Say You Love Me (Pine Valley Book 3)(14)

By: Heather B. Moore

“Wow,” Clara said. “I’m impressed. I’ve read the Lady Harriett book, but not Amy Harmon’s yet.”

“Want to borrow it when I’m done?” he asked.

Clara smiled. “Maybe. And I didn’t say I didn’t want to hang out with you.”

Dawson seemed to pause at this.

Clara knew she’d just thrown him a pretty big lead. She’d be interested to see what his lawyer-mind came back with.

“You’re right,” he said. “You didn’t say those words exactly, but you did turn me down when I asked you out on a date.”

“With your parents,” she said. “I mean, no woman in her right mind would have said yes to a first date that involves parents.”

“Very true,” Dawson said, and she swore she could hear the smile in his voice. “That was extremely poor form. You know, if the problem was the parent thing, I can definitely remedy that.”

She closed her eyes. Here it came.

“Except you said you didn’t want to date,” Dawson continued.

Clara felt her heart sink. He had a good memory and was good about dissecting their previous conversation. She had told him she didn’t want to date. And for very good reasons . . . except she couldn’t remember what they were now.

“So, I was thinking,” he said in that deep voice of his. “We could hang out. Maybe at a restaurant. Around dinner time? Absolutely no parents allowed.”

Clara laughed.

“We could discuss romance novels,” Dawson continued, his tone hopeful.

“Tell you what, Mr. Harris,” Clara said. “Read one of those books, and then maybe we’ll hang out.”

He didn’t say anything for a moment, and she wished she could see his face.

“I think I’m starting to like how you call me Mr. Harris,” he said in a low voice. “It’s Regency-like.”

“You already started reading it?” she asked.

“I did. And I can see how I need to earn the right for you to call me by my first name,” he said. “Should I be calling you Miss Benson?

Clara smiled. “Clara is fine.”

“All right, Clara,” he continued. “Keep your nights free. I should be finished with both of these books in no time.”

Clara’s pulse was racing again by the time she’d hung up with Dawson. He had done the unexpected, and she probably shouldn’t let it sway her, but she had. She closed her eyes and exhaled. Was she ready for this? Probably not. Maybe when he called her again, she’d have more resolve to turn him down.

That thought gave her comfort, but she also suspected she had a dinner date in her near future. Dawson didn’t seem like the kind of man who would go back on a promise. Which made him different than Max.

The rain never let up, and since the office was so slow, she downloaded the Amy Harmon book to her Kindle app and started to read. If she and Dawson did end up having dinner together, she’d know if he was bluffing.

“I’m finished,” Dawson said as soon as Clara answered her phone. Reading two books over four nights had been a feat, and he might have only slept three hours last night, but he hoped it would be worth it.

“With the Regency?” Clara asked, amusement in her tone.

“With both.” He waited for it.

“Are you serious?” she said, then laughed. “You are one determined man, Mr. Harris.”

“That’s both a strength and a weakness.” He rested his head against the headrest in his truck. It had been a crazy day at the office, and he’d fielded several calls from new clients, as well as tried to get schedules coordinated for upcoming court dates. One of the cases had a prosecutor whom Dawson always clashed with. Since Dawson had won the last several cases against this particular prosecutor, things were strained between them.

Even with all the busyness of today, he’d managed to read the final two chapters of Harmon’s book over lunch. He’d eaten a Subway sandwich at his desk, with the door shut, as he read. He had to maintain some sort of dignity.

He and Clara had texted a few times over the past four days. It had taken a lot of will power not to call her, but now that he had, he decided to feel flattered she’d answered on the first ring.