The Year of Chasing Dreams
Eric’s lovely wedding and how happy Arie had been with Jon by her side flashed through Ciana’s mind.
    Abbie laughed. “I know. I look like I’ve swallowed a bowling ball.”
    “You look …” Ciana searched for the perfect word. She chose “…  happy.”
    “I’m very happy.” Abbie patted her abdomen. “Not much longer.”
    Ciana felt ashamed for not keeping in closer touch with Abbie and Eric, knowing that if Arie were still alive, she’d have kept Ciana up on every detail. “I should have checked on you.”
    “I’m working, you’re busy—don’t think about it.” Her expression grew serious. “We heard you were having trouble with vandals. Really sorry, Ciana.” Then her look hardened. “Don’t you let anybody run you off, you hear? That’s your land!”
    Her fierceness touched Ciana. “No one’s going to run us off. I know my decision affects a lot of people.” She gave Abbie a serious look. “I know a new subdivision would mean lots of work for Eric and Swede Winslow.”
    “Don’t know that. Hastings can hire from anywhere he wants.” She took Ciana’s hand. “My husband and father-in-law have plenty of work.”
    Ciana watched the news; she knew the national economy wasn’t robust. It was sweet of Abbie to try to ease any guilt Ciana felt. She cleared her throat. “I better get along.”
    Abbie smiled. “Me too, but it was sure good to see you. Arie loved you like a sister.”
    “Same here.” The girls hugged and Abbie turned to go. “Wait,” Ciana said. “You’ll tell me when the baby comes?”
    “Course I will. You’ll be getting a shower invitation soon, and you better be there!”
    Ciana watched until Abbie turned at the end of the grocery aisle and disappeared. She swallowed the lump in her throat over the memory of her friend, and willed Eden to pick up on her subconscious message to come home.

    When Ciana turned into Bellmeade’s tree-lined driveway, she saw a car parked beside her front steps and heard Soldier barking furiously outside the driver’s door. Ciana screeched to a halt, jumped from her truck, and ran to the car. She grabbed Soldier’s collar, yelled, “Stay!” The dog sat and Ciana squinted into the window, but the tinted glass obscured the driver’s face. “Hello?” she said.
    Slowly, the window inched down and a man’s voice, accented and hesitant, asked, “Am I safe?”
    “Oh my gosh!” Ciana cried, her heart leaping along with a smile. “Is it really
you
?”
    Just then Jon’s truck came barreling down the driveway and slid to a stop behind the car. Jon ran over and took thedog’s collar from Ciana’s hand, saying, “Heard him barking half a mile away. What’s up?”
    Ciana yanked open the car door and a tall, elegantly dressed dark-haired man emerged cautiously. She stood on tiptoes, threw her arms around him, kissed him, and cried, “Enzo! Jon, it’s Enzo Bertinalli, my friend from Italy!”

Jon nodded to Enzo, relaxed his grip on Soldier’s collar. The dog stood, ears forward, on guard, muzzle up.
    “He—he won’t bite me, will he?” Enzo asked, leaning back against the car.
    “Only if I tell him to,” Jon answered, wearing a smile that didn’t reach his eyes.
    Ciana shot Jon what she hoped was a withering look. She hooked her arm through Enzo’s. “Come into the house. Tell me all about life in Italy. And your horses.”
    “I have wine for you,” he said, still not taking his eyes off the dog.
    “I’ll just mosey to the barn,” Jon said in an exaggerated Texas drawl.
    If looks could kill, Ciana would have laid Jon out on the ground. She and Enzo watched Jon and Soldier walk away, and once the two were a safe distance away, Enzo swung her to face him. “I did not have a way to reach you, or I would havecalled. So I drove over from Nashville where I am staying, and all in your town knew where to find you.”
    I’ll bet
, she thought. “Let’s go inside.”
    Enzo opened the back door of the rental car and

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