She’d never been good at either.

But now she could at least passably assist on any excursion if needed, and that ability, along with all the other new skills she’d picked up this summer, made her feel good.

Really good.

Setting the keyboard aside, she rose and made her way to the door. “Who’s there?”

No one answered.

Going up on tiptoe, she peeked through the peephole.

No one. Odd. She backed away and sat back on her bed, but didn’t reach for the keyboard. She glanced out the windows. Night had fallen, and she hadn’t pulled the sheets over them. Which meant she was basically sitting in a fishbowl.

She heard a sound from the hallway.

Her stomach clenched as fear slid into it. She’d read somewhere that a brain recognized fear in less than one second and prepared itself by flooding the body with adrenaline. Turned out that was absolutely true.

You left the fear behind, she reminded herself. Long behind. Gone were the days of jumping at every noise outside her New Orleans apartment.

Besides, she was in Lucky Harbor. Nothing to be afraid of here. But she reached out and turned off her lamp. This made her slightly less visible, but it also put her in the dark. She moved to the windows and yanked the sheets across them. Halfway back to the lamp, she heard another sound from the hallway.

Fear stole her breath, and she backed up until she ran herself into the countertop of the kitchen. She could hear her own breathing, harsh and panicked, and it brought her back to last year. Angry at herself, she grabbed her purse and rifled through it for her phone. She stared at the dark screen. She didn’t have a lot of options here. Calling her first choice was going to make her look weak and vulnerable, and oh, she hated both with a passion.

She called anyway.

Sam had closed up the warehouse and was halfway home when his cell vibrated from an incoming call. Not his dad telling him yet again why his crook of a girlfriend thought she needed a five-hundred-dollar stroller, though the name that flashed on his screen didn’t ease his tension any.


There was only one reason for a woman to call this late at night. And though he’d never been adverse to a booty call, he hesitated. A booty call was light. Casual.

But nothing was ever casual with Becca. They’d gone there once, and he now knew that she had the potential of getting to him, really getting to him, in a very big way.

The biggest.

And still, he answered. “Hey,” he said. “What’s up?”

“I don’t know.” Her voice was a soft whisper. A scared soft whisper. “You’re not by any chance outside my door, are you?”

“No, but I can be.” In the middle of the deserted highway, he whipped a U-turn.

In his ear, Becca let out a breath. “No. It’s fine. I’m sure it’s nothing. Never mind.” And she disconnected.

Sam pounded out her number again and waited through three tense rings before she picked up.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m being ridiculous. Ignore me.”

“Not gonna happen, babe. Tell me what’s wrong.”

“I heard a sound.” She was still whispering and still sounding terrified, which just about killed him. “Thought I heard footsteps outside my door, and then a knock. But no one was there.”

“Cole’s still on the boat,” he said. “I’m going to hang up and call him. Keep your phone in your hand. Ten seconds, Becca. I’ll call you right back—”

“I don’t want to bother—”

“Ten seconds.” He disconnected and called Cole, waiting with impatience for him to answer, hating that Becca was scared and alone.

Cole finally answered with a “Yo, Grandma.”

“You on the boat?” Sam asked.

“Yeah, I’m calibrating the—”

“Run over to Becca’s. She heard someone outside her door and is terrified.”

“On it,” Cole said, good humor gone.

Sam disconnected and called Becca back.

“Are you here?” she asked breathlessly.

“Not yet, but Cole is,” he said. “Any second now. I’m going to stay on the phone with you until he’s got you.”

“You don’t have to—”

“I’m staying on the phone,” he said firmly, grinding his teeth when he got caught at the train tracks just outside of town and had to wait for a train. “Is Olivia home?”

“No, she’s working late,” Becca said.

“You expecting anyone?”

“No.” She blew out a breath. “God, it sounds so dumb now. I shouldn’t have watched Criminal Minds earlier. I’m okay. I’m okay.”

Hearing it twice, knowing she was trying to make it true, almost had him smiling as he downshifted for a light. “You locked in?”

“Yes, but seriously, I’m sure it’s nothing. Someone was lost, probably. . .”

“Make sure you’re back from the windows so you’re not highlighted to anyone outside,” he said. “Sit tight, I’ll be there in five.”

“You don’t have to—”

“Becca. I’m already almost there. And Cole should be there any second.”

Even as he said it, through the line he could hear three short knocks on the door, and then Cole’s voice. “Becca. Honey, it’s me.”

“He’s here,” Becca said to Sam, her voice filled with relief.