Sizzling(Buchanans, Book 3)(26) by Susan Mallery
“I didn’t think you believed in second chances,” Evie said. “Or that people can change.”
REID FOUND HIMSELF more restless than he would have liked. It was his damn conversation with Lori and all the things she’d said to him. While most of her ranting had been crap, a few of her choice phrases had hit home.
Admittedly it had been a poor showing of judgment to sleep with Sandy and Kristie during their interviews. But they’d both come on to him. They’d been eager, he hadn’t been busy, nobody was married, so what was the problem? It wasn’t as if they’d been bad choices to look after his grandmother.
But no matter how he twisted the argument around and made himself out to be the good guy, the whole situation was a little…tacky.
He was, he conceded, officially, a shitty member of the human race.
He went downstairs to the one person guaranteed to add to his guilt—his grandmother. He found Gloria admiring a modest diamond ring on Sandy’s left hand.
“Hi,” he said as he walked into the room. “What’s up?”
“I’m engaged,” Sandy said as she turned toward him and beamed. “Remember that guy I told you I was seeing? He proposed. This morning. It was so romantic.”
“Congratulations,” he said.
“Have you started planning the wedding?” his grandmother asked.
“Not technically,” Sandy said with a grin. “But in my mind? Sure. Now I just have to convince Steve that running off to Las Vegas is romantic. There’s a little chapel there that is so pretty. We could stay at the Bellagio. I’ve always wanted to stay at a fancy hotel like that.”
“Then that’s what you should do,” Gloria told her as she patted Sandy’s hand. “A girl only gets married once. Or twice.”
Sandy laughed. “Good point.”
“Obviously this happy news could change your desire to stay here. While I would really like you to continue through my convalescence, I’ll understand if that doesn’t work out.”
Sandy shook her head. “Are you kidding? I love my job. Of course I’m staying. I love the hours and the pay is going to mean I can afford the Bellagio.”
Sandy laughed and Gloria joined in. Reid stared at them, not sure what was going on. His grandmother would never approve of getting married in Las Vegas and she hated people who left before the job was done. He thought about all the science fiction movies he secretly watched and wondered if the old broad had been taken over by a pod or some kind of parasite.
Sandy chatted a little more about how wonderful Steve was, then excused herself. When Reid was alone with his grandmother, he moved close and stared at her.
“Did they change your meds?” he asked bluntly. “Are you stoned?”
A little of the woman he knew returned as she narrowed her gaze. “Nothing has changed about my routine. I’m completely fine and healing very well.”
Uh-huh. “You were nice. That doesn’t happen very often.” Or ever.
“You’re hardly around enough to know what I do.” Gloria dropped her gaze to the blankets on her bed and began smoothing them. “I’ve decided to make some changes in my life.”
He had no idea what to say to that. “Changes like…?”
“I’m going to be more pleasant. Easier to get along with. Less critical. It would be nice if you noticed.”
He’d been hit by a lot of baseballs in his career, but only two had nailed him in the head. This felt a lot like that.
“Nice, as in nice?” he asked.
She returned her attention to him. “Perhaps you could pretend the concept isn’t completely foreign. Speaking of changing, it’s something you need to take on, as well. Your current circumstances are inexcusable. You’ve brought shame to the family name and humiliated yourself. Honestly, Reid, what were you thinking, not giving your best while sleeping with a reporter? I would think, given all your experience, you would know what you were doing.”
Until that moment, he’d never understood the idea of wanting the earth to open up and swallow him whole. But he did now.
His own grandmother was scolding him for not being better in bed? Did it get any worse than that?
“I’m not having this conversation with you,” he said firmly.
“And yet here we are. Talking.” Gloria drew in a breath. “I suspect all the accusations about disappointing children aren’t your fault. You have many flaws but being cruel isn’t one of them.”
“Don’t flatter me now,” he muttered. “I won’t know how to take it.”
“I don’t plan to flatter you. I plan to give you a few hard truths. How did the problem with the children happen?”
He pulled up a chair and sat next to her bed. “I don’t know. I stay out of that sort of thing. My manager, Seth, handles all of that kind of stuff, along with booking endorsements and appearances. My accountant, Zeke, takes care of the money. He writes checks when Seth tells him to. I don’t know the details of their day-to-day operation.”
“That’s your first mistake,” his grandmother told him. “It was one thing when you were busy playing baseball, but now you don’t have an excuse. What else do you have to do with your time?”
Ouch. “I work at the sports bar.”
“Based on how much time you’ve spent around here lately, I would say that job isn’t a big priority.” She sighed. “Reid, you’ve always had it easy. You’re smart, handsome and your fastball was just as powerful in the ninth inning as in the first.”
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