She sighed and pressed her face into his neck.

“I get that you don’t know this about me yet,” he said. “But you can trust me.”

She lifted her head. “I do trust you.”

“Not yet, you don’t.” He let his thumb glide over her lower lip, the one tingling for more of his mouth. “But you can,” he repeated.


“You’ll tell me when. I won’t push, Becca.” And then with one last soul-warming kiss, he was gone.

Over the next few days, the guys were busy nonstop and nearly always gone. During that time, Becca had plenty to keep her occupied. Her mind was something else entirely. She wondered what Sam would do if she said When.

She wondered if she even could say When.

Lucille stopped by to visit.

“Thought I’d see about trying paddleboarding,” the older woman said.

Becca tried to picture Lucille on a paddleboard in the harbor, but mostly all she could see was the Coast Guard trying to rescue her. “Um. . .”

“You don’t think I’m too old, right?” Lucille asked.

“Well. . .”

“Because I keep in great shape.” Lucille pointed to a biceps. “I’ve been hauling cans of prunes to the senior center all morning—”

“It’s just that the guys are out of town,” Becca said. “And first-timers need instruction.”

“Oh.” Lucille sighed. “Damn. That’s a shame.”

“A big shame,” Becca agreed.

“I’ll just come back another time.” But she didn’t leave. Instead, she made herself comfy on a stool. “So how’s the jingles going? What are you working on?”

Becca sighed. “Feminine products.”

Lucille grinned. “Sorry, honey, can’t help you with that one. I don’t need ’em anymore. Why don’t you get something good to write about, like denture glue? I need a new brand and could use a suggestion.”

Once Lucille finally left, Becca took a lunch break and went to work on a curriculum for the kids at music hour. She needed to keep them busy, she discovered, or tiffs broke out among their ranks over who got to play what. So in addition to teaching them basic chords, they were working on how to respect other people’s space bubble. The latter was a far more difficult lesson, but it would come along.

Everything would come along.

Or so she told herself in the deep, dark of the night when her insecurities beat the crap out of her.

After another homemade meal with Olivia—to-die-for lasagna this time—Becca finally wrote a passable jingle for the feminine products and sent it off.

And late at night, when she couldn’t sleep, she played. Afterwards she’d walk home from the Love Shack at two thirty in the morning, alone with the salty ocean breeze and the moonbeams and her own troubled thoughts. A few nights back, on her first night playing, she’d heard something, someone, and she’d run the half mile to the warehouse, slammed into her loft, and with the lights still off plastered herself to the side of one of her windows.

Just in time to watch Sam vanish into the shadows.

The second night, she’d felt him as well, but when she’d stopped in the middle of the street and spun a circle to confront him, she’d been alone.

The next morning, when he’d come in for coffee, she’d searched his calm, even, handsome features for some sign that he was walking her home every night, but he gave her nothing.

So she kept it to herself. Because she knew what he was doing. He was just trying to give her back something he thought she was missing—her music. She appreciated that, even as she resented the fact that she was also missing something else.

Him in her bed.

You’ll tell me when.

The man confused the hell out of her. But denial had always been her friend, and that hadn’t changed. Early one morning, she unlocked and opened up the hut. She might have been hired to answer phones and greet customers, but she’d taken over handling their website, too. And then there was the ongoing planning for the upcoming Summer Bash, which had taken on a life of its own.

She started the coffee, brought up the schedule, handled all the charter’s online email and site correspondence, and then got to the Summer Bash stuff. Sam had reluctantly signed off on the pyrotechnics contract, the band, and the promos on Facebook and Twitter.

Becca was still planning out the logistics, hiring high school kids from the rec center for the setup on that day, renting tables and chairs and awnings. She was figuring out the decorations, too, some of which she’d found in the back storage room. She’d hauled out a big duffel bag filled with strings of white lights, wanting to use them along the dock and to decorate the boat. Problem was, the lights were literally in a huge ball, a tangled mess.

She’d been working on that here and there, and was at it again, sitting cross-legged on the floor, when Sam came in. He strode straight for the coffee. Saying nothing, he brought his mug up to his delectable mouth and eyed her over the rim as he drank. When the caffeine sank in about two minutes later, he finally spoke. “Mornin’.”

“Morning.” She paused, wondering which direction to take this conversation. Were they mad at each other? Still circling each other? Ignoring each other?

She gestured to the stack of paper, napkins, and whatever else they’d been writing email addresses on for months. “I realize you all had a system going here with this lovely pile, but I have good news—my system’s better. I’ve got you all caught up.”