Ryker backed his car out of the parking space and drove off the moment Emmie got out and shut the door

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Ryker backed his car out of the parking space and drove off the moment Emmie got out and shut the door. She stood there next to where his car had been for a moment, eyes closed, before shaking off her dismay enough to meet Sam by the wheelchair accessible ramp leading up to Iola's door.

"You weren't at your apartment."

"Hi to you too."

"Hello. I didn't mean to sound gruff. I was simply concerned. Was that the man who showed up looking for you last time I was here? Ryker James?"

She didn't seem to have a shortage of men wondering where she was in the early hours of the morning. "That would be him. Were we supposed to meet this morning? I don't have you on my calendar."

"I texted you last night."

"You did?" She grabbed her phone out of her bag while pushing her way into the restaurant, Sam trailing behind her. Sure enough, he'd texted at 8:30 the night before letting her know he wanted to meet before work. "You did. I didn't see this. I'm sorry, I was... preoccupied last night."

Sam took a booth underneath a picture of an early twentieth century Moon Beach mayor standing with a group of businessmen in front of the town's first bank. He grabbed a menu and began thumbing through his breakfast options. "Preoccupied, huh? With Mr. Electric Car I'm guessing. You really are settling into your new life. A job, friends, and now a famous boyfriend."

"He's not my boyfriend, and..." She wrinkled her nose as though she'd taken a big whiff of sour milk. "He's not famous... is he?"

"In certain circles, he is. And those circles are growing." He lowered his voice so that Emmie had to lean in towards him to hear what he had to say, even though there was no one else in the front of the restaurant. "If he really isn't your boyfriend, I'd say keep it that way. He tries to keep a low profile here in Moon Beach, but that doesn't mean the tabloids wouldn't love to get a hold of some juicy bit of information about him. We don't need your picture plastered all over social media showcasing you as the latest conquest of Oregon's most prominent bachelor."

That was unsettling. Clearly Sam had been researching Ryker since their fateful encounter weeks back...

"Okay, first of all, I am never going to be any man's conquest. You can scour those words out of that mouth of yours with the spit-laced coffee I'm about to serve you."

Sam's eyes widened. He held up his hands in surrender.

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