Author: Jill Shalvis


“And you?” Logan asked.


“Me what?” Ford slid him a look. “And be careful, because if you’re about to ask about me and Tara, I’m going to kick your ass and enjoy it.”


Logan snorted at the empty, hollow threat. Fan-fucking-tastic.


When Ford finally pulled up at the inn, Logan eyed him across the console. “If all you’re looking for is a good time, she deserves better.”


Ford was surprised he still had back teeth, what with all the grinding he’d been doing. “What I’m looking for is none of your business.”


“Look, I was the guy that came along in Tara’s life after you screwed her up. And she was damn tough to catch because of it. But my patience and perseverance paid off, and she married me. So man to man….” Logan gave him a tight smile. “You might think you have game with her now, but she isn’t a game. Move onto someone else, Ford.”


“Get out.”


Logan did just that, then leaned in the window. “I’ve heard a lot about you, you know. Hard not to; you’re the only thing anyone around here wants to talk about. You’re the Good Time Guy, not the Keeper Guy. That’s how I know I’m going to be the last one standing. And I think you know it, too.”


Ford watched him walk away. It was true that all he and Tara had in common was a mutual desire, which they’d supposedly fulfilled. And Mia, of course.


Except…


Christ, the except. He watched Logan vanish inside the inn, thinking about how much more than desire this was. How he wasn’t feeling much like just a Good Time Guy.


He was feeling like the Confused Guy, one who wanted so much more than he ever had before.


Tara and Maddie were up at the crack of dawn, standing on the docks watching as, from the very far corner of the bay, Logan seemed to be struggling with the houseboat.


“Does he look like he’s okay?” Tara asked, peering through the binoculars she’d found in the marina building.


“He has the two-way,” Maddie said. “He’d call for help if he needed it, right?”


“No, he wouldn’t. He’s a guy. He’ll call for help when he’s dead.”


The houseboat had come with the inn and marina as a part of their inheritance. Since this had happened in the dead of winter six months ago, they’d never had an earlier opportunity to use the boat.


But when Logan had called yesterday needing a place to stay, Tara had grabbed her sisters and cleaned the thing out, and placed Logan in it.


Better than having him underfoot at the inn.


Chloe came up behind them. “Hey, thought we were doing yoga this morning.”


“I get enough exercise just pushing my luck,” Tara said, still watching the houseboat through the binoculars. Logan was on the deck, messing with something in the open maintenance closet. She considered calling him, but probably it was his plan to look helpless so she’d go out there. He used to do that with all the kitchen appliances when they were married.


“Did anyone look through yesterday’s mail yet?” Chloe asked. “I’m waiting for a few checks to come through for the classes I gave in Tucson last month.”


“No checks, only bills,” Maddie said.


Chloe sighed. “The bills always travel faster than the checks. Why is that?”


Neither Tara nor Maddie had an answer for that. Tara was still looking at the houseboat. Huh. Logan did seem to be genuinely concerned about something.


“Tell me again why he couldn’t just rent one of our rooms?” Maddie asked, shielding her eyes from the early morning sun. “The rooms that we actually want to rent out? He’s a paying customer.”


“That would have put him too close.”


Maddie glanced at her. “If you don’t want him here, why don’t you ask him to leave?”


“Because he said he wasn’t leaving until he won me back.”


“Is that even possible?”


The “no” was on the tip of her tongue, but she was having some trouble getting it out. She had no intention of starting anything up with Logan. None. But he’d been her only family for several years, during a time when she didn’t have a lot of others in her life, and he’d stuck with her until she hadn’t been able to make it work anymore. There were still emotional ties.


“And what about Ford?” Maddie asked.


“What about him?”


“Is he the reason Logan doesn’t have a shot? And don’t lie. I’ve seen the way you look at him. It’s how I look at junk food.”


“We are way too busy to discuss this,” Tara said. “We have guests—”


“Who have been out sightseeing in the area and are no trouble at all.” Maddie took in the heavy South in Tara’s voice and smiled. “You do realize that you don’t scare either me or Chloe anymore with that tone, right?”


“Like I ever scared you.”


Maddie’s smile turned into a grin. “You know what you should do with Ford?”


Tara gave her a droll look. “Drag him up to the attic like you do Jax?”


Maddie blushed. “Hey, we go up there to—”


“I’ll pay you fifty bucks not to finish that sentence,” Tara said fervently.


From behind them came the sound of a soda can being popped open, and they all whirled around.


Ford stood on the deck of his Beneteau, drink in one hand and a bag of chips in the other. Breakfast of champions. He wore a WeatherTech T-shirt, board shorts, and a backward baseball cap with his hair curling out from beneath. Looking better than anyone should this early, he toasted them with his soda, his eyes never leaving Tara’s. “Morning.”


Maddie gasped. Only she wasn’t looking at Ford, but out at the water. “Do you think Logan’s all right?”


“He’s always all right,” Tara said. “Why?”


“Because he’s waving at us.”


Ford looked out on the water, then swore as he set his soda aside and leaped forward to start the engine on the Beneteau.


“What are you doing?” Tara asked.


“Saving the bastard.” He paused and looked at her hopefully. “Unless it’s okay with you if he dies?”


“What?”


“He’s sinking.”


Tara looked. Ford was right. Logan was definitely sinking.


“Oh my God,” Maddie whispered, horrified. “I rented him that boat. Does that make me a murderer?”


Tara’s heart clutched. “He’s not dead yet.”


“Hurry,” Maddie called to Ford. “I can’t be the one who killed Tara’s ex! I look terrible in orange!”


Tara tried to remember if Logan was good in the water. He could drive like the best of the best, but she had no idea about swimming. She grabbed the two-way radio from Maddie’s hip. “Logan, why aren’t you wearing protection?”


The radio crackled, and then came Logan’s voice. “I have ‘protection’ in my bag,” he said. “But much as I don’t want to say this, darlin’, now’s not the time to be asking if I’m carrying condoms. I have problems.”


“A life vest, Logan! I’m asking where’s your life vest!”


“Oh,” he said. “I knew that.”


Maddie was yelling at Ford. “Faster! I voted for you, and I want you to win, but not this way, not by killing the ex-husband!”


Tara shook her head in disbelief. “You voted for him? I told you and Chloe not to vote. None of us were going to vote!”


“Actually, this is pretty funny, if you think about it,” Chloe said as Ford sped toward Logan.


Tara gaped at her. “What could possibly be funny about any of this?”


“How about the fact that your two men seem to be spending more time with each other than with you?”


Chapter 15


“Experience is what you get when you didn’t know what you wanted.”


TARA DANIELS


By noon, the houseboat had been towed back to the marina, where it was determined that the bilge pump had failed. Logan was perfectly safe although slightly disgruntled, and settled back at his original beach cottage after a phone call to the owners from Tara.


The weekend guests were no trouble at all. Chloe had been right. They were in their mid-thirties, on their honeymoon, and hadn’t noticed a thing about the inn. All they wanted was their bed.


Maddie was set to handle the afternoon and evening, with both Chloe and Mia for backup if needed. Tara had a shift at the diner, and she was running late. Keys in hand, she came running out of the cottage and nearly toppled over Mia, who sat on the top step.


Holding the recipe box.


“Hey, Sugar.” Tara pulled up short. “Where did you get that?”


“From Chloe.” Mia opened the box and pulled out the first card, on which Tara had written For My Daughter. “She thought I’d like to see it.”


Tara was going to be late for work if she stopped but she knew it didn’t matter. Talking to Mia was worth being bitched at by Jan—and Jan would bitch. Eyeing the wooden step, Tara bit back a sigh. Hiking up her pencil skirt to mid-thigh, she gingerly sat.


Mia pulled her lips in, trying to hide her smile, reminding Tara that in the girl’s eyes, she was not only old but also probably embarrassing.


“The porch swing would have been more dignified,” Tara told her.


“I like it right here. I can see the world sail by.”


That was true. From here, there was a lovely view of the marina and any ships sailing past it. “Are you interested in sailing?” Tara asked her. “Because it just so happens, you’re closely related to an expert.”


Mia smiled. “I know. And yeah, I’m interested. Ford said he’d take me real soon.” She pulled out a card and showed it to Tara. “Never miss a good opportunity to shut up?”


Tara sagged a little and let out a huff of laughter. “It fit at the moment.”


“Chloe?”

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