Irresistible(Buchanans, Book 2)(87) by Susan Mallery
Lori Johnston stood in the center of Gloria’s large library and stared at him blankly. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Of course she didn’t, he thought irritably. She’d passed judgment on him and then had dismissed him. Just as he should have dismissed her. But he hadn’t. No matter where he went or what he did or who he was with, he kept remembering her comment about him ignoring his grandmother and that being the reason she was so difficult.
“She doesn’t like people,” he said.
“Who?” Lori asked in the kind of tone usually reserved for dealing with the mentally disabled.
“My grandmother. She’s not a people person.”
“I haven’t met her yet,” Lori said, obviously not the least bit interested in the conversation. “I’m sure she’s perfectly lovely.”
“She’s not. She difficult and demanding. She has her grandchildren followed. Walker’s seen the reports. She actually hires private investigators to find out about our lives.”
Lori’s steady, cool gaze drilled into him. “Perhaps if her grandchildren were more interested in her well-being than in their own, she wouldn’t be forced to resort to such drastic measures.”
“Forced? No one’s forcing her. She’s doing this all on her own and do you know why?”
“Because she’s lonely and you’re the only family she has in the world and you’re too busy for her?”
He wanted to hit something or strangle something. His gaze zeroed in on her neck. “You haven’t even met the woman. Why are you taking her side?”
“In my experience, the elderly are often abandoned or at the very least, shuffled aside. You yourself said you were on the road all the time. What does that say about your relationship with your grandmother?”
His fingers twitched. “I played baseball. Of course I was gone. That’s what the job involves. Traveling from city to city.”
“For a season,” Lori said. “How long is that? Five or six months? What about the rest of the year?” She walked to the tall windows and pulled open the drapes. Sunlight spilled onto the hardwood floor. “You’re trying to convince me of something, Mr. Buchanan, but I can’t figure out what. My advice is that you stop trying. Seriously. You and I don’t need much more than a very casual relationship for me to do my job.” She smiled. “It’s not as if we’ll be seeing a lot of each other.”
He got that—the little jab as she implied he wouldn’t be visiting. The whole damn thing was annoying, he thought. He wanted to tell her that he’d been the only one of the grandchildren willing to take on the task of lining up home-care nurses for Gloria. That he’d been to the hospital three times and that he had visited the old bat in the off-season.
But before he could explain, Lori was talking again.
“I think this room is perfect,” she said. “Have the desk removed and those two chairs. Leave the recliner. She’ll like that. The area rug is fine, as well. The hospital bed and table will be delivered tomorrow. I confirmed with them before I came over. Someone will be here to let them in?”
She raised her tone as if she were asking a question, but Reid knew she was giving an order. As in someone would be waiting for the delivery people.
“I’ve made arrangements.”
“Good.” She picked up her purse. “Thank you for your time, Mr. Buchanan. I’ve spoken with the doctor. Your grandmother should be ready to come home in about a week. I’ll check in on her a few times before then so we can get acquainted.”
“It’s Reid,” he said. “Call me Reid.”
“All right. Anything else?”
He shook his head. She left and he was alone in Gloria’s large, empty house. Much as his grandmother had been.
“BUT I DON’T HAVE any homework,” Zoe said. “Why can’t we have homework like the big kids?”
Elissa laughed. “I want you to write that down, Zoe. Write down that you want homework and then give the paper to me.”
“So that a few years from now when you’re older and complaining about how much homework you have, I can pull it out and remind you this is exactly what you wanted.”
Zoe thought for a moment. “Okay.”
She ran off to get paper. Elissa grinned. What a fabulous kid. She’d sure gotten lucky with her.
Someone knocked on the front door. Elissa looked up and her heart quickened. Walker? She hadn’t seen him since Penny had her baby and she missed him. There was also the possibility of her confessing her feelings, which kept things interesting.
She crossed the living room and pulled open the door.
But it wasn’t Walker. Instead, Neil stood there. Or swayed there. He was unsteady on his feet and there was something about his eyes that chilled her.
“Neil, what are you doing here?” she asked as she glanced back over her shoulder and prayed Zoe would take her time getting the paper.
“You know why I’m here,” he told her. “I’m here for my money.”
“I gave you money,” she whispered, suddenly afraid. She tried to push the door closed, but he’d already stepped inside.
“Not enough,” he told her. “I know you made more that weekend. I want it. I want it all. If you don’t give it to me, I’m going to take the kid.”
“Never,” she said, standing her ground.
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