Irresistible(Buchanans, Book 2)(61) by Susan Mallery
Elissa didn’t know how to answer. A week ago she might have admitted interest. But now…
Hearing about Charlotte had changed everything. He’d abandoned the one person he claimed to love. That scared her.
“I want someone who’s going to be there,” she said slowly, more to herself than them. “I’ve done the narcissistic, self-absorbed guy relationships already. I don’t want that. I want…”
“You want it all,” Mindy said with a sigh.
“Don’t we all?” Ashley said. “Someone who makes us laugh, who is supportive and willing to be there through the tough stuff. Why is that so hard to find? I’m willing to do the same for the guy in my life.” She sipped her milk shake. “Is it guys or is it us?”
“It’s a pain in the ass,” Mindy said. She looked at Elissa. “How bad is it? Are you completely in love with him or can you still escape, emotionally I mean?”
Elissa dropped her spoon into the glass. She felt her eyes widen and her mouth drop open. “I am not in love with him.”
“Uh-huh.” Mindy shook her head. “Whatever you do, don’t sleep with him. Women tend to bond when they do that. I hate it, but it’s true. God knows when I sleep with a guy, everything changes. I think it’s hormones—some biological need to mate. I read about it once. Whatever it is, avoid it.” She frowned. “You haven’t slept with him, have you?”
“Of course not,” Elissa said hotly, confident that what they had done didn’t count. At least not technically.
“I told you,” she continued, “I’m not getting involved.”
Ashley smiled. “I hate to be the one to break the news, but you are involved and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. You’re going to have to deal with it, and him.”
“There is no us. There’s barely a him,” Elissa insisted.
“Keep saying that,” Mindy told her. “Maybe one day it will be true.”
WALKER PARKED IN FRONT of The Waterfront. The restaurant wouldn’t open for several hours, but he was there for a meeting with the new general manager.
As he stepped out of his SUV, his cell phone rang.
“Buchanan,” he said.
“Hi, it’s Vicki. I’m sorry to bother you but you had a call from a gentleman named Bob Rickman. He says you’ll know who he is.” She read off the number.
“I’ll take care of it,” he said and hung up. He hadn’t talked to Bob in a couple of years, not since he’d left the Corps to start his own security company.
Walker punched in the number and asked for his friend. He was put through immediately.
“I heard you were out,” Bob said, his voice hearty and loud. “I thought you’d be in until they carted you away in a box.”
“Me, too, but things changed.”
“Apparently. Hey, what are you doing with yourself?”
“Running the family business.”
Bob laughed. “That won’t last. I have a better offer. I’m expanding, Walker, and I need good people. People like you. I’m talking big bucks and international security in some pretty dangerous places. Long hours with plenty of compensation. Island vacations, hot-and-cold running babes, you name it. You could make a fortune working for me.”
“Or get dead,” Walker said easily. Death was the downside. The upside was when he saw men with guns, they would be real.
Bob laughed. “Sure, nothing’s free, but you’re smart. You know how to keep your head down. Besides, it’s not as if you’re going to make it where you are. Come on, Walker. I know guys like you. Hell, I used to be one. The civilian world is all well and good, but we’re not like them. We live on the edge. This is where you belong.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Don’t say no,” Bob told him. “Think about my offer. You have my number.”
“I’m not going to change my mind.”
“Give it time. You’ll get bored and I’ll be waiting.”
Walker disconnected the call. Maybe Bob was right—maybe he never would fit in here, but he wasn’t going back.
He crossed the walkway and entered the restaurant. It was cool and dark inside. He could smell garlic and something simmering that made his mouth water.
But instead of thinking about food, he found himself thinking about Elissa. He hadn’t seen her in several days, and he didn’t expect to for a long time. Not after what he’d told her. Now that she knew the truth, he understood she would want to keep her distance from him.
He made his way to Dani’s office. The door was partially closed. He pushed it open without knocking and saw his baby sister locked in the arms of the new general manager.
“I must be early for our meeting,” he said wryly as they both turned to stare at him.
“Sorry,” Dani said with a grin as she stepped away from Ryan.
Walker ignored his sister and kept his attention on the other man. Ryan straightened and offered his hand.
“Walker,” he said.
They shook. Walker wanted to squeeze until he heard bones pop, but he resisted the momentary pleasure.
Ryan and Dani exchanged a glance. “It’ll be okay,” she told him. “Give me a minute.”
Ryan nodded and left her office. Dani turned to Walker.
“Don’t yell at him.”
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