Delicious(Buchanans, Book 1)(23) by Susan Mallery
“I won’t be here.”
“For the whole month? You can’t do that. We’ll only have been open five months.”
“I know, but I’m still going to be gone and you can’t stop me.” She held up a hand to silence him. “This isn’t by choice, Cal. Well, technically, I guess it is. I’m not going on vacation. I’m going on maternity leave. I’m going to have a baby.”
CAL’S EXPRESSION DIDN’T CHANGE, but as always, his mouth gave him away. His lips thinned into a line of displeasure while a muscle in his jaw twitched.
There was a world of anger in that single word, Penny thought, doing her best not to react. She’d known the news would throw him. The smart thing would be to give the guy a couple of minutes to get used to the idea.
“I didn’t know you were seeing someone.” His mouth tightened. She had a feeling he was thinking about their kiss.
“I’m not. There isn’t anyone in my life right now.”
“What about the baby’s father?”
“He isn’t involved.”
He looked both angry and disapproving, which really annoyed her.
“My condition doesn’t have anything to do with you,” she told him. “I’m fully capable of doing my job while pregnant. It’s been a couple of centuries since women had to disappear from public life while in a delicate condition.”
“Doing your job is the least of it.”
He stood and walked toward her. She rose so they remained eye to eye…sort of.
“You deliberately kept this information from me when I offered you the job,” he said.
“I didn’t mention it because I knew you’d freak out if you knew.”
“I’m not freaking out. I’m pissed off. How far along are you?”
“Four months.” She glared at him. “Me being pregnant doesn’t change how good I am in the kitchen.”
“As a chef, you’re on your feet for twelve hours a day. You can’t do that pregnant. How are you supposed to taste the dishes? Aren’t there certain types of fish you should avoid? What about wine?”
“I can taste both the food and the wine. One bite or one sip isn’t the issue. I’m perfectly capable and I’m doing a damn good job, so get off of me.”
He loomed over her. “You lied to me. You withheld material information. I can fire your ass for that and we both know it.”
She opened her mouth, then closed it. He had a point. If she’d been in his position and had learned an employee lied about something this big, she would escort them to the door without thinking twice.
“I’m the reason this place is successful,” she said, deliberately lowering her voice. “I do good work. Yes, you can fire me, but then what? You think this place can survive losing its chef two weeks after opening?”
She stared at him, willing him to understand. “I have this all figured out. I can do the job and be pregnant. We’re in this together, Cal. Don’t get weird on me now.”
“Don’t pretend we’re a team when you’re keeping secrets like this,” he said. “Anything else you want to spring on me?”
“Fine. I’ll be back in a couple of hours.”
“But we’ve just opened. It’s dinner.”
“So? According to you, you have a plan. Deal with it.” Then he turned and walked out.
CAL DROVE without thinking and he wasn’t surprised when he found himself in front of Reid’s place. He tossed his keys to the valet, then stalked into the crowded bar.
What the hell was going on? Penny pregnant? He knew she’d always wanted kids—she’d made that clear enough times. But now?
He saw his brother behind the bar and waved him over. Reid spoke to one of the women serving with him, then walked out and joined Cal.
“What’s up?” he asked.
Instead of answering, Cal led the way to Reid’s office. He pushed inside, then closed the door when his brother had entered.
“You knew about the baby,” he said, making the words a statement instead of a question.
Reid looked amazingly unconcerned. “So she finally told you, huh? I warned her you wouldn’t take it well. Looks like I wasn’t wrong.”
“Not take it well? You’re right. I didn’t. What the hell happened? Did you encourage this?”
Reid frowned. “Hey, slow down. Why does it matter to you that Penny’s pregnant? You let her go a long time ago.”
“That has nothing to do with this.” He didn’t care who his ex-wife slept with, or what she did with her personal life. He was just furious that she would go and get herself pregnant.
Reid leaned against the edge of his messy desk. “Look, it’s no big deal. Penny’s been thinking about having a baby for a long time. She’s always wanted a family.”
Cal knew exactly just how long she’d been thinking about it. He didn’t even have to close his eyes to see her curled up next to him on the sofa, her hand on his thigh as she leaned close and whispered, “Let’s try again, Cal. Let’s have a baby.”
“She hit thirty and realized she’d better get going,” Reid continued.
Cal grabbed him by the front of his shirt. “Is it you? Did you sleep with her?”
His normally laid-back brother instantly stiffened. Reid’s hand covered his own in a grip that both punished and threatened.
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