Delicious(Buchanans, Book 1)(68) by Susan Mallery
Penny screamed and jumped up and down. Naomi joined her and they hugged each other while they jumped. Cal put his arms around both of them and suddenly there was a group hug in the kitchen.
“Congratulations,” he said to Penny. “I knew we could do it.”
“Me, too. Although you’re just in charge of the backdrop. I have an addictive menu!” She held up her uninjured hand and hit it against Cal’s. “I knew we were good, but I didn’t think anyone else was smart enough to figure it out.”
“It seems they are.”
“I’ve always liked newspaper people,” Edouard said.
“We should celebrate,” Naomi said. “I vote for liquor.”
“Sure. Cheap champagne all around.” He handed her the keys to the liquor closet.
Penny laughed and moved to the walk-in refrigerator where she removed a small piece of tuna.
“Hungry?” Cal asked when she returned to the counter and began cutting it up.
“It’s for Al. Our cat,” she added, when he looked blank. “He’s been doing a great job with rodent control. I’m inviting him to the party.”
She put the tuna in a dish and walked to the back hallway. After calling for a couple of minutes, she watched the large cat appear. She patted it, then put down the plate of tuna. Al inhaled it in less than thirty seconds.
“I didn’t know he was a fish lover,” Cal said from the doorway.
“He’s a cat with great taste. That was premium tuna.”
Al took himself off to clean up after his meal and Penny picked up the plate. She smiled at Cal. “We did good.”
“I agree. I thought it would take longer, but I’m not complaining.”
There was something about the way he looked at her. Something that made her insides get all quivery and her mouth go dry.
“About that rain check,” he said with a smile.
“Penny?” Dani called. “You have a call. It’s your mom.”
“Be right there.” She looked at Cal. “Sorry.”
“Don’t sweat it. I know where you live.”
A promise she would hold him to, she thought as she walked toward the phone and checked her cut. The bleeding had stopped. As she picked up the phone, she held out her finger to Naomi.
“Hi, dear. Your father and I saw the article about you in the paper. It’s wonderful. Congratulations.”
Naomi appeared with the first aid kit and went to work on trimming several dressings down to the right shape and size.
“Thanks,” Penny said, holding the phone between her ear and her shoulder as she ran her finger under water and tried not to wince.
“We’ve decided we can’t wait another minute to see the place. We’re driving over.”
“That’s great. When?”
“In a couple of weeks. I know Saturday is your busiest day, so we’ll arrive Sunday and stay until Tuesday.”
Naomi fitted the bandage in place and secured it with tape.
“That’s great,” Penny said. “I’m looking forward to seeing you and Dad.”
“Oh, not just us. Your sisters are coming, too. And the kids. Sean and Jack can’t take off, which is too bad.”
“The whole clan,” she said weakly. “My house is kind of small. Oh, and I have a temporary roommate.”
“Not to worry,” her mother said. “We have hotel rooms. I’ll e-mail you the details. We’re really looking forward to this, Penny.”
They chatted a few more minutes, then hung up. Naomi sipped from her champagne glass and grinned. “Hell of a time to be pregnant, huh?”
Penny eyed the liquor enviously. “Tell me about it. My parents are coming, along with my sisters and their kids. They’re going to want to see the restaurant.”
“Yes, they are.”
“They’re going to poke through my house and want to talk about the future.”
“Parents are like that.”
“They’ll worry about me having a baby on my own.”
Edouard swore in French. “The back burners are out. All four of them. I cannot work in conditions like this.”
Penny groaned. She couldn’t afford to lose half her burners. Not when they were expecting a full house.
“I’ll call,” she said as she hurried toward her office. Welcome to her world, she thought. Where it was always insane.
“Then we need to talk about the mushrooms,” Naomi told her. “They smell funny.”
“THANKS FOR COMING,” Cal said. “You didn’t have to do this.”
“I wanted to,” Penny told him as they walked through the hospital.
He doubted that visiting his daughter would make the top-five list of ways she wanted to spend her day, but he appreciated her willingness to accompany him.
Penny had really been there for him, he thought. Helping him after he’d donated the bone marrow, feeding him, being a friend. Repaying that kindness by jumping her bones had seemed too slimy, so he’d resisted the urge to suggest they cash in on their rain check. Even though he’d wanted to.
He glanced at her as they waited for the elevator. She was showing more and more. He supposed that some guys would have found her growing size unappealing, but he thought she was sexy as hell, all lush curves and glowing health. He liked the way she moved, the way she smelled, the promise that seemed to be in every smile.
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