Irresistible(Buchanans, Book 2)(13) by Susan Mallery
She finished checking the produce delivery and signed the receipt. As the delivery truck rumbled away, Edouard, Penny’s sous-chef and the man now temporarily in charge of the cooks, walked in.
Dani eyed his scowl. “Someone not getting any?” she asked sweetly.
“This job is cutting into my social life,” Edouard told her with a sniff. “I am forced to leave the clubs before I am ready. Sometimes I am forced to leave alone. I do not like that.”
Edouard was French, moody, brilliant and recovering from a breakup. He could have made a reputation for himself, but he didn’t want the responsibility. Instead he was happy to be highly paid by Penny and have a life outside of work. Except while she was on semimaternity leave.
He walked into the kitchen and looked at the list of specials.
“You change them every day,” he complained. “Why is that?”
“Partly tradition and partly to annoy you.”
“We do not have the same people dining here night after night. They would not know if the specials remained the same for a week or so.”
“Suck it up, big guy.”
Edouard spread out his knives and checked the blades. He reached for a particularly nasty-looking cleaver. “I do not like it when you call me that.”
Dani held up both hands and smiled. “Point taken.”
“Good. Now I will cook your specials because I am a professional, but I will not be happy about it.”
He sighed. “When will Penny be back?”
“She hasn’t left yet.”
“She is not here all the time. I miss her doing the hard work.”
He continued complaining, but Dani slipped out of the kitchen and headed to Penny’s office. There was more paperwork to be done before things got busy. She settled in front of the computer and entered the information for the produce order. Thirty minutes later, that was complete and she went to get another cup of coffee.
Several of the cooks had arrived. Stocks were already simmering as vegetables were chopped in preparation for that night’s dinner. A far cry from Burger Heaven, Dani thought as she filled her mug. Their setup was no more complicated than prepping burger toppings and picking the milkshake flavor of the month.
She’d stayed there too long, hoping her grandmother would notice the great job she’d been doing and move her to this place or Buchanan’s, the family steak house. But Gloria never had. A combination of family loyalty and the need for the great insurance had kept Dani in place until a few months ago, when she’d discovered nothing was as it seemed.
The insurance for her husband had become unnecessary when the lowlife cheater had asked her for a divorce. As for family loyalty, that was no longer an issue, either. When Dani had pushed to find out why she wasn’t getting promoted, her supposed grandmother had gleefully informed her that she, Dani, wasn’t actually a Buchanan. Dani had quit that instant.
The momentary act of thumbing her nose at a woman who had obviously always hated her had sustained her for all of forty-five minutes. Then Dani had been left with no job, no home and no idea what to do with her future.
A job offer from Penny to be her assistant had solved all of Dani’s problems and had given her time to figure out what she wanted to do while getting fabulous experience for her resume. In addition, Penny’s marriage to Cal meant Dani could take over the lease on Penny’s house. Plus there was the added bonus of knowing her presence at The Waterfront made Gloria furious. As Penny’s employment contract stated she was allowed to hire whomever she liked for her assistant, the old cow couldn’t touch Dani.
That was the upside of her life. The downside was finding out she wasn’t who she thought. And then there was the small mystery of her father.
Apparently her mother had had an affair that resulted in a pregnancy—Dani. But who was the guy? Did he know he had a daughter? Did he care? If Gloria knew, she wasn’t telling. But Dani was going to have to decide what to do.
Someone knocked on the open door, interrupting her musings. She turned and nearly passed out as all the air flew out of her lungs.
A man stood in the doorway. But not just any man. This one was tall, blond and oh so good-looking. Greek-god-like, even. His dark blue eyes and square jaw were male perfection and exactly Dani’s personal fantasy. Was it her birthday? Had someone wonderful sent her a present?
“Hi. I’m Ryan Jennings. I’m looking for Dani or Edouard?”
“I’m Dani.” She stood and brushed the front of her tailored blouse, wishing there was a way to subtly unbutton it a little more. She might be on the short side, but she had curves and she was suddenly in the mood to flaunt them.
He smiled. “Hey. Good to meet you. I’m really happy to be here. This is a great store and I’m looking forward to being on the team.”
Team? So he would be working here. Hmm, maybe her luck was changing. After the past few months, she was due for something wonderful to happen.
“Gloria Buchanan doesn’t exactly keep me in the loop on new hires,” Dani said easily, able to forgive the oversight when Ryan was so yummy. “And I haven’t talked to Penny yet today. You are going to be…?”
“The new general manager. Gloria didn’t tell you?”
“Don’t take it personally. She likes to spring things on people.”
“Interesting management style.”
“You don’t know the half of it.” She walked around her desk until she was next to Ryan. “Welcome aboard.”
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