Irresistible(Buchanans, Book 2)(16) by Susan Mallery
Walker ignored that and ordered a beer from the busty, blond waitress who paused by their table.
“I’m good,” Reid told her and then turned his attention back to Walker. “Well?”
“So you’re not getting any.” He motioned to the many women in the bar. “See anything you like here?”
“What do they see in you?” he asked.
“They think I’m charming.”
Walker wasn’t so sure about that, but Reid’s many years as a major league pitcher certainly helped his score quotient.
“But enough about me,” Reid said. “You’ve been back, what? Three months? All I know about is one short fling that lasted maybe two nights. It’s just not natural for a man to be alone, especially when he doesn’t have to be. You’ve got the soldier thing going for you. Plus, hey, you’re a Buchanan.”
“You don’t have anyone special in your life,” Walker pointed out.
Reid held up both hands. “I’m not talking about special. Who needs that? Just a little something to take your mind off things. It might help you adjust to life in the real world.”
“What makes you think I’m having any trouble adjusting?”
Reid shrugged. “I did. It’s a bitch to go from the roaring crowd chanting my name to this.”
“You’re doing okay.”
Reid’s stark expression said okay wasn’t good enough.
“It’s your first season out,” Walker said. “It’ll get easier.”
The waitress appeared with the beer. Walker took it and thanked her.
“You think it’s going to get easier for you?” Reid asked. “You want to tell me you don’t still dream about the bombs and the fear and the waiting for the next sniper shot?”
Walker never talked about his time in the military, but he wasn’t surprised to hear Reid’s accurate assessment of his life. He’d been in several hot spots. How hard was it to guess the big picture?
“It’s different,” he said.
“Agreed, but it’s still an adjustment.”
Around them the crowd cheered a home run. Reid didn’t bother to look at the giant TV screens.
“Are you sorry you left?” Reid asked.
Walker could read between the lines. He’d had a choice. Reid hadn’t. Once he blew out his shoulder, it was all over.
“I made the right decision,” Walker said slowly. “There are things I miss about the Marines, but not the killing. Every man has a line. If he crosses it, he becomes a psychopath. I was getting too damn close.”
“So what do you do now?” Reid asked. “After you find Ashley?”
“Penny did twenty minutes on how you put the baby furniture together,” Reid told him. “You’re good at that kind of stuff. Maybe you should buy an old house and fix it up.”
“I’ve thought about it.”
He wasn’t ready to move just yet. He liked where he lived.
Damn—he was in big trouble if he was lying to himself. It wasn’t the place he liked, it was Elissa. Her and that stupid chicken on her uniform. How she’d looked so fierce, standing on his porch with her baseball bat. He wasn’t anyone who needed protecting, but she hadn’t thought of that. She’d just decided he was in trouble and had come to the rescue.
He hadn’t met anyone like her in a long time—maybe ever. Determined and independent with a heart as hard as a marshmallow. She was sexy as hell, too. Especially when she earnestly explained why she wasn’t interested in dating or having sex with him.
But he wasn’t going to act on it. He knew better than to get involved. Things would only end badly for her and he didn’t want that.
“I know some twins,” Reid said into the silence. “Interested?”
Walker rolled his eyes. “Not all problems can be solved with sex.”
Reid grinned. “Most of them can.”
“I’M READY FOR MORE vegetables, dear,” Mrs. Ford said from her place at Elissa’s kitchen table.
Elissa glanced over at the nearly full salad bowl. “You made quick work of everything.”
“It’s all in the right tools.” The older woman held up a unique little gadget that looked like a cross between garden shears and kitchen scissors. “I saw this Toss and Chop on QVC and knew I had to have it.”
Elissa stirred the pasta, making sure it cooked evenly. There was a nice marinara sauce with a whisper of meat—a scant quarter pound she hadn’t put in the chili.
“I felt kind of guilty at the mall today,” she admitted. “Like a fashion spy or something.”
“Why? You went into the store, you saw what was popular and you left. Hardly a crime.”
“I know. If I could afford to buy Zoe’s clothes, I would. But one of the dresses I looked at cost forty-five dollars. It’s not even two yards of fabric.”
Instead, she’d gone into the popular stores and checked out the various hot styles. Once home, she’d sketched out a few things to make herself. She wanted to make sure her daughter felt good about her clothes when she started kindergarten. Elissa still remembered the year she’d turned eleven and had shot up a couple of inches practically overnight. She’d gone to school with jeans that were too short and had been teased mercilessly. To this day, she still remembered crying all the way home.
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