Sizzling(Buchanans, Book 3)(58) by Susan Mallery
“I thought you were useless.”
“Plus you were wildly attracted to me and you hated that.”
He’d been teasing and expected her to deny his statement. Instead she looked away. “I need to finish Gloria’s lunch.”
She shrugged. “It was stupid, but, yes, I did kind of have a crush on you. I hated that I did. Men like you never notice women like me.”
“All evidence to the contrary,” he said. He wanted to jump up and down and yell that Lori liked him, but he had a reputation for being cool, so he didn’t.
“If you hadn’t had to hang out here, nothing would have happened,” she said.
She looked at him, her eyes wide. So many emotions raced across her face, he couldn’t read any one of them.
“I don’t know how to deal with you,” she admitted.
“Why do I have to be dealt with?”
She sighed. “I don’t know what’s going on. We’re not dating. We’re friends, I guess. It’s confusing. I’m confused.”
“Me, too.” He kissed her.
He liked her. He liked being with her. He wanted to keep being with her. But if she was asking him to define what they had, he was the wrong guy.
“I have something to ask you,” he said. “Something important.”
“I want you to think it through before you answer.”
“You’re making me nervous.”
“No reason to be. Will you be on the board of directors for my foundation?”
She looked as stunned as if he’d just transformed into a cartoon character.
“What? I don’t know anything about being on a board. I don’t know anything about sports or charity work. Reid, you don’t have to do this. Seriously.”
“It’s not about experience,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about that. The other members of the board are pros at this sort of thing. But I want you on the board as well. You won’t let me get away with any crap. I trust you to kick my ass when I need it. You’re the most down-to-earth person I know. You’ll keep me and the foundation grounded. It’s only a few hours a month. You’ll get paid for your time, but it’s not big bucks.”
Lori couldn’t believe what he was saying. Reid actually wanted her to serve on an advisory board for a new foundation funded by a hundred and twenty-five million dollars? Her?
“That’s kind of a long-term commitment,” she said. “If things don’t go well between us, you’d be stuck with me.”
“I’m good with that. No matter how much I pissed you off personally, you’d never mess with the foundation.”
She wouldn’t, of course, but she appreciated that he knew it, too.
Making a difference had a lot of appeal. Who wouldn’t enjoy being in that position? It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, compliments of a man she’d once thought of as having the emotional depth of a cookie sheet.
She walked into his embrace and hung on tight.
“I was wrong about you,” she murmured, burying her face in his shoulder. “You’re much more than a pretty face.”
“I’m overwhelmed by your flattery.”
She chuckled, then raised her head and looked at him. “You didn’t have to do any of this. You could have lived off your millions and not given a damn about anyone.”
“I’m still going to live off my millions.”
“You’re a good guy. Don’t hide that. We need good guys in the world.”
In truth, she hadn’t expected him to be one of them. But now that he was, it made him even more irresistible.
She felt her heart give a little zip. As if it had just opened up to Reid. As if she could now let him inside. The thought of caring more was terrifying, but how was she supposed to stop herself? He was better than she could ever have imagined.
He kissed her lightly. “You’d better feed my grandmother. She’s skinny and needs to eat.”
“You’re right.” But he didn’t let her go. Instead he kept his arms around her.
“What are you doing later?” he asked. “After work?”
Anticipation exploded inside of her. “I don’t know. What did you have in mind?”
“My place.” He jerked his head toward the ceiling. “Say four o’clock. I’ll be the good-looking guy waiting for you.”
She would be the quivering female, but there was no reason to actually say that.
“Sounds like fun,” she whispered instead and stepped back.
Reid looked at the clock. “That’s a long time from now.”
“Four whole hours.”
“You still wearing a thong?”
There was something in his voice. Something low and throaty that made her thighs twitch.
He groaned. “Ask my grandmother if you can leave work early.”
LORI WAS BOTH excited and nervous as she climbed the stairs. She was pretty sure she knew what Reid had in mind—the concept if not the details. While she was thrilled at the thought of being with him again, she wondered how this time would be different from the last. Before she’d been totally swept away by the moment. Now she was not only aware of what they were going to do, but she had her own growing feelings to contend with.
Making love now would probably send her into a female frenzy of bonding. Did she want to take the chance of connecting more? Did she have a choice?
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