Say You Love Me (Pine Valley Book 3)(15)

By: Heather B. Moore


Tomorrow he’d be in court most of the day, and depending on the outcome, he could be in a foul mood. So his goal was to get Clara to agree to meet him for dinner tonight . . . or their non-date would have to wait until Saturday night.

“What did you think?” Clara asked, genuine interest in her tone.

“Oh, no you don’t,” he said. “You have to wait until our date, I mean, our hang-out session, to find out my thoughts.”

She laughed. “I see what you’re doing.”

He loved the way she laughed. “Hungry?”

“Maybe.”

“You would be a terrible witness if you ever had to testify in a court case,” Dawson said. “It’s a simple yes-or-no question. Either you’re hungry or you’re not.”

“Hmmm,” she started. “I’m not sure I agree. Sometimes I’m a little hungry, and I only need a granola bar. Or, I’m very hungry, and I need a full meal, and maybe dessert. Other times, I just crave something sweet—like ice cream or chocolate.”

“Okay, I concede,” Dawson said with a laugh. “Are you a little hungry, very hungry, or craving ice cream or chocolate?”

Clara only paused for a second. “I’m very hungry.”

Warmth spread through Dawson. Now they were getting somewhere. “Great. Can I pick you up, or is that breaking your hang-out rules? We could meet at a restaurant. Have you been to Rick’s BBQ? They have salads, too, not that I’m expecting you to order a salad.”

“I like salad, and ribs.” Clara released a small sigh. “Do you want to pick me up at the office? I live in the opposite direction.”

Dawson felt like he’d just been awarded a gold star. “Sure, when are you done?”

“I’m done, but I can always work on stuff until you get here.”

“I can be there in about fifteen minutes.”

Dawson hung up with Clara and started his truck. He wouldn’t have time to go home and change, so he just tugged off his tie, unbuttoned his cuffs, and rolled up his sleeves. He’d take the grief if she gave it to him. It would be worth every minute.

As he headed toward Main Street and the realty office, he tried to remember the last time he’d felt so eager for a date. Had he felt this way when he’d been dating Romy? They had started dating in college, and it just seemed that everyone expected them to be together. So when she’d become pregnant during their last year of college, they married. Later, she’d had a miscarriage, but Dawson had thought their marriage was still worth it. She worked as a dental hygienist while he went to law school. His hours were long, and late, but that was how law school was. Romy had always been quiet, yet she’d had a decent circle of girlfriends. When he’d received the divorce papers, she had included a three-page, single-spaced letter, laying down all of her feelings—which amounted to a giant list of his failures—all things she’d never told him in six years of marriage.

Dawson pulled his truck up to the curb in front of the realty office. He had just climbed out when Clara came out of the front door of the office. Her auburn hair hung straight, just below her shoulders, and she wore navy dress pants with a pale blue blouse. The blouse was fairly sheer, and underneath she seemed to be wearing a dark blue tank shirt. He pulled his gaze away from her outfit to meet her amused gaze.

“Got rid of your tie, did you?” she asked.

Dawson smiled. “I didn’t want to upstage my date, I mean, my hang-out buddy.”

Clara smirked, and she glanced over at the truck. “Well, I wasn’t expecting you to drive a truck.”

He arched his brows. “What did you expect?”

Clara looked Dawson up and down. “Mercedes? Or maybe a BMW?”

Dawson motioned to the truck. “You would be wrong, Miss Benson.”

She shook her head but was smiling. He moved to the passenger door and opened it for her.

“Thank you, sir,” she said as she climbed in.

Dawson could swear he smelled citrus. He had the sudden urge to tug her toward him so he could breathe in the scent of her hair. Instead, he shut her door after she was settled and walked around the front of the truck.