Sizzling(Buchanans, Book 3)(51) by Susan Mallery
Madeline sipped her own coffee. “Reid?” she asked innocently. “Why would he matter?”
Lori stared at her sister. “I’ll kill you, I swear. Don’t test me.”
“Oooh, violence. So it must be about him. Besides, you’ve never been willing to do anything for a man. Why is this one different?”
“He just is,” Lori muttered, not wanting to get into something she hadn’t totally figured out for herself.
Madeline smiled kindly. “Reid already thinks you’re great. He’s falling for you.”
As much as Lori wanted that to be true, she knew better. “One night of sex does not a relationship make.”
“Sometimes it helps. Why would he risk being intimate with someone he has to see every day if he didn’t care?”
“I don’t know. It had been a long time and I was accessible? Gloria warned me about him. I should have listened.”
“Honey, you were gone from the moment you saw him.”
It was true, although she’d rather be tortured than admit it. “I’m not like them,” she said instead. “Those other women he sleeps with. I’m not all fluff and beauty.”
“So he’s changing. Now he wants a little substance with his pretty. Why is that a bad thing?”
Because those words would never describe her, Lori thought, more resigned than hurt.
“I can’t do it,” she mumbled. “I won’t.”
“So you’re going to give up?” her sister asked. “That’s terrific. You meet a great guy you can’t stop thinking about and for reasons that make absolutely no sense, you walk away without even trying. Does it ever occur to you that the best things in life require a risk? They don’t just show up and shower you with everything you want.”
Lori set down her coffee a little harder than necessary. “Easy for you to say. If I remember correctly, that pretty much describes your life. When did you ever work for anything?”
“I showed up and got the job done,” Madeline said quietly. “Yes, I had some advantages. I know that, and they helped. Maybe being pretty got me on the cheerleading team, but it didn’t keep me there. I had to bust my ass to learn the routines. College wasn’t easy for me, either.”
“Did studying get in the way of your social life?”
Lori hated how she sounded even as she spoke. When she least expected it, she got lost in the bitterness of her past.
“I’m sorry,” she said quickly. “This isn’t about you, and I know it. I’m overreacting.”
“I know.” Her sister smiled at her. “You’re afraid. You’ve never really tried before when it came to a guy.”
“Ouch. I’m trying to bond here. Stop pissing me off.”
“I’m telling you the truth and you know it. I’ve loved you from the second you were born, Lori. You’re my best friend. I want so much for you, yet over and over again I’ve watched you walk away from what you want because you’re not willing to take a chance. I would hate to see you lose Reid for that reason.”
“I don’t know that I have him,” Lori told her. “I don’t think I do.”
“Then go after him.”
“Easy for you to say. When have you been hurt by a guy?”
As soon as the words were out, Lori desperately wanted them back.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I’m so sorry.”
Madeline shook her head. “It’s okay. I’m the perfect one, remember?”
It was an old joke between them, but this time it was hard for Lori to smile.
“I know it’s hard for you,” Madeline said. “You want him and he’s amazing and that terrifies you. But you have to try. He’s too good to let go.”
“I don’t know how to compete with those other women. We have nothing in common.”
“Has it occurred to you that that might be a good thing? You’ve told me that Reid isn’t into relationships. He’s more a one-night-stand kind of guy. But that’s not happening with you.”
“Technically it was just the one night,” she muttered, then shrugged. “But yeah, he’s not hiding from me or anything.”
“So maybe you’re exactly what he’s looking for.”
“Maybe I’m not.”
Madeline frowned. “I’ve had it with you. I’m dying, dammit, so you have to listen to me. You care about this guy. You’re going to be fully engaged during this relationship. You’re going to give it your all and if it ends badly, then you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you have nothing to regret.”
Except possibly a heart that could never be whole again.
But instead Lori said, “I hate it when you play the death card.”
“Go with your strengths, baby. Besides, the hair can be just the beginning. We can do a whole makeover thing. Clothes, makeup. You’ll make Reid crazy.”
While Lori liked the sound of that, there was still reality to face. “I’m not…you know…pretty.”
“Of course you are. Or you can be. You hide in those hideous scrubs, or that.” She pointed at Lori’s sweater.
Lori glanced down at the plain brown sweater she wore over jeans. “What?”
“It’s the definition of ugly. It’s too big and the color sucks the life from your face. You’re a blob in that. You have a great body—show it off. Flash a little boob at the guy. Men are basically as emotionally developed as the average dog. Show them the goodies and they’ll do almost anything.”
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online