Irresistible(Buchanans, Book 2)(45) by Susan Mallery
Penny was his friend, so he accepted her words in the spirit he knew she meant them. It wasn’t as if he’d ever seen Penny as anything but another sister. As for Cal, well, his brother had his sympathy.
“Remind me never to have kids,” he muttered.
“You’re careful, you should be fine.” She closed her eyes again and moaned as he pulled on her toes. “You’re really good at this.”
“When I feel human again, I must remember to ask one of your women what you’re like in bed. I mean, you have numbers that would impress a rock star, but what’s the style like?”
He thought of the screams and moans, not to mention the nail marks on his back. “I do okay,” he said modestly.
“If your foot rubs are anything to go by, then you do better than okay.” She placed her hands on her stomach. “Come out, come out, wherever you are. Mommy is more than ready to have you in this world.”
“Just a couple more weeks.”
“Easy for you to say. You can still sleep at night. I just lie there, hating how I feel. On the plus side, he or she is very active.”
“Still don’t know the gender, huh?”
“We want it to be a surprise.” She thrust her other foot at him. “Have you been to see Gloria?”
“A couple of times.”
Penny raised her eyebrows. “Really?”
“She’s old and frail.”
He smiled. “Don’t worry. I still know she’s a snake, but I kinda feel sorry for her.”
“Then you’re the best one to handle her nursing care. How’s that going?”
“I spoke with her doctor, along with a physical therapist. I have some names. We’ll work three nurses in rotating eight-hour shifts, with a fourth to cover days off. Whoever Gloria hates the least will get the prized day shift.”
He scowled. “I’m not useless. I can do more than throw a baseball.”
Not that he wanted to, but he didn’t have a choice anymore. He swore silently, knowing better than to go down that road.
“Still, it’s nice of you to look after this,” Penny said.
“Cal and Dani are too emotionally tied up with Gloria to deal with it and Walker’s running the business. Oh, Gloria said to bring the baby to her as soon as he’s born.”
“I assume that was an order,” she said mildly.
She opened her eyes again. “I feel sorry for her, too. She had so much—a great business, a large family, and now there’s nothing. You and Walker are neutral about her. Cal and Dani obviously dislike her. No one wants anything to do with her.”
“It’s not like you to be so kind,” he said.
“I know. It’s because I don’t have to deal with her. When we’re both back at work and she’s bugging me about my menus and making snide comments about the food I cook, then I’ll hate her, too. But until then, I can afford to be generous.”
“Maybe Walker will stay in charge of things. He might find he likes running the company.”
“I wish,” she said, “but my luck’s not that good. Besides, being in charge would mean sticking around. Walker doesn’t like to do that. It means risking getting involved.”
Reid stared at her. “What are you talking about? Walker left because it was his job.”
“And why did he go into the Marines in the first place?”
“To screw with Gloria.”
“I know that’s what everyone says, but I don’t believe it. I think there’s way more to the story. Walker has always held himself a little apart from everyone. Maybe this time will be good for him. Maybe Elissa will be good for him. I really liked her and Zoe.”
“They were all right.” Elissa had been pretty and easy to talk to, which he liked in women he wasn’t going to sleep with. Otherwise, conversation was a waste. “You’re wrong about Walker. He doesn’t hold back.”
“What do you know about him?” Penny asked. “What do you know about his dreams? His fears? His deepest, darkest desires?”
“We’re guys. We don’t talk about that stuff.”
“Exactly. You have me to talk to. Cal has me and Dani. Who does Walker have?”
“I don’t know. His buddies from the Marines?”
“Have you met any of them? Does he bring anyone around?”
He felt uncomfortable with the questioning. What was it about women and feelings? “Leave Walker alone. He’s fine.”
“He’s not, but I’m hoping he will be eventually.”
“THERE ARE MESSAGES!” Zoe said excitedly as Elissa climbed out of her car after work. “Me and Mrs. Ford listened to two of them when they called and there are even more.”
“That’s great,” she said as she closed the car door and bent down toward her daughter. “Don’t I get a hug?”
“Oh, Mommy.” Zoe hugged her quickly, then pulled on her hand. “Come on and listen.”
Elissa allowed herself to be dragged into the house. Sure enough, her normally quiet answering machine blinked excitedly. There were six messages and when Elissa played them back, they were all about ordering jewelry from her.
Apparently Dani and Penny had done more than just wear her creations, they’d talked about them. In the past ten days, Elissa had sold more than a dozen pieces and booked three at-home jewelry shows. If this kept up, she could actually start buying more expensive materials and open a savings account.
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