Delicious(Buchanans, Book 1)(36) by Susan Mallery
“What?” she asked. “It’s a serious question. I’m curious. Didn’t you invest in The Daily Grind?” she asked Walker.
“Uh-huh. Cleaned out my savings account for my big brother.”
“And you made a fortune,” Cal reminded him.
Five years ago Reid had been on his second multimillion-dollar contract and had offered to bankroll the whole thing. Cal had refused and instead had taken on multiple investors. Walker had been one of them.
“I did okay,” Walker said, then shrugged. “I don’t have to go to work anytime soon.”
“Will you get a job?” Penny asked.
Cal figured he had to. Walker wasn’t the kind of guy who enjoyed sitting around doing nothing.
“But first I have to find someone,” Walker said.
“Who?” Penny asked.
“A woman named Ashley.”
Cal looked at his brother. “A girlfriend?”
“Yes, but not mine. One of the guys in my unit was killed. Ben. He was a good kid. Not a great marine but he had a lot of heart. Ashley was his girl. He planned on marrying her when he got out. I have a letter to deliver to her, so I have to find her.”
Penny set down her fork. “You have more than just her first name, right? His family can help you locate her.”
The darkness returned to Walker’s eyes. “Ben didn’t have any family. He grew up in foster care. Four high schools in four years. I know she lived in the Seattle area when they were in high school and that her name is Ashley.”
Cal leaned back in his chair. “That’s not enough to go on.”
“Sure it is.” Walker picked up his glass of wine. “I can go through high school yearbooks until I find where Ben went to school, then get the names of all the Ashleys.”
“Couldn’t you hire a private detective or something?” Penny asked. “That’s a huge amount of work.”
“I have time,” Walker told her. “I want her to have the letter.”
Cal knew his brother well enough to recognize his stubborn expression. “Don’t argue, Penny. His mind is made up.”
“Good luck,” Penny said.
“Thanks.” He cut off a piece of the battered fish. “Great meal. The best I’ve had in nearly a year.”
“Thank you. I thought you’d like it. So why did you turn down Naomi?”
Cal winced. “Very smooth transition. Subtle.”
Penny shrugged. “I’m curious. You’ve been away a long time. I’m guessing there wasn’t a lot of, um, well, you know.”
“Sex,” Walker said calmly. “You’re saying there wasn’t a lot of sex to be had on my tour.”
“Something like that. Naomi is attractive and from all accounts, very skilled.”
“You’re offering me your friend?”
“No. I’m curious. Is it because she’s older?”
Walker shrugged. “She’s what? Thirty-eight? Thirty-nine?”
“Perfectly seasoned,” he said. “It’s not the age thing.”
“Then none of your business.”
She held out her fork like a weapon. “I’m pregnant. You have to be nice to me.”
Cal decided his brother needed rescuing. “Mariners should have a good season this year.”
“I heard that,” Walker said.
Penny rolled her eyes, then said, “The infield looks promising. Now if only we can come up with the hits.”
Conversation shifted to baseball, then the success of the restaurant, then to possible neighborhoods for Walker’s apartment.
Cal watched his brother skillfully dodge any personal questions. Walker might love Penny, but he wasn’t going to share more than he wanted to.
Secrets, Cal thought. They were a family who kept secrets.
FRIDAY MORNING Penny found herself pulling into The Waterfront shortly before seven.
“This is just plain wrong,” she muttered as she climbed out of her car and hurried toward the rear of the building. There hadn’t even been time to shower. As she wasn’t allowed caffeine anymore, due to her pregnancy, a shower was the only thing that perked her up in the morning.
“I know, I know,” Naomi said from her place just outside the open back door. “It was your turn to sleep in. I’m sorry. I thought you’d want to see.”
Penny and Naomi traded off predawn times, alternating who had to get in to go over the delivery.
Penny stared at the water pouring out the back door. “Shouldn’t we be able to turn that off?”
“We’re working on it.” Naomi gave a half smile that didn’t look the least bit convincing. “First the pipe cracked, then the shutoff broke. That’s when I made the executive decision to rip out part of the wall to see if we could get to any other kind of shutoff.”
Penny had a bad feeling there wasn’t a happy ending to the story. “And?”
Penny took a step back and shuddered. “This isn’t your attempt not to use bad language, is it?”
“Sorry. No. There’s not a lot. Obviously the exterminator has been doing his job, but still, there was a family of them.”
It was too early to deal with rodents. “Great.” Penny started for the kitchen.
Naomi clutched her arm. “There’s more.”
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online