"I know. Look up there," John told her and pointed almost directly overhead. "There's the little dipper. See it?"

"Oh, pretty."

"I can't really make out anything else. There are too many stars out tonight. Clusters everywhere."

Tammy gazed up at the stars.

John stole a quick glimpse of her face as he peered up the beach.

"Well, which way now?"

John smiled because she squeezed his hand as she asked. "Let's go this way," he said.

"Are we scared of the woods that way," she whined playfully.

"No," he whined back, matching her playful tone. "But they don't tell you what kind of wildlife has its sanctuary there."

She laughed and pulled the blowing hair from her face.

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"Could be the sanctuary of the grizzly bear for all I know."

"A grizzly on the beach?"

"I'm just saying that the signs are a little vague. Maybe they don't even know what they have. They just plant some trees and hope something shows up."

She pulled him along in the direction he wanted to go, laughing and shaking her head. They fell into an easy pace and took in the atmosphere as they walked. The name Michael Gallager was never uttered. They enjoyed long stretches of silence as they listened to the water tumble over the sand and the wind twist around them with the smell of cool salt. It was obvious that an emotion one notch above mere friendship was starting to grow.

After walking for what seemed to be a long way, Tammy suggested they turn and start back before they ended up all the way in Maryland somewhere. John just laughed. "Wonder how far we've walked," he asked her, thinking out loud.

She shivered in the increasing wind. John put his arm around her as they turned and started back.

The aroma of her perfume on the air off the ocean was driving John's senses crazy. He wanted to kiss her again but simple fear stopped him and he regained control of the urge.

After driving on into the wildlife sanctuary and reading a description of the place on a small billboard by the moon, they finally decided to head on back to John's office. It was starting to get late and Tammy had to look forward to getting up early in the morning to fly out to Nashville. She had a long day ahead of her full of signing legal contracts with the Nashville record company and selecting a producer.