Irresistible(Buchanans, Book 2)(55) by Susan Mallery
Considering the ice cream she’d downed after he’d left, the latter wasn’t a very good idea. And in an effort to be rational she had to admit his reasons might not be about her at all.
She paused in the act of stroking on mascara. “I need a vacation.” She shook her head, finished applying her makeup, then walked into her bedroom to get dressed.
Zoe had been ready since six-fifteen and she hadn’t gotten that way quietly, which meant Elissa had been up way too early after a fairly late night. Not that she’d slept. One would think that much pleasure would be mind-numbing, but not in her case. She hadn’t been able to stop thinking about what had happened.
“Mommy, hurry,” Zoe said from the doorway.
Elissa glanced at the clock. It was barely after eight. “Honey, we can’t get there until at least nine, which means we aren’t leaving until about eight-forty. Can you keep yourself busy until then?”
Her daughter disappeared. Elissa debated what to wear. Jeans seemed too casual, but she didn’t want to put on a dress. Still, it seemed important to make a good second impression. Maybe khakis and a blouse.
Fifteen minutes later she’d chosen her clothes and had even used a round brush to give her hair a little curl. As she put away her blow-dryer, she realized the apartment was very quiet. Too quiet.
A quick search told her Zoe was not inside. Elissa stepped into Mrs. Ford’s kitchen, but her place was dark and still. Panic exploded as she debated what to do next, when she heard footsteps overhead. Not unusual, except that this time there were two sets.
As it was unlikely that Walker had left her living room and gone out to find someone to share his bed, she had a good idea who his visitor was.
Seconds later a smiling Zoe opened Walker’s door. “I told him about my new grandma and grandpa and he wants to come with us. Then he can meet them and they can meet him. Isn’t that great, Mommy?”
Elissa had planned to avoid her sexy neighbor for at least ten days. She didn’t know what to say after what had happened. “Thank you” seemed weird, but not acknowledging the subtle but measurable movement of the earth seemed rude.
The object of her musings stepped behind Zoe. “She’s pretty excited about all this,” he said.
Simple, polite words. Nothing to indicate that the previous night he’d kissed her so intimately, he’d made her see stars.
“She had me up at five,” Elissa said, then held out her hand. “Sorry she came up here to wait. Come on, honey, we should go finish getting ready.”
“I asked Walker to come with us,” Zoe said, ignoring her mother’s hand. “He should come with us. Grandma and Grandpa will want to meet him, too.”
Walker watched the emotions chase across Elissa’s face. She hadn’t planned on seeing him again so quickly, not after the previous night. She was embarrassed and confused and he would guess she didn’t understand why he’d ended things the way he had.
He wondered if she would feel better if she knew how hellish his night had been and how many times he’d started down the stairs to finish what they’d started.
He hadn’t acted and he wouldn’t tell her how tempted he’d been. This way was better—this way was safest for all of them. He knew who and what he was, while all she saw was what he let her.
“Zoe, Walker doesn’t want to come meet my parents,” Elissa said. “I’m sure he has plans and even if he doesn’t, he would be a complication.”
Right. Someone she would have to explain and with everything going on with her parents right now, not a good idea.
He crouched down and smiled at Zoe. “I’ll go another time.”
“Now,” the little girl said stubbornly. “Mommy always lets me bring a friend. You’re my friend, too.”
“Zoe, no,” Elissa said flatly. “We’re going now.”
Her daughter took her hand and allowed herself to be led away. Walker told himself it was better this way. That both he and Elissa needed time.
But five minutes later she was back on his porch.
“I have a flat,” she told him, not looking him in the eye as she spoke. “I replaced the second rear tire, but I didn’t get a spare. Randy’s place won’t open for a while and I was wondering if you could give me a ride to my parents’. I don’t want to explain a cab and I don’t really want them here.”
He found it interesting that she was more willing to deal with him than have her family at her house.
“I’m happy to,” he said. “I’ll drop you off and then come get you when you’re finished.”
She raised her gaze to his. “No. If you can stand it, you might as well come in.” She sighed. “I meant that to come out more graciously than it did.”
“Do you? Do you know how confusing all of this is? A month ago I didn’t know who you were. Three months ago, you weren’t even living here. I don’t know what happened last night—I mean I know, but I don’t understand why you didn’t…”
She shook her head. “Damn. I promised myself I wouldn’t get into this with you. It’s just hard. I keep going to the typical weenie female response, wanting to know if it was my fault.”
“It wasn’t,” he told her, not sure how she could ever think it was.
“I didn’t think so. But it’s not…Men don’t do that sort of thing and then leave.”
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