Irresistible(Buchanans, Book 2)(26) by Susan Mallery
It was still warm, so she didn’t bother with shoes. Instead she tossed her uniform into the dirty clothes basket and pulled on shorts and a T-shirt. An especially generous table of eight had given her an extra fifteen dollars for the day. A sensible person would put it into an emergency fund, but Elissa was seriously considering a special splurge on takeout.
Maybe she and Zoe could go to the mall and wander around for a while. She could get ideas for fall fashions for herself and her daughter and they could eat at the food court. It was Friday. Maybe they could even take in a movie.
She glanced at her small clock radio. It was nearly three. Zoe was playing at a friend’s house until four, when Elissa was supposed to pick her up. They would go to the mall, she decided. It would be a fun treat.
That decided, she walked into the kitchen and got a glass of water. Between now and four she could start on her next—
Someone knocked on the door.
Elissa’s heart did a little “let it be Walker” shimmy, which was very annoying. He’d made it more than clear he wasn’t interested in her in that way. Maybe he was and he was only doing what she’d asked, which meant she only had herself to blame. Not that there was any way to really find out.
She crossed to the door and opened it. But instead of Walker, there was a well-dressed older woman standing on her small porch.
“Elissa Towers?” the woman asked.
“Good. Invite me in, please.”
Elissa blinked. “I don’t know you.”
“I’m Gloria Buchanan and you know my grandson. Invite me in.”
The combination of the woman’s imperious tone and her relationship with Walker caused Elissa to do as she’d ordered. She stepped back and allowed the other woman to enter.
Gloria Buchanan was about Elissa’s height, very thin and erect. Her tailored dress screamed designer and the cost of her shoes would not only replace all of Elissa’s tires, but probably the transmission, as well.
Gloria stepped into the living room and slowly looked the place over. Elissa refused to flinch as her gaze lingered on the worn sofa or the mess on the craft table in the alcove. This was Elissa’s home and if the old woman didn’t like it, she could leave.
“You live here?” Gloria asked, her voice indicating her disbelief that such a thing was possible.
Right up until that moment, Elissa had been planning to offer her a seat and something to drink, but now she wasn’t so sure.
“You already know the answer to that question,” she said instead.
“You’re right. I do. I know many things, but I’m wondering if I can say the same about you. Say, for instance, about my grandson. He is a wealthy and important man. He is going to be taking over the family business very soon.”
The wealthy and important didn’t surprise her, but the business part did. “He hasn’t mentioned it.”
“Why would he discuss such a thing with you?” Gloria asked.
She ignored that. “What’s your point?”
“You are in over your head, Ms. Towers. Far over your head. Do you know who I am?”
Elissa suspected she meant more than just being Walker’s grandmother. “You’re dying to tell me, so go ahead. I don’t mind listening.”
“I am the reason our family is as successful as it is. I have single-handedly grown our four restaurants into—”
“Restaurants?” Buchanan? Buchanan’s the steak place? She’d heard of it, but never eaten there. She would need the cash value of the old bag’s shoes for that.
“We have four establishments,” Gloria said smugly. “Walker was born to money. Something you were not.”
“You’re stating the obvious,” Elissa said, both confused and annoyed. “Would you get to the point of your visit?”
“I want you out of his life.”
Elissa hadn’t known what to expect, but it wasn’t that. “Are you crazy? You want me out of his life? This isn’t 1890. You don’t get to dictate who your grandson is friends with. Besides, how did you even know I’m friends with Walker?”
“That is not important. What does matter is who and what you are. Do you think I want a former drug-using groupie in my family? Does he know, Ms. Towers? Have you told him how you slept around? How you slept with men to get jobs?”
Elissa held in a gasp of shock. How the hell had Gloria found all that out? “I never used drugs. As for the rest of it, no one cares.”
“A lot of people care. A lot of people would be interested in knowing your daughter’s father isn’t dead. He’s alive and as addicted as ever. I understand he gets in touch with you from time to time, asking for money. Wouldn’t your life be awful if he wanted custody of his daughter? The child you stole from him?”
How had Walker’s grandmother found out Elissa had told everyone, including Zoe, that Neil was dead? How did the old woman know about the money?
Elissa took a step back. She could handle her past coming back to haunt her, but no one threatened Zoe’s safety. “Get out.”
“Not yet. I have more to say. You will avoid my grandson at all costs. You will refuse to have contact with him. Do you understand me?”
This wasn’t happening, Elissa thought grimly. It couldn’t be. Her life was normal, boring even.
“I have a lot of friends in the community,” Gloria continued. “Good friends. Mr. Frank Church, for example. A very charitable man. He and I serve on several committees together. I believe he owns the restaurant where you work.”
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