Sizzling(Buchanans, Book 3)(36) by Susan Mallery
Her voice sounded tight. He wanted to believe that was about envy or something, but he had a feeling it was just a whole load of disbelief.
“I asked her to marry me.”
Lori’s breath caught. “I didn’t know.”
“No one does.” He leaned forward, resting his forearms on his thighs and stared at the ground. Without wanting to, he remembered everything about that night. It had been warm, but raining. The rain was the reason he hadn’t been playing. A three-day soaker had trashed the field. He could smell the dampness in the air and someone’s cooking a couple of apartments over. He and Jenny had been sitting on the steps leading up to her place.
He remembered the feel of her body so close to his, the way her long straight blond hair had gleamed in the moonlight. He’d looked at her and known she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. She was all he’d ever wanted—someone he could love forever. So he’d asked her to marry him.
“She said no.” He spoke the words flatly, as if they had no meaning. As if he couldn’t remember what it had been like to hear her faint giggle of surprise.
“I’m sorry,” Lori said.
“Don’t be sorry yet, because that’s only part of it. She said she wasn’t interested in marrying me. She thought I was a lot of fun and great in bed, but marriage was out of the question. I wasn’t the kind of guy women married. She was actually seeing someone. He was going to propose and she was going to say yes. I was the kind of guy women had a last fling with, but not the kind anyone wanted to be with for the long haul.”
LORI HAD A RESTLESS NIGHT and a difficult morning. She couldn’t seem to concentrate on what she was doing, mostly because she kept reliving her conversation with Reid.
While she knew he was telling the truth, she still had trouble believing any woman could reject him so easily. Sure, he was too good-looking to be real but he was charming and fun and just thinking about having him kiss her again was enough to make her weak at the knees, which made her want to pound her head against the wall out of sheer humiliation, but there it was. The reality that Reid was the kind of guy women loved. Even smart women who knew better. Apparently self-awareness was very different from immunity.
She couldn’t get her mind around the fact that someone he’d been in love with had walked away from him. Had, in fact, rejected him cruelly. There had to be more to the story.
Lori knew many of her questions would never be answered—especially the one about why this was so fascinating to her. She didn’t want to know the answer to that.
She finished clearing the dishes from lunch and loading the dishwasher. Then she went to check on Gloria.
Her patient was reading in bed. Gloria set down her book when Lori entered the room.
“My oldest grandson’s wife is coming to visit,” Gloria said, her voice sounding more resigned than pleased. “She had a baby recently. The biological father came from a sperm bank, if you can believe it. I’ll never understand why Cal wanted to get back together with a woman who would do that sort of thing. He could have done so much better than some breeding cow who…”
Lori raised her eyebrows.
Gloria drew in a breath, then let it go slowly. After a second, she spoke again. “My grandson’s new wife is coming by to visit. She’s bringing her new baby. Won’t that be lovely?”
Lori grinned. “I think you’ll enjoy the company.”
“I like babies,” Gloria said slowly. “Regardless of where they…” She paused again. “Penny is very pretty. I’m sure her baby will be especially attractive.”
“You’re making progress,” Lori told her. “How does that feel?”
“Awkward and foolish most of the time,” Gloria admitted. “But you’re right. It makes a difference. I want my family in my life and if this is what it takes, then I’m willing to do it.”
“The things we do for love.”
Gloria stared at her. “Or don’t do. Why aren’t you married?”
“No one asked.”
“I find that hard to believe. You’re perfectly capable.”
Lori knew that there was a genuine compliment buried in the less than elegant words. “I should have that stitched on a pillow. ‘Perfectly capable.’”
“You know what I mean. You’re the sort of woman who would make someone a good wife.”
“You’d think that, wouldn’t you? But apparently men everywhere decided they could live without me.” She spoke lightly, not wanting to admit there might be any pain inherent in her situation. She was nearly thirty years old and no man had ever fallen in love with her.
Her sister’s theory was that she deliberately picked men she could never care about so it was easier for her to keep her distance. Lori wasn’t sure. She’d never been in love, so maybe Madeline had been right. And she did tend toward men who were safe.
Except for Reid. Not that she could ever really care about him, but he was someone she could dream about.
She’d gone her entire life without having a crush on someone. Why did she have to have one now? And on him?
“You’re not sexy enough,” Gloria said.
Lori stared at her. “Excuse me?”
“Men are stupid about sex. Always have been. You don’t try to make yourself attractive.”
“I dress appropriately for my job.”
Gloria shook her head. “Don’t pretend that this is how you are during the day and it’s totally different the rest of the time. You’ve made a career of blending into the background. I’m not fooled. Hand me my purse.”
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online