Sizzling(Buchanans, Book 3)(19) by Susan Mallery
She had to be there for Madeline.
“Is a liver transplant the only way to save her?” he asked.
She nodded. “Unless they find a miracle cure and that’s not likely to happen in time. I’ve been tested and I’m not a match.”
He frowned. “You can’t give up your liver.”
Despite the pain and threat of tears, she smiled. “They use living donors now. They would take a piece of my liver. But it’s a nonissue. I can’t. My mom could except she drank so much for years that there isn’t much of her liver left.”
Lori released his hand and took a step back. “It’s just like Madeline to have a weird blood type. She’s totally perfect in every other way. Why can’t she be O positive like the majority of the population?”
It was easier to joke than admit the real problem. There were no easy solutions for her problem or Madeline’s. Lori never knew how to act or what to say. She just lived in guilt. Because as much as she loved her sister, she’d also resented her in equal measure. Which made her a pretty horrible person.
“I’m sorry,” Reid told her. “I know that doesn’t help, but I don’t know what else to say.”
He sounded sincere, she thought as she stared into his eyes. So they were both clueless. An interesting thing to have in common. “Thank you. I’m sorry I fell apart. It’s not like me. Usually I can hold it together.”
“It’s okay. Under the circumstances anyone would.”
She swallowed and forced herself to tell the truth. “You helped.”
One corner of his mouth turned up. “Then that’s a first for this month.”
He walked out of the kitchen, leaving her staring after him. Had they just had a moment that included sensitivity? She didn’t want him to be more than just a pretty face. That made him far too dangerous for her fragile peace of mind. But it seemed she didn’t have a choice in the matter.
REID WALKED INTO the small den he’d turned into a temporary office. Lori’s problems put his into perspective. People thinking he was lousy in bed was nothing when compared with a sister dying. Of course there were the kids who’d been disappointed, ignored and abandoned by someone who was supposed to be a hero. Telling himself it wasn’t his fault wasn’t cutting it anymore.
He glanced at the stack of letters. Okay, so things had gone wrong. Could he fix the problems after the fact? He grimaced as he remembered Frankie’s sobbing mother. If only…
No, he couldn’t fix the problems, but he could stop new ones from happening. He could do better. He could get involved and make sure the right people got what they needed.
He sat in front of the letters and saw the folder from those kids he’d tried to send to the state finals. The ones who hadn’t gotten return tickets.
He read the hostile, accusing letters and felt his gut tighten. Dammit, it wasn’t his fault. He hadn’t had anything to do with the travel arrangements, but that didn’t matter. The offer had been made in his name.
He scanned the bitter letters and found one from the coach. Not sure what he was going to say, he picked up the phone and dialed.
It took a couple of transfers, but he finally got hold of Coach Roberts. After introducing himself he said, “I’m sorry about the mess with the return tickets. I didn’t know anything about the problem until a couple of days ago. The travel agency my manager hired dropped the ball. I, ah, had him send a check reimbursing everyone for their expenses. Did you get it?”
“Oh, we got it,” the coach said. “It was great. It didn’t cover shit, but, hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?”
Reid straightened. “What are you talking about?”
“Do you really think a thousand dollars covers seventeen kids and their families?”
A thousand dollars? “No. There’s been a mistake. It was supposed to cover everything.”
“I don’t know what the hell kind of game you think this is, Buchanan. You’re the worst kind of ass**le. This is a poor town in a poor part of the state. These kids come from working class families. They can’t afford tickets, even on the bus. One family’s car got repossessed because they had to make a choice—make the car payment or get their kids home. They picked the kids. Now you send a check for a thousand dollars like that means anything?”
“It was supposed to be more,” Reid mumbled, feeling like crap. Why had Seth done it? Why such a small amount?
“Those kids looked up to you,” Coach Roberts continued. “They idolized you. You made their dreams come true and then you crushed them into dust.”
“I’m sorry,” Reid repeated.
“You sure as hell are. A sorry kind of man. You’re everything I don’t want these kids to be.”
He felt numb. “I want to make it up to them. Do something. Can I send them all to Disney World or something?”
“Oh, right. That would be great. Like anyone can afford a trip home from Florida. I’d tell you to stick with what you know—screwing women—but apparently you can’t even do that right. Go away. No one here wants anything to do with you. We can’t afford your type of charity.”
And the phone went dead.
THE OUTSIDE OF THE upscale Asian restaurant was elegant. Subtle colors, a sparse but very Zen-looking garden and a patio off to the right that could be used for summer outdoor dining.
Dani parked close to the front door and walked inside. Her interview was with Jim Brace, the owner.
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online