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Zander tipped his head. “You don’t say.”

“Faking innocence doesn’t suit you.”

“Getting you closer to Portland for a while was her idea. You’ll get to know her and Bella, and we can spend time together without me being on the clock.” He studied her face. “Will you do it?”

“Yes.” Absolutely. She couldn’t stop her smile.

“Good . . . and I found something you might be interested in.” He handed her a small, narrow box. “Madison told me how much it meant to you and your sisters. And Simon Rhoads helped me find it. You’re right . . . he’ll do anything for Dory—or you.”

Emily took the box in apprehension. “You didn’t need to—”

“It’s nothing.”

His gaze was on the box, avoiding her eyes. It’s something.

“I know the original was lost in the fire, but this one is close,” he said.

She barely knew Zander Wells. She didn’t know where he had grown up, how he liked his steak, or what kind of music he enjoyed. But she knew him. She knew his character; he had integrity and honor and intelligence.

He was a good man.

She lifted the lid off the small white box and lost her breath. “Where did you find it?”

“Like I said, Simon did most of the work. I asked him about it, and it became a mission for him.” He leaned closer.

The bracelet of buttons in the box started to blur. She picked it up, examining each button. Someone had invested a lot of time and effort to make a very special bracelet.

Damn, how I loved the original.

This bracelet was so similar. But that wasn’t the important aspect. What was important was that Zander had listened and cared.

She blinked away tears and studied him. A fresh vulnerability shone in his eyes.

How did this happen so fast?

“I need a date for a wedding this summer,” he finally said, holding her gaze.

“Ava’s?” Emily had hoped to see the agent again.

“Will you go with me? She’d be thrilled to see you.”

“Is that what you want?” she asked, an undertone in her question, her heart in her throat.