Irresistible(Buchanans, Book 2)(34) by Susan Mallery
“She’ll be all right,” he told her. “She’ll be in the hospital for a while, then at a place getting physical therapy.”
“Okay. I’m at a loss here.”
“Me, too. No one in my family expected this. My brother Reid is taking care of finding private duty nurses, while I’m going to be taking over the company.” He sipped his wine. “I’m not exactly executive material.”
“I’m not so sure about that. All you need is attitude and a suit.”
“Why do I think there’s more to it than that?” he asked wryly.
“Sure, if you want to make things complicated.” She clutched her glass and knew she was going to have to get to it eventually. “She mentioned you’re a part of the Buchanan restaurant chain.”
“There are four places. Not much of a chain.”
“Still. It’s a really different world. I’m sure she told you all about me and my past.”
“I don’t care, Elissa,” he said flatly. “You’d told me a lot yourself and I’m in no position to judge.”
Ha. As if she believed that. “I want to make it clear I never did drugs. I wasn’t interested. I know that’s not a huge moral mountain or anything, but it’s important to me. The other stuff, well, some of it is true.” Especially the part about Zoe’s father. How on earth could she have fallen for Neil?
“I meant what I said,” he told her. “I don’t judge you. Or anyone.”
He leaned forward and set his drink on the coffee table between them. “You what? Partied? Slept with some guys? Elissa, I’ve killed people. Sure, it was in the line of duty and it was my job and it probably saved lives, but they’re still dead. Some of them deserved it, but some were just kids pretending to be soldiers. Some weren’t supposed to die. Not on either side.”
She thought about what he’d told her before. “Are you talking about your friend Ben?”
He shrugged. “He took a bullet for me. It all happened so fast. I don’t know how they got in the cave. That shouldn’t have happened. But they did and he died to save me. He was a kid. Some skinny kid from Seattle. He wasn’t even a good Marine. But damn, did he have heart. He didn’t have anyone but me and the Marines and now he’s gone.”
She felt his pain as if it were her own. She felt his emptiness and knew these ghosts were the ones to cause him to cry out in his sleep.
“Walker, you didn’t do anything wrong,” she whispered as she put down her drink and moved toward him. She wasn’t sure what she was going to do, she only knew he needed comfort.
But as she approached, he rose and suddenly she was in his arms, his hands on her back, his mouth on hers.
Everything happened so quickly, she didn’t have time to think. Which was all right because the feel of his lips on hers made it impossible to form thoughts.
His kiss was firm and confident without being demanding. She felt the heat of him, and his strength. He moved his mouth against hers, discovering, arousing, making her strain toward him in an attempt to convince him that more was a really good idea.
She pressed against him, liking how his muscles provided a warm resting place for her body. While he rubbed his fingers against her back, she explored his shoulders and upper arms.
She felt the first brush of his tongue on her lower lip and parted for him. When he slipped inside she felt heat pour through her. Body parts melted. Her thighs and stomach tightened, while her knees nearly gave way. Her br**sts swelled.
Wanting swept through her. Need, and hunger. It had been so long, the sensations were almost unfamiliar—but still very, very welcome.
He tasted of wine and sex and promise. When he drew back, she whimpered, but then he kissed her jaw and the side of her neck. His lips traced the line from her ear to her shoulder. He pushed her hair aside and nibbled on the back of her neck.
Liquid desire washed away any lingering resolve she might have mustered. She was more than willing to take things to the next level. Make that the next fifteen levels. She wanted them both naked, clinging, touching, riding each other until they were too exhausted to ever do it again.
She opened her mouth to tell him so when he stepped back.
“Sorry,” he said. “This was not in your game plan.”
Screw the game plan. Had she been able to speak, she would have told him just that. But she was too stunned by her incredible response to him to do more than breathe.
“Even if you were interested,” he continued, “I’m the wrong guy. You and Zoe need someone who’s going to stick around. That’s not me.”
“You’re moving?” she managed to ask, her voice thick and unsteady.
“Not this week. I meant in general. I’m not a good bet.”
“I saw too many guys get dumped while overseas. Love is fleeting at best.”
“It doesn’t have to be like that.”
“You seen any different?”
My parents. Except she didn’t say that aloud. Were her parents even still together?
“I’m not looking for forever,” she said. “I just find it interesting that someone as caring as you isn’t looking for more.”
“You think I’m caring?”
She managed a smile. “Did I just violate the male code by saying that? Should I take it back?”
“I’m a real bastard, Elissa. You need to understand that.”
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