He eyed her over the rim of his mug. “Yes, you did. You and Olivia watched us surf.”

“Oh.” She felt the blush creep up her face. “Saw that, did you?”

“Little bit,” he said, obviously amused. “So did Lucille, by the way. She posted a pic of you on Pinterest, and you both look like you might be drooling.”

“It was really good ice cream,” she said weakly, and desperately sought a subject change. “So, how’s your dad?”

“He’s facing liver failure, but there’s meds, and his doctor is hopeful.”

“And you?”

“I’m going to kick his ass if he screws this up,” Sam said simply. “He’s not acting like a guy who got some really bad news. He’s acting like he was awarded a trip to Disney World.”

“That’s because he’s living with you. It’s a dream come true for him.”

Sam didn’t say anything to this. Instead, he gestured to her phone screen. “What’s that?”

Clearly, he’d made his own subject change. “I’m trying to find music for the kids.”

“You get a budget, or you spending your own dough?” he asked.

“No budget.” She shrugged. “It’s not too expensive, and I want to do this right with them. What’s going on with the lights?” she asked, pointing to the duffel bag on his shoulder.

He set it at her feet.

She bent down and unzipped it, and then stared at the neatly stacked lights, still in their packaging. “You bought new ones,” she accused.

“Yeah, so?”

“So that’s cheating.”

“You had a problem, it’s solved,” he said simply.

She stared at him. Wasn’t that just like a guy. “I could have untangled them,” she said. “Eventually. I’d have saved you money.”

“Now you don’t have to.”

Maybe she should have been annoyed. Instead, she felt that frisson of awareness skitter up her spine. His gaze met hers, his heated, and she had to remind herself to breathe. Not just awareness, she admitted, but hunger.


Damn. He was potent.

Luckily the phone rang, and she shook off the lust and answered, “Lucky Harbor Charters, how can I help you?”

Unluckily, she sounded breathless and . . . aroused.

Sam drank more coffee, but he had a definite smugness to him, cocky bastard.

“The grouch in yet?” Mark asked in her ear.

Becca watched Sam mainline the coffee and wondered if he was ready to face his dad this early. “Uh . . .” Sam’s laser beam eyes were still on her. She smiled reassuringly.

He didn’t return it.

“Darlin’, I know he’s there. If you’re there, he’s always nearby somewhere.”

Was that true?

“How about you just hand him the phone.”

Her gaze was still locked on Sam’s. “Maybe I should take a message.”

“Darlin’, you’re sweet. Way too sweet for the likes of him. And if I wasn’t dying of liver failure, I’d prove it to you myself.”

Sam took the phone from Becca’s hand. “Stop trying to protect me,” he told her. “And stop flirting with my employee,” he said into the phone.

“Just showing you how it’s done,” came Mark’s tinny voice, loud and clear, making Becca realize that Sam had heard everything his dad had said.

“You okay?” Sam asked.

“Never better. Except for the fact that I’m on my deathbed. But you, you’re not okay.”

“What are you talking about?” Sam asked.

“You’ve got a good couple of decades left before you’ve got old-man problems and need a blue pill to get it up, and you’re ignoring that pretty young thing right in front of you.”

Sam looked at Becca.

Becca busied herself by racing her fingers over the keyboard of the computer.

Sam leaned over her and booted up the dark screen.

Becca bit her lip and met Sam’s amused gaze. With a blush, she turned away.

“What do you need, Dad?” Sam asked. “I left you breakfast on the stove.”

“Oatmeal’s disgusting,” came Mark’s answer.

“Oatmeal’s good for you.”

“Sheila called,” Mark said. “She wanted to remind me I promised to pay for the crib.”

“Didn’t she already steal all your money?” Sam asked.

Mark sighed.

“You ask for that paternity test yet?”

“Only an ass**le would do that right now,” Mark said.

“A smart ass**le,” Sam countered.

“It’s not an expensive crib,” Mark said. “I told her to go cheap with all this shit.”

Sam rubbed the spot between his eyes. “You can’t go cheap, Dad. Not with a baby.”

“It’s just a loan,” Mark said.

“Uh-huh,” Sam said.

“So . . . you’ve got enough to cover it?”

“Yeah, Dad,” Sam said. “I’ve got enough.”

“You’re not going to have to steal it, are ya?”


“Kiddin’,” Mark said. “Sheesh. This kinda reminds me of when we needed rent money, and you nearly got the shit beat out of you for—”

“Yeah, great times,” Sam interrupted. “Gotta go. Check your account later on today.”