I thought my actions would be enough.

The entire song, Sam’s words floated in her head, and in her heart. He’d never said he didn’t love her, only that he’d hoped his actions would be enough. And his actions did speak pretty loudly. He’d given her a job. He’d supported her, encouraged her to follow her heart, whether that be music or whatever floated her boat. He’d helped her get over the past. He’d backed her up with her family. He’d come running when she’d gotten scared. He’d been there for her, through whatever she needed, at the drop of a hat.

His actions had spoken for him—loud and clear. He’d shown her he loved her, with every look, every touch, every move he made.

The song ended, the fireworks ended, and everyone burst into a roar of applause. The kids bowed. Becca started to bow, too, but was pulled into a brick wall.

Sam’s chest. “So proud of you,” he murmured in her ear.

She was shaking. Adrenaline, she knew. But Sam had her, his arms locked tight around her. “Look at me,” he said, voice low and serious.

She tilted her face to his.

“I hold people at a distance, I know it. I do it because I also know that anyone or anything can be ripped away from you at any time. But you, Becca. . .” He shook his head. “I can’t—you’re in, babe. You’re past my walls, past my defenses. If I have to deal with that, so do you.”

The crowd was still cheering as she stared up at him. “What are you saying?”

He got serious. Very serious, very intent, his eyes focused on hers. “It means I’m in love with you.” He slid his thumb over her jaw in a gesture so sweetly powerful that she had to close her eyes at the sensation. “It means I love you so f**king much I ache with it. All the time. It means I want you to stay here in Lucky Harbor and be with me for as long as you’ll have me, which I’m hoping is a damn long time because I’ve carved out a damn fine life for myself and I want you in it. All the way in it.”

She stared up at him. “You . . . you said the words.”

“I did,” he agreed.

“You said the words,” she whispered again, marveling. “Right?”

From the front, Lucille leaned in. “Honey, yes,” she called up to her. “He said he loves you. You might want to see Dr. Scott on Monday about that hearing problem.”

Becca wasn’t about to be distracted from Sam. “You didn’t want to say them, but you did. For me.”

“Always for you,” Sam said, and, ignoring their avid audience, he bent her over his arm and kissed her, a long, slow, deep one that meant business. It was there in his kiss how much he loved her, and it had been all along.

When he was done, he lifted his mouth from hers and slid his thumb over her wet lower lip. “We good?” he asked.

Lucille cupped her hands around her mouth and shouted to Becca, “Honey, he wants to know if you’re good!”

Becca gave her a thumbs-up before turning to Sam. “Considering all I want is you, we’re perfect.”


One month later, Becca got a call. Her agency had been steadily sending her new assignments, and she’d done well on all of them. This time they were offering her one of their largest accounts, an American car company.


Becca hung up and laughed, and then did a little dance right there on the boat.

The guys were sprawled out enjoying the last of the Indian summer as September came to a close.

After a crazy summer, the best summer of Becca’s life, they’d all taken a rare day off and were fishing. Or at least making a semblance of fishing, as in the lines were cast. But she doubted any of them, slouched in various positions on deck, each with a beer, dark sunglasses on, bodies relaxed and still, was worried about his catch.

It’d been Sam’s idea to take Becca out today. He’d been unhappy when Cole and Tanner had tagged along without invitation, but he’d given in to the inevitable invasion, and they’d had a great day.

Cole was smiling at her little dance. “Probably you shouldn’t ever teach dance classes,” he said.

“I think she dances kinda cute,” Tanner said. “It’s white-girl rhythm, but it’s the enthusiasm that counts. Although I could tell better if you’d do it again, in a bikini this time,” he said with some hopefulness and a sidelong glance at Becca’s tee and shorts. “Maybe we should instill a new uniform code. A bikini code.”

Sam smacked him upside the back of his head. “My woman,” he said. Then he tugged Becca onto his lap.

“Hey,” Cole complained. “No PDA on this boat.”

“You tagged along,” Sam reminded him. “Deal with it.” He smiled at Becca. “What’s up, babe?”

“I got a big assignment.”

His smile was slow and sure. “Proud of you,” he said, and leaned in for a warm kiss.

She cupped his scruffy jaw. “Do you have any idea how much I love you?”

Sam nipped her bottom lip and slid his palm to the nape of her neck to hold her still for another kiss. “Show me,” he murmured against her lips.

“Christ,” Tanner mumbled to Cole. “They’re like bunnies.”

Cole sighed, rose to his feet, and headed for the helm. “Time to head in.” He pointed at Sam. “And that wasn’t one of those double entendre things. You can wait until we get back.”

Sam smiled into Becca’s eyes. “I’ll try.”