So foreign was the notion of a guy apologizing to her for something that she jerked around to stare at him.

“You look confused,” he said.

“One of us is supposed to be pissed off,” she said softly. “Maybe both of us. But you’re not mad at me. And I don’t feel mad at you.” She shook her head. “I don’t know what to do with that. Or you, for that matter.”

He slid his fingers along her jaw and into her hair, then pulled her close enough to press his mouth to hers. “If you weren’t my employee, I’d show you what to do with me.” He kissed her again and then whispered against her lips, suggestions on exactly what she might do with him, each hotter than the last.

She felt herself quiver and then get wet, and she stared at his mouth, having some trouble with her thought process.

“We straight?” he asked.

“Um. . .”

His eyes were heated, but they lit with a little humor now as he ran the pad of his thumb over her lower lip. “Yeah,” he said. “We’re straight.” He pulled back. “I could use a drink. You?”


He pulled her from the truck and into him, giving her a really tight, really hard, really great hug. “You’re so damn sweet,” he said into her hair.

She tipped her face up. “Because I interfere?”

He smiled. “Because you care enough to interfere.”

“Yeah? You have your sweet moments, too, you know,” she said. “Not a lot, mind you, but a few here and there.”

He tossed his head back and laughed.


“That’s the first time anyone’s ever said I was sweet,” he said, still grinning.

“You apologized to me. And that was sweet.”

“I apologized because I was an ass. That’s what you do when you’ve been an ass.”

“Not everyone who acts like an ass apologizes,” she said.

His smile faded, and he hooked an arm around her neck, drawing her into him again, pressing his mouth to her temple. “They should,” he said against her skin.

Cole and Tanner were at a table inside, and Sam and Becca joined them.

Cole smiled at Becca. “How you doing?”

“Better,” she said. “Thanks again. I’m so sorry—”

“No apologies for that,” Cole said. “Ever.” He gestured to Jax behind the bar, who brought two more longnecks, one each for Sam and Becca.

Cole lifted his in a toast. “To Gil.”

“To Gil,” they all said, and Becca was moved by their low, serious voices that rang out together. They ordered sliders and fries and another round.

Sam made the next toast. “To my dad’s health,” he said.

This surprised and pleased Becca. “See?” she said to him. “Sweet. But your dad looked fine to me.”

“Yeah,” Sam said, “but I plan to kill him later, so—”

“Sam,” she said on a surprised laugh. “You’re not.”

“Okay, maybe not kill him,” he said. “Not all the way.”

“What’d he do now?” Cole wanted to know.

“Doesn’t matter,” Tanner said. “You’re not going to kill him because I’m not using our boat fund to bail you out again, not when we’re getting so close to another boat.”

“Again?” Becca asked Sam.

Sam gave Tanner a long look.

Tanner took a long pull on his beer and didn’t look concerned. “Did we forget to tell you that you work for an international felon?” he asked Becca.

Her mouth fell open, and she stared at Sam, who flipped Tanner the bird.

Tanner flashed a grin.

“Yeah, it’s true,” Cole told her. “The last time we had to bail him out, I almost had to try and sell Tanner here for a night just to have enough.”

“You did try and sell me for a night,” Tanner said.

Becca choked out a laugh, and Sam rolled his eyes. “Why does that story change the more you drink?” he asked Tanner.

Tanner pointed his beer at Sam. “You weren’t there. You were cooling off in a Mexican prison. We could’ve just left you there, you know. But did we? No.”

“Instead you got yourself arrested as well,” Sam reminded him.

“Hey, that was Cole’s fault,” Tanner said. “He told me to kiss the wrong woman.”

“Okay,” Becca said, setting down her beer. “I’m going to need to hear this story. The real story.”

Cole grinned. “I’ll tell it.”

Tanner groaned but Cole ignored him. “We’d just left the rig job,” he told her. “We’d bought our first boat, a real piece of shit to be honest, but she was all ours. Well, ours and the bank’s. We were on the water, and our GPS went down. Tanner here insisted he could navigate without it. We were in the southwest Gulf, and he turned us a little too far south, where we came across some Mexican pirates—”

Becca gasped. “Oh, my God, pirates? Really?”

“Oh, yeah,” Cole said. “They boarded us, too. Said they were the. . .” He used air quotes here. “Authorities. And genius here”—he jabbed a thumb at Sam—“decided that they were full of shit and told them so.”

“Okay, yes, I did that,” Sam said. “But in my defense, they were wearing a combo of outdated U.S. and British military gear. They looked suspicious.”