Irresistible(Buchanans, Book 2)(20) by Susan Mallery
“‘Go out’ being a euphemism for ‘have sex with’?” Penny asked.
“I want them to know the score.”
Dani pushed away her wine. “I love you like a brother, Reid, but you’re a real pig when it comes to women.”
“I am your brother and why am I a pig? Why do all women object to the fact that I don’t want to settle down and be with one person for the rest of my life? Is it the challenge? Do you each want to be the one to change my mind?”
“Not me,” Dani said quickly. “That’s gross.”
“Not me, either,” Penny told him.
Cal and Walker grinned. “We’re not interested, either,” Cal said.
Reid shrugged. “You know what I mean. Why are you getting on me? Walker doesn’t want to settle down, either.”
“But he’s not quite so icky about the volume thing,” Penny said. “Besides, there’s hope for him. I think secretly, Walker wants to bond.”
Walker groaned. “Let’s get back to talking about Reid.”
“I agree,” Dani said. “Walker will find the right woman and fall head over heels. Reid, when you find the right woman, I’m going to guess you’ll screw it up completely.” She paused, then added. “I don’t mean that in a cruel way. It’s just you’ve never had to work for anything in your life. What happens when that changes? Are you up to the challenge?”
“I’m touched by your faith in me,” Reid grumbled.
“Don’t sweat it,” Walker told him. “We’ll be single together. The favorite uncles.”
They both made fists and banged their knuckles together.
Conversation shifted to how Penny was feeling. Walker listened but didn’t participate. Dani had some interesting theories, but she was wrong about him. He wasn’t looking to get involved in any way.
Not that he would turn Elissa down if she showed up in his bed one night. She was great. Sexy. Funny. But only in the short term. Despite being a single mother, she had “marry me” written all over her. No way he was going there. He knew better.
Cal leaned close. “Any luck on the Ashley front?” he asked in a low voice.
“None of it good. I’m more than halfway through the list.”
“You’ll find her.”
“I don’t have a choice.”
Walker was on a mission and he wouldn’t rest until it was done. Without meaning to, he thought of Ben. The kid had always been ready with a joke. No matter how bad things got, Ben found something good to talk about. Walker missed him.
He remembered the time the kid had—
The memory shifted and bent until he saw them all standing in the snow. There were no tracks into the cave. There shouldn’t have been anyone inside.
But before Walker could check, there was a yell and the sound of a bullet being chambered. Ben had plowed into him with all his strength. Walker had staggered, but hadn’t gone down. Still, it had been enough. Ben had taken the bullet….
He shook the memory away and deliberately focused on the immediate conversation. He didn’t want to think about Ben—going into the past always made him feel weak. Helpless. He’d been supposed to look out for the kid. Instead, he was the reason Ben was dead.
ELISSA GOT HOME AFTER DARK Saturday night, and considering how long it was light in the summer, that was saying something. She was exhausted but wired from her successful jewelry party.
As she climbed out of her car, she considered leaving her supplies in the trunk and unpacking them in the morning. Except tomorrow was a usual jam-packed Sunday with a million things to do. Better to drag the boxes in now.
She walked around to the rear of the car and opened the trunk. As she reached for the first box a voice spoke out of the darkness.
“Need some help?”
She was so startled, she shrieked, then spun toward the speaker.
“Stop doing that,” she said, giving Walker a shove. The man didn’t move an inch. “You scared me! Were you the stealth expert in the Marines? Don’t you know how to walk and make noise at the same time?”
“I made a lot of noise. You didn’t hear it. Do you want me to help you carry your stuff inside?”
She thought about saying no, just on general principle, but then she realized that was stupid.
“Help yourself,” she said as she stepped back. “It all goes inside.”
“What is it?” he asked as he scooped up everything in her trunk.
“Jewelry. Supplies. Remember the earrings for Randy’s sister?”
He nodded as she closed the trunk and led the way to her apartment.
“I make that sort of stuff. Earrings, necklaces, bracelets. I use semiprecious gems mostly. I can’t afford the good stuff. But I keep costs down and pay attention to trends. I used to just sell to friends or through referrals, but over this summer, I’ve started having jewelry parties. This is my third one and they’ve been really successful.”
“Good for you.”
She unlocked the front door and led the way inside. As always, Mrs. Ford had left a light on in the living room. Elissa motioned for Walker to dump everything on the kitchen table and went to check on her daughter.
Zoe was sleeping soundly. Elissa kissed her cheek and stepped back into the hall. She returned to the kitchen and closed the door between her apartment and Mrs. Ford’s.
“I do individual pieces,” she said, pulling out a bracelet. “Or sets.” She opened a box that had matching earrings, a necklace and a bracelet.
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