Becca just stared at him. “Are you crazy?”

“Yes, apparently. She could’ve called the cops on me, but she didn’t. Jesus, Becca.” He shoved his fingers into his hair and looked at her wild-eyed. “I stole from her. I sneaked out of her bed and into her purse and I took her pain pills.” He dropped his hands to his sides, leaving his hair standing on end. “I’m a f**king thief now?” he whispered.

“Actually, you’ve been a thief for a while,” she said, desperate to lighten his mood. “Remember when you stole makeup from the department store at the mall? They called Mom and Dad, and you gave them the story that you were thinking of becoming a drag queen. Which,” she went on, “was bullshit. You’d just already spent your allowance on pot, and wanted the makeup for your girlfriend.”

He stared at her, then scrubbed his hands over his face, letting out a half laugh, half groan. “Christ, Becca. I’m trying to be dramatic here and have a moment, and you’re making light of it all.”

She’d opened her laptop then, and they’d looked up rehab centers together. Jase had settled on one in Seattle. And now, there in the Seattle waiting room watching him go, her eyes filled. “I love you, Jase,” she said. “Be safe.”

He was too thin, very pale, and maybe a little bit terrified to boot, but there was one thing Jase had known since birth, and that was how to put on a show. He smiled and blew her a kiss.

She rubbed her aching chest but smiled, keeping up the brave pretense until he’d vanished behind the door of the thirty-day rehab center.

Besides her, Olivia grabbed her hand. “He’ll be okay.”

“He will,” Becca said, because she wanted to believe it.

“No, I mean really,” Olivia said. “He had a really determined look.”

Becca decided to put her faith into that being true. She squeezed Olivia’s hand in return and, for the second time in her life, walked away from Jase.

Halfway back to Lucky Harbor, Olivia said casually, “You going to tell me why you’re over there crying while pretending not to cry?”

Becca sniffed. “It’s smoggy. My eyes are burning.”

Olivia looked out at the clear blue sky and raised an eyebrow at Becca.

“Okay, well, then I have allergies.”

“To what?” Olivia wanted to know.

“Your nosiness.”

Olivia laughed. “That I could almost buy.” She glanced over at Becca. “I’d bet my last dollar that you’re not crying about Jase anymore. That you’ve moved on to crying about something else. Someone else. Sam.”

Becca stared out the window. “Don’t ever bet your last dollar.”

“What did he do?”

“He didn’t do anything.” Which was the problem. “I just thought I knew him, but as it turns out, I didn’t.”

“Yes you do,” Olivia said. “Guys are simple. There’s only three things you need to see a guy deal with to know exactly who he is.”


“One, slow Internet.”

Becca thought back to her first day on the job when she’d first discovered the slow Internet in the hut. Sam hadn’t lost his collective shit as her old boss would have. Nope, he’d simply gotten around the problem by writing things down on napkins, pieces of wood, whatever was handy. Not patiently, exactly, because Sam had a lot of great qualities, and patience wasn’t one of them. But he had a depthless reservoir of steady calm. After the craziness of her family and her life, that never failed to bring her to a steady calm.

Well, until very recently.

“Two,” Olivia said, “untangling Christmas tree lights.”

She remembered the tangled strings of white lights she’d found, the ones Sam had replaced, and smiled despite herself.

“What?” Olivia asked.

“I had a bag of tangled dock lights, and Sam handled the situation.” She shook her head. “By buying new ones.”

Olivia laughed out loud. “Honey, that man’s a keeper.”

Well, she’d tried to keep him. . .“That’s only two out of three things you need to see a guy deal with,” she said. “What’s the third?”

Olivia slid her a look. “How he deals with overwrought female theatrics.”

Oh, boy. Becca had seen this, too, the night she’d heard a noise outside her door and gone into a full-blown panic attack. Sam hadn’t thought her ridiculous or made her feel stupid. He’d been too far away for his own comfort and had sent Cole to stand in for him until he could arrive. And then there’d been the unexpected visit from her parents. Whatever she’d faced, Sam had been there for her.

Two hours later, Becca came home and found a stack of boxes waiting for her. An assortment of brand-new instruments for the kids, including a horn, a percussion set, and a bass.

For your new music program, the card read. Nothing else, no name, no address, nothing.

An anonymous donation.

But there was nothing anonymous about how she felt. Overwhelmed. Cared for.


And as she sat there, surrounded by the boxes of brand-new instruments, she realized something. She didn’t need a card. She knew exactly who the instruments were from. Damn, stubborn, stupid, wonderful man.

Chapter 28

On the morning of their Summer Bash, Sam got up extra early, knowing the day would be crazy. He was an hour earlier than usual, but he wasn’t the only one. Standing in front of his warehouse door, waiting for entry, were both Amelia and Mark.