when he was lookin'at you just now. You have to admit, Jamie Lynne, when he walked in that door and started in with that voice of his, we were both prepared to believe whatever he wanted us to believe.” She fanned her neck. “Wacko or not, the man has presence. In spades. And diamonds, and—” “Yeah, yeah, I get your drift. Go on upstairs and protect and defend, okay? Leave the door open and scream if you need me.” Ree winked at her and did a little shiver. “I'd sure like for him to make me scream, sugar. Okay, okay, I'm going.” Laughing, she turned and left. Jamie went to the desk and looked at the dog tag as she picked up the phone. She didn't believe Sebastienwas what he claimed to be, but if she was honest, she also wasn't ready to believe the alternative. Otherwise, she'd be making a list of mental hospitals to call, and she hadn't ruled that out. Yet. She simply wanted another chance to talk to him. Just this one last time.
Chapter 6 T hree days later Marta walked into the shop with I Baxter trotting happily behind her. Ree Ann and Jamie smiled at the duo. Marta scowled and headed directly for her office. Just as she had the previous two mornings. “I know we shouldn't be happy she's miserable,” Ree Ann said. “But he is so cute. And you know, maybe it's not so bad for her to get a teensy bit attached to the little darlin'.” “I heard that,” Marta called over her shoulder. “The 'little darlin''ate my Etienne Aigner loafers this morning. I've had them since college.” She turned and eyed them both. “The only thing I'm attached to right now is calling the pound.” Ree put her hand to her mouth. “You wouldn't.” “I talked to the vet again yesterday afternoon,” Jamie said. “She said they've left messages with our shop number on the owner's answering machine. He's obviously out of town or something.” “Then he doesn't deserve the dog back,” Marta retorted. “If he can't arrange better care for him than to turn him loose on the streets.” “Baxter deserves better than the pound,” Ree countered. Marta narrowed her eyes. “Then you take him.” Jamie smiled sweetly. “He doesn't love us. He loves you.” Marta opened her mouth to retort when—as if sensing his life was hanging in the balance—Baxter reached up and nuzzled her leg. She went into her office without saying another word. Ree nodded in approval when Marta didn't close her office door until Baxter was inside with her. “You may be right,” Jamie said. “If she'd just stop fighting it, she'd realize she's already half in love with the little floor-duster.” Ree frowned. “Yeah, but Bax does already have an owner, even if he is unfit.” “Maybe we can convince the guy to leave him with Marta. Or we can get her another dog when Bax goes home.” Jamie looked at Ree, who glared at her. “What? Just because she doesn't want to give her heart to a man doesn't mean she can't give it to an animal. I know there's a downside at the end, but that's years away.” “Precisely why she won't give her heart away. No guarantee on how much time she'll get. She refuses to risk having it broken again. Her heart is as big as the two of ours put together.” “So why did you say it was a good idea for her to fall for the mutt?” “Because more than anything else, she needs to be needed,” Ree said quietly. “And by more than just the two of us and a half dozen small-business owners.” She walked back over to the coffee bar. “You're right. If we can't talk the owner into giving the dog a good home with her, maybe we'll surprise her with a puppy for her birthday.” She opened a box of napkins and started to arrange them in fancy stacks. After a few moments she said, “So, have you made any decisions about you know who?” Jamie wished they were still discussing Marta's lovelife. Even if it was a canine affair. She didn't want to talk about Sebastien. Three days had gone by since she'd seen him, and