Delicious(Buchanans, Book 1)(49) by Susan Mallery
He took a drink of his beer. As he set the bottle back on the table, he saw a tall, curvy brunette stroll into the bar.
In heels, she cleared six feet. A soft-looking sweater clung to every curve. Black leather pants left little to the imagination on the lower half of her body. Walker could picture her naked, her head leaning back, her long hair swaying as she rode him home.
His body tightened at the image and once aroused, it wasn’t about to let go so easily.
He told himself not to think about her or sex, although the two ideas were intertwined. Was that because of what he knew about her or was it the woman herself? Did it matter?
She glanced around the bar. He waited until her gaze settled on him, then he smiled. He didn’t do it often, but he knew how to curve his mouth in invitation. Someone more innocent might not understand, but he was willing to guess Naomi could more than hold her own.
She raised one dark eyebrow, then walked toward him.
She maintained eye contact, her gaze promising she would make it more than worth his while. Anticipation filled him, making him harder and willing to consider clearing the table with a single sweep of his arm and taking her right there.
“Hey, soldier,” she said. “Why are you all alone?”
“I was waiting for the right kind of company.”
“And who would that be?”
That single eyebrow rose again. “I thought I wasn’t your type.”
“I never said that. I wanted a little time between me and my brother.”
“I can respect that.”
He rose and pulled out a chair. “Have a seat. What are you drinking?”
She moved close but instead of sitting down, she grabbed the front of his sweater and pulled him close.
Her mouth claimed his in a brief kiss that was all fire and promise and need. He felt her heat, tasted her sweetness, then straightened, just as she pulled back.
“Vodka tonic with a lime,” she said as she sank into the chair. “Which means you’ll be driving.”
He returned to his seat and picked up his beer. “My first of the evening.”
They were in a relatively quiet corner of the large bar. The round table was small and Naomi leaned close as she spoke.
“I wouldn’t have thought to find you here,” she said.
“Were you looking for me?”
She smiled. “Darlin’, I’m always looking.”
“Why is that?” He waved at one of the waitresses and gave her Naomi’s order.
Naomi stared into his eyes. “You’re one of those guys who likes a little relationship with his sex, aren’t you? You’re going to want to get to know me.”
He grinned. “Right down to your favorite color.”
“All right. But just this once. And don’t go telling anyone. It’ll ruin my reputation.”
She shifted so that her forearms were on the table, with her br**sts resting on top of them. The position pulled down her sweater, giving him an eyeful of curves that just begged to be explored.
He deliberately stared into her eyes. “You’re trying to cheat.”
“A little. Is it working?”
“Of course. But we’re still going to talk first.”
She frowned. “Why is that so important to you?”
“Because I don’t get a lot of it in my life.”
Her eyes softened as her mouth twisted. “Dammit, Walker, don’t you start cheating, too. You’re going to tell me you’ve been in a war and there wasn’t any time for soft talk. Probably not any time for sex, either. You’re playing on my sympathy.”
“Is it working?”
The waitress arrived with the drink. “Here you go, hon.”
When she left, Naomi took a sip. “Okay—stop trying to manipulate me. We can talk. Why did you leave the marines?”
He opened his mouth to tell her what he’d already told Cal and Reid, but what he said instead was, “I owe a guy.”
“No. There was this kid, Ben. Lousy marine but a great guy.” He explained how Ben hadn’t had any family. “When he died, I’m the one who wrote the letter. I need to find his girlfriend so I can deliver it to her.”
“Why?” she asked. “What’s so important about a letter?”
“It’s all that’s left of him.”
She touched his arm. “There has to be something else. You don’t leave a career to deliver a letter. Why do you owe him?”
“He took a bullet for me.”
Walker stared at the table. He could still see everything about that moment as clearly as if it had just happened. It had been cold in the village. There’d been snow the night before and he and some of his men were following tracks. Insurgents had been spotted in the area. Everyone was on alert. Walker had been the most experienced and he knew they were going to have trouble, but even he hadn’t expected gunfire to come from the caves.
“There weren’t any tracks,” he said, more to himself than Naomi. “I’d checked the caves myself the previous evening and no one had been there. How could they have gotten in without leaving footprints?”
He shook his head. “Ben heard something. I don’t know what. Suddenly he pushed me aside and then he was dead. The bullet caught him right in the heart. He didn’t have a chance to say anything.”
He finished his beer and leaned back in his chair. “I owe him. I’m going to find Ashley and tell her he died bravely. I want her to have the letter. Someone, somewhere has to care about that kid.”
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