Sizzling(Buchanans, Book 3)(47) by Susan Mallery
“Partially altruistic, partially selfish,” she admitted. “I also wanted a career that I could count on. I knew that I would have to take care of myself financially and nursing has made that happen.”
He smiled. “No plans to marry a rich guy?”
“No plans to marry anyone.”
She had a fairly clear understanding of why not. The bottom line was she didn’t trust any man enough to believe he could love her.
“I’m not the marrying kind. I’m okay with that.”
“You don’t believe that humans have a biological need to pair bond?” he asked.
She blinked at him. “What did you say?”
His smile turned smug. “I went to college.”
“Where you majored in cheerleaders and being charming.”
“I got a degree in cultural anthropology.”
The surprises kept on coming. “Why?”
“I thought it sounded cool and would get me women.”
She laughed. “At least you’re honest.”
“I try to be.”
“Okay. Back to your original and slightly startling question. Yes, I suppose most people need to pair bond. But the need is stronger in some than in others. It’s not a big deal for me. I just want to be able to take care of myself. Buying my house put me on that road.”
“Your whole face changes when you talk about your house.”
“Does it? I guess because I really love the place. I love that I can decorate it however I want. I love the size and the location. I love that I have an emergency fund in case I need a new water heater or there’s a plumbing problem. I love that every month I add a little extra onto the mortgage payment so I can pay the place off in fifteen years instead of thirty. I feel safe there.”
His dark gaze never left her face. “Feeling safe is important to you.”
He wasn’t asking a question, which was fine. He was plenty smart enough to figure out her issues.
“I grew up in a double-wide in Tacoma. It was no one’s idea of a great life,” she said.
“Madeline mentioned your mom was difficult.”
“Oh, really?” She flopped onto her back. “What else did my sister tell you?”
“That you were the one your mother took things out on.”
That was true, Lori thought sadly. “My mother used to drink. A lot. She was a pretty mean drunk.”
“And now?” he asked.
“She’s been sober seven years.”
“So that’s good, right?”
“I guess. She’s trying to put the pieces back together.”
Reid leaned over and lightly kissed her. “Are you going to let her be successful?”
She looked up at him. “Don’t get too insightful. It will change my opinion of you.”
“I can handle it. Are you going to answer the question?”
“I don’t know,” she admitted slowly. “Sometimes I really want her to make this work. I want her to be successful.”
“But I’m still mad as hell at her.” She wrinkled her nose. “I know that’s awful. She’s my mother. She’s putting her life back together and I’m still pissed because of how she treated me when I was twelve. I should get over it and move on.”
“That’s your head talking. Not your heart.”
She narrowed her gaze. “Excuse me, but a degree in cultural anthropology doesn’t mean you get to play pretend psychologist with me.”
He grinned. “What if we play it naked?”
“We are naked and the answer is no.”
He kissed her again. “You’re not easy.”
“Thank you. It’s been my life’s ambition to not be easy.”
“So really. Why aren’t you married?”
He had a streak of tenacity she hadn’t expected. There was no way she was going to admit the real reason, so she settled for truthful but slightly off the mark.
“No one ever asked,” she told him, not bothering to mention she didn’t let anyone get close enough to think about asking.
Nothing about Reid’s expression changed. “Any near misses?”
“So did you not meet the right guy or were you scared?”
Okay, now they were getting a little too personal. “Hey, what about you?” she asked. “All these questions apply.”
“I don’t date many guys. Sure, I tried for a while but it was just a fad.”
She laughed. “You know what I mean.”
“I fell in love once, remember? I was willing to do the marriage thing.”
With a woman who didn’t want him, Lori thought sadly. Life was nothing if not perverse.
DANI WALKED INTO the Daily Grind and glanced around for Gary. Sometime in the past couple of weeks they’d established a standing coffee date. She waved when she saw him already seated at a table in the corner. What did it say about her life that the best guy she’d met in years turned out to be g*y?
“How’s the job search going?” he asked as she took the seat opposite his.
“Okay. I’ve had a couple more interviews, but nothing I’ve really clicked with. The problem is I love working with Penny at The Waterfront. Sure it’s hard work, but we’re all part of a team.” She grimaced. “Could I sound more like a cliché?”
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