Delicious(Buchanans, Book 1)(20) by Susan Mallery
“She’s not my favorite person.”
“That makes me sad,” Penny said.
“Because she’s family. Your folks are gone. She’s the last living member of a previous generation. It’s too bad she makes it so hard to love her.”
As nothing about his family situation had changed since he and Penny split up, she was dead on in her assessment.
“I think she needs to get laid,” Penny said.
Cal winced. “Tell me you’re not talking about Gloria.”
“It’s true. When do you think was the last time the old bird got any?”
“I am not going to think about that.”
“I’m not asking you to stand in the room and watch. I’m saying she’s lonely. It’s sad.”
“You’re being nicer to her than she deserves.”
“I have very little to do with her, so it’s easier for me. Although last night she really got on my nerves.”
“What did she say?”
“What did who say?” Reid asked as he and Naomi walked into the kitchen. “Dani and Hugh bugged out. They said to say good night. We’re heading home, too.”
“Thanks for coming, baby cakes,” Penny said to Reid.
He walked over and kissed her cheek. “You, too, knife girl.”
Penny laughed. “Night, Naomi. See you tomorrow.”
“Bright and early.”
Reid put his arm around her. “Early, at least. I don’t think your assistant is going to be getting any sleep tonight.”
Naomi smiled. “I like that in a man.” As she passed Cal, she patted his arm. “Want to know how many times we did it last night?”
“Not even for money.”
Reid made a fist. Cal did the same. They bumped them together.
“Later,” Reid called as they left.
When the front door of the restaurant closed, Penny grinned. “So do you think they’ll wait until they get back to his place or do you think they’ll do it in the car?”
“What is with you? You’re on a roll with the sex talk tonight.” Was she feeling an itch? He would admit to a need to scratch. After all this time, Penny could still get to him just by being in the same room. “Someone else might think you were issuing an invitation.”
She narrowed her gaze. “Don’t go there. This is my kitchen and I know where all the knives are. It’s just interesting to speculate. Okay, not about Gloria, because I don’t want to think about her naked. But with Naomi and Reid. Come on—you have to wonder. They’re both out to break the land speed record for most partners in a lifetime.”
“Doesn’t it get old after a while?”
Penny’s eyes brightened. “Are you saying sex gets boring? How interesting.”
“No. I’m saying switching partners all the time would get old. I gave up counting conquests about the time I turned twenty-two. The sex is more fun when I’m in a relationship.”
He hadn’t had any complaints about Penny. She’d been caring and responsive and just adventurous enough to keep him guessing about what was going to happen next.
“I think they both do it because they can,” she said. “I’m not sure Naomi’s ever met a guy who didn’t want her and Reid is just, well, Reid. Women flock to him.”
“I know. I always saw him as a friend.”
“And after we split up?”
He’d wondered. Had his brother offered comfort?
He’d told himself it wasn’t possible. That neither of them would do that to him. Except Reid didn’t play by the rules and Penny had wanted revenge.
“Yuck,” Penny said, sounding both sincere and annoyed. “Why on earth would I sleep with your brother? It’s gross and tacky. It would be like you sleeping with Naomi.”
“That’s my point. Besides, I wouldn’t have done that to you.”
“Why? I thought you hated my guts.”
“I did. But I didn’t want you punished.”
He thought about the angry fights, the things she’d said to him. “Could have fooled me.”
Penny put down her empty bowl. He hadn’t understood then and she doubted he would understand now, but she meant what she’d said. She didn’t want Cal punished—she’d wanted him to get it. She’d wanted him to love her enough to want to have a baby with her. She’d wanted them to be a family.
Deep in her heart, she believed he loved her but with Gloria always ready to pounce at any sign of emotional weakness, he’d been afraid to show his tender side. Leaving had been a last-ditch attempt to get him to admit that she was important to him. The plan had backfired. Instead of coming after her, he had let her go and decided that being apart permanently was the best course for both of them.
“It was three years ago,” she said. “Does it really matter now?”
“Probably not. But speaking of the past, I heard an interesting story about you the other day.”
Uh-oh. “From who?”
“Then it’s probably not true.”
“She said you’d stabbed one of your cooks when he wouldn’t do what you said.”
Penny laughed. “Actually, that is true.” She giggled at Cal’s shocked expression. “Well, sort of.”
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