Delicious(Buchanans, Book 1)(37) by Susan Mallery
“Because a broken pipe, no ability to turn off the water pouring through my kitchen and out into the alley and rats in the walls isn’t enough?”
“We haven’t had the produce delivery. The truck was in a big pileup. Three cars and the truck. No one was injured but…” Her voice trailed off.
Penny shook her head. “Something tells me my lettuce didn’t survive.”
“That’s what they’re saying.”
“Great.” She had special orders due in today for her new chef’s special. “You know we have three parties of ten in tonight.”
“And I would kill for cilantro, which we’re now not getting.”
“You mentioned that,” Naomi said. “I’m really sorry.”
Penny stepped close and hugged her. “None of this is your fault.” She reached for her cell phone. “Time to call in the troops.”
She punched in Cal’s number. “You’ll never guess what’s happened here,” she said and told him what was going on. “Naomi has already called the plumber, but we have to do something about the rats. They’re going to totally gross me out.”
“I’ll call the exterminator and then be in.”
“Yeah. You wouldn’t happen to have any cilantro, would you?”
“No. Want me to stop and get some?”
“No. I’ll call the produce company and see what they can do about delivering something to me. Although it won’t be their best. That’s in the pileup.”
“Gotta love the business,” he said.
“At least it’s not boring. See you in a bit.” She hung up and looked at Naomi. “Cal’s on his way. He’s calling about the rats.” She glanced at the door. “Do I have to go in there?”
“The rats are all scattered. You don’t have to worry about them.”
“Okay.” Penny tried to tell herself they were just really big, ugly mice and she liked mice. They were small and cute and reminded her of Cinderella. But rats? She shuddered.
She stepped inside and immediately found herself ankle-deep in the raging river that went right through her kitchen. “The plumber’s on his way, right?”
“Shouldn’t be too long.”
“Good.” Because there wasn’t going to be any prep work while this was going on. And even after the water was turned off, the floor would need some time to air out. And there were those three parties of ten, not to mention a full house, tonight.
At least her office was dry, she thought as she shrugged out of her coat and moved back into the main area of the kitchen.
“We have fish,” Naomi said helpfully. “That’s something.”
Penny put a call in to the produce company. They read off what they had available and she checked it against her order. “Send it,” she said, then hung up. She quickly scribbled out another list and handed it to Naomi. “I’ll need this stuff by one. But before you go, let’s brainstorm a new special for tonight.”
An hour later they had a special and a modified menu. Edouard strolled into the kitchen. Her sous-chef looked especially male and self-satisfied as he surveyed the flowing water.
“There is a broken pipe,” he announced.
Naomi grinned. “Gee, Eddie. Thanks. We weren’t sure what all this water was.”
Edouard smiled. “You are crabby. Should I ask why? Man trouble? I, of course, have no trouble with the men in my life. They adore me.”
“Of course they do,” Penny said. “We’re all delighted you had a good night. Now let’s talk about what’s going on.”
Naomi moved next to Edouard and rested her chin on the top of his head. “I never have trouble with my men, either, my little friend.”
Just then, a strange man stuck his head in the back door. “I’m the plumber,” he said with a grin. “Looks like you have a broken pipe.”
As he was well-muscled, young and good-looking, Penny wasn’t surprised when Naomi hurried toward him.
“I’ll deal with this,” she said.
“Of course you will,” Edouard told her. “He looks innocent. Be gentle.”
Penny glanced at the clock. It was barely eight in the morning. She didn’t want to think about how the rest of the day was going to go. Was there a chance she could sneak home in the late morning for a nap? Just a couple of hours of sleep. Not like she’d be doing anything else in bed. Yup, that was her. Sexless girl.
She tuned out Edouard and Naomi’s banter as she realized she couldn’t actually remember the last time she’d been with a man. As in naked. As in skin on skin, kissing, touching and the ever thrilling moment of climax.
“So unfair,” she said, still caught up in the revelation. “Everyone is having sex but me.”
Her two assistants stared at her. The plumber shifted uncomfortably. “Ah, maybe someone could show me that pipe,” he said.
Naomi patted her shoulder in sympathy, then led the guy out.
“You could be getting some,” Edouard said.
Penny accepted the comment in the generous spirit in which it was given. “I’m pregnant. Trust me. No one wants to see me naked.”
“Au contraire. Many men find the lushness of the flower at full bloom most appealing.”
“Who’s blooming?” Cal asked as he walked into the kitchen. He had a grocery bag in one hand and a huge pet carrier in the other.
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