“One screwdriver coming up.” The tool landed in his outstretched palm, and Sam went completely still. Meagan. Meagan, so close her leg was touching his. Slowly, he eased his head out from under the cabinet to find her squatting beside him. Little brown wisps of hair floating over her brow. He loved her hair—how it felt, how it smelled.

“Your man is apparently MIA, since he’s nowhere to be found,” she said. “And I wasn’t aware you did plumbing.”

“I don’t,” he said, sitting up and leaning against the cabinet. “One of the kitchen cameras is acting up, screwing up the entire link to go live. I’ll need you to outline where the private areas are besides the obvious ones. There won’t be many, still, we don’t want any peep shows.”

She nodded, then surprised him by sitting down on the floor herself, her back to the island kitchen so that she faced him. “The entire electrical system at the auditorium is out of whack. An electrician is working on it. I think I’m beginning to believe in the curse.”

“The ratings don’t seem to be cursed. They’ve been good so far.”

“A blessing for sure,” she agreed. “Nothing is going as I expected but it still seems to be okay.”

He rested his hand on one knee and stretched out the other leg. “Just because it’s not how you envisioned it doesn’t mean it’s not good.”

She studied him. “Like you, Sam. You aren’t what I expected.”

“So you’ve told me.”

“You’ve been avoiding me.”

No one could accuse her of beating around the bush. “I’ve been busy out here.”

“And avoiding me.”

“And avoiding you,” he conceded. “Yes.”


“Isn’t that what you wanted?”

“Apparently not.”

He arched a brow. “Apparently not?”

“I think I miss arguing with you.”


“Okay I do. I miss arguing with you.”

“We’ll have plenty of opportunity when we both move in here.”

“So what’s the scoop? Can we be in this place tomorrow?”

“Looks like. I just want to walk you through the camera setups.” He started to get up.

“Sam.” She spoke softly, his name packed with so much emotion that it might as well have been a shout.

“Yeah, sweetheart?”

“I miss you.”

“You made this decision.”

“I really was just trying to protect you.”

“I don’t need to be protected.”

“You’re sure about that? Because I’m not.”



“No buts about it.”

“Then…about that kiss I said no to…” She crawled toward him and pressed her mouth to his.

* * *

SAM WASN’T SURE WHAT screamed louder—his desire for this woman, or the warning to stay away from her. His hand slid to the side of her face, his lips brushing hers. He told himself to tread cautiously, that he was getting emotionally attached to Meagan, and while he had no doubt she was truly into him, he wasn’t sure, that emotion had anything to do with him, no matter how much he wanted to be, that he wasn’t simply her escape. Whatever she’d been feeling in the hallway of that club a week before, she was feeling now, too.

But things had changed for him—or at least had become more clear. He liked Meagan. He liked her a lot. And even though Sam was on unfamiliar ground, he wasn’t one to run from whatever came his way. He damn sure wasn’t about to start with Meagan. He had every intention of finding out what was between them, beyond one heck of a lot of smoking-hot attraction.

She pulled back slightly, her breath warm, her mouth still deliciously near and tempting. He knew in his gut that no matter how much he wanted her naked and in his arms, she was hiding—from her true self and from him. He wasn’t going to let her do that.

“Why tonight, Meagan?” he asked. “Why tonight and not last night? Or the night before?”

A door slammed. That they’d been alone this long was a miracle. Now there was no time to talk to Meagan, and make his position clear, though he fully intended to. Just like he didn’t run from things, he didn’t play games, or talk in circles.

“Let’s check out the property,” he said, before they were interrupted. He quickly brushed his mouth over hers, silently reassuring her that he welcomed their intimacy. He then pushed to his feet and pulled her with him.

“Sam—” she started, looking surprisingly vulnerable, an emotion he hadn’t often seen in her.

Josh entered the room. “We’re fine in… Oh, hey, Meagan. I bet you’re glad to finally be moving in.”

“Very,” she agreed and exchanged some small talk with him, before Sam had Josh finish up under the cabinet.

A few minutes later, they’d reviewed the in-house cameras, and were standing on the porch. “If we walk up the beach, I can show you where we set up cameras.”

Tags: Lisa Renee Jones Stepping Up Romance
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