“Absolutely,” he confirmed.
Kiki said, still way too brightly, “And they want to watch Freddy Krueger, Meg. I figured I’d pick up some Jason action, too.” She disappeared and Meagan really hoped she was talking about the fictional Jason Meyers, not the Jason who was one of the judges on the show.
“Meg,” Sam chuckled. “She just called you Meg, and we both know how dangerous that can be.”
“I don’t know what scares me more,” Meagan agreed. “That woman or having to watch those movies tonight which will ensure I don’t sleep for a week. I don’t do scary.”
“I’ll protect you from all the scary bumps in the night,” he promised softly, his eyes glistening with something deeper than the jest behind his words.
And oh, how easy it would be to buy into the fantasy that he could protect her, and fix everything that might be scary in life. How easy it would be to be the damsel in distress, and Sam, her knight in shining armor. The idea absolutely made her shake inside. She was falling, too hard and too fast, for Sam. What if she lost her show and him in one fell swoop? What if she started relying on him and then he was gone? Suddenly, she was shaking inside as surely as she had shaken in his arms. She had to get a grip on both herself and her situation.
“Alas,” she said, trying to sound lighthearted, to hide the wave of emotion consuming her. She’d told him she wasn’t. “Movie night is one nightmare I must face alone, though I know it will break your heart to be left out.”
His eyes narrowed, his intelligent stare all too aware of her sudden withdrawal, which was why she did what any intelligent woman would do.
She darted away.
* * *
IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY night. Literally. As in, lightening, thunder and pouring rain. A night made for scary movies, though Sam and three of his crew, Josh included, had opted for watching sports and the live security feed.
Sam sat on the couch of the security house, one booted foot crossed over the other on top of the coffee table. Josh and two other guys had taken spots in various locales around the room. The game in question was playing on the big screen, the security footage, on a table lined with monitors that Josh had expertly wired days before.
Sam’s gaze kept drifting toward the security footage, toward Meagan, replaying her words as he had in the hours since she’d spoken them. He was no fool. She’d run away the instant she could, and he didn’t know what to do about it. It was exactly what she’d promised not to do again. How to handle it was the question. Did he give her some space? Did he press her so that she knew he was serious about where this was going? And he was. Every moment drove that point home. He’d never fallen in love, but he knew he was in love now. He knew months ago with their first sparring words.
Meagan screamed at the movie, and Sam found himself grinning.
He wasn’t sure if she, or Carrie, would win the award for loudest scream of the night. Suddenly, lightning struck outside and thunder roared. The entire group of movie watchers screamed, and Sam and his men chuckled. Another blast of lightning and thunder, and the lights went out, including the security feed.
“Damn,” came several voices in unison a second before the backup generator, hooked directly to the feed, purred to life.
Sam was already on his feet, dialing Meagan, his eyes adjusting to the darkness. The security feed was useless, nothing but darkness and the mumbles of scared contestants. Sam could hear Meagan’s phone ringing, but she was too busy trying to calm everyone down to answer.
One of his men passed out flashlights, and Sam turned his on. “I’m headed over there,” Sam said.
Josh groaned. “I’ll go with you. Sounds like Freddy Krueger and the storm has them in a total panic.”
Ever prepared, they grabbed rain jackets from the supply closet, and extra flashlights. They were about to leave when one of his men shouted. “Hold up, Sam man! We have a tornado warning in effect for the next thirty minutes.”
Sam cursed and motioned to Josh. “Let’s go now.”
The instant they were out the door, they were slammed in a downpour that made it seem like the ocean was raining down on them, not the clouds. Sam ran faster, pushing through the wind and over the sand.
Sam was in sight of the porch stairs to the main house in minutes that felt like hours. His cell was ringing, but he didn’t dare stop to answer it. The front door burst open, and Meagan appeared as Sam rushed up the stairs with Josh on his heels.