Taking Care of Business(4)

By: Brenda Jackson


She watched his lips thin and a worried look appear in his eyes. “She’s not her usual vibrant self and isn’t saying a lot about her upcoming surgery to any of us. I talked to Dad and he says it’s the same with him.”

Renee nodded. “How she’s handling things is understandable. Just give her time to come to grips with everything. She has a lot to deal with right now.”

Tag shook his head. “I know you’re right, but I’m still concerned about her.”

“That’s understandable. All of you will get through this and so will your mother.”

Tag couldn’t help but return her smile. Just as he’d told his siblings, Renee Williams had such a calming nature about her. From the first time he had met her a few days ago, he had quickly concluded that she was the perfect advocate for her patients. He knew his mother liked her and spoke highly of her often.

“So, what brings you to Greenwich Village? Do you live close by?” he asked. He had been walking down the street checking out paintings by various artists when he’d happened to spot her in the window seat of the café. At first he hadn’t been certain it was she, but then, from the way his body had responded, he’d known for sure. Whether he liked it or not, he was definitely attracted to this woman, and seeing her today wasn’t helping matters.

In her office there had been this professional demeanor surrounding her, but here on a Saturday morning, sitting at a window-seat table at a small café and wearing a wool skirt and a blue sweater, she made him even more aware of just how beautiful she was. Even her ponytail didn’t detract from that beauty. The temperature was in the upper fifties, one of those inexplicable, rare heat waves that warmed New York in February.

“No, I live in Morningside Heights. I was supposed to meet someone here this morning, but they called at the last minute to cancel. I decided to come here, anyway.”

“Oh, I see.” Tag couldn’t help wondering if the person she’d planned on meeting was a man, then wanted to kick himself for even caring. He quickly decided the blame wasn’t all his. He was someone who appreciated beauty and Renee Williams was one of those women whose sultry good looks rang out loud and clear. “Well, I’ll let you get back to your reading. I didn’t mean to interrupt you.”

She tilted her head to the side, her eyes holding his captive. And when she took her tongue to moisten her lips, he found his gaze glued to her mouth. “You didn’t interrupt me. In fact, I’m glad I ran into you,” she said, giving him a throaty chuckle that did something to his insides.

He gave her a crooked smile. “In that case, do you mind if I join you?”

He could tell she was surprised by his question, but without missing a beat, she said, “No, I don’t mind.”

As soon as he pulled out a chair, a waiter came to take his order. “Can I get you anything, Mr. Elliott?”

“The usual, Maurice.” The man nodded and quickly walked off. Tag looked across the table to find Renee watching him with open curiosity. “Is there anything wrong, Ms. Williams?”

She shook her head, grinning. “No, but I take it that you’re a regular here.”

His mouth curved into a smile. “Yes, I have a condo in Tribeca and come here often, usually every Saturday morning. I love art and there’s nothing like seeing an artist at work.” He watched her smile again and wondered if she had any idea how seductive it looked.

“I like art, too. I even dabble in it every now and then.”

“Really?”

She laughed. “Yes, really, and when I say dabble I mean dabble. I’ve never taken any art classes or anything. I think I just have a knack for it. I believe it was something I inherited from my mother. She was an art major and taught the class at a high school in Ohio.”

“Ohio? Is that where you’re from?”

“Yes. I even went to college there. Ohio State.”

Tag leaned back in his chair. “What brought you to New York?”

Renee sighed deeply. She didn’t want to think about Dionne Moore, the man who had broken her heart. After graduating from college she had taken a job at a hospital in Atlanta where she had met Dionne, a cardiologist. She’d thought their relationship was special, solid, until she’d found out that Dionne was having an affair with a nurse behind her back.

What was sad was that while she hadn’t known about the other woman, several of the other doctors—friends of Dionne—had known and had been taking bets as to when she would find out. Once she did, it had caused quite a scandal that had had everyone talking for days.