I'm no Realtor so I'm in no position to offer you any advice (in fact only medical problems are preventing me from being a buyer), but I'm confused. Did the seller's agent lower the price BELOW your higher offer price while the short sale at was still pending? If so that smacks of fraud to me (IANAL).
Also, IMHO you are under no legal or moral obligation whatsoever to a Realtor unless you have signed a written, binding legal contract between yourself and that Realtor stating otherwise. You should use any and all resources available to you while you are evaluating houses because this is probably one of the largest purchases of your life and one that may make you indebted to a bank for thirty years, so you are perfectly justified in using whatever means are at your disposal to ensure you do not get ripped off. Be sure to hire your own qualified inspector, do NOT use the inspector recommended by the Realtor because the Realtor only wants to sell houses and once the contract is signed and the sales commission paid you will be a forgotten memory. Although I'm sure Realtors want happy customers, I'm also quite sure that just like everyone else with a job their primary goal is to fatten their bank accounts, so I personally would never blindly trust anything a Realtor tells me -- especially since I have been blatantly and verifiably lied to by at least one Realtor.
Suzanne MacDowell should have shut up. Not only is she NOT a licensed real estate agent in the state of Oregon (she is not licensed to practice real estate here) she is not your agent and is interfereing with the agency relationship that is already established. And she is also very incorrect with everything she has said. Why? Because she does not know the local rules and standards of practice. How they practice real estate in New Jersey is vastly different then how we practice in the Portland Metro Market.
I'm not going to get into what's going on, although I know. But you need to ask your agent and please don't write questions in a real estate forum if you're second-guessing your agent. If you engaged the services of a Realtor and then go behind their back to ask questions on YOUR deal . . . that's tacky and unfair the the agent who is legally representing you.