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"Mr. Riley, I don't think you've met my sister-in-law, Julie Price. Can you believe she teaches four-year olds every Sunday even though she's single and doesn't have any kids of her own?"
Julie fought the urge to elbow Gina for her un-requested offering of information. Yet, as the counselor engulfed her hand in his warm grip, she had to fight the urge to like him.
She didn't want to like him. She didn't even want to talk to him. And yet, when he released her hand, she felt an odd twinge of disappointment.
"I'm not much for formalities. You can call me Dave. And you, Julie, must be a remarkable person to be so unselfish with your time."
She forced her face into a mask of impersonal friendliness. "Thank you. Gina tells me you're a counselor, and you're going to office at the church."
He nodded. "That's true. I had a practice in a small town, but when my wife died, the memories were too painful to stay. I'm hoping this will be a new beginning for Erica and me."
He glanced at his watch. "I don't mean to rush away, but I'm being introduced to the congregation this morning, so I'd better go."
"Julie and I will take the girls to the nursery. You go ahead to church," Gina offered.
"Thanks." To Julie he added, "Let me know if I can help out in class sometime."
She nodded and watched him disappear.
"Well, what do you think?" Gina asked.
"He seems personable."
"That's an evasive answer."
"What do you want me to say? I'm in love?"
Gina laughed. "Of course not. Just give him a chance."
"No, I'm tired of getting my hopes up. I'd rather go it alone."
"You're impossible. Do you think Pastor Daniel would have let him comeif he didn't believe it was a good idea?"
Julie pictured the godly man who had pastored the church since she and Gina were babies, and finding no argument, didn't reply. However, she knew it was possible that Dave Riley had a side that he didn't show to either Pastor Daniel or the rest of the congregation. Kent certainly hadn't revealed the decadent side of his personal life outside his private sessions.