Irresistible(Buchanans, Book 2)(3) by Susan Mallery
Elissa slapped the rolling pin onto the dough and knew her neighbor was right. “I can’t help it. I’m annoyed. Does he really think I’m so stupid I won’t notice he replaced my old tire with a new one? Is it a guy thing? Do all men think women are stupid about tires? Is it specific? Or does he just think I’m stupid?”
“I’m sure he thought he was helping.”
“Who is he to help me? I don’t know him from a rock. He’s lived here, what, a month? We’ve never even spoken. Now suddenly he’s buying me tires? I don’t like it.”
“I think it’s romantic.”
Elissa did her best not to roll her eyes. She loved the old woman but jeez, Mrs. Ford would think growing grass was romantic.
“He took control. He made decisions without speaking to me. God knows what he’s going to expect for it.” Whatever he was expecting, he wasn’t going to get it, Elissa told herself.
Mrs. Ford shook her head. “It’s not like that, Elissa. Walker is a very nice man. An ex-marine. He saw you were in need and helped out.”
That’s what got Elissa most of all. The “being in need” part. Just once she’d like to put away a little extra cash for a rainy day or flat tire.
“I don’t like owing him.”
“Or anybody. You’re very independent. But he’s a man, dear. Men like to do things for women.”
Mrs. Ford was nearly ninety, tiny and the kind of woman who still used lace-edged handkerchiefs. She’d been born in a time when men took care of life’s hardships and the most important job for a woman was to cook well and look pretty while doing it. The fact that living like that drove many women to alcohol or madness was just an unhappy by-product and not anything to be discussed in polite society.
“I called Randy,” Elissa said as she slid the pie crust into the pan and pressed it into place. “He told me the tire cost forty dollars, but he’d lie in a heartbeat if he thought it would protect me, so I’m thinking it had to be closer to fifty.”
She had exactly sixty-two dollars in her wallet and she needed most of them for grocery shopping that afternoon. Her checking account balance hovered right around zero, but she got paid in two days, so that was something.
“If I could afford a new tire, I would have bought it myself,” she muttered.
“It’s more practical than flowers,” Mrs. Ford offered. “Or chocolates.”
Elissa smiled. “Trust me—Walker isn’t courting me.”
“You don’t know that.”
She was fairly confident. He’d helped because…because…She frowned. She didn’t know why he’d come to her aid. Probably because she looked pathetic as she wrestled with uncooperative lug nuts.
She rolled out the second crust. Flats of blueberries had been ridiculously cheap at the Yakima Fruit Stand. She’d pulled in after dropping Zoe off at her party. She had just enough time to make three pie crusts before she had to be back to pick up her daughter.
“I’ll finish up the pies after I come back from the grocery store,” Elissa said, more to herself than her neighbor. “Maybe if I take him one…”
Mrs. Ford smiled. “An excellent idea. Imagine what he’ll think when he gets a taste of your cooking.”
Elissa groaned. “You’re matchmaking, aren’t you?”
“A woman of your age all alone? It’s just not natural.”
“I like being a freak. It keeps me grounded.”
One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is how I get my ideas for my books. In truth, they come from everywhere. This particular story was born while I was driving to the grocery store, listening to National Public Radio.
The news had come on and the reporter mentioned how many soldiers had died the previous day in Iraq. Their names were withheld, pending notification of their immediate families.
I remember pulling over, suddenly wondering what happened if the soldier in question had no family. Who would be notified and who would mourn?
In that moment Walker Buchanan was created, and through him, Ben. A hardened solider and a young man with the heart of a soldier. A young man with no family.
This book is dedicated to those who have given the greatest gift to their country. May you live on forever in the hearts of those who have loved you.
THE GREAT UNWELCOME truth is that there are times when a woman needs a man…or at the very least, an unnatural level of upper body strength. Unfortunately for Elissa Towers, this was one of those times.
“Something tells me you won’t be impressed by my to-do list, or the fact that Zoe has a birthday party at noon. Birthday parties are very important for the five-year-old set. I don’t want her to miss this one,” Elissa muttered as she leaned all of her weight into the lug wrench.
She’d been lamenting the extra ten pounds she carried for at least three years. One would think they’d come in handy now, say for leverage. But one would be wrong.
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