Shooting the Moon
like I’m…I don’t know, consorting with the enemy.”
    He offered her a tentative smile. “Come on. We’re just having dinner. We’re not consorting. Besides, do I look dangerous to you?” His expression grew sheepish. “Yesterday’s arrest aside, of course.”
    Lauren told herself not to return his smile, but the memory of his arrest, funnier in retrospect, combined with the knowledge that it had occurred simply because of a speeding ticket, got the better of her. “I can’t believe you were dragged off right in front of me,” she said with a small laugh. “You certainly have good timing.”
    His smile turned into a crooked grin. “Yeah, well it took some work to arrange it. Not everyone can manage to get arrested in front of the one person it’s in their best interests to impress.” The look of chagrin reappeared. “I’m never going anywhere without my helmet again.”
    “It doesn’t seem like you to be cautious,” she said, fidgeting with the back of the chair.
    “No, it seems like you.” He gazed up at her, now serious, and Lauren understood his meaning. He thought she was being too narrow minded—and maybe she was.
    “I just want what’s best for Brandon.”
    “And I’d die before I let anything hurt him.”
    Lauren told herself that of course he’d say something so reassuring. He was trying to win her confidence. But the sincerity in his voice convinced her. There was something about Harley Nelson that begged her to believe in him, if only a little. Why he affected her that way, she couldn’t fathom, not after what had happened to Audra.
    “I ordered some chardonnay,” he said when the waitress appeared carrying a bottle of wine. “I thought youmight like a glass.” He nodded toward the chair. “That is, if you’re going to sit back down and eat with me.”
    Lauren looked from Harley to the waitress. If she didn’t leave now, she knew she might regret it for the rest of her life…but she couldn’t make herself walk away from the hope in his eyes.
    “I’ll stay,” she said. There wasn’t anything wrong with spending an hour or so in Harley’s company. If he was everything her father said, their time together wouldn’t change the situation. And Quentin Worthington was rarely wrong.
    Harley seemed to relax when she took her seat again. He smiled at her, but Lauren almost asked him to stop. That smile brought memories of silly schooldays, when she and Kimberly used to write notes to each other gushing about how handsome he was and speculating on whether or not they’d pass him in the halls after their next class. One time, at a school dance, Harley had crossed the floor, coming toward her, and Lauren was sure he meant to dance with her. Her breath caught, her stomach filled with butterflies. Then he’d extended his hand to the girl behind her.
    Why had she remembered that? What could it possibly matter now?
    “What’s good here?” Harley asked, studying the menu.
    “I like the Pad Thai and the chicken-and-coconut-milk soup.”
    “Should we get the Chicken Satay as an appetizer?”
    “If you want. We’re not on a date,” she said, more sharply than she’d intended.
    He scowled. “What is it with you? Is having a little bit of fun going to betray everything you’ve ever known?”
    “No. Meeting with you is.”
    “Well, we’re meeting already, so we might as well enjoy ourselves, provided you know how.”
    “I know how to have fun,” she replied, wishing she didn’t sound so defensive. “It’s just that I’m sitting across from the man who got my sister pregnant and has suddenly reappeared out of nowhere to threaten what I love most. What’s fun about that?”
    He stared at her for a long time, and again Lauren regretted sounding so harsh. What was it about Harley that knocked her off her balance? One minute she thought she was being too kind to him. The next she thought she was being too cruel. She couldn’t seem to pick a lane.
    “Tell me something,” he

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