“You know we’re here for you,” Addie said.

“Yeah, I was kidding about the taste testing, but I’m not kidding about helping. I’m happy to pitch in like I did when we had the fires,” Mandy offered.

She loved her sisters. “Thanks. The staff is awesome. It’s—well—” Looking around, hoping for some type of distraction, she was surprised to see Jack Thane finishing his lunch. She’d thought he’d called Morgan from Dallas.

He saw her and came over. “Hey, Tara.” He glanced around, probably looking for Morgan.

“Hi, Jack. What are you doing here?” She stood, wanting to move away from the too-interested glances of her sisters.

“Did you talk to him?” Jack asked after introductions were complete.

Tara blushed. She’d more than talked with Morgan. Both her sisters stared at her, Addie’s eyebrows lifting in curiosity. Tara took Jack’s arm and thought about dragging him away, but her sisters would just grill her when he left. “Yeah.”

“Did you convince him to give up on the fight?”

“I tried.” She took a deep breath. “He knew what I was trying to do. He’s not going to back out.”

“Damn it.”

“Did he tell you that he talked to someone named Mitch?”

“The cop?”

“Yeah.”

“No, he didn’t say anything. What’s Mitch going to do?”

“I don’t know.” She hoped her despair didn’t show. “What can he do?”

“I’ll call him to see what I can find out.”

“Will you let me know?”

“If I find out anything, yeah.” Jack fell silent for a moment. “Thanks for at least trying, Tara. If he survives, he’ll be lucky to have you.”

“Thanks. I don’t think he’d agree with you.”

Jack laughed but didn’t argue with her. “Nice to meet you all.” He spoke to her sisters, then headed to the door.

Tara turned to find three sets of eyes staring at her. Wendy’s were the only ones with any comprehension in them.

“What?”

“I think you need to explain what’s going on.” Addie spoke in that adult-talking-to-a-kid voice she’d used growing up—the same one she probably used with her students.

“Yeah.” Mandy nodded. “Who’s Jack?”

Wendy’s mouth opened as if she intended to explain.

“Don’t say a word,” Tara told her. “This isn’t any of their business. It’s not even ours.” She didn’t want her sisters involved with this mess any more than she liked her staff being a part of it.

“Oh, now you definitely better start explaining.” Addie’s voice grew stern.

“I have work to do.” Tara stood. “And so do you.” She looked pointedly at Wendy.

“Yeah. Nice seeing you ladies again.” Wendy forced a smile and walked away, gathering up dirty dishes at a nearby table before heading to the kitchen.

The diner was filled with noise, but the silence at the table was thick. Tara knew she’d not only upset Addie, but Mandy’s look of disappointment said she’d hurt her feelings, as well.

“It’s not that I don’t want to tell you,” she began, only to be interrupted—saved—when Wendy came to their table. She had the diner’s phone in her hand.

“It’s for you,” she said before stomping away.

Great. “Someday Café. This is Tara, how can I help you?”

“Ah, babe, the list is long.” Morgan’s deep, rough voice slid over her every nerve. Belatedly she realized she was blushing—again—and her sisters were staring. “Oh, uh, hello.”

“I’m guessing you’re not alone. Who’s there with you?”

“My sisters.”

“Ouch. Still mad at me?”

“Yes.” She turned away, from her sisters’ intent stares. “Unless you’ve changed your mind.” His silence only made it worse. “Do you need something?”

“No. Just wanted to see if you’re okay.”

“No, I’m not okay.” But she couldn’t let the harsh words linger between them. “Be careful,” she said softly. Her worry didn’t take away her feelings for him. All her fears that her sisters had distracted her from came back in full force. “Please.”

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