Carrie and Tabitha had Jensen sandwiched between them. The two giggled and hugged him. He was smiling from ear to ear.

Meagan and Sam exchanged a worried look. She sought out her director. Shayla’s expression was one of concern, as well.

“From fight to ménage,” Shayla whispered. “If that isn’t good television, I don’t know what is.”

“Or another fight, and a lawsuit,” Sam said softly, giving the crowd his back.

“Exactly,” Meagan echoed. She wasn’t about to stand by and let Tabitha and Carrie end up in another argument, but she chose her words cautiously with Kiki. “While I reluctantly appreciate what you’re trying to do for ratings, we need to tread cautiously.”

“This is darn good footage, Meagan,” Kiki said in a low voice. “This little romantic drama will make them crazy-popular.”

Meagan bit back her first reaction, which was disapproval. “In that case, we don’t want them to get kicked off the show for poor behavior. We need to get them to go relax and go to bed. We’re moving to the house early tomorrow.”

“Well, that’s good,” Kiki said. “But I really dislike the dance part of this show.”

“That would be the entire show,” Meagan responded.

Kiki snorted and addressed the group. “We’re moving into the new house tomorrow, everyone,” she called out, “so be ready to leave at the crack of dawn. Time for bed.” There were lots of moans and groans, and chaos that followed, but the announcement got everyone moving.

Meagan and Kiki chatted with DJ and Ginger to ensure they were prepared for their lead roles in the move, and then in the new house. Sam and several of his staff ended up in a powwow of some sort by the elevator, and as much as she didn’t want to notice, she could tell the instant Sam stepped away. Once all the contestants were in their rooms, Sam positioned several of his people on the floor to ensure no one snuck out. Sam then disappeared with Josh in tow.

In her room, Meagan fought the empty, disappointed feeling she had. She was alone. As in, without Sam, and she admitted now just how much that wasn’t how she wanted this night to end.

For the first time in three years, Meagan had not only let someone into her life, she’d let another alpha in. That should terrify her, and scream of a mistake. She’d always chosen the wrong men. But Sam didn’t seem wrong. Nor was he some alpha control freak. Sam was…well, he was Sam, who managed to somehow make being tough and strong so darn alluring and perfect. And now that he was in, she wanted him here, with her. She wondered if he was thinking the same thing, if he wanted to be here. And if he did, why wasn’t he?

She laughed that off, knowing all too well, it wasn’t as if he could just walk up to her door and come in without creating talk. She might have caved to the impossibility of staying away from Sam, but she still didn’t want to paint a bulls-eye on his chest for Kiki. Kiki seemed to be into the show though. Meagan had researched the other programs Kiki had been involved in and this was the first with huge ratings out of the gate. Her hope was that Kiki would believe this show’s success was a bigger feather in her cap than its demise.

She shoved aside thoughts of a failed show, and headed to the bathroom, for her surefire comfort ritual of a hot bath. She was about to step into the tub, when her cell rang.

She rushed to grab it from her purse, saw Sam’s number and smiled. She flipped the cell open.

“And now you know why I kissed you by the car,” he said, without a hello.

She returned to the tub and sank down into her favorite jasmine-scented bubbles. “Now I know.”

“Where are you?”

“In my room. You?”

“On my way back to the hotel from the property. We had a problem with some reporters who managed to find their way out there, but it’s under control. They’re gone.”

“Wow,” Meagan said. “I don’t know whether to be frustrated or excited that the show is getting so much attention.”

“I’ll handle the frustrated,” he said. “You just be excited.”

Warmth filled her. “You keep making me want to say thank you, and I’m afraid it will go to your head.”

“Sometimes you have to live dangerously.”

“Hmm,” she said. “I would rather do that in person.”

“Alone time isn’t going to be easy to come by.”

“Yeah, I know. That kind of stinks.”

His voice softened. “Do you wish I was there now?”

She was done being cautious with Sam. “Yes. I do.”

Tags: Lisa Renee Jones Stepping Up Romance
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