Sizzling(Buchanans, Book 3)(11) by Susan Mallery
“Can I help you?” Lori asked as she slipped her key in her pocket and crossed her arms over her chest. While the woman was perfectly well dressed and seemed normal, Lori had a bad feeling she couldn’t explain.
The woman smiled at her. “Hi, I’m Cassandra. Cassie to my friends. I’m a reporter. I recently wrote an article on Reid Buchanan.”
No need to define which article. In recent weeks there had only been one anyone would remember. “An article, huh? Is that what you’re calling it?”
Cassie smirked. “Oh, so you’re one of his little fans.”
Lori might have a stupid crush on Reid, but she wasn’t about to admit it. Besides, this wasn’t about her feelings, it was about using one’s position to try to destroy an almost innocent—well, innocent—person.
“Do I look like one of his little fans?” she asked bluntly. “I’m actually just a person who wonders about today’s standards of journalism. There’s a difference between reporting and being mean. You got away with what you wrote because you’re a woman. If the situation had been reversed, the article wouldn’t exist.”
Cassie shrugged. “Maybe, but I’m getting great play out of the story. It’s all true. He was lousy in bed, but as I said, that’s just my opinion. Others don’t seem to agree. Is he home?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Lori said, staring at the woman and refusing to even glance at the door.
“I can’t find him anywhere and I don’t think he left Seattle. There aren’t that many places he could go to hide.”
“What about with one of his fans?”
Cassie laughed. “Reid commit to one woman? I don’t think so.”
Which was kind of how Lori saw him, but she was going to ignore that for now.
“You’re trespassing on private property,” she said. “Please leave.”
“Sure. No problem. Oh, by the way, do you spend much time on the Internet?”
“What? Not really.”
“Then you probably haven’t seen these.”
Cassie passed her several photos. Lori glanced down automatically, then wished she hadn’t.
There were about a half-dozen glossy images of Reid having sex. Each picture showed him with the same woman. The pictures were crude, explicit and grainy. But they made the point—he was a man who loved women.
Doing her best not to react, Lori passed them back. She felt like she needed to wash her hands or something. “Thanks, but not before breakfast.”
“These are online. Even a ten-year-old could download them. Are you sure you want to protect him? We should stand together against men like Reid Buchanan.”
Despite the sick feeling in her stomach, Lori shook her head. “I’m not interested in standing with you on anything.”
She waited until the woman left before she headed inside. The sick feeling didn’t go away. What horrible pictures. Did Reid know about them? Had he posed for them? She wanted to believe the pictures had been taken without his knowledge, but how could she be sure? She knew almost nothing about him. Wanting him to be one of the good guys meant absolutely nothing. Based on how he lived his life, he was most likely the guilty party.
That should take care of her little crush. It wouldn’t, of course, but it should.
“YOU NEED TO WALK,” Lori said, hanging on to her patience with both hands. “Just across the room and then we can be done.”
“I’m done now,” Gloria snapped. “It’s enough that damn physical therapist pushes me. At least he knows what he’s doing.”
“You either do your physical therapy and get better, or crawl back in bed and die.”
“You keep threatening me with death,” Gloria snapped, “and I’m still standing.”
Lori stared at the old woman hunched over a walker. “Barely. Don’t you want to get strong enough to kick my ass?”
“What I want is to be rid of you. Get out. Get out now!”
The last couple of words were nearly a scream. Lori ignored them and patted the bed. “Eight steps,” she said cheerfully. “Seven if you don’t shuffle.”
“I don’t shuffle,” Gloria told her icily.
“Looks like shuffling to me.”
“I loathe you with every fiber of my being,” the old woman said.
“I’m sure you do. Now walk.”
Gloria slowly, painfully, made her way across the study. When she reached the bed, Lori steadied her as she lowered herself onto the mattress and slowly lay down.
“Great job,” she said, careful to keep her voice neutral. She wasn’t gloating and didn’t want Gloria to think she was. At least their workout together was a distraction. Lori wanted to stay busy enough to forget the photos she’d seen earlier. Speaking of busy…
She opened the tote bag she’d brought with her and set several catalogs on the table.
“You have a lot of choices,” she said, fanning out the pages. “DVDs, books on tape, your basic shopping, although all my catalogs are discount, which I’m guessing you don’t do.”
Gloria looked from the shiny pages to her and frowned. “What are you talking about?”
“Something to fill your day. Currently you’re staring at these four walls, being cranky and, frankly, getting on my nerves. You need to do something else. Get interested in a soap, read, listen to a book, watch a movie. I would normally add ‘visit with family’ but you seem to be avoiding them.”
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