Irresistible(Buchanans, Book 2)(35) by Susan Mallery
She almost giggled. Right. A real bastard who took Mrs. Ford to the hospital and spent time with her daughter while Zoe showed off her new school clothes.
“Bad to the bone,” she said. “I got it.”
He narrowed his gaze. “I’m not kidding.”
“I know. You’re practically evil.”
“Are you making fun of me?”
“Maybe. A little. Gonna get me now?”
“You should respect what I’m telling you. I’m not a good bet.”
She sighed. “Actually, I do believe that.”
Not because of anything he’d said, but because of her own past. He might not be bad, but she was a walking, breathing disaster when it came to men. Neil was proof of that.
“So we’ll just be friends,” he said. “Pretend this never happened.”
“Of course,” she said, knowing she was lying. She planned to relive that kiss every night for the next month. But repeating it in person? Not likely. Fool me once and all that.
He slipped his hand against the back of her neck and drew her to him. “You’re a real temptation. You know that?”
She was painfully normal. Average height, average looks, average body, with the added thrill of a couple of stretch marks. A temptation? Who was he kidding?
But there was a heat in his gaze. A fire that thrilled her as much as it made her want him more.
“And how do you feel about temptation?” she asked.
“I walk away.”
DANI SIPPED the hot coffee and stared across at the view of Lake Union. She was due at the restaurant in an hour, but until then she planned to enjoy the perfect summer morning.
It was just after ten, when those who had regular jobs had disappeared into their offices and the lunch crowd had yet to fill the sidewalks.
The Waterfront should do lunch, she thought. The location was good. With some minor modifications, a lot of their dinner menu could be cut down or translated into salads and sandwiches. They could…
“So not my problem,” she said aloud, to remind herself she wasn’t technically a Buchanan anymore. She didn’t give a damn if the restaurant made a profit or not, just as long as it stayed in business until Penny returned from maternity leave and Dani could find another job.
Or maybe she should do something more, she thought. Like go find her father.
Who was he? She had no idea how to begin the search. Gloria had long ago gotten rid of all Dani’s mother’s things. Could there be papers of some kind? A diary?
The only person who would know for sure was the one person Dani didn’t want to talk to—Gloria.
“What has you looking so serious?”
She turned and saw Ryan standing next to her.
“Hi,” she said, both surprised and delighted to see him. “What are you doing here?”
“Getting coffee. It’s my morning spot. And you?”
She held up her drink. “Getting a slow start on my day. Do you really come here every morning?”
He glanced at the front of the Daily Grind. “Sure. It’s on my way to the restaurant. Why?”
“My brother Cal owns the chain. When he started, he and his partners opened three places at once. This is one of them.”
Ryan chuckled. “So I spend my life in service to the Buchanan empire.”
“Four restaurants isn’t exactly an empire,” Dani said. “Although Cal’s business would qualify. They’re expanding back East.” She lowered her voice. “Apparently they’re going to have to offer more coffee choices that aren’t as strong. I guess we scare them with too much intensity.”
“Wimps,” he said.
She laughed. “One of the new East Coast reps said we all have our taste in our feet.”
Ryan grinned, then his humor faded. He put his hand on her arm. “I was sorry to hear about your grandmother. Are you all right? Is there anything I can do?”
“I’m all right,” she said, not seeing any point in getting into her current maelstrom of feelings. Gloria wasn’t her grandmother. The woman had made her life a living hell for years. And all that time, Dani had done her best to make the old woman happy. Until she’d learned the truth, she’d never been able to figure out why she kept failing. But even after all that, she couldn’t help feeling bad about what had happened and how Gloria was going to have to face her recovery pretty much on her own.
“How are you liking the restaurant?” she asked, not wanting to talk about Gloria anymore. “All settled in?”
He shook his head. “That’s going to take a while. The place is great. Talk about busy. When the orders get going, that kitchen is crazy. How do you keep it straight?”
“Sometimes I don’t,” she admitted. “If you think it’s insane now, wait until Penny gets back. Edouard is a good chef, but he doesn’t challenge himself the same way. Penny liked to test herself on the specials.”
“Everyone talks about how great she is,” Ryan told her. “I’m looking forward to working with her.”
His blond hair looked gold in the bright morning sun. It was perfectly cut, maybe a tiny bit too long, which only made her want to touch the layered strands more. He was good-looking without being pretty, funny, smart and possibly interested in her. Did life get any better?
Okay, her divorce wasn’t final, but wasn’t she entitled to a rebound guy? Someone who would take her mind off her lying, cheating bastard of a husband and show her a good time? Wasn’t it the law?
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