Irresistible(Buchanans, Book 2)(57) by Susan Mallery
“Why is Grandma mad at Mommy?”
How to answer that? “They didn’t talk for a long time,” he said slowly. “When people don’t talk, they get confused.”
“So if they talk now, they’ll stop being mad?”
“It may take a little time.”
“I don’t know.”
She sighed, then leaned against him. “I’m never going to stop talking to Mommy.”
“Good for you.”
He spoke without thinking, intensely aware of her slight weight as she relaxed against him. Just like that—as if she were safe. As if he would never hurt her or abandon her. As if she could trust him.
DANI TYPED on the computer, pulling up previous specials. She agreed with Penny’s philosophy of not repeating items on the same menu. Obviously popular specials would be offered again at The Waterfront, but she was determined to make sure there was a different mix of soup, salad and entrée specials every time.
Normally the head chef would handle this, but Edouard refused to take on any more responsibility. He was already complaining about the longer hours while Penny was out on maternity leave. Luckily, Edouard was nearly as good a chef as he was a complainer.
It was late, after midnight, and the only sound came from the front of the store where the cleaning team made their way through the dining room. Dani liked this time of night, when she could feel that she was one of only a handful of people still awake. It was like being part of something special and unique.
She hit a few more keys, then sent the file to the printer. The menus would be easier to compare when she could lay them side by side. After all, there was a lot on the line for her. She wasn’t just filling in to help a friend, she was adding substance to her résumé. Once Penny had the baby and returned to the restaurant, Dani would be moving on. Right now she had the pleasure of knowing how much her presence here made Gloria crazy, but that wasn’t a reason to make a career choice. In a couple more months she would be ready to go out and do her own thing.
She rose and crossed to the printer on the far side of the office. As the machine silently spit out paper, she heard someone walking down the hall. She stuck her head out and saw Ryan leaving his office. At the sight of him, her stomach flipped over a couple of times.
“You’re working late,” she said, hoping her smile said “I’m a friendly colleague” and not “boy, do I have a crush on you.”
“I could say the same thing.” He walked toward her. “I’ve been running numbers for the first half of the month. What’s your excuse?”
“Specials for the menu. I don’t want to duplicate an exact selection we had before. How are the numbers?”
He stood in front of her, close enough that she had to tilt her head slightly to still meet his gaze.
“Excellent. We’re still filling up most nights, which makes me wish there was a way to expand the dining room.”
Dani winced. “Not without making the kitchen bigger. We’re running at capacity back there. You bring in any more customers and the chefs will be cooking in the alley.”
“We could barbecue back there,” he said with a grin. “People would think it was nouvelle cuisine.”
“You underestimate our customers.”
“Maybe.” He looked up. “What about expanding to a second floor? I’ll bet there’s room up there. We could put in a second kitchen.”
Dani considered the possibility. “It’s a huge renovation and speaking from experience, you’ll never get Gloria to go for it.”
“Gloria isn’t in charge right now.”
“Unless you can get it done before she’s back, I’d suggest you wait.” She frowned. “To be honest, I have no idea what Walker would think of the idea. If you’re serious, I guess you could run it past him.”
He tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. The light brush of his finger on her skin made her shiver.
“Why Walker?” Ryan asked quietly. “Why aren’t you in charge of Buchanan Enterprises? You have the brains, the education and the experience. You could have done a hell of a job.”
His words pleased her even as she knew there was no way she was going to tell him the truth about her family. Not yet. It would only break the mood, plus she’d yet to find a casual way to throw “hey, did I mention I’m not really a Buchanan” into a conversation.
“How do you know all that about me?” she asked instead.
“I checked out your file.”
“Really? I’m not sure I approve of that.”
He shifted until they were almost touching. “I wanted to know more about you.”
Words to get lost in, she thought as her gaze locked with his. Suddenly it was difficult to breathe and she found herself wanting to place her hands on some part of his body. At the moment, pretty much any part would do.
“You could have just asked,” she pointed out.
“All right. I will.” He bent down and brushed her mouth with his. “Tell me everything.”
Which, under other circumstances, would have been an excellent plan. Only right now, she was too busy savoring the feel of his mouth on hers and loving the way he wrapped his arms around her.
He drew her against him. She let herself lean against his hard body. She parted her lips and he teased her tongue with his own.
They were kissing, she thought in amazement. Kissing and everything about the experience was so different from being with Hugh. It had been ten years, she thought hazily since she’d kissed anyone else. Ten long years that had ended in broken promises and too many tears on her part.
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