Taking Care of Business(2)

By: Brenda Jackson

“Karen also will need all of your love and support when the surgery is over and during her period of recuperation before she starts her chemotherapy treatments. Again, although there is no sign the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, she has decided to undergo chemo as a precaution. The outlook at this point is still guarded, but I truly believe everything will work out in your mother’s favor since the lump was found early.”

Renee leaned back in her chair. Now that it was pretty obvious that Teagan Elliott was just trying to help his mother, although he had approached it in the wrong way, her heart went out to him. It was admirable for a son to care so much for his mother the way he did.

“Do you have any idea when the surgery will take place?” he asked.

“Right now, it’s scheduled for next Tuesday.”

Teagan sighed as he stood. “I really appreciate you taking the time to explain what the family needs to do. And again I apologize for my earlier attitude.”

Renee smiled as she also got to her feet. “You are forgiven. I completely understand how an unexpected medical condition can cause havoc to even the mildest-mannered individual.”

He laughed. “I said I’m normally a likeable guy. I never said anything about being mild-mannered.”

Renee grinned. Nobody had said anything about him being a handsome hunk, either, but the proof was standing before her. With his six-foot athletic build, jet-black hair and blue eyes, she couldn’t help wondering if anyone had ever told him that he bore a marked resemblance to what she perceived would be a younger-looking Pierce Brosnan. He was definitely worth taking a second look at. But she knew a look was all she’d ever take. Men with the kind of money the Elliotts had didn’t bother dating people out of their social class. Besides, he was white and she was black.

“Here’s my business card, Mr. Elliott. As your mother’s social worker, I’m here whenever you need me. Just give me a call.”

Teagan accepted the card and placed it in the pocket of his jacket. “I appreciate that. I’ll get the family together tonight and we’ll talk about what you and I have discussed. Right now my mother’s health, as well as her peace of mind, is the most important thing. Thanks for everything.”

Renee watched as he turned and walked out of her office.

Teagan, better known to family and friends as Tag, stepped into the elevator, glad he was alone. He released a deep sigh that came all the way from his gut. What the hell had happened to him while in Renee Williams’s office? The woman was definitely a beauty, and radiated an almost palpable feminine presence that nearly knocked him to his knees. Nothing like that had ever happened to him before while sharing space with a woman.

When she’d spoken, the silkiness of her voice was enough to stroke everything male inside of him. It had been like a physical caress on his senses. And when their hands had touched in that handshake, it had taken everything he had to control the urge to pull her closer to him. He figured she was about five feet five inches without the pumps, and the outfit she’d been wearing, a tangerine-colored business suit, had definitely defined her curvy figure.

Then there was the coloring of her skin, a creamy color that reminded him of rich caramel. Combined with long, black hair that flowed around her shoulders, and dark brown eyes that had stared at him, she reflected, in addition to striking good looks, compassion, intelligence and spunk.

He actually had to chuckle when he thought of what she had told him when he had initially refused to sit down. Yes, she had spunk, all right, and he would give anything to have the opportunity to get to know her better. But he knew that would be impossible. A romantic involvement with anyone was the last thing he had time for. Since his father had decided, and rightly so, that spending time with Tag’s mother was more important than what was going on at the office, Tag was more involved with the magazine than ever. And then there was that blasted challenge his grandfather, Patrick Elliott, had issued that had sparked a rivalry between EPH’s top four magazines.

Each of the four magazines was run by one of Patrick’s children. There was Pulse, the one run by Tag’s father, Michael, which was a world-class news magazine; Snap, a celebrity magazine run by Tag’s uncle Daniel; Buzz, which focused on showbiz gossip and was headed by Tag’s uncle Shane; and Charisma, a fashion magazine run by Tag’s aunt Finola.

Last month, Patrick had decreed he was ready to retire and whoever made his or her magazine the biggest success by the end of the year would be given the position of CEO of the entire Elliott Publication Holdings.