Sizzling(Buchanans, Book 3)(50) by Susan Mallery
“Morning,” he murmured.
“Hi.” Was that low, sexy voice hers?
“Did you sleep well?”
“Not really.” She’d been too busy thinking about what they’d done to want to sleep.
“Me, either. You get inside my head. I can’t decide if that’s good or bad.”
She couldn’t, either.
He stared into her eyes. “I went out and got you scones. I know you like them. I didn’t know what kind, so I got one of each.”
Scones? He’d noticed she had a thing for scones?
“You didn’t have to do that,” she murmured.
“I know I didn’t have to. I wanted to.”
And just like that, the walls that had protected her so well, for so long, tumbled into dust.
REID MET PENNY in her office at The Waterfront. He and Penny had been friends through her first marriage to his brother, during the divorce and the years she and Cal had been apart. They were still friends now that she and Cal had remarried.
“You didn’t bring Allison into work today?” he asked as he took a seat. “I like holding her.”
“Because like every other female on the planet, she adores you.” Penny tossed down her pen. “I don’t get it. She’s only a few months old and the second you hold her, she gets spacey. It must be chemical.”
He grinned. “I’ve got it. Not my fault, but there it is.”
“Oh, please. Did you want to talk about yourself or did you want to visit with me?”
He loved riling Penny. “I get a choice?”
“I’m ignoring you,” she said. “Did you know Walker and Elissa are ready to start looking for a wedding venue? I was hoping they’d have it here, but Walker wants a non-Buchanan location. Which makes no sense to me. If it’s not here, I won’t be cooking.”
“Maybe he doesn’t want you to cater his wedding.”
The wrong thing to say, he realized as Penny glared at him.
“Why not? Are you saying my food isn’t fabulous enough? Is there even one chef in the entire state who is better than me?”
Reid held up both hands. “Truce,” he said. “Deep breath. This isn’t about your cooking. Did it occur to you that your brother-in-law might want to have the wedding somewhere else so that you could come and enjoy yourself as a member of the family rather than have to sweat cooking for a couple of hundred people?”
“No,” she admitted. “But my food would be way better.”
“It would. Think of how much Walker loves you. He’s willing to make the sacrifice and give up your talent.”
“You’re playing me,” she grumbled.
“Maybe, but I’m doing a hell of a job at it.”
“You don’t stink,” she said and leaned back in her chair. “Okay. Maybe I’ll allow them to go somewhere else. But I’m going to insist on catering the rehearsal dinner. What do you think about something with crab? And maybe—”
He groaned and dropped his chin to his chest.
“What?” she demanded.
“Not menus. Please. Anything but that. We can even talk about shopping. Just not menus or food choices or anything food-related.”
“All right. Another topic. My choice.” She studied him. “Are you dating Lori yet?”
Trust Penny to find a new way to torture him. She was good and he could respect that.
“We’re not dating,” he said calmly. They’d had a hell of a good time in bed the other night, but that wasn’t dating.
“Why don’t you ask her out? You like her. And don’t bother denying it. I can tell when I see you together.”
“I’m not going to deny it. I do like Lori. She’s great.”
She was a whole lot more than that. Pretty and sexy and smart. She didn’t let him get away with crap, which he respected.
Penny’s eyebrows rose. “Oh, my. So it’s possible I phrased the question incorrectly. Let me try again. Are you and Lori involved?”
He couldn’t seem to stop the grin he felt pulling at the corners of his mouth. He had a feeling Penny could see just about everything she wanted from the look on his face.
“We’re involved,” he admitted.
She shook her head. “I don’t know what to say. You like a woman you’re involved with. It’s not convenience or something to do to fill the time. This means something to you. Have you figured out that makes you practically normal?”
“I’ll never be normal, but don’t sweat it. Lori can handle me. No problem.”
“SHE WAS JUST SO imperious,” Lori complained. “Ask for Ramon. Tell him I sent you. Who does she think she is? European royalty? She’s some old woman with a broken hip. I don’t take orders from her.”
Madeline smiled serenely from the other side of the leather couch in the quietly elegant, upscale salon.
“Poor Gloria,” she said. “All this angst because she gave you the name of her hair person, as a favor, in case you forgot. As for taking orders from her, you kind of do. It’s part of the job description.”
Lori cupped her impossibly large latte and scowled. “If you’re going to be logical, we’re not having this conversation. I just can’t believe I’m here. What was I thinking? Nothing can be done with my hair. It’s impossible. Reid won’t even notice, and if he does he’ll think it’s hideous.”
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