Tanner went brows-up.

“He cares,” she whispered. “He cares a lot.”

Tanner touched a finger to the tip of his nose.

Cole nodded.

“Well, I know that,” she said. And she did know how Sam felt about her; it was in every touch, every kiss, every word he murmured against her late at night in her bed.

But still, hearing it out loud in the light of day from the two people closest to him in the whole world gave her a warm glow. She smiled at them and turned to go to the hut.

“Hey,” Cole said, and she looked back. “Take it easy on him.”

“What do you mean?”

Tanner chuckled. “He means the guy plays at being tough as hell, but the truth is—”

“I’m tough enough to beat the shit out of the both of you ladies,” Sam said from behind Cole and Tanner.

“You’re so dead,” Cole murmured to Tanner.

Tanner didn’t look worried as he leisurely took off toward the hut. Cole followed, leaving Becca alone with Sam.

“So,” she said into the awkward silence. “You only play at being tough and hard?”

He surprised her by laughing, and then tugged her onto the boat and into his arms. “You tell me.” He nuzzled her neck. “Do I play at being hard?”

She thought about how deliciously “hard” he’d been the other morning before he’d left and let out a sigh of pleasure.

Holding her close, Sam opened his mouth on her neck. “Love that sound.”

“Sam,” she murmured, going soft. And damp . . .

“And that,” he said, and nibbled. “Come onto the boat; I want to show you something.”

She snorted against his chest. “I’ve already seen it.”

“Smart-ass,” he said, his hand sliding down her back to lightly smack her butt. “You’ve been busy,” he said casually as he nudged her into the cabin.

“Yeah.” The quarters were tight here but she didn’t feel threatened, not with Sam. “Summer Bash is in four days and there’s a lot of last-minute stuff. Plus, I’ve been working with the kids, and we’re really nailing down the rest of the song. Sort of.” She laughed a little. “Actually, that might be wishful thinking on my part.”

“Cute,” he said. “But I meant at the Love Shack.”

She stared at him. “You saw the pic, too.”

“My little sister showed it to me.”

“You don’t have a little sister,” she said.


She laughed. “You should know, the angle of the picture made the dance look a little . . . more than it was.”

He nodded. “He ask you out?”

“He did.”

“You tell him you’re busy?” he asked, pushing her into the galley.

“Didn’t know I was,” she said.

“You are.” His voice was raspy rough and teasingly sexy—a deadly combo. “Very busy.”



She tried to look outraged, but the truth was that the ridiculously alpha statement made her go all warm and mushy. Before she could decide how to respond to the cocky possessiveness, he turned her to face the table. On it were the music books she’d been eyeing online.

“Sam,” she said with surprise, and tried to turn to him, but he pinned her still.

“We docked in Seattle with our clients,” he said in her ear. “They had lunch downtown, and I picked these up for you.” His lips brushed the skin of her neck as deft fingers tugged at the string ties of her bikini top.

With a gasp, she whirled around, holding up her top with her hands. “Hey.”

Sam smiled.

Her heart stuttered.

He looked down at the way her ni**les pressed against the thin material of her suit and let out a low, very male sound of approval. “Miss me?” he asked.


“Liar.” He slid a hand to the nape of her neck and rubbed the chafed spot where her bathing suit ties had made her skin raw. When her lips parted on a soft moan, he tangled his fingers in her hair, tipping her face up, his lips inches from hers. He had really great lips.

“Okay,” she said. “Maybe I missed your mouth.” And the things you do with it. . .

He kissed her again, then used his hips to shift her legs apart. “Only my mouth?”

“Mmm,” she said, as if she needed to think about it.

He gripped her hips and rubbed her against a most impressive erection. She dug her nails into his back as he rocked into her.

“Mmm. Maybe some other things, too,” she managed.

That made him laugh as he slid his hands down her back to her bottom. “I missed you,” he murmured against her lips.

The statement was unexpected, and made her melt into him. She looked into his eyes and found herself looking into pure desire. Maybe she had no idea what the future would bring for them, but the next few minutes would be damn good. She slid her hands up ripped abs and around to his warm, sleek back. “Now, Sam?”

“No,” he said, surprising her. “Much as I’d love to know if this table would hold, I’ve been thinking all day about the things I want to do to you. I’m going to need a while. Hours.”

She quivered, and felt herself get wet. “Hours?”

“All night.”

“Tonight then,” she agreed.

“And maybe tomorrow night, too,” he said.