Sizzling(Buchanans, Book 3)(76) by Susan Mallery
“He is,” her sister insisted. “Look at it this way—he’s been with enough women to be able to know what he wants. He wants you. I can see it in his eyes.”
Lori wanted to believe her so much, it hurt. “Change of subject,” she said. “I can’t deal with Reid right now.”
“Then let’s deal with Mom,” Madeline said. “You’re going to have to help her through this.”
“I know.” Lori didn’t want to think about that, either.
“She’s not the devil.”
“I never said she was.”
“You have to forgive her for what happened before,” Madeline insisted. “She wasn’t herself.”
Lori wasn’t convinced being drunk excused anything, but she nodded because it was what her sister wanted.
“In case something happens,” her sister continued, “I’ve listed all my bank account numbers and other financial information in a folder. It’s in the top dresser drawer. There’s also a life insurance policy. I got it when I got married, but now you and Mom are the beneficiaries. Help her invest the money, okay? She won’t know what to do.”
Once again Lori fought tears. She gently punched her sister in the arm. “Stop talking like you’re doing to die.”
“I need to say this,” Madeline told her softly. “Help Mom. She’ll have enough to buy a condo or something. It will give her security.”
“She’ll want to buy a trailer. I just know it.”
“Then help her do that. She’s getting older, Lori. She’s not in great health. All those years of drinking aged her. I want her to be safe and happy.”
Lori wiped her eyes. “Fine. I’ll help her get settled somewhere. Either a condo or a trailer. If there’s any left over, I’ll help her invest the money in something safe. I don’t want to talk about this.”
“I know, but I need you to promise.”
Lori sniffed. “Why not? We both know nothing’s going to happen to you. So I can promise anything.”
“I like how you think.”
“How much money are we talking about with that life insurance policy?” Lori asked, deciding she would tease them both into a happier state of mind. “Should I get excited?”
Madeline grinned. “You’re going to have to wait and see.”
“I’m happy to wait forever.”
DANI FILED the menus, then turned to face her sister-in-law. Penny had already spent a couple of hours in the kitchen, overseeing the prep work for that night’s dinner.
“I love a good reduction,” Penny murmured to herself. “If we add a little more Pinot to the sauce, it should broaden the fruit elements. What do you think?”
Dani pushed the file drawer closed and dropped into the chair on the other side of Penny’s overflowing desk.
“I miss working with you.”
Penny looked up and grimaced. “I hate that you’re gone. I know I shouldn’t say that. I know you have to go prove yourself out in the world. But I don’t have to like it. By the way, you’re only proving yourself to yourself. The rest of us are already convinced. Okay?”
“I don’t like it, either,” Dani admitted. “I mean I’m really excited, but I’ve loved working with you.”
“I am the best chef you’ll ever know,” Penny said, then grinned. “And the most modest.”
“You’ll love working with Bernie. He’s a sweetie. And kind of cute.” Penny raised and lowered her eyebrows. “He’s a little old for you, but if you like that sort of thing…”
Dani raised her hands and crossed her index fingers. “No way. He seems like a perfectly nice man, but, no. I’m totally and completely finished with romantic relationships. I’ve heard from the big guy in the sky and the message couldn’t have been more clear.”
“Just because Gary was an ex-priest does not mean God was telling you to avoid men.”
“Okay—so what was the message?”
“Avoid that one. Or not. Maybe God was trying to tell you that Gary was a sweetie and you should be gentle with him.”
Dani cringed and shook her head. “I don’t think so. I feel bad about walking out on Gary, but trust me, I’m the wrong woman to deal with the issues a relationship with him would bring to the table. I don’t have the patience.”
“I don’t know. There’s a romantic element to the whole thing. What if you’re his first time?”
Dani didn’t want to go there. As soon as Gary had confessed his past, the knot in her gut had told her to start running and she’d listened. It wasn’t her proudest moment, but she didn’t have any regrets.
“It’s over,” she said. “My budding relationship with Gary and any relationship with any man, ever. I have lived through a series of disasters. It’s time to let the romance thing go.”
“If you say so. Or you could get into women.”
Dani wrinkled her nose. “No thanks.”
“Just checking. You don’t have to do that,” Penny added, pointing at the filing.
“I want to finish what I started.”
“You don’t work here anymore. You have to let it go.”
Dani shrugged. “I have. But I still miss this place, even though I’m totally jazzed about the job.”
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online