“That’s okay,” Pink told him. “Ms. Teacher will teach you.”

“Yeah?” Sam turned to Becca with mock seriousness, his eyes laughing.

“Can you keep a beat?” she asked with as much teacher-like seriousness as she could muster.

“I don’t know,” her newest student said softly. “You tell me.”

Oh, boy. The kids had given both Ben and Jack cymbals. Everyone was in place and ready, so Becca gave the count. They began playing—out of sync, of course, and off key. Nowhere even close to a beat.

But at the end of the song, when they all burst into applause, Becca took in the sea of happy faces and had to laugh. “Good,” she said.

“It was great,” Pink corrected.

When the class was over, Becca looked for Sam, and found him standing with Jack and Ben. Her heart skipped a beat at all the male gorgeousness in such close range.

“Holy crap,” said a female voice from behind Becca. It was Mitzy Gale, the woman who ran the kids’ programs at the rec center, and also the principal of the elementary school. She visibly shook herself. “Those three really shouldn’t stand together; they’re going to blow all the female brain circuits in the building.” She looked at Becca. “That was great, by the way.”

“It was?” Becca asked.

“Yes. You do so well with the kids. I’d love to hire you to run the after-school music program, both here at the rec center and also at the elementary school.”

“You don’t have a music program,” Becca said.

Mitzy laughed. “Exactly. You’re going to create one.”


“Yes, please.”

Becca’s heart started beating faster in excitement. Hope. Thrill.

“Now, I should warn you, don’t quit your day job yet. The hours are only part-time until our budget kicks in, which might happen for fall, and it might not. It’s not a great offer. Frankly, it’s a terrible offer, but you’re so desperately needed and wanted, Becca, if that counts for anything.”

“That counts for everything,” Becca said.

She marveled over it for a few days.

Only a few weeks ago, she’d have described herself as an introvert. But here, in Lucky Harbor, working at the charter company, she’d come to realize that she was actually an extrovert. The job demanded it, really, and so did Music Hour with the kids, but . . . she liked it.

She liked the kids. She liked the guys, too. She liked all of it. Everything. Here, she didn’t obsess so much over her career—or lack thereof. Here she got out and met new people every day.

Lived for the moment.

She had Sam to thank for that.

One afternoon, he showed up just as she was closing up the hut. The pattern was that one of the guys was always there at closing. They were there anyway, cleaning up the boat, the gear, whatever, but one of them would grab their cash from the day and get it to Sam. Or Sam would come get it himself.

Today he stuck his head in the door. His hair was windblown, his face tanned, his eyes crinkled to go along with the rare smile on his face as he crooked his finger at her.

She looked behind her.

No one.

“Me?” she asked.


“Is this going to be lesson number four?” she asked, unable to keep from sounding hopeful.

He met her gaze. He hadn’t shaved that morning, and maybe not the morning before, either. His unruly hair had been finger-combed at best. He looked like maybe he had questionable motives. He looked like he didn’t care what anyone thought of him. He looked hot.

“Becca, when I give you lesson number four, you’ll know it.”

Her entire body reacted. But she was beginning to think that he talked the talk of a badass, and walked the walk, but he didn’t have the true heart of a badass or he’d have taken advantage of her by now.

Damn it.

Against her better judgment, she followed him outside and down the dock to where a gorgeous, sleek boat was moored. “Wow,” she said. “It’s beautiful.”

“I made it for a client a few years back,” he said. “He’s gone into town to grab a drink with some friends. He wanted me to take it out and take a listen to the motor.”

“I thought Cole was your mechanic.”

“Yeah but he’s gone, and I’m good, too.” While he was speaking, he was giving her the bum’s rush down the ramp, his hand low on her back, then lifting her onto the boat with seemingly no effort at all. Before she could recover from the brief but very welcome feel of being held against his chest, he was tossing her a life vest.

She stared down at it. “You planning on dumping me in the water?”

“Only if you piss me off.” He came close, and then closer still, and she pressed her hands to his chest to keep her balance.

She wasn’t opposed to pissing him off if it would make him kiss her again. “We going now?”

“In a minute.” He ran his hands down her spine, over the backs of her thighs, and then up again, copping a feel of her bottom while he was at it.

“Sam.” She was having some trouble getting her cognitive skills to fire with his hands on her like that, roaming, his eyes all hot and liquidy, making his intentions more than clear. “You can’t be thinking—”

“About taking you on the galley table below? Yeah,” he said, voice whiskey-smooth. “That’s pretty much exactly what I’m thinking.”