Say You Love Me (Pine Valley Book 3)(5)

By: Heather B. Moore

He strode out of the workout room, then down the hall and through the lobby. By the time he reached the parking lot, he knew he’d already missed Clara. He didn’t think any of the cars remaining were hers. It had been worth a try, although he wasn’t entirely sure why he’d felt so determined to catch up with her.

Dawson climbed into his new truck—well, new since the divorce. It was something he had bought just for himself. Romy hated trucks, so he’d sold his old one before they married. But now . . . Romy was no longer in his life, and he could buy a truck if he wanted to. Besides, it reminded him of his childhood and how his grandpa would pick him up in his old truck on Saturdays for their fishing trips.

Before Dawson started driving, he checked his whole list of incoming emails. No texts. One voicemail from his mom.

He cringed as he played the message back.

“Dawson, dear. I need you to call me right away. Dad and I have four tickets to the spring symphony, so we were thinking you could come with a date. Madge Smith told me Paula is in town for the week—I guess her kids are out of school for fall break. I ran over there today and met Paula’s kids. They’re adorable. Although I never thought I’d tell my son to date a divorced woman with kids, you know that the divorce wasn’t Paula’s fault. And her kids are perfectly well-behaved.” His mother released a happy sigh.

It made Dawson feel slightly ill. Not that he was opposed to having his own kids, or even possibly dating a woman who had a kid. But he was absolutely opposed to Paula Smith, or whatever her last name was now. They’d dated his senior year in high school, and when he’d found out she was dating two other guys at the same time, he’d vowed to steer clear of her.

His mother was still leaving her very lengthy message when the voicemail cut off. Dawson chuckled to himself. Only his mother could leave such long messages.

He’d call her after he got something to eat. Even though he’d turned down Leslie’s invitation, he was hungry. And since he was too hungry to spend extra time cooking, it looked like he was getting a chicken sandwich at a drive-thru.

He connected his Bluetooth, then called Jeff Finch as he drove. Jeff was as much of a workaholic as Dawson, so he doubted the man would be out and about. Besides, Jeff always answered calls from his lawyer.

“Bad news?” Jeff said, picking up on the second ring.

“What?” Dawson was momentarily confused. “Oh. No. We won’t hear back from Kyle’s lawyer for another few weeks, but like I said, I don’t think the lawyer’s going to work pro bono.” Jeff Finch had recently won a lawsuit against his business partner, Kyle, who also happened to be his cousin. Kyle had embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Jeff’s realtor business. And Kyle had threatened to countersue. The problem was that Kyle was broke, and any decent lawyer could see that Jeff’s case was solid.

“Oh, okay,” Jeff said. “I was just worried when I saw your number on my phone on a Friday night.”

“Yeah, well, I’m not calling about work stuff,” Dawson said. He was suddenly wondering if he’d made a mistake and acted too hastily. “I was just in a yoga class at the rec center.”

Jeff laughed. “Yoga? You? That would be entertaining to see.”

“Funny,” Dawson deadpanned. “My neighbor was teaching the class. She’s been begging me to come for months.”

“She? Do I sense an interest?”

“Leslie? Not unless you like a woman who has more energy than a Chihuahua.”

Jeff laughed again, then said, “Did you change your mind about golfing tomorrow? Cameron’s confirmed.”

“Uh, no. I still can’t come.” Dawson cleared his throat. “I saw your secretary tonight at the yoga class. You know, Clara.”

“Don’t call her a secretary,” Jeff said with a scoff. “She’ll bite your head off. She’s an office manager, or you might be able to get away with calling her an executive assistant.”

“Duly noted.” Dawson swallowed. He might get a lot of crap when he asked his next question. “Is she, uh, in a relationship?”

Dawson turned down the volume of his Bluetooth while Jeff laughed.