If her Google search had paid off, hopefully she would spot the no-good thief eating lunch, because everybody ate lunch at Dot's. The café hummed with chatter, an occasional burst of loud laughter, dishes scraping together, pleas for refills of coffee.
Her gaze scanned the room, and she wondered if she would recognize him. Who was she kidding? Maybe it had been years since she'd last seen him, but her feminine instincts assured her she would know him.
Before she could do a thorough search of the large open room, Dot herself raced around the counter, a big smile lighting up her face.
Chloe grinned back and fell into her arms for a warm hug. Dot was still thin as she'd always been.
"Oh, Chloe, it's so good to see you."
"You, too, Dot."
"I'm going to miss your mother, but I know she'll be back to visit often."
Chloe's mother, Pamela, had turned over her business to her only daughter so she could retire to Arizona. "She'll probably be back once a month because she'll be missing all her friends so much."
Dot smiled. "Lunch is on the house today." She glanced around the crowded room. "That is, if you can find a place to sit."
"I'll just sit at the counter. I'll be sure and stop by when it's not so busy so we can talk."
"We have a lot to catch up on," Dot said.
Chloe hugged her mother's best friend again before she wove her way through the tables to the counter. The last stool stood empty.
As she walked over to it, she did another quick scan of the room. Frowning when she didn't spot the rat, she plopped her butt on the stool. A young waitress she didn't recognize slid a glass of water and menu in front of her. "Thanks."
"The cheeseburgers are still the best in the state," a husky male voice said beside her.
The timbre of that voice resonated somewhere deep inside of her. Heart hammering, she turned to look at the man sitting on the stool. Ohmigod...
Her plan had been to catch him off guard, not the other way around. A seductive grin kicked up the corner of his full lips. Laugh lines deepened the corners around his mossy green eyes. The years had given his face a mature ruggedness with an almost dangerous look to it. Oh ... he had been dangerous fifteen years ago, dangerous to her heart. Judging by her reaction to him now, he still could be dangerous.
"Chloe. You don't remember me?"
For fifteen years she'd carried his brand. "Ah..." She snapped her fingers only pretending to place him. Instead, she fought to buy time to gather her garbled thoughts together and calm her racing pulse. "Why, if it isn't Nick Logan."
Thick, mocha colored brows knitted together. While he stared at her, an uncomfortable feeling rushed through her. That he was onto her puny attempt at lying. After all, he was attorney now, so he had heard every con in the book.
"Sorry ... it just took me a moment." Chloe dropped her elbows on the counter, reminding herself of her mission. Squaring her shoulders, she tilted her head in his direction. "I didn't know you were back in town." She hating lying, but she figured the rat deserved it. "Just visiting?"
His brows relaxed, while he picked up the heavy white mug off the counter. "No. I practice here now."
His voice had deepened over the years, too, lending a rakish, sexy tone to it. "No kidding?" Google had already supplied her with his change of address, but Google had been blind to his charm. "My mom never mentioned it." Only because her mother had never known about her and Nick. She'd kept her silly teenage infatuation close to her heart, not even confiding her feelings about Nick to her best friend, Cindy. She'd never told a soul what happened that summer night years ago.