Sizzling(Buchanans, Book 3)(61) by Susan Mallery
She smiled. “Oh, sure. Be rational.”
“I’m a math teacher. What did you expect?”
She sighed. “I know you’re right. I just can’t stand the thought of going begging, which means you’re going to say then I obviously don’t care enough about finding my father.”
She drank more of her coffee. “Maybe I’ll talk to Reid. He’s living in Gloria’s house and spending the most time with her. If he says she’s really willing to help, then I’ll ask.”
“Now you have a plan.”
She looked at him. “You think I should go face the dragon.”
“Our fears get bigger than they should be if we don’t see them in the light of day.”
“That would be the theology teacher speaking,” she said.
“Maybe, and a little of the man.”
“We never talk about your life very much,” she said, realizing she didn’t know that much about him. “You’re very good at asking questions.”
“I’m very interested in your life,” he told her. “My days are often similar.”
“And I’m living in the middle of a soap opera. I’m thrilled to know I can at least entertain my friends.”
“We appreciate it,” he said lightly, then leaned toward her. “Dani, would you like to go to dinner with me sometime?”
He was asking her out. She’d wondered if he would and how she would feel about the invitation. But now that it was here, there was no sense of panic or the need to avoid taking things to the next level. Gary was a great guy. She really liked him. He was kind and honest. The total lack of physical chemistry might be a good thing. She’d been burned by passion enough lately.
“I would love to go to dinner with you,” she said.
REID WAS FEELING LIKE pretty hot shit. It was sunny and relatively warm, he’d decided what to do with his life and last night he’d seduced the hell out of Lori. He hadn’t taken what was offered, he hadn’t gone along with what was easy. He’d planned the evening, reduced her to a puddle and then he’d made her scream.
He liked knowing he could do that to her. He also liked that there was no pretending. He could read her body nearly as easily as he read his own and he knew exactly how to please her. Being with her made him feel good. He found himself wanting things he hadn’t thought about in a long time.
The realization should have scared the crap out of him. Instead he found himself thinking about the future. Playing a serious round or two of “what if.”
What if he didn’t walk away from Lori? What if things developed between them? What if she fell in love with him?
He knew she liked him. Not just the crush she’d admitted to, but real liking. She wouldn’t have slept with him otherwise. He wanted to take credit for her physical transformation, but he knew it had very little to do with him. She’d used him as the excuse, but in truth she’d wanted to make a change for a long time. Lori wasn’t comfortable hiding anymore. It had just taken a while for her outsides to figure that out.
But could she fall in love with him? Was she willing to take that ultimate risk? He knew that on the surface he was a great catch. Healthy, good-looking and rich. But what about on the inside? He’d never committed to a woman in his life. He’d only offered once. As Lori had pointed out, he’d then used that moment as an excuse to stop trying.
That wouldn’t be enough for Lori. She had high standards and he wondered if he could measure up.
He poured more coffee from the pot on the credenza, then turned back to the stack of letters on his desk. He’d pulled out the ones that bothered him the most and had gone over them again. He had to be able to do something for these kids.
One caught his eye. The one from the boy whose twin brother had died. Reid had grown up close to Walker and Cal. His brothers, along with Dani, had meant everything to him. If something had happened to one of them…
He picked up the phone and dialed the number on the letter. A woman answered.
“Good morning. My name is Reid Buchanan. I used to play baseball.”
“What? Oh. Really? I know who you are. My son is a huge baseball fan. The sport and the players are his world. Even more so since…well, recently. He hated to see you retire. He talked about it for days.”
If the kid knew Reid had screwed up his career himself, he would think a lot less of him.
“Mrs. Baker, your son wrote me about your loss. I’m terribly sorry.”
There was a moment of silence followed by a strangled, “Thank you. It’s been difficult.”
“I can imagine. I was thinking about what I could do for Justin. To take his mind off of things for a little while. I have some friends on the Seattle Mariners and I’ve been talking to their general manager. How would you and Justin like to spend a long weekend with the team at spring training? You’d be flown down first-class, put up in a nice hotel. You’d have a car and a driver at your disposal, along with money for meals. The hotel has a spa. You’d have free use of the facilities. I’d make sure there was someone to keep an eye on Justin while you were relaxing.”
He heard her breath catch. “I don’t know what to say,” she admitted. “Why would you do this?”
“Because I can. You and Justin have already been through too much.”
“You’re being incredibly generous,” she said quietly. “I don’t know what to think.”
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