? Not her, never her.”

“Why not?”

“Because she’d give you the shirt off her back, Dad.” And you’d take it. . .

“She said it was okay,” Mark said stubbornly. “She said I could go see her any time I wanted.”

Sam could actually feel his blood pressure rising. Before he had a stroke, he said, “I’ve got to go.”

“You coming home soon?”

The thought of going home to his dad didn’t help the blood pressure levels one little bit. “I don’t know.”

“Can’t work the remote.”

Sam closed his eyes. “I’ll text you directions.” He disconnected and considered throwing his phone, but then he spotted the pieces of the snowman still on the floor. Shit. He headed out and down to the hut, telling himself it was to get a soda.

He found his newest employee working the phones, the computer—hell, everything around her—with quick order.

When she saw him watching her, she tossed him the key to the back room. “Need two kayaks for these gents,” she said, nudging her chin in the direction of two college kids waiting off to the side.

Sam caught the key but kept walking toward her until she was forced to tip her head up to meet his gaze. “You gave my dad your lunch?” he asked quietly.

Something flickered in her gaze. “Working here, Sam.”

“You gave my dad your lunch.”

“He was hungry.”

“He’s a f**king mooch, Becca.”

“He’s still your dad, Sam.”

He dropped his head and studied his feet for a moment, then lifted his head. “Are you hungry?”


She wouldn’t tell him if she was. He knew that damn well. Her picture was in the dictionary under Stubborn.

“The kayaks,” she said, clearly not wanting to discuss this. Or anything. Not that he blamed her. He hadn’t wanted to talk to her earlier, and she’d been right the other day when she’d told him she was a quick learner. She’d learned from him how to be emotionally unavailable.

Sam watched the clock and tried to catch Becca after work, but he got caught handling the boat with Cole because Tanner had a previous commitment. By the time they finished mooring it, the hut was closed up and Becca was gone.

No strains of a haunting piano came from her windows, and she didn’t answer her door. With no reason to stand there in the hallway and wait for her like a stalker, he went back to his shop to work. He had the table saw on when a sound penetrated.

A piano?

He snapped off the saw and the music, and lifted his head.


He was losing it. He went back to work, but five minutes later he hit the switch again when he was sure he heard a piano.

It stopped immediately.

And then he got it. She was only playing when she thought he couldn’t, or wouldn’t, hear her. Goddamn it. Dropping everything, he strode out the door. Night had long ago fallen. He had no idea what time it was. Late.

Becca’s place was dark, but he was on to her now. He moved across the alley and knocked. She didn’t answer, but he’d expected that. He pulled out his phone and called her.

No answer.

He texted: Open your door.

Her response was immediate: Not home.

Bullshit. He could feel her. He didn’t care how crazy that made him, it was true. He knocked again, just once, softly. “Not going away, Becca.”

There was a huge hesitation from the other side of that door; he could feel that, too.

Then it slowly swung open.

Chapter 14

Becca had answered the door against her better judgment, and at the sight of Sam standing there, a little bit edgy and a whole lot hot, she cursed herself for being weak. “You should be at home with your dad,” she said, and started to close the door.

He caught it and held it open. “I have questions,” he said.

“I’m busy.”

He looked around at the apartment. “Doing. . .?”

“Writing a jingle. A very important one.” She crossed her arms. She’d admit she was writing for a line of feminine products . . . never.

“I’ll start with an easy one,” he said, apparently not caring. “Ben told me he saw a Snapchat of you teaching at the rec center.”


“It’s an app where you send a picture, but whoever you sent it to can only see it for a few seconds—”

“I know what Snapchat is,” she said. “What was I doing on it?”

“That’s what I’m asking.”

She stared at him. “One of the kids,” she muttered. “My money’s on Pink.”

“So it’s true?” he asked. “You’re teaching music to kids?”