Delicious(Buchanans, Book 1)(26) by Susan Mallery
“The search firms aren’t the problem, Gloria,” Cal said. “You are. You’re hell to work for.”
Gloria stiffened. “I beg your pardon. You can’t talk to me like that. It’s rude and vulgar.”
“Maybe, but it’s true. You add new intensity to the term micromanage. You’ve never met an order you didn’t want to tweak or change or countermand. You get in the way, you change your mind fifteen times a day and you make everyone around you wish they were dead.”
She paled. “That’s not true.”
“Haven’t you noticed how difficult it is for you to keep an executive assistant, let alone a company president? You drove me away years ago. Reid and Walker never even bothered to try. You need to back off or there won’t be anyone left at the company.”
“That’s ridiculous. You’re exaggerating. Regardless, I want you to take over the job as president.”
He would rather be shark bait. “No, thanks. I have a job.”
“At that coffeehouse.” She made it sound as if he sold acid milkshakes to children.
“You got it. I like it there, Gloria. I’m proud of what I do.” He stopped, reminding himself he was never going to convince her.
“This is your heritage,” she said. “You’re a Buchanan.”
“Not interested. No one is, except Dani. God knows why you haven’t been able to scare her off, but she’s still hanging on. Give her a shot.”
Gloria sniffed. “That’s impossible. She’s not one of us. Not a Buchanan. She is her mother’s daughter and I will never forgive her for that.”
“My mother had an affair nearly thirty years ago. You need to let it go.”
“Never.” Gloria’s eyes blazed with anger. “She betrayed my son. Don’t you care that she made a fool of your father?”
He wasn’t happy about it, but he found it hard to get worked up about it after all this time. “Move on,” he said. “Mom and Dad are dead.”
“But the proof of your mother’s affair lives on.”
“You might want to enter this century,” he said. “Dani is your granddaughter.”
“Never. She’s nothing. I allow her to believe she’s a Buchanan as a kindness.”
“Is that what you call it?”
When he’d graduated from college, Gloria had told him the truth—a twisted sort of present. She’d used the information to blackmail him into going into the family business.
He hadn’t wanted to be part of the empire, but she’d threatened to tell Dani she wasn’t really one of them. He’d taken that first job at Burger Heaven to make sure his sister didn’t know the truth.
Gloria glared at him. “I have been a part of this family since I was eighteen years old. I have sweated blood so that you could have this legacy. I’m the reason this family has wealth.”
“We would have been a whole lot better off if you’d simply let it go.”
She stood. “You may not care about family, but I do. Your mother destroyed my son with her lies and her deceit.”
“None of which is Dani’s fault. She’s the only one who gives a damn about the company. She’s paid her dues. She’s good at her job. So cut her a break. Move her up the food chain. Let her prove herself at Buchanan’s, or here.”
Cal felt like punching something, but he’d put his fist through a wall once and it hadn’t been a smart idea. “I should tell her myself,” he said, more to himself than Gloria.
“But you won’t.” His grandmother resumed her seat. “You would never hurt your sister like that.”
She was right. He wouldn’t knowingly hurt Dani. Although he was starting to wonder if not telling her was causing a different kind of pain.
“On a different subject, did you know your executive chef is pregnant?”
He swore. How had she found that out? Less surprising was her need to make trouble.
“Of course,” he said, not mentioning he’d only been told that day.
“Oh.” Gloria sounded disappointed. “Do you know who the father is?”
“Why does that matter?”
“She’s not right for you, Callister. I always thought so. I thought you’d seen it, as well.”
“My personal life isn’t your business.”
Her small eyes zeroed in on his. He knew she was wondering if he was telling her to back off because there was something between him and Penny or just on general principle.
“You never liked her,” he said. “Was it something specific about Penny or the fact that you didn’t get to handpick my wife?”
“I’m sure I would have done a better job than you did.”
That was it. Old lady or not, he’d had enough of her. He stood.
“It’s time for you to go.”
She collected her coat and rose. “Think about the president’s job,” she said. “It’s an excellent opportunity.”
“Not going to happen.”
He walked her to the hallway, then firmly closed the door in her face.
PENNY SET OUT HER MEAL in a corner table of the dining room. The kitchen cleanup was nearly finished and while she was tired and ready to head home to bed, she was starving.
At first she’d been so angry at Cal for walking out at the start of dinner, she hadn’t been able to think about eating. Then she’d gotten busy and then the evening had been over. So she planned to make up for lost time.
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