Delicious(Buchanans, Book 1)(47) by Susan Mallery
“You okay?” she asked.
“Why do you care?”
She shook her head. “I don’t know what happened, but you’re in big trouble. Penny’s never gone ballistic like that before. What did you do?”
“I haven’t a clue. Everything was fine when I left, and now she’s crazy. She threw a meat cleaver at my head.”
“I heard. Good thing she’s got a decent aim.”
He didn’t want to think about what would have happened if she’d slipped.
Naomi looked at him. “Gloria was here. What do you want to bet the old bat made trouble?”
It was more than possible, but what could Gloria have said to set Penny off? “As soon as things slow down, I’m going to talk to Penny. Would you give me a heads-up if she tries to sneak out?”
Naomi hesitated. “All right. But just because I’m worried about her. Don’t expect me to get in the habit of siding with you against her.”
PENNY FELT AS IF she’d been awake for five days and had just finished a marathon. Her body ached, her head throbbed and she longed for hours and hours of sleep. Maybe then she would be able to forget what Gloria had told her.
She didn’t want to believe, but the proof was folded in her jacket pocket. The teenager looked so much like Cal. And knowing he’d had a child and then had given her up explained a lot. But it hurt to finally know the truth.
“You’re not leaving without talking to me first.”
She glanced up and saw Cal standing in the doorway to her office. He seemed larger than normal, as he filled the space and cut off her only escape route.
Hearing him out was the mature thing to do, although she wasn’t in the mood to do much more than throw a tantrum—something she’d sort of already done with the meat cleaver. She hadn’t meant to do that. One second she’d been holding it after chopping some beef, the next she’d heard his voice and the knife had somehow slipped from her fingers to go sailing through the air.
She sank onto her chair and drew in a deep breath. There was so much to say, yet she didn’t know where to begin. Or how to explain what she was feeling.
“You tried to kill me,” he said as he walked into the room and took the seat opposite hers. “Want to tell me why?”
“I reacted without thinking.”
“That’s a relief. I would hate to have you planning my death.”
She really could have hurt him. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.”
He folded his arms over his chest. “You won’t have your cooks arguing with you about anything.”
“A happy by-product.”
She tried to smile and couldn’t. Her eyes burned, as much from unshed tears as from exhaustion.
“Naomi told me Gloria stopped by,” he said. “So I know she has something to do with what happened. I can’t think of what she could have said that would piss you off so much.”
“Really?” Did he mean that? Could he possibly have spent the evening watching his daughter in a school play and not have any clue what his grandmother had said? “Then let’s clear things up right now.”
She reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out the playbill. After smoothing it, she slid it across the desk so he could see the picture. She watched him carefully as he studied the paper. His expression didn’t change, but his mouth tightened.
It was as if he’d hit her.
Somewhere in the back of her mind, in the deepest, darkest corner of her heart, she’d hoped Gloria had been lying. That despite the physical similarities, there was another explanation. She didn’t want to know that the man she’d loved and married had kept such a big secret, that he’d been willing to have a child with someone else, but not, as Gloria had said, with her.
“She told you about Lindsey,” he said quietly.
Penny leaned back in the chair and didn’t speak. She wasn’t being difficult—she knew that if she tried to open her mouth, she would start to cry.
He looked at her. “She’s my daughter. I was seventeen when she was born. I should have told you before.”
“Penny, I’m sorry. I didn’t know how to tell you. When we were dating, it didn’t seem important. Then we were married and I didn’t know what to say or how. The longer I waited, the harder it was to explain. I never meant to keep this a secret.”
“We were married. I got pregnant. Never once did it occur to you to say ‘been there, done that’?”
“I wanted to.”
“Apparently not very much. No one stopped you.”
“I know. I’m sorry. I guess I hated what it said about me. That I’d given up my kid. It was a pretty typical story. My girlfriend, Alison, got pregnant. She didn’t want to keep the baby, but I did. I wasn’t sure how I could support us both, but I was willing to try. Then Gloria got involved and she said she would be there to help. We both know what that means.”
Her head was spinning. Wait a minute! He’d wanted to keep the baby? He’d been willing to turn his world upside down and keep his child? Her stomach tightened and she felt as if she might throw up.
“I couldn’t let her get her hands on my daughter,” he said. “So I agreed to adoption. Under the settlement, the parents were to keep me informed of her progress and tell her about me if she ever asked. They’ve been great about sending me updates and pictures. But while Lindsey knows she’s adopted, she’s not interested in her birth parents.”
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online