Sizzling(Buchanans, Book 3)(21) by Susan Mallery
Jim turned back to her and shrugged. “Gotta keep the boys in line.”
“Sure,” she said, trying to smile and failing. There was something seriously wrong in this kitchen. It was too organized, too quiet, too perfect. Where was the controlled chaos of creativity?
Jim led her back to his large office and motioned for her to sit in one of the chairs in front of his desk.
“I believe in keeping on plenty of wait staff,” he said. “I might be willing to keep my customers waiting for a table, but once they’re seated, everything flows smoothly. You’ll like the crew. They work hard, they’re on time, they’re perfect at their jobs, or they’re fired.”
Perfect? Who could guarantee perfection on a regular basis?
“Do you have a lot of turnover?” she asked.
“It takes a while to get the right person, but once we find a server who works, they stay a long time. The money’s great.”
Based on the number of reservations they had each night and the crowd that might or might not get seated, Dani could believe that.
The restaurant had everything going for it—great location, better food, cachet and five-star service. There was only one six-foot problem.
Jim talked more about the restaurant, his vision, expectations and the need to be on time, work long hours and give a hundred percent every day.
Dani listened carefully even as she tried to figure out why she had a knot in her stomach.
“I like you,” Jim said unexpectedly. “I know your grandmother. Not well, but I know enough to understand if you rose to manage one of her restaurants, you’ve got the right stuff and you’re not afraid of hard work. To be honest, I’ve been looking for the right manager for a long time. I think you’re her. Let me write you up an offer and then we can talk again.”
Dani blinked. “You’re kidding?”
Jim grinned. “I know you’re excited.”
He kept talking, but she wasn’t listening. Excited didn’t exactly describe the knot in her stomach.
This was a great opportunity. Sure, Jim might be difficult, but no one could be as bad as Gloria and she’d survived her.
So why wasn’t she more thrilled? Was she really getting a bad feeling or was she falling into self-sabotage? Did she secretly believe Gloria’s claim that she just didn’t have what it took and could never make it on her own?
LORI WALKED INTO the kitchen and found Sandy already there.
“You’re early,” she said.
Sandy poured herself a cup of coffee. “I know what it’s like to be tired after a long day. Of course, I’m just waking up.”
Sandy smiled at her and Lori realized she’d really started to like the other nurse. Lori considered the fact that she didn’t hold Sandy’s full-blown beauty against her a sign of a mature character.
Sandy waved the coffeepot at Lori who shook her head. “Not if I want to sleep tonight.”
“I know. I get hyped up on coffee and then I don’t fall asleep until nine or ten in the morning. My body clock is totally screwed up. Speaking of screwed, did you see those twins on CNN?”
Lori shook her head. “What twins?”
“Bimbos. Former centerfolds. It was awful. They’ve written some stupid self-help book so us lesser mortals can learn to be as sexy as them. Can you imagine?”
Lori didn’t know what to say. If tall, busty, gorgeous Sandy considered herself a lesser mortal, what did that make Lori? A mutant?
“They were on CNN talking about their book?”
“Uh-huh. That part was bad enough, but then the stupid reporter brought up Reid. Of course they had to dump on him and say he was lousy in bed.”
Sandy pressed her lips together. “It’s that damn newspaper article. Kristie and I were talking about it a couple of nights ago. The thing is, it’s so unfair.” She smiled, as if remembering something amazing. “I had absolutely no complaints about my close encounter with Reid and neither did Kristie. It was everything we wanted it to be.”
She sighed. “Of course I was a fan and, I confess, just a little slutty at my interview. I threw myself at him. Not that he said no.”
Lori couldn’t think. Her mind went totally blank, which was probably for the best. Otherwise she might have exploded.
“You slept with him during your interview for this job?”
Sandy nodded. “Kristie, too. It was fun. That big desk in his office at the sports bar. Yum. I…” She stopped and stared at Lori. “Are you okay?”
No, she wasn’t okay. She was furious. Not with Reid, but with herself. For being stupid enough to think he was a real person. He wasn’t. He was just a shallow, disgusting pretend human being.
“I’m fine,” she said from between clenched teeth.
Sandy grimaced. “Oh, God. I just put my foot in it, didn’t I? I thought you’d slept with him, too.”
“No,” Lori said grimly. “I didn’t.”
Apparently she could form a club of women who hadn’t slept with Reid Buchanan. It would have a membership of one.
LORI WORKED HER WAY through Gloria’s morning exercises and did her best to disconnect from the usual complaints.
“That hurts,” Gloria said. “Stop immediately.”
“We’re not working the side your broken hip is on,” Lori reminded her. “We need to keep you flexible.”
“As I’m unlikely to join the Seattle ballet anytime soon, this level of flexibility is not required.”
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