Hallie took a step back. “That’s a big dog you don’t know.”
Hallie obviously didn’t speak dog the way Sera did. The big guy scampered up and treated her like an old friend. “Nah, this is a sweet boy. And he’s got a collar.”
Sylvie reached out to give the dog a pet. “He’s a pretty boy. Or girl.”
She was betting this was a boy. “What are you doing out here, buddy? Did you get lost?”
“No, but I might have,” a deep voice said. “And he’s a boy. You can tell from the way he finds every woman he can and tries to get her to pet him.”
She looked up and into the eyes of Harry Jefferys. Gorgeous, stunning Harry. He was more casual than he’d been yesterday, wearing a tank that molded to his muscular frame and showed off beautifully sculpted arms. He’d traded the jeans for basketball shorts and boots for sneakers. She stopped at the sight of metal where his right leg should have been. The shorts were long, covering his knees, but there was a metal rod in the place of his calf, ending in a sneaker. He had pulled the ear buds out of his ears and they dangled around his neck.
He glanced down to his leg. “Sorry. I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone out here. We were going for a run. Shep, you should leave the nice ladies alone. Again, sorry, he’s never met a stranger. I also don’t have a leash. I didn’t think I needed one out here. I thought I was still on my aunt’s land.”
It was so good he’d reminded her who he was. He was far more than a hot bod and a face to die for. He was a Beaumont. Oh, maybe not in name, but he was Celeste Beaumont’s kin and that meant they were on opposite sides. She straightened up. “No, you’re on my land now.”
Sylvie grinned. “Ooo, you said that like a lady boss, Seraphina. My land. I like that.”
Harry put his hands on his hips as he surveyed the house. “Yeah, Cal mentioned you’d recently come into some property. You should get it fixed up before they appraise it. It looks like you’ve got a couple of areas to work on.”
For some reason his comments stung. She wasn’t sure why since she didn’t care what he thought. “Thank you for pointing it out to me, Mr. Jefferys. I will be sure to do that. And you’re more than welcome to run through here if you need to. We don’t have fences up for a reason.”
She bet Celeste would be putting one up the minute she found out who her new neighbor was, though.
“But you should look out for traps,” Hallie said.
Harry looked back at her. “Excuse me?”
“There are no traps.” The last thing Sera needed was parish inspectors coming out to make sure her aunt hadn’t left a bunch of traps in the woods for tourists to run into. Sera had gotten all of them. She hoped. If Harry mentioned that to Celeste, she might get to thinking about creative ways to make her life hell.
“That’s only a rumor,” Sylvie explained. “Irene Guidry was what we like to call a character. She was kind of isolated, but she was a lovely soul.”
Yes, there was Sylvie’s positivity. And Irene would have been far more likely to take a shot at someone she considered an intruder. She’d kept her trusty shotgun with her all the time. She’d even refused to go into a nursing home at the end because her shotgun hadn’t been welcome. Or at least that had been her excuse. Sera rather thought she’d simply wanted to die in her own home. Irene hadn’t liked to go into town much. She’d been happiest here where she’d grown up and lived all her life.
Had she been afraid to get out and see the world? It was funny because Sera was afraid she wouldn’t get to stay. She didn’t want to leave. She loved this place, but it was starting more and more to look like staying wasn’t a good idea.
“Seriously, I don’t joke about things like traps or mines.” Harry frowned her way. “How do you think I lost this leg?”
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize,” Sylvie offered, the politician in her trying to smooth things over.
Hallie turned a shade of pink no human being ever should. “I’m so sorry. It was a joke.”
Harry’s lips curled up in the most spectacular smile. That smile could light up a room. Maybe a whole house. “I was, too. I heard a bunch of stories about this place. You’re all crazy, but that doesn’t scare me. I like a little crazy.”
Sera took a breath. At least they hadn’t completely offended the man. “I was worried you had lost your leg to a mine.”