Sizzling(Buchanans, Book 3)(12) by Susan Mallery
Gloria stared at the window. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Interesting. Kristie told me that one of your grandsons stopped by early yesterday evening. Walker. That he’d called first and you’d told him not to come, but he’d shown up anyway.”
The information had stunned Lori. After all, in her mind, Gloria had been the abandoned elder of the family. But first the old woman had refused to see Cal and now she’d told Walker to go away. As much as Lori hated to admit it, Reid might have had a point when he’d said his grandmother was a little difficult.
Gloria narrowed her eyes. “This is none of your business. You mention my family again and you’re fired.”
Lori pretended to yawn. “I’m sorry. What? Did you say something?”
“Don’t think I can’t,” Gloria told her. “One call to the agency that employs you and you’re gone.”
Lori shook her head. “You don’t want me gone. I’m tough on you and you respect that. I care about you and you need that. You can’t be mean enough or crabby enough to scare me away, and that’s new for you. So here’s the question. Why are you trying so hard to live your life alone?”
Gloria pointed at the door. “Get out. Get out now.”
Lori was about to argue when she felt a queasiness in her stomach. She nodded and left, heading directly for the kitchen. By the time she hit the back hallway, she was shaking and feeling close to fainting.
A quick glance at her watch told her she’d gone too long without food. She knew better, but between the reporter’s ambush and her morning workout with Gloria, she hadn’t noticed the time.
She walked into the kitchen only to find the one person she most didn’t want to see. Reid.
He looked up from the thick stack of papers he was reading and smiled at her. “I heard shouting. Should I be worried?”
She was already pretty weak, what with her blood sugar crashing, so the last thing she needed was a visceral reaction to a useless, possibly horrible, man.
But there it was—a sudden fluttering of her heart, a trembling of her thighs that had nothing to do with needing to eat and everything to do with needing a man.
But why did it have to be this one?
“We’re good,” she said and walked to the refrigerator, where she’d stashed a bottle of juice. But before she got there, he was on his feet, next to her.
“Lori? What’s wrong? You look like crap.”
“I’m serious.” He touched her cheek. “You’re sweating. And shaking.”
The light brush of his fingers was nothing. Less than nothing. Yet she found herself leaning into the contact and imagining him touching her everywhere. So humiliating. She had to remember there wasn’t an actual person inside. That he was nothing more than a pretty shell. A shell who liked to take pictures.
“I have low blood sugar. I’m crashing. Go away, I’ll be fine.”
He ignored her much as she ignored Gloria’s demands that she go away. “What do you need?”
Oral sex? No, wait. That wasn’t right. “Juice. Food.”
He pushed her into a chair and then got her a glass of orange juice. She gulped half of it, then let the high-sugar liquid sit on her tongue for a few seconds before swallowing.
The results were nearly instantaneous. The trembling stopped, her body relaxed and she started to feel almost normal.
“Better,” she said, looking at him. “Thanks. Go away.”
“That’s nice,” he said sarcastically. “Who crapped on your day?”
“Honestly? You. There was a reporter waiting for me outside your grandmother’s front door this morning. She wanted me to confirm you were staying here, which I didn’t. Just to put a little sparkle in my schedule, she showed me some pictures she’d downloaded from the Internet. Guess who was the star?”
His expression tightened as he swore. “I thought they were gone.”
“You knew about them?” She couldn’t decide if that was good or bad.
“They were taken about six years ago,” he said grimly. “Without my knowledge. This woman I was with wanted proof to show her friends. One of them suggested she get a little more publicity, so she posted them online.”
He sounded embarrassed and mad and frustrated. Lori wanted to believe he wasn’t to blame, but it was difficult. “How have you been living your life?” she asked. “This sort of thing doesn’t happen to normal people. The pictures, the reporter. You need to get your act together.”
“I’m trying. But stuff like this makes it impossible. I even got a court order that the pictures be removed from the Web site. But they’re still showing up on other sites. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. You feel okay now?”
The change of topic caught her off guard. “Yes. I have to eat something.”
“To maintain a higher blood sugar?”
She nodded. “Chocolate would be best. Preferably from Seattle Chocolates.”
“You’re kidding. That can’t be good for you.”
“It’s not.” Like him. “But it’s my fantasy and I can have it if I want to.”
He shook his head and muttered something under his breath. “Okay. Let’s see what real food we’ve got.”
He opened the refrigerator again and began pulling out ingredients. Shredded cheese, some cooked chicken, salsa and large flour tortillas. Food she didn’t remember being in there before.
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