The Family Man - By Trish Millburn Page 0,2

drink menu.

ADAM TOOK a long drink of lemonade, wishing it was something stronger, as he watched Detective Sara Greene walk toward the dunes. She’d strapped her sidearm back on, the only thing she wore that wasn’t dripping wet. Why did women go into dangerous professions like law enforcement? Why did they deliberately put themselves in the line of fire? Why couldn’t they understand that it was useless to be a do-gooder out to solve the world’s ills when the world had too many ills to solve?

He shook his head. Not his problem. Sure, she was pretty and built very nicely if the wet shirt had been any indication, but there were way too many babes walking the sands of Horizon Beach for him to even think about pursuing a woman who was his complete opposite. He didn’t need to have a Ph.D. to know she didn’t think highly of the code he lived by—to be as carefree as possible and screw responsibility.

Heck, even helping out at the bar where he was normally a patron was a stretch. But Zac, his best friend here in his adopted hometown, had asked him to lend a hand while he and his new wife, Randi, were on their honeymoon. He couldn’t wait for them to come home so he could go back to his regular job—running the pier concession just enough to pay his bills.

Even after Sara disappeared from view, he couldn’t get the sight of her dark hair and eyes out of his head. Suz Thackery, who was the head cheese at the Beach Bum in Zac’s absence, nudged him out of the way.

“Stop drooling on yourself. It’s bad for business.”

He jerked his gaze away from the crossover point on the dunes and tossed a towel at Suz. “I wasn’t drooling. Just wondering about that missing kid.”

“Uh-huh.” Suz gave him a disbelieving look. “I give it less than twenty-four hours before you make up some excuse to call her.”

He shook his head. “She’s way too serious for me.” But he knew if Sara Greene were a secretary or mail carrier or worked in an ice cream parlor, he might look at her differently.

Suz moved to the opposite end of the bar to refill the older couple’s lemonades and open three beers for some college-age guys who’d come in from boogie boarding. Adam dug around in the storage room until he found the extra clothes Zac kept in the back in case he got alcohol spilled on him during a shift. He exchanged his wet shorts for a dry pair, but no way was he wearing a pair of his friend’s underwear.

When a delivery arrived, he spent several minutes lugging crates of beer and stacking them in the storeroom. After placing the last case in cold storage, he sank onto it to cool off. As soon as he sat, he imagined bringing Sara Greene back here to this cool, dark spot and kissing her.

He ran his hand over his hair and cursed. He must have hit his head on the pier. Plenty of women were interested in him without him daydreaming about one who wasn’t. He didn’t go looking for brainless women, just ones who were casual and laid-back. He’d deliberately kept things easy and noncommittal with women since he’d moved to Horizon Beach. After serving a dozen years in the army and being shipped to one hot, sandy, inhospitable place after another, he deserved a carefree life. One filled with the ocean, fishing the days away and bikini-clad babes as far as the eye could see.

Nothing that would require him to think or remember. Or care for someone.

He shot to his feet and resisted the urge to punch one of the cases of liquor surrounding him. The nightmare was only supposed to attack him when he was sleeping, when his guard was down. But the memory of the Humvee shooting toward the sky was burned into his gray matter.

He reminded himself once again that a do-gooder like Sara was off-limits. He’d been down that bomb-riddled road before and had almost not lived to tell about it.

Sometimes he wished he hadn’t.

THE AFTEREFFECTS of the near drowning plus the frustration at not finding any clues to David Taylor’s whereabouts occupied so much of Sara’s mind that she forgot to stop at the Coffee Cottage on the way back to the station after going home to change. Faced with having to drink the barely liquid coffee Keith Hutchens had made, she detoured toward the soda machine