Say You Love Me (Pine Valley Book 3)(4)

By: Heather B. Moore

“Great,” she said. “I’m so glad you could make it. Can you come to my Saturday class too? I mean, you really need to come a few times to know if yoga works for you. I teach Tuesday and Friday nights, and Saturday mornings.”

Dawson knew. Leslie recited her teaching schedule every time they ran into each other. He wondered if there was anything she talked about that wasn’t yoga-related. Leslie was a pretty woman, enthusiastic, but he hadn’t seen much depth so far. This alone had made him wary—that and the fact it seemed most people in his condo complex were divorced men and women, with a lot of on-again, off-again relationships in the mix.

Dawson had found out the hard way at a neighborhood barbeque a couple of weeks after he’d moved in. He was hit on by no fewer than five women throughout the night. And two of them made it clear they only wanted a hookup—no commitment.

Fresh from his own divorce less than a year ago, Dawson wanted to stay clear of even casual dating. He accepted most of the blame for his marriage falling apart. And since the separation, he had become even more of a workaholic. He’d finally decided it was time for some balance and promised himself he’d go running several times a week. Rain, snow, or sun.

The exercise had helped. Not only had it reduced stress and helped him sleep better, but his mind seemed sharper, and he was more patient with his mom. He wasn’t sure if that was a direct result of increased serotonin in his brain, but he’d finally gone on two dates his mom had set up. Three months ago, but still. And now she was bugging him again, reminding him that there was no reason he couldn’t have a healthy marriage with a kid on the way.

“Do you want to get something at the juice bar with me?” Leslie asked, her gaze hopeful.

Dawson was tempted to say yes, if only to not hurt her feelings, but that spark of hope in her eyes might only lead to more expectations on Leslie’s part. And Dawson already knew that his friendship with Leslie would never move up a notch.

“I’ve still got a ton of paperwork to get through before tomorrow morning,” Dawson said, glancing past Leslie.

It appeared that Clara had already left. A stab of disappointment shot through Dawson. Clara had been friendly and efficient on the phone every time they’d talked, and more than once Dawson had teased her by saying he should hire her as his own assistant. Clara had always laughed it off but continued to be sweet and friendly. So tonight, after introducing himself, he was surprised that she had acted standoffish. He hadn’t expected the woman on the phone to act less friendly in person.

He already knew she was a striking redhead from the picture on the realtor website, and seeing her in person, even in a workout setting, had only made him more curious about her. Her eyes were a deep blue that reminded him of a dark turquoise, and she was more petite than he expected, maybe just over five feet tall. Her smile was quick, almost business like, but he liked the fact that she didn’t seem to be wearing any makeup. Her natural beauty was just as attractive as her full makeup in the website picture. He’d have to ask Jeff if she had a boyfriend. Dawson could hear Jeff’s groan now. Jeff always complained that Dawson could pick up a woman with the snap of his fingers.

The problem was, Dawson wasn’t interested in a woman who’d jump to his every request. Maybe it was because Clara deflected his teasing that he was curious about her. Curiosity wasn’t a bad thing, was it?

“Are you sure?” Leslie placed a hand on his arm. “The green razzleberry is perfect after a workout. And my next class doesn’t start for thirty minutes.”

Dawson didn’t need to rethink his decision. If he hurried, maybe he’d catch Clara still in the parking lot. “Thanks for the offer,” he told Leslie. “But I’ve got a pretty busy night ahead of me. I’ll see you around the complex.”

“Oh, okay,” Leslie said, giving him what he could only term puppy-dog eyes. Then she leaned forward and hugged him again.

This second hug wasn’t entirely necessary, but Dawson didn’t want to be rude. Overall, he hadn’t minded the yoga, especially right after running. It had helped with stretching that he usually neglected.