Say You Love Me (Pine Valley Book 3)(7)

By: Heather B. Moore

But she’d awakened several times, thinking about the yoga class and how Dawson Harris had introduced himself. And how she’d disappeared as soon as she could. Dawson Harris was the last man she could let herself be attracted to. He was Jeff’s lawyer, and now that she’d met Dawson in person, not only did he have a girlfriend, but it was clear he was one of those guys who probably had women ogle him everywhere he went.

And Clara refused to join the masses. She kind of wished Dawson would have been less . . . good-looking? Less friendly?

After months of turning down any man who’d asked her out, or hinted at asking her out, she was attracted to her boss’s lawyer? She didn’t know anything about Dawson’s relationship history, but since he was obviously dating Leslie, Clara might have to rethink going to that particular yoga class.

Clara’s phone rang just as she reached the café. “Hi, Jeff,” she answered before stepping inside. She stopped to the side of the doors as someone passed her by and went into the café.

“I’m going to be about ten minutes late to the appointment with the Tuttles,” he said. “Can you grab some muffins from the café?”

“Already on it,” Clara said with a laugh.

“Of course you are,” Jeff said, his warm voice coming through. “Thanks, Clara. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

Clara smiled. It was nice to be appreciated, and it was in moments like this that she wanted to be the best employee ever. If Jeff Finch hadn’t hired her, who knew where her life would have ended up? Pine Valley had given her the new start she needed.

“Oh, by the way,” Jeff continued. “Dawson said he met you last night.”

“Yeah,” Clara said, her mind racing. What had Dawson said about her to Jeff? Did they usually hang out on Friday nights? “He came to my yoga class. His girlfriend’s the instructor.”

“Girlfriend?” Jeff said. “Dawson doesn’t have a girlfriend.”

Clara’s face heated. “Well, whatever. I just thought that he and Leslie were . . . never mind.” Dawson doesn’t have a girlfriend kept running through her mind. “Do you want me to get anything besides muffins?”

“Um, donut holes?” Jeff said. “Clara, I just need to tell you something before the day gets away from me. And you can take this however you want, but when Dawson called me last night, he asked if you had a boyfriend.”

All the air seemed to leave Clara’s body, and she leaned against the outside wall of the café.

“Make of it what you will,” Jeff continued. “But since you’re my employee, and I don’t want to lose you for any reason, I don’t want you to feel like you have to go out with Dawson if he asks you. I mean, he can be fairly, uh, persuasive, but lawyers are a dime a dozen. Good office managers aren’t.”

Clara inhaled. She was still breathing, apparently. “Thanks for the heads-up,” she finally said. “I’m not really interested in dating right now. I’m sort of on a break.”

“I get it,” Jeff said. “Dawson’s been a tremendous help to me, but I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable in any way while working for me. So if I have to, I’ll hire another lawyer.”

“No, that’s a bit drastic,” Clara said. “I mean, it’s not like he’s calling me to ask me out, or anything.”

When Jeff didn’t respond, Clara said, “What else did he ask?”

“Just what I told you,” Jeff said. “But I could hear the interest in his voice. He’s been through a recent divorce, and his mom keeps trying to set him up on dates, but from what I know, he’s not dating anyone. Dawson is an extremely busy man, and he’s never called me for any personal reason. Until last night.”

Clara let that sink in. “Okay,” she said with what she hoped sounded like a breezy voice. “Like I said, thanks for the heads-up. And just so you know, Jeff, I love my job, and I’m grateful that you hired me.”

“Believe me, you’ve been a godsend,” he said. “Especially since I’ve been dealing with this lawsuit. And you’ve put in a ton of extra hours. Don’t think I haven’t noticed.”