Delicious(Buchanans, Book 1)(35) by Susan Mallery
He told himself he didn’t give a damn what Penny did in her personal life. She wasn’t his wife anymore. One or two kisses didn’t give him any rights, and he didn’t want any. He even told himself that Walker would never be interested in his ex-sister-in-law. But that didn’t take away the feeling of discomfort low in his gut.
Walker lowered Penny to the floor. She beamed at him. “Cal said you’re out of the marines. Are you really? For good?”
“It was time.”
“Yeah. I get to see you more. Okay, you have to come taste some stuff. I have the best fish and chips. You’ll die. And then you’ll beg me to tell you what’s in the recipe, but I won’t.”
Just then the kitchen doors opened and Naomi strolled out. She was dressed in black jeans and a tight red sweater that set off her long, wavy dark hair. She looked like a sexy Amazon on the prowl. Cal watched her gaze settle on Walker and gave his brother maybe thirty more seconds of freedom before Naomi claimed him.
“So this is Walker,” she said as she approached. “I’ve heard a lot about you but I was starting to think everyone had made you up.”
Penny sighed. “Oh, great. Another conquest. Walker, this is my friend, Naomi. Naomi, Walker. Be gentle, though. He’s just out of the marines.”
Cal held in a laugh at the thought of Penny trying to protect his tough baby brother. Then he wondered what Reid would think to know he’d been replaced.
“Ma’am,” Walker said, releasing Penny and offering his hand.
Naomi winced. “If you call me ma’am again, I’m going to have to take you down.”
“All right. Naomi.”
Cal moved closer to watch the show.
Naomi looked Walker over. “If you’re just back from overseas, you might want someone to show you how Seattle has changed. I’d be more than willing.”
“I appreciate the offer, but I understand you’re seeing my brother.”
“Reid?” Naomi shrugged. “I was. But you know Reid. Fifteen minutes is about his attention span.”
“You don’t seem too broken up about it.”
She smiled. “That’s because my attention span is two minutes shorter. No bruised hearts. I’m not into getting serious, just getting involved.”
The invitation was clear. Cal had to admit that Naomi embodied sexual availability in a way that called to men.
Penny looked between them. “Whatever you decide, I still expect you to eat dinner with me, Walker,” she said.
“I wouldn’t do anything else,” he said, tugging on her long braid.
“Please have something to eat.” Naomi sighed. “You’ll need your strength.”
Walker looked at Naomi for a long time. “I appreciate the offer,” he began.
Her eyes widened. “You’re turning me down?”
“How about if I take a rain check?”
Cal braced himself for the explosion. To the best of his knowledge, no one had ever turned Naomi down. Then she surprised him by laughing.
“Your loss, soldier. If you change your mind, and you will, Penny has my number.”
She strolled back into the kitchen. Walker watched her go.
“Interesting lady,” he said.
“That’s the rumor,” Penny told him. “Are you really not interested, or are you playing hard to get so you can have her full attention?”
Walker’s expression shuttered. “I don’t play games.”
“Ha! It’s hard-wired into your gender. Okay, go find a seat. I’ll bring out food.”
“I don’t get to pick what I want?”
“Oh, please. On what planet?” She glanced at Cal. “Are you hungry? I can get another plate together.”
She returned to the kitchen and Walker looked at him. “Yours?”
Cal figured he meant the baby. “She would be my ex-wife.”
“You wanted to punch me out when she launched herself at me.”
Cal didn’t see how Walker could have known what he was thinking. He would have bet money it hadn’t shown. “No idea what you’re talking about.”
“Right. So you just hired your ex-wife because she’s a great chef?”
“Have you forgotten the year she cooked our Christmas dinner?”
“Good point. So how’s it going?”
“Good. Better than I would have thought.”
“And the baby?”
“She decided it was time. Went to a sperm bank. There’s no guy.”
Walker’s dark gaze locked with his. “Lucky break.”
THE THREE OF THEM SAT at one of the tables by the kitchen. Penny served two different salads, her famous fish and chips, a poached salmon dish, smashed potatoes, green beans with a mustard sauce and she promised something special for dessert, although she wouldn’t say what.
“Do you have any idea what you’re going to do now?” Penny asked after all three plates were full.
“Get my own place,” Walker said. He looked at Cal. “Not that I don’t love living with you.”
Cal chuckled. “You’re welcome to stay as long as you like.”
“I appreciate that, but I want my own place. An apartment at first. Until I figure out where I want to live.”
“Are you rich?” Penny asked.
Cal and Walker both looked at her.
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