There was something about the way he said that statement. “What happened that I don’t know about?”

“A tabloid reporter tried to sneak onto the floor dressed as a waiter.”

She shook her head. “Like I don’t have enough to worry about. Now this?”

“You don’t have to worry about this. That’s what I’m here for. And that’s why I would rather get us to the new house now, rather than later.”

“Yes,” she said. “Please. The sooner the better. I’m all for as much control as I can get, and as quickly as possible.”

Their eyes locked, thick silence stretching between them. “I aim to please, Meagan,” he said, finally.

Meagan. Not Meg. Not sweetheart. That should please her. It’s what she’d always insisted he call her, but it didn’t please her. Not with the distance she felt between them that hadn’t been there last night.

He pushed to his feet. “I need to get the paperwork to the appropriate parties. I’ll call you if anything goes wrong.”

“Okay,” she said, standing with him, searching his face, but his expression was blank, his jaw set. She wanted to apologize, but wasn’t sure what to say, and he was already headed to the door. Maybe he didn’t want her to apologize. Maybe…

He hesitated at the exit, and she held her breath, but when she thought he would turn back, he left without another word.

Meagan willed herself not to move, not to go after him. She had a lot of footage to edit, and she needed to check on the contestants herself. She would not go after Sam. She would not go after Sam. She sat down again, rested her elbows on her knees and put her hands to her head. Sam was making her crazy.

* * *

SAM WAS PISSED, and he wasn’t even sure why. He’d left Meagan’s room this morning determined to see her again, to find out where this thing with her was going. He’d gone into that break room, with exactly that purpose in mind. Instead, she’d warned him of her vow to keep things between them to one night and that hit him hard.

She had some deep need for control, and from what he could tell, she had her reasons. Her parents had controlled her and were still trying. Apparently, she thought he would want to do the same, and the only way she could control what was happening between them, what was uncontrollable, was to simply shut it down. Maybe that was for the best. He knew better than to mix business with pleasure. He needed to focus on the show, on security, on Kiki. Both he and Sabrina had agreed that Kiki’s comments to Josh meant she planned to turn Meagan’s show into another bonus opportunity for herself. He just had to prove it before Kiki made it happen.

His mind shifted back to Meagan, to her naked and perfect in his arms the night before, to her rejection today. His stride lengthened, his pace quickened. He was acting like a fool, pursuing a woman who didn’t want him. He needed some space, maybe a bar and another woman, only he had too much work to do. And who was he fooling? He was too into Meagan to want anyone else.

He unlocked the door to his truck and slid inside, before pounding the steering wheel. When his cell rang, he said, “Talk to me,” noting Josh was the caller. Loud music ripped through the phone. “Where the heck are you?”

“Kiki took a group of the contestants to the eighteen and over club on the corner two blocks south of the hotel,” he shouted. “They’re performing, Sam.”

“Without studio approval or security?” Sam asked, and he could already smell the trouble.

“That’s right,” he said. “I told her the studio could be sued if anything went wrong. Sam. She said Meagan approved this.”

Sam cursed. “Where are they?”

“Club Z and they’re filming—”

The line went dead.

Sam punched Meagan’s cell number into his phone. She didn’t answer. Of course not. She was going to make him come to her. He shoved open his door, and started for the building, angry and feeling as foul as a soldier dodging a sniper—who, in this case, happened to be the woman he couldn’t get enough of.

That’s when he spotted Meagan running toward him. “Sam!” Apparently, she’d gotten a phone call, too. “Sam.” She screeched to a halt in front of him, her chest rising and falling with exertion. “Sam, I—we—”

“I know,” he said. “Josh told me. Let’s go.”

“Josh? What? What’s happening? Is something happening with the cast?”

She didn’t know? Had she followed him to the truck for personal reasons? Was she here for him, not the bar problem? He didn’t get to ask. He quickly updated Meagan.

Tags: Lisa Renee Jones Stepping Up Romance