Delicious(Buchanans, Book 1)(32) by Susan Mallery
“Don’t you ever want something more familiar?” she asked.
“Why? Variety keeps things interesting.”
“For a while, but people are hard-wired to pair bond.”
“Cal always said I had a screw loose.”
She stuck a straw into her float. “Reid, I’m serious. I worry about you. Doesn’t the series of one-night stands get old? Don’t you ever want to settle down?”
“No. Not even a little. Look around, Penny.” He waved at the bar. “I can have a different woman every night of the week. No one expects me to show up at a certain time, eat dinner and then watch TV. I can come and go as I please, my life is always interesting. Why would I trade that in for one woman, a couple of kids and a mortgage?”
“Because you fell in love.” It was a familiar discussion, but no matter how many times they had it, she never understood. “Don’t you want to be a part of something? Don’t you want to leave your mark on the world?”
“I’ll be in the history books.”
“Not because you were a great pitcher. Because you cared about someone. Because you—” She stopped. “Sorry. I know we agreed not to talk about this anymore. We always fight.”
He stepped toward her and briefly touched her cheek. “We don’t fight. You get upset because I don’t want what you think I should have.”
“I worry about you. I don’t want you to grow old alone, with no one to care about you.”
“I’m okay with that.”
Was he? How was that possible? While his lifestyle might sound fun to the average eighteen-yearold guy, she couldn’t help thinking that in the bright light of morning, it wasn’t all Reid made it out to be. But maybe that was just wishful thinking on her part.
None of the Buchanan men had been very successful at love. Only Dani had a happy, stable relationship, and she wasn’t even a Buchanan. A fact Penny still had trouble comprehending.
“How’s Junior?” Reid asked.
She suspected he was trying to change the subject and she figured that was probably a good idea.
“Good. I’m having a textbook pregnancy, although I still manage to freak out about everything.” She put her hand on her growing stomach.
“How much longer?” he asked, his eyes dark with concern.
“A week,” she said. “I know that crossing the date where I lost the baby before doesn’t mean anything, but it still feels like I’ll be able to relax a little once it happens.”
“It makes sense,” he said gently. “You want to break the streak.”
He was right.
“I keep telling myself I’m fine. The doctor says the same thing.”
“You’ll believe it when it happens,” he told her. “So what’s going on with my brother?”
She sipped on her float. “What do you mean? Cal’s fine.”
“He came in here ready to tear off one of my arms when he found out you were pregnant. He wanted to know all about the guy.”
Penny felt her cheeks heat and she was careful to focus all of her attention on the tall glass in front of her. “I doubt he was that upset.”
“You weren’t here. He wanted to beat the crap out of me.”
Unable to help herself, she looked at Reid. “I know that’s not true.”
“It may be an exaggeration, but there’s something going on.”
She thought about their last encounter. Their last, very personal, encounter. Funny how three years ago she’d been so angry and so hurt, she’d never wanted anything to do with Cal. But now…
“We work together,” she said. “We’re becoming friends.”
“Then why are you blushing?”
Guilt made her cheeks heat even more. “I’m not. It’s just…”
Reid waited patiently.
“It’s just…” She repeated, then sighed. “I can’t explain it. We’re getting along. It’s nice. We seem to appreciate each other now in a way we couldn’t before.” She held up a hand before he could say anything. “I mean that in a nonromantic sense. We’re different people. It’s as if the stuff I really hated about him is gone and only the good stuff remains. Or maybe I’m the one who changed.”
“Sounds like a lot of hooey to me,” Reid told her. “You’re not falling for him, are you?”
“What? Of course not. I’m pregnant.”
“How do those two concepts relate?”
“I’m only thinking about the baby. Cal doesn’t want children.”
Something flickered in Reid’s eyes. “He might. Like you said, he’s different.”
“Not interested, even if it is true,” Penny said. “I don’t need a man in my life.”
“So why are you all fired up to get me a woman?” he asked.
“I’ve committed to people in the past. You never have.”
“I’m committed to my family.”
True enough. He’d also committed to baseball, but she didn’t want to go there. She’d seen the pain in his eyes when the games came on television.
“I find it very interesting that you and Cal are getting along so well now,” he told her. “And that neither of you were interested in getting serious while you were divorced.”
Penny did her best to look innocent. “Really? Cal didn’t have any long-term relationships?”
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