"I know you're off-duty, but do you mind if I ask you a possible work-related question."
Frank was thankful for the change of topic. "Another missing music box?" he asked with a smile, remembering the first time they'd met. She had insisted the police department be called about Sara's missing music box.
"No, this time it's about a missing girl."
His smile faded at the solemn expression on her face. "What about it?"
"I had the oddest dream last night."
He folded his arms across his chest. "Oh?"
Aerial waved her hand dismissively. "Never mind. Probably just my overactive imagination. I won't bother you with it."
"It's no bother."
"No, it's nothing. Just a silly dream."
"Are you sure? I'm a good listener."
She shook her head.
"You've probably watched one too many reruns of Without a Trace."
She stared at him a minute as if she intended to say something, then closed her mouth firmly. "You're probably right."
Son of a gun. He'd obviously said something wrong. "Look, I'm sorry for teasing you. I do want to hear what you have to say."
"It's okay. I know. It was a crazy question."
Her reluctance to say anything more tweaked Frank's interest. What had stopped her? No matter the situation, he always wanted to pull the loose thread to see what unraveled. She'd given him an opening, and he decided that was a good excuse to see her again. "How about we go out to dinner? I can check around, and we can talk about this more."
She hesitated a moment, just long enough for him to realize he really wanted her to say yes. "I'd like that. When are you thinking?"
"How about Saturday?"
"That will work. I'll ask Betty if she can watch Jenny. My granddaughter," she added in response to his raised eyebrow.
"Great." What a doofus. Couldn't he come up with something better to say? He couldn't believe how tongue-tied he was around her. Good thing he wasn't in the dating market. And he hadn't just asked her for a date. He merely wanted to satisfy his curiosity about her.
"I'll let you know for certain. I'm sure we will see each other at the Bean."
Looked like she'd learned the locals' nickname for the coffee shop. "Looking forward to it." Frank turned, grinning like a detective who'd just closed a cold case. It had been a long time since he'd met a woman who intrigued him as much as Aerial. Sure, she was attractive, even if she might appear to be a little offbeat. After all, she was from the land of flakes and nuts. But he suspected there were deeper layers. And he definitely wanted to investigate them.
As he exited the door, he nearly bumped into a guy loitering outside. Frank quickly assessed him. Middle-aged, mussed hair, rumpled clothes, refusing to meet his gaze. Might mean something — or nothing at all. The guy didn't smell like a homeless person. Likely just lived on his own. Probably not a threat. But he didn't look like the usual kind of customer Frank expected to see at The Herbal Emporium. He'd keep an eye out for the guy, see if he showed up here again.
Where to by Taking a Chance
Book 2 in the
Chances Are ... Series
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