Say You Love Me (Pine Valley Book 3)(11)

By: Heather B. Moore

Clara put her hands on her hips. “As if you don’t know that.”

“How would I know what you’re thinking?” he countered.

She seemed to hesitate. “I’m like many other women who notice a handsome man. There are plenty of them around, and you’re one of them. But that’s not my point. You and I are just too different.”

“Of course we’re different.” Dawson didn’t know whether to laugh or to be annoyed. He took a step closer, which meant she had to look up more to hold his gaze. “I’m a man, you’re a woman. That’s pretty different.”

She blinked, and Dawson wondered if she wore contacts. He’d never seen eyes such a deep blue as hers.

Clara didn’t move or back down, and this Dawson liked. A lot. His ex-wife would have never argued with him. If she didn’t agree with him, she’d just shut down and give him the silent treatment. They hadn’t even argued about their divorce. She’d moved out while he was at work, and he was served divorce papers at his office.

“I’m tall, and you’re kind of short,” he continued, looking down at Clara. He had the urge to smooth back a few strands of her auburn hair that had escaped her hair clip. “You have red hair and—”

“Okay, I get it!” she said, but there was amusement in her eyes.

“I think differences are good,” Dawson said. “I mean, it makes things more interesting, don’t you agree?” He could see that he was starting to win her over. She seemed to be considering his side of the argument.

She smiled.

He felt like doing a victory dance.

“Nice try, Mr. Harris,” she said. “I know Jeff thinks highly of you, and that you’re probably a good lawyer. You’re probably great with the ladies, too, but I’m just not interested.”

He wanted to keep arguing, because he could see in her eyes that she was interested. But he had some pride left. If there was one thing his divorce taught him, it was to know when he had lost. “All right, no problem. If you change your mind, you have my number.”

She arched a single brow. “I do.”

“Okay, then,” Dawson said. “I hope you have a nice weekend.” He turned away then, because it was really the only thing he could do and still maintain his dignity.

As he stepped out onto the street, he was grateful for the cool breeze that had kicked up. He loosened the knot on his tie and thought about the irony of life. Leslie was constantly asking him to do this and that, and he turned her down all the time. And now that he was truly interested in getting to know another woman, she’d turned him down.

Dawson walked the few yards to where he’d parked his truck. He jumped in, thinking that today would just be like every other weekend, where he’d work straight through. It was no big deal; it was what he’d been doing for years. It was part of why he was now divorced. There was always one more thing to research, one more client to call, one more brief to review.

But right now, he didn’t want to do any of it. For the first time in a long time, he could care less about staying at the top of his game. He wanted to turn off his cell and disconnect from everything for a while.

Eighteen hours later, he still hadn’t turned off his cell, because what if Clara changed her mind? Not about the symphony; it was too late for that. He’d told his mom he couldn’t make it at all—date or no date. She’d tried to talk him into taking Paula Smith, of course, but Dawson didn’t feel like putting on pretenses. Especially for a single mom with two kids. Even though his history with Paula wasn’t all that positive, she didn’t deserve be caught in the middle of his mom’s matchmaking schemes.

Besides, he kept thinking about what Clara had told him about their differences—aside from the obvious ones. Did he come across as “overwhelming”? He certainly hoped he did in a court room, but maybe he should tone it down outside of the courtroom. The question was how? Order pizza and binge-watch Netflix? He had a feeling he’d lose thousands of brain cells if he did. Read romance novels? He laughed.

Then he paused. He could at least read something other than legal documents. Maybe he could run to the bookstore on Main Street and get a paperback. He hadn’t read anything other than what was necessary work for years.