Sizzling(Buchanans, Book 3)(34) by Susan Mallery
He became aware of Madeline staring at him.
“Sorry,” he said. “What was the question?”
“I didn’t ask one.”
“Right. You were going to warn me to stay away from Lori.”
“Now why would I do a thing like that?” She began rinsing flatware. “I’m the oldest. It wasn’t easy for Lori when we were kids. I was smarter, prettier, more popular.” She paused and wrinkled her nose. “Gee, that makes me sound like an egotistical bitch. But it’s true. Mom was drunk all the time, Dad was gone. He ran off while she was pregnant with Lori. We didn’t have any money and it was hard. Add to that the fact that Lori grew up in my shadow. It’s no surprise that she can’t decide if she loves me or hates me.”
Reid stared at her. “Lori doesn’t hate you.”
“I know. That’s what’s so great about her. She could and no one would blame her. Least of all me. But she doesn’t. She invited me to come live with her as soon as she found out about my disease. When I hesitated, she physically packed all my stuff herself and hired the movers. She’s my rock.”
She reached for a pot. “This has got to be so hard on her. I’m the reason her childhood sucked, she loves me more than anyone in the world and I’m dying. How on earth is she supposed to reconcile that?”
Reid didn’t know what to do with all the information Madeline had dumped on him, but he didn’t doubt it was true. He could feel it in his gut.
“How did you figure all this out?” he asked. “Lori didn’t tell you.”
“Of course not. She wouldn’t want to burden me with what she wrestles with. But I watch and listen. She’s so much more than she believes she can be.”
She looked at him. “I thought you might. So what are you going to do about her?”
“I have no idea.”
Lori wasn’t his type. She wasn’t the kind of woman to enjoy a hot night and move on. He wasn’t good for anything else. Which meant avoiding her was the best solution for both of them.
Yet he found himself wanting to be with her. Not just in bed, but out of it as well.
“You’ll figure it out,” Madeline told him. “Just try not to hurt her. She’s more fragile than she looks.”
He thought Lori was a rock, but maybe there was more to her than just sarcasm and being everyone’s source of strength. Maybe there were sides of her no one saw.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he admitted. “This isn’t the sort of thing I’m any good at.”
“Then maybe it’s time you learned.”
REID SAT IN HIS OFFICE at the sports bar and went through invoices. He generally passed any paperwork to the three assistant managers who really ran the place, but today, for some reason, he wanted to feel useful.
He sorted the paperwork by vendor, then went onto his computer and compared this month’s bills with those from the previous three months. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for but it seemed a logical way to figure out if anyone was trying to hide kickbacks or stealing.
He heard footsteps in the hallway.
“I swear, I saw him,” a woman said as she and her friend walked past his office on the way to the restrooms. “He’s so good-looking. And I don’t care what that bitch reporter said. He was great in bed.”
“I thought so, too. It could have been a little longer, but then it always could have been a little longer.”
They laughed. The sound was cut off when the bathroom door swung shut behind them.
Reid turned his attention back to the computer, but his concentration was shot.
He had no idea who those women were or when he might have slept with them. For all he knew, they’d had a threesome. At least they hadn’t been complaining about his technique.
But that wasn’t much comfort. He turned off his computer and left the paperwork on the desk. Nothing felt right anymore, he thought as he grabbed his jacket and headed out. He needed something to do with his day—something that mattered. Pretending to run the sports bar and hiding out at Gloria’s didn’t cut it.
He drove east, crossing Lake Washington, then turned aimlessly through Bellevue. He stopped in front of a large sporting goods store and stared at the display. God, he missed baseball. Sports had always been a way for him to escape. They had given him purpose and a goal.
He grabbed his cell phone and dialed a familiar number.
“What’s up?” he said when Cal answered.
“Not much. Where are you?”
“Not at the sports bar,” Reid told him. “Is there a place in Seattle where kids need sports equipment? Like a school in a poor part of town or a club or something?”
“Sure. Hold on.” Reid heard typing, then Cal continued, “There are a couple of after-school places where poor kids go. They probably need supplies and equipment. Why?”
“I gotta do something. You got an address?”
Cal read it off, along with a phone number. After Reid hung up with Cal, he called and asked to speak to the director. A woman got on the phone.
“Do you have a yard there where kids play?” he asked.
“Yes.” She sounded cautious.
“How’s the equipment situation? I’d like to send over some balls and bats and other stuff. You could use it?”
“Of course. Always. Who is this?”
He hung up.
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online