Irresistible(Buchanans, Book 2)(36) by Susan Mallery
“Penny’s the best,” Dani said. “I’m glad she’s my sister-in-law again.”
“She and Cal were married before. Things didn’t work out between them for a lot of reasons. But when Cal hired Penny to bring The Waterfront back from the brink, they were thrown together a lot. One thing led to another and now they’re married again.”
“With a baby on the way,” he added.
Dani nodded, not bothering to explain Cal wasn’t the father. It was yet another Buchanan complication and she saw no point in scaring off her potential boy toy.
She giggled. Boy toy? What would Ryan think of the title?
“Okay, you’re always doing that,” he said. “You laugh at something and only you know the reason.”
“Sorry. I guess I find myself entertaining.”
“You make me laugh,” he said.
Was it her imagination or had he just moved a little closer?
Before she could decide, he glanced at his watch. “Tell you what—we have a good hour before we have to be at the restaurant. Let’s walk around the city some. You can show me your favorite sights and I’ll be impressed.”
A shiver of pleasure rippled through her. “Sounds like a plan.” She glanced around to get her bearings, then pointed. “Let’s go that way. I’ll take you to the big downtown Nordstrom store. I know what you’re thinking. It’s just another department store. But you’d be wrong. It’s an amazing place.”
She held her coffee in one hand while her other hung free. Without warning, Ryan captured it in his.
“You have no idea what I’m thinking, Dani. None at all.”
He laced his fingers with hers and squeezed slightly.
Okay then, she thought, barely able to breathe from the shock of a strange man holding her hand after a good ten years of being with Hugh.
He was right—she didn’t know what he was thinking. But she had to admit, she kind of liked it.
ELISSA WAITED until her shift was over to knock on Frank’s open office door. He looked up and waved her in.
“Hey, Elissa. How’s it going? How’s Zoe? She excited about starting school?” The man was in his fifties, overweight and genuinely nice. She knew she’d gotten lucky when she’d found this job.
“Very. Every night we discuss what she’s going to wear the first week and it constantly changes.” She smiled. “I met her teacher and she seems great. So we’re happy.”
“Good. Good.” He waved to the chair in front of his big, paper-covered desk. “What can I do you for? You have plenty of vacation time racked up. Want to use some?”
“Not just yet.” Not only couldn’t she afford to go anywhere right now, she always liked to keep plenty of vacation time in the bank in case of emergency. One serious bout of the flu for either her or Zoe could use up her sick leave and she liked having a buffer.
“I know you’re not here about money,” Frank joked. “You’ve never once asked me for an advance.”
She fidgeted, wishing she did want a loan, or something equally easy to discuss. “No, it’s not money. I just…” She pleated her apron between her fingers. “You know I like working here, Frank. It’s been great, these past three years. The money is terrific, I love the hours and you offer the best benefits in town.”
Frank groaned. “Elissa, no. You can’t. Come on, honey, don’t leave. You’re one of my best people. I can depend on you, the customers love you. Who’s trying to steal you away?”
“What?” She shook her head, although it was nice to know he wouldn’t want to lose her. “No, I’m not quitting. Not at all. I want to stay. I love my job.”
He frowned. “Then what’s this all about?”
“I, ah…” She cleared her throat. “Do you know Gloria Buchanan?”
Frank sighed heavily and leaned back in his squeaky wooden chair. “Oh, yeah. Old, rich, pain in the ass, if you’ll excuse my French.”
Elissa felt an instant and overpowering sense of relief. “You don’t like her?”
Frank shrugged. “I don’t know her. She’s on a lot of the same charity committees I’m on, although she’s always in charge. Has to be. I hate working with her, because it’s her way or a big fight. I swear, she could wear down a rock. I stay quiet and do my bit.” He looked at Elissa. “How do you know her?”
“I don’t, but I know her grandson. He lives in my building. We’re just friends, but somehow Gloria found out and came to see me.”
“I’ll bet that wasn’t pretty,” Frank grumbled. “What did she do?”
“Made some vague threats.” They hadn’t been vague, but suddenly Elissa didn’t feel much like explaining them.
But Frank was a bright guy. “She use my name? Did she threaten you with—” He swore under his breath. “Let me guess. The old bitch doesn’t think you’re the right type for her precious grandson? She said she could get you fired.”
“Something like that.”
“Elissa, that would never happen, no matter who came to me. I judge my people on what I see here, every day. You know that, right?”
She nodded, feeling more foolish by the second. “I know. I shouldn’t have let her get to me. I just got scared.”
“Who wouldn’t? Gloria Buchanan is not a nice person. You stay clear of her.”
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