Irresistible(Buchanans, Book 2)(86) by Susan Mallery
“You would have,” Elissa said softly. “You would have done it for me or Bobby.”
“The power of loving a child.” Her mother pushed the plate of cookies toward her. “All right. We’ve reconciled, we have a plan for Neil, so what about Walker?”
Elissa bit into a cookie and chewed. “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to get through to him.”
“Tell him the truth,” her mother advised. “Tell him you love him.”
“What? I can’t say that.”
“Why not? What’s the worst that will happen?”
What would be the worst? “I’ll never see him again. He’ll run and I’ll be alone.”
“You’ve been alone before. So that’s survivable. And if he runs, then he’s not the man for you. Loving someone is a gift and if the guy in question is too stupid to realize that, then you’re better off without him. Wouldn’t you want to know that sooner rather than later?”
Elissa thought about the wonderful times she and Walker had shared. The way he was so patient with Zoe, how great he was in bed. “I prefer later.”
Her mother raised her eyebrows. “Are you sure about that?”
Elissa sighed. “Okay, not the mature answer, I know. You’re right. Find out now and then I can get started on getting over him. How’s that?”
“Better,” her mother said. “Besides, don’t you want him to know? Even if it doesn’t work out, wouldn’t it be better to tell him so you don’t spend the rest of your life wondering ‘what if?’”
“You’re using logic in a matter of the heart. I’m not sure that’s even legal.”
“Trust him to do the right thing,” her mother said. “If you can’t do that, then trust yourself to survive whatever happens.”
WALKER SCROLLED through the August numbers. Business was up, which was what he liked to see. Apparently the employees liked having more responsibility and they were proving it in a tangible way. If this kept up another month, Buchanan Enterprises was due for its best year yet.
A fact that would fry his grandmother, he thought cheerfully. Maybe knowing he was doing a damn good job would encourage her to get better more quickly.
His phone buzzed. “A Mr. Dalton on line one for you,” Vicki said. “He won’t tell me what it’s about.”
Walker frowned as he picked up the receiver. “Buchanan,” he said.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Buchanan,” the man on the other end said. “I’m Jonathan Dalton. My firm specializes in placing highly qualified candidates in growth opportunities. If you have a few minutes, I’d like to tell you about just such an opportunity because you’re exactly the kind of candidate we’re looking for.”
It took him a second to realize the guy was a headhunter. “What’s the business?” he asked and braced himself for a detailed explanation of gunrunning, security or straight-out black ops.
“A small chain of restaurants in Idaho. They’re not The Waterfront or Buchanan’s,” Dalton said heartily. “But that’s our client’s goal. To grow the business. To reach a higher level of quality and service, not to mention appeal. The salary is generous and there is ownership potential. Let me tell you a little bit about the company.”
Dalton continued to talk, but Walker wasn’t listening. Restaurants? The guy was calling him about restaurants? Not war or danger or death?
“Are you familiar with my background?” Walker asked. “You know I was in the Marines for nearly fifteen years.”
“Of course. Our client believes that kind of experience builds leadership. Now you have hands-on in the restaurant business, which makes you the perfect candidate.”
Walker doubted that a few weeks of running the family company qualified as “hands-on experience” but it was good to hear someone else did. Until that moment, he’d never seriously considered he might have a career outside of something military.
“I appreciate you thinking of me,” he said, “but I’m not interested. I’m going to be tied up here for several more months.” Then he didn’t know what he was going to do, but there seemed to be dozens of possibilities.
Mr. Dalton sighed. “I was afraid you were going to say that. All right. I understand. But I’d like to send you some information on our firm. You’re exactly the kind of person we like to offer our clients. Perhaps you could send me a résumé when you have time.”
“Sure thing,” Walker said, thinking now he’d have to write one.
He finished with the call, then walked to the window and stared out at Gloria’s view.
A few weeks ago, he’d felt as if he didn’t have any choices. Running the company had been a job he’d taken on by default, yet he’d quickly found himself enjoying his work. Was he a tycoon in the making?
The thought made him smile. Maybe not a tycoon, but there were other things he could do. Other jobs, other careers. He still had his ghosts, but they came less frequently. The dreams were still there and would be until he found that one person who cared.
After fifteen years in the Corps, he should know how to move on. He had known, until Ben. Until that kid had gotten under his skin. He, Walker, had vowed to keep Ben alive and he’d failed.
He wouldn’t fail again.
“I WASON THE ROAD A LOT,” Reid said, annoyed with himself for even bothering to explain to someone who wasn’t interested.
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