Clare is at Laurentine's ranch in South Park, ready to help a historic ghost move on. She suffered an "accident" last night and Zach came to join her. (Note, this is an abridged excerpt).
“I think Laurentine is just about ready to nab you for a tour of Curly Wolf, and whatever you can tell him about the ghosts who haunt his precious town,” Zach murmured in her ear.
She said courteous good-byes and walked with him back upstairs. Since the morning was heating up, Clare went to the sliding door and opened it, letting brisk fresh air into the room as she stood out on the balcony.
“Don’t lean against the rail until you check it,” Zach said.
She’d been about to do that, and flinched.
“You told people at breakfast that I was staying in my room this morning. You’re pushing me, Zach.”
“You’re in danger and staying in your room is reasonable.”
She stared at him. “Perhaps, but you don’t make my decisions for me.”
“I’m here to help you.”
“Thanks for that, but I don’t want you taking over.” She paused and revealed a fear. “And I don’t want to become dependent on you.”
“You can trust me, Clare.”
“That’s not the point. I’m used to making my own decisions, but you muddy my mind, Zach.”
He came to her and put his arms around her, held her in the sun, and the whole moment condensed to one she’d recall forever. Murmuring in her ear, he said, “I’m glad I muddy your mind, because you do the same.
“You’re trying to get around me.”
“Maybe, but it’s the truth. And I believe you’re in danger and hurting and should stay in. Just for the morning, lover.”
She sighed. “I happen to agree.”
“Good, and we’re going to get you a little insurance.”
That piqued her interest and she let him draw her back through the sliding glass door. He sat in the large chair facing the view of the mountains in back and drew her into his lap, so gently she didn’t bend wrong and hurt her ribs. Then he settled her as he wanted, wrapping his arms around her. She ignored that her bottom rubbed across his groin and he hardened, since he seemed to do the same.
“What insurance?” she asked.
Zach raised his voice. “Enzo.”
The ghost Labrador leapt onto the balcony, solidifying atop the rail, then hopped down and ran through the glass doors.
**Hello, Zach! You called me, Zach! I am happy to SEE you. You’re holding Clare so you can see me easier, too!**
Zach’s arms had tightened around her when the dog had materialized. Now he cleared his throat and said, “Yes, I can see you, Enzo.”
Clare wondered just how much he could see the ghost. Enzo was pretty gray-and-shadows solid to her. His tongue draped outside his muzzle as he gave them a doggie grin. He tilted his head. **What do you want, my friend Zach?**
After a little cough, Zach said, “Okay, the human who hurt Clare, is there any way you can help her?”
His ears raised slightly. **If I saw a bad person, I could tell her.**
“Could you come and tell me if something has happened?”
Enzo barked. **I could! I could! I can run fast!** He zoomed around the room until he blurred, then disappeared. An instant later he sat in front of them again, looking more chipper.
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