She climbed on top of him and kissed him, delivering the promise, “The next time you sneak into my bedroom, the punishment will be a hundred times worse.”

His hands closed down on her hips, but she pressed away. “One second.” She pushed off him and he let her, not suspecting her departure. “I have to go shower before they get here.” And she dashed into the hallway, bare naked. Sam had teased her. This time, she was teasing him.

When he poked his head around the shower curtain, he gave her an intense up-and-down inspection. “I dare you to find out what happens when you sneak into my bedroom tonight.”

And then he was gone.

* * *

NOT EVEN WORRY OVER a battle with Kiki could keep Meagan from being all smiles as she walked into the contestant house to find everyone, Kiki included, cleaning up the strawberry mess from the night before.

Meagan went in search of Carrie. She found her in the kitchen, sweeping up cake crumbs. “I hear you missed the big breakfast meeting this morning.”

Carrie snorted. “I’m happy to be part of my own ménage.”

“I wasn’t aware you had a ménage,” Meagan said, trying for a casual tone.

“All I need is Mel and Josh,” she said. “They make fine company. Neither of them are overly friendly, and both give a pretty good comfort pet when needed.”

Meagan straightened. “What? Josh’s been petting you?”

Carrie giggled. “No. Not like that.” She patted Meagan’s head. “Like that. Like a big brother kind of petting.” She wiggled her hips and brows. “Though bring on more, baby. He’s gorgeous.”

Meagan shook her head and poured coffee into a mug. “You stay away from Josh. He’s too old for you.”

“I’m mature for my age,” Carrie said. “I’m like a twenty-seven-year-old trapped in a nineteen-year-old’s body.”

“Oh, Carrie, honey, you just hang on to the nineteen-year-old body,” she said. “Take care of it and treat it right so you have a long career, with zero injuries.” She lowered her voice. “Any idea what this breakfast was all about?”

“Tabitha said Kiki lectured them about getting into trouble, and warned them she was cracking down before they got her fired.”

Meagan’s brows dipped at the behavior so contrary to how Kiki had acted the night before.

“Yeah,” Carrie said, seeming to read her mind. “Sounds odd to me, too.” She leaned in closer. “Last night, Kiki was the one encouraging them to, you know, get down and dirty. So now they want me to believe she was scolding them, telling them they were lucky not to get kicked off the show?”

“That part is true.”

Carrie shrugged. “Yeah, well, she didn’t seem worried about that last night.”

The back door opened and Sam walked in looking like sin and satisfaction—her satisfaction. “Speaking of lucky,” Carrie said. “I think I’ve become a soldier kind of girl.”

“Carrie,” Meagan warned.

“Sorry. Sorry. I’m leaving.” She grinned at Sam. “Hi, Sam.” Then she took off into the living room.

Sam sauntered over to the coffeepot, real close to Meagan, and filled a cup for himself. “Morning, Meg.”

She smiled. “Morning, Sam.”

“It is,” he said. “Very good. It started when someone told me a story.”

She smiled. “Really?”

“Oh, yeah,” he said, whispering in her ear. “I plan to rewrite the ending. You’ll like it.”

“I liked the original version,” she assured him.

“You’ll like this one better. Wait and see.” He winked. “Tonight.”

Kiki appeared in the doorway. “How about seven o’clock tonight, okay?”

Meagan about swallowed her tongue considering what Sam had just said, and she didn’t dare glance at him for fear of completely giving away their conversation. “Tonight?”

“For the group movie night you wanted to organize.”

“Oh, yes. In-house movie night. Sure. Excellent.” She ignored the mischief in Sam’s eyes that said there was way more than a movie night on his mind. “I need to watch what we’ve filmed in the main. I’m hoping for some really good footage for next week’s show.”

“If you come down to the security house later this evening,” Sam suggested, “I can let you view what we have so far.”

Meagan tried not to react to the invitation that had nothing to do with film, and everything to do with getting her to his bedroom. “Perfect. I’d like to get to the editing booth early tomorrow.”

“Hopefully they deliver some fun viewing minus the scandal,” Kiki said. “Don’t worry, Meagan. I got the message. No more scandal. You want the show to have mass appeal. I get it.” She was being so sweet it was downright sticky. “But if the ratings falter even one week, all bets are off. I’m not going down with the ship.” She smiled brightly as if she hadn’t just issued a threat. “Meanwhile, dinner’s being prepared.” She eyed Sam. “So, try and stay out of the kitchen, okay, Sam?”

Tags: Lisa Renee Jones Stepping Up Romance