He brought her a mug filled with lots of sugar and a little bit of coffee, and that he knew the exact right formula warmed her heart. Not enough to ward off the unease at the intimacy of this conversation, but enough that she didn’t make a run for the door. Apparently sharing orgasms was easier than sharing her soul. She stared down into the steaming brew, wishing it held the answers to her life.


With a sigh, she looked at him, and found her gaze locked in his, held prisoner.

“You’re successful just as you are,” he said.

“If you think that’s true, you haven’t been paying attention.”

“Wrong,” he said. “I’ve been paying attention better than you. You came into this job to answer phones and you’ve so completely fixed us up that now anyone could run our place with the blink of an eye.”

“In my past,” she clarified. “I want to have been successful at stuff in my past.”

“Fuck the past. Move on to something that suits you right now.”

She stared at him. “Fuck the past? Is that how you live your life? Not thinking or looking back at all, just forward?”

“Hell yeah.”

She nodded. This was true. She knew it. She’d seen it. She’d just conveniently forgotten it.

Sam’s eyes were warm as his hand curled around the side of her neck, where his thumb gently stroked. “You should try it sometime.”

What she wanted to try was him. She wanted to try him out for as long as they both could take it. She almost said so, but saying it out loud twice wouldn’t make it so. Her life was in flux. She needed to focus, and focusing around Sam was proving all but impossible. Still, she stepped into him, meeting him halfway when he lowered his mouth and kissed her, an effective kiss that shut down her ability to think and cracked through her defenses.

Of course that’s when their morning clients showed up—a group of ten fishermen—and just like that, Sam was gone.

Over the next two days, Becca ran the hut and loaned out the rental gear. She finalized Summer Bash plans. She had dinner with Olivia at the Love Shack on Country Night, and even got talked into dancing a little bit. She was having fun—until she realized Lucille was snapping pics.

Lucille told Becca not to worry her pretty little head about it because the pics would only be posted on Lucky Harbor’s Pinterest page, and there weren’t many followers yet.

Olivia went home shortly thereafter because she had to work early the next day. The crowd thinned considerably, and Jax sent Becca a long look and a jerk of his chin toward the piano.

Like a moth to the flame. There were still a few stragglers in the place but she sat anyway. Only a few weeks ago, she could not have done so. Still, her heart began to thump. She looked around.

No one was paying any mind at all.

So far so good. She set her fingers on the keys, closed her eyes, and began to play.

When she’d finished one song, she drifted into another, and after three, a movement caught her eye.


“Hey,” she said, startled, jerking her hands back from the piano. “What are you doing here?”

He set down a full shot glass.

She looked at the glass and then into his face, and her heart softened at the inner turmoil she saw there. “You’re struggling.”

“Seems like I’m not the only one,” he said. “Scooch over, darlin’.”

She scooted over, and to her surprise he sat on the bench next to her. “You play the same way you make sandwiches,” he said. “Like heaven on earth.”

She choked out a laugh. “I don’t like it when people listen to me play.”

“Is that true, really?”

She thought about it and slowly shook her head. “No, actually. The truth is that I don’t like worrying about making a fool of myself.”

“Honey, the only foolish act is keeping that talent to yourself.” Then he placed his fingers on the keys and began to play “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.”

Becca laughed and joined in, and when they were done, she heard a single pair of hands clapping.

Jax, and he was grinning. “You two are hired,” he said.

Becca looked at Mark.

“Yeah,” he said. “I know. Call me a fool, right?”

She grinned. “You play.”

“Nah. I dated a woman who taught me that one, eons ago now. Other than that, I’ve no idea what I’m doing.” He paused, looked at the shot glass. “With anything.”

“Me either,” Becca said and nudged the shot glass away from him. “But I know that won’t help either of us.”

“You’re right.”

“It’s not often I hear that,” she said. “I like the sound of it. You going to tell me what you’re doing here?”

“Maybe I came to make sure I could stay off the booze. But then I saw you and thought to myself that you looked beautiful. And sad. And since you’ve helped me so much, I wanted to do the same for you.”

She met his gaze. “How do you plan to do that?”

“By imparting wisdom,” he said. Then he sighed. “Shit’s hard.”

She nodded. “Really hard.”

“But not having shit . . . that’s harder,” he said. “Know what I mean?”

“Yes.” She paused. “No.”

“We’re still breathing.”

“Yes,” she said. “Last I checked, I was still breathing. You too by the looks of you.”