Sizzling(Buchanans, Book 3)(48) by Susan Mallery
“Probably not, but is that bad? Would you rather work in a place where you’re not part of a team?”
“No and no. That’s why I turned down the last job offer. I know you said to be patient and you’re right. It’s just…” She took a breath. “I hate to admit this, but with Walker running the company, I kind of don’t want to move on. Dealing with him makes me feel connected to my family.”
“They’ll still be your family, no matter where you work,” Gary told her. “Are you still thinking about looking outside of Seattle?”
“I should, but I haven’t yet. I don’t want to move away.”
“Then you don’t have to. There’s no law.”
He smiled at her—a sweet, gentle smile that made her happy they’d become friends. He was a good man and knowing there could never be anything sexual between them helped a lot. She didn’t need to make another mistake in the man department.
“I can’t blame you for wanting to stay here,” he told her. “I would never leave Seattle. All my family is here, as well. I love them all, even my sister who has spent the past six months setting me up with every single woman she knows. It’s getting so I’m afraid to take her calls. The last woman was very nice, but she had this grating voice…”
He kept on talking, but Dani wasn’t listening. She was too stunned to do anything but stare at him.
If his sister was setting him up with women then that meant…“You’re not g*y?” she blurted without thinking.
Gary paused in the act of raising up his container of coffee. Confusion drew his eyebrows together. “You thought I was g*y?”
She wanted to bolt from the room and disappear into the crowd outside. How could she have been wrong about that? What would he think of her? Worse, he was such a sweet guy and she really liked him and now she’d practically shouted that there was something about him that made her think he wasn’t into women. No straight guy was going to take that as a compliment.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered, forcing herself to look at him. “I shouldn’t have said that. I didn’t mean…”
So what hadn’t she meant? There weren’t a lot of interpretations to “You’re not g*y?” It wasn’t as if she could pass off the line as him not understanding what she meant.
She opened her mouth, then closed it again.
Gary sipped his coffee. “Gay,” he said slowly. “Interesting.”
She drew in a breath. Interesting wasn’t bad. “You don’t hate me?”
“No. Why would I?”
“Some men wouldn’t consider the comment flattering.”
“I can see that. It makes me want to dress better.”
She risked a smile. “You dress fine.”
“A little too conservative,” he said with a shrug. He glanced down at the ivory shirt and dark slacks he wore. “My sister keeps getting after me to try a little color. Maybe a pink shirt,” he teased. “Of course that would make me look more g*y.”
She felt herself blush. “You’re taking this really well.”
“It’s kind of exciting. I’ve never thought of myself as having a secret life before.” He leaned toward her, his pale gray eyes bright with excitement. “So what made you think I was g*y?”
“I’m not sure. You’re nice and quiet and you’ve never tried to pick me up. Not that every man does. I’m not all that.”
“You kind of are,” he said.
Dani didn’t know how to take that. Was Gary flirting with her? And if he was, how did she feel about it?
“You’re not married,” she said.
“You’re not, either.”
“I used to be. My divorce is barely final.”
“Hard time?” he asked sympathetically.
“No worse than anyone else’s, I’m sure,” she said. “Hugh wasn’t a bad guy.” She paused. “Wait a minute. You know what? He was. He was totally awful.”
She explained how she and Hugh had met in college and how in his senior year, he’d been injured playing football.
“I stood by him all through his surgery, his therapy,” she said. “I’m not asking for a reward, but I stayed. I loved him and even though I knew he’d be paralyzed from the waist down forever and that we could never have a normal physical relationship again, I wanted to marry him.”
“We got married. I bullied him into finishing his degree and then continuing his education. Eventually he got a job as a professor. I worked at Burger Heaven. I thought we were happy.”
They hadn’t been, of course, but she’d thought their problems were just like everyone else’s. A little boredom, a few too many weekends spent on separate activities.
“It wasn’t perfect,” she continued. “But I thought…” She shook her head. “I was wrong.”
“He asked for a divorce?”
“Not just that. He told me I hadn’t grown enough as a person. That I hadn’t kept up with him. It was totally humiliating.”
She remembered wanting to scream at the unfairness of the accusation. She’d wanted to point out that all her free time had gone into looking after him and supporting the two of them. If she hadn’t grown it had been because she’d been busting her ass for him.
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online