Sizzling(Buchanans, Book 3)(7) by Susan Mallery
He nodded and continued walking through the happy hour crowd.
“Reid!” one guy yelled. “How’s it hanging?”
Reid ignored that, scanned the clusters of patrons and saw two familiar faces in a corner. He headed directly for them.
“Reid.” Maddie, one of the waitresses, grabbed his arm. “She’s full of shit, okay? That night we were together was great. Let me know if you want me to sign a letter or something.”
He nodded at the busty brunette, knowing that they had spent the night in bed and unable to remember anything specific in the blur that was his sexual past.
He hurried over to greet his two brothers and sank gratefully into the chair they’d pulled up for him.
They’d positioned their table just right, tucking his chair next to a display case of sports crap. It meant he wasn’t in anyone’s direct line of sight.
Cal, his older brother, pushed a full mug of beer in his direction. “How you holding up?” he asked.
“How do you think?” Reid took a long swallow. “It’s a little slice of hell.”
Walker, his younger brother, grimaced sympathetically. “Sucks the big one.”
Reid eyed the nachos on the table, but he wasn’t hungry. “The worst part is I don’t even remember her. It was the week my team was in the playoffs. I’m sure I was drunk.” He shook his head. “What does it matter? She wanted revenge and she sure as hell got it. Reporters are everywhere. They’re crawling all over the houseboat.”
“It’s not a defensible position,” Walker told him.
Cal looked at Reid. “So speaks our brother, the former marine.”
“He knows what he’s talking about,” Reid grumbled. “I’ve got to get out of there. I thought about a hotel, but they’ll find me there. Someone on the staff will sell me out.”
“Come stay with Penny and me,” Cal said. “We have room.”
Reid hesitated. Their house was big enough, but Cal and Penny had a new baby. They were focused on other things.
“I appreciate the offer, but I’d be in the way.”
“You wouldn’t,” Cal told him.
Walker shrugged. “You can bunk with me, but it would be on a sofa.”
“Tempting,” Reid said with a grin. “But, no.”
“You could always move in with Gloria,” Cal said. “No one would think to look for you there. Didn’t you say one of her nurses had set up a room for her downstairs?”
“In the study,” Reid said slowly, considering the possibility.
“You would have the whole upstairs,” Walker told him.
“There’s plenty of room,” Reid murmured. His moving in would also annoy the hell out of Lori, and that would be a plus.
A woman walked toward the table. She was tall, built and cover-model gorgeous. She smiled at him.
“Darlin’, I just wanted to let you know that the night we had together was incredible. I still remember everything about it and I’m willing to swear to it. Want my phone number?”
Reid studied her face and realized he had absolutely no recollection of ever having seen her before. What did that say about him?
“I appreciate the offer,” he said. “I’ll let you know if I need a signed statement.”
“You do that. I’m always willing.”
She turned and walked away. He watched her swaying hips and felt absolutely nothing. Given the day he’d had, it would probably be months before he could think about having sex again, and how grim was that?
He leaned back in his chair and looked at his brothers. “That reporter has me by the balls. I can’t sue. There’s no way to win. It would be a circus. I don’t want that. My manager says to lay low and it will blow over.”
“He’s right,” Walker said. “People will get interested in someone else’s life.”
“When?” Reid asked, knowing it couldn’t be soon enough. “I talked to him about the other stuff in the article. Where that bitch of a reporter said I’d blown off kids and charity events. I wouldn’t do that.”
He hadn’t. He hated that kind of stuff, so he made it a point to never accept any kind of invitation where he had to show up and speak. He sent checks…or his manager did.
“Just because some kid sent a letter inviting me to some charity thing doesn’t mean I have to go. But that’s not how the reporter saw it.”
“You have to let it go,” Cal said. “You can’t do anything about it now.”
Reid knew that was the truth, but he hated being painted in ass**le colors. “I talked to Seth about the other stuff in the article, that baseball team that went to the state championships. He said that was just a mix-up with the travel agent. I didn’t know anything about it.”
His brothers looked sympathetic, but that wasn’t helping. Maybe because sympathy wasn’t enough. Not when he’d been accused of offering to sponsor a baseball team and send them to their state championships, only to have the travel agent forget to include a return ticket. All those kids and their families had been stranded hundreds of miles from home with no way to get back.
“I didn’t do anything wrong,” he mumbled, knowing in truth, he hadn’t done anything at all. “I told Seth to send me everything. The fan mail, the charity requests. I’m going to read them myself.”
“And then what?” Cal asked.
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