He had to smile at himself as he realized that while he might be in a Ferrari, he had still put the top down. And turned the stereo up to scream.

"You can take the boy off the island," he murmured, then pulled off the side of the road opposite the bluffs and the house that rose from them.

The house hadn't changed, he decided, and wondered how long it would take the islanders to stop referring to it as theLogan place. Two stories, it rambled over the bluff, jutting out, shooting up as if on its own whim. Someone had recently painted its shutters a dark blue to contrast with the silvered wood. The screened porch and the open decks offered stunning views of the cove, and the sea. The windows were wide, the doors glass. He remembered that his room had faced the water, and how much time he'd spent staring out at it.

How often its changing and unpredictable moods had reflected his own. The sea had always spoken to him.

Still, the house didn't bring him any tug of sentiment, or any lovely haze of nostalgia. The islanders could call it theLogan place for another decade, but it had never been Sam's. It was, in his opinion, a good property in a prime location that had been well maintained by its absentee owners. He hoped the man who owned the Land Rover parked outside it felt he'd gotten his money's worth. Dr. MacAllister Booke, Sam thought now, of the New York Bookes. A man with a brilliant mind, and an unusual bent. Paranormal science. Fascinating. He wondered if Booke had felt like a round peg in the square hole of his family, as he himself had.

Sam got out of his car, walked toward the bluff. It wasn't the house that called him, but the cove. And the cave.

It pleased him, more than he'd expected, to see a bright-yellow sailboat tied to the dock below. And it was a honey, he mused, studying its lines. He'd had a boat tied there too. For as long as he could remember. For that, at least, he felt the tug, the soft haze.

Sailing had been the single real interest that father and son had shared. The best times he'd had with Thaddeus Logan, the only times there had ever been that click of kinship between them, Sam remembered, had been when they were sailing.

They'd actually communicated, connected, during those hours on the water, not just as two people who happened, through circumstance, to occupy places in the same family, the same house. But as father and son who shared a common interest. It was good to remember that.

"Pretty, isn't she? I just got her last month. "

Sam turned and, through the lenses of his shaded glasses, watched the man who had spoken walk toward him. Dressed in faded jeans and a gray sweatshirt ragged at the hem, he was tall, with a strong, lean face shadowed by a night's growth of beard. Dark blond hair blew in the frisky breeze, and friendly brown eyes squinted against the flash of sunlight. He had a tough, disciplined build that Sam could admit he hadn't expected from a scholarly spook hunter.

He'd imagined a thin, pale, and nerdish bookworm. Instead, he thought, amused with himself, he was getting Indiana Jones.

"How's she handle in the rough?" Sam asked.

"Oh, like a charm. "

They spent a few minutes, thumbs tucked in front pockets, admiring and talking about the boat.

"I'm Mac Booke. " Mac held out a hand.

"Sam Logan. "

"Thought so. Thanks for the house. "

"It wasn't mine, but you're welcome. "

"Come on inside, have a beer. "

He hadn't intended to socialize, but the offer was so easy and unstudied that Sam found himself heading toward the house with Mac. "Ripley around?"

"No, she's on duty this afternoon. Did you want to see her about something?"

"Absolutely not. "

Mac only laughed, and after they climbed the steps to the main deck, opened the door. "I guess that feeling's going to be mutual for a while. Until it all settles in. "

The deck led into the living room. Sam remembered it as being polished, full of pastels and pale watercolors. Time hadn't stood still here, either, he mused. The colors were bold and bright, the furnishings tailored for comfort. There were homey, untidy piles of newspapers, books, shoes. One of which a busy puppy was currently gnawing.

"Damn it!" Mac leaped in, tripped over the unmauled mate of the sneaker, and made a grab for the other. The pup was faster, and with the shoe in his mouth he scrambled for cover.

"Mulder! Give me that. "

Sam angled his head as man and pup went into a little tug-of-war. The pup lost, but didn't look put out by it.

"Mulder?" Sam asked.

"Yeah, you know - X-Files guy. Ripley said she named him after me. Her little joke. " He heaved out a breath. "She's not going to think it's a joke when she sees her shoe. "

Sam crouched, and the pup, thrilled at the prospect of company, raced over to leap and lick. "Pretty dog. Golden retriever?"

"Yeah. We've only had him three weeks. He's smart, and mostly housebroken, but he'll chew through rock if you don't watch him, which I wasn't. " Sighing, Mac scooped the pup up and went nose to nose.

"You know who's going to take the heat for this, don't you?"

Tags: Nora Roberts Three Sisters Island Romance
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