Say You Love Me (Pine Valley Book 3)(8)

By: Heather B. Moore

Clara nodded, even though Jeff couldn’t see it. “No problem.” After they hung up, she waited a moment, collecting her thoughts, before she entered the café. Jeff was an amazing guy, a great boss, and if there was any attraction between them, she’d probably be a blushing mess. But, although Jeff was close to her age, and a very nice-looking man, there was nothing between them.

On the other hand . . . Dawson had asked if she had a boyfriend. Clara was having a hard time comprehending that Dawson Harris would call up Jeff after the yoga class and ask about her. Yes, they’d had several conversations over the phone, but they’d never talked about anything beyond Jeff or business. Their conversations had been light, friendly, and Clara had never felt like he was flirting.

But now, knowing that Dawson had called Jeff last night to specifically ask about her, she was suddenly nervous. What if he called the office again and she answered? She’d probably sound like an awkward teenager.

Clara exhaled and moved to the doors of the café. She entered the restaurant and placed her order. She had to refocus her thoughts. She already knew that if Dawson asked her out, she’d turn him down. She wasn’t ready to trust guys, not yet. The night Max had broken off their engagement still seemed like a horrible dream—but it had been real. Having the man you were in love with confess that he’d fallen in love with his co-worker, and that they’d been seeing each other for over a year, had ripped out Clara’s heart.

She’d felt such the fool. She’d felt like a piece of discarded trash.

The only thing good that came of that horrible night was that after crying half the night, she’d called in sick to work and gone back to bed. If she hadn’t been home, she wouldn’t have been there when her grandma collapsed in the kitchen. Clara wouldn’t have been there to call 911 and get her grandma to the hospital. And even though her grandma had never recovered, Clara would have never forgiven herself if she hadn’t been home to call the paramedics.

“Clara?” someone called out.

Her order was ready, and she stepped forward to collect the box of muffins and donut holes. She hurried back to the office; she’d been gone much longer than planned. She wanted everything set up before the Tuttles arrived.

Once she had the mini breakfast arranged, she returned to her laptop and continued answering e-mail inquiries about various properties. At the end of each e-mail, she always included the invitation to stop by the realtor office and meet Jeff in person. Jeff had a natural charisma that put clients at ease, and his laid-back approach didn’t make them feel pressured to make quick decisions.

With the Tuttles coming soon, Clara knew the rest of the day would fly by, so she took a couple of guilty moments and googled “Dawson Harris lawyer Pine Valley.” Several hits came up, the top one belonging to his law firm. Clara clicked on the link, telling herself she was only doing a professional search. It wasn’t like she’d look him up on Facebook or Instagram.

His picture was the top one under the “Our Lawyers” drop-down menu. There he was. Dark-brown eyes, nice smile, hair more neat than it had been at the yoga class.

Clara exhaled and read through the bio. He’d gotten his law degree from Berkeley. Well, then. What was he doing in small-town Pine Valley? She guessed him to be at least thirty, with all the credentials that made up his bio. To stay fair and objective, Clara read through some of the other lawyers’ bios. All of them mentioned families, wives, or wives and kids. Dawson’s didn’t mention anything about his family.

Okay, Clara was getting way too curious. She was already wondering what his ex-wife was like. Why had they gotten divorced? And . . . did he have any kids?

The front door of the office opened, and Clara looked up to see a man walk in, then hold the door open for a woman who must be his wife.

They looked to be in their sixties, and Clara welcomed them inside. “Jeff Finch will be here in about ten minutes,” she said, waving them toward the breakfast foods. “Help yourself to muffins and coffee.” Her phone started ringing, and Clara answered it.

The rest of the morning and afternoon proved busy, with Jeff meeting with clients and Clara manning the phones. It wasn’t until about 3:00 p.m., when Jeff left for a showing, that Clara finally caught a breather. And she was starving.