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Authors: Bernadette Marie

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BOOK: The Executive's Decision
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“And when John Forrester says it’ll be done next week, it will be,” Zach added.

“Damn straight. I’ve never gone over on budget or on time with a project. I run my crews tight. There is no screwing around on my site.” He tucked his thumbs into the front pockets of his jeans and rocked back on his heels.

“And that’s why I use and abuse him like I do.”

Regan looked up from her notebook.

“Electrical inspections?”

“Scheduled for a week from Wednesday,” John answered, and she jotted the answer down.

“Structural inspection?”

“You sure are on top of it,” John said with a smile when she looked up at him. “In a few days. They want to get a look at the penthouses.”

Regan nodded. She fired off a few more questions about budget and scheduling, and John answered even her simplest questions with enthusiasm, which was why Zach liked to work with him. He lived for his work.

When they’d returned to the trailer and finished their meeting, John leaned back in his chair. “Regan, it was a pleasure having you visit today. You should come in with this slob every time.” Zach caught his eye and narrowed his stare. John gave a silent nod. It was understood that Zach had eyes for Regan, though he’d never assume John would venture toward a relationship, he now knew better.

“Thank you.” She stood and so did John. “It was nice to meet you. We’ll touch base in a few days.” Regan extended her hand shook his hand again and turned to Zach.

Zach gave her a nod. “Go ahead and start back. I’ll be right behind you.”

She nodded and let herself out of the trailer.

John rested his hand on Zach’s shoulder as they watched her walk away. “She’s a keeper.”

“She’s very efficient.”

“That’s not what I mean and you know it. That’s one very sexy, very confident woman you have manning your office. Are you man enough to handle that?”

Zach gave a snort. “She’s not much into the workplace relationship.”

“This is the one you let ride to work on your lap?” John slapped him on the shoulder then walked back around his desk. “Mary Ellen mentioned it. I went to see the baby.”

“Fairly efficient yourself,” Zach joked, and then watched the sway of Regan’s hips as she turned the corner from the site to the street. “Yeah, she’s the one.”

“Just remember you have to work with her, and she’s the one with all the inside knowledge to screw you over.”

“Thanks for the warning.”

“Though I don’t think she’s like that.”

“No, I don’t either.” As tight-lipped as he’d found Regan to be, he couldn’t imagine she’d be the kind of woman to ruffle anyone’s feathers.

John sat back in his chair and kicked his feet up on the desk. “Good luck with all of that. I have to say, I like her.”

Zach liked her too—and wasn’t that cause for serious concern. He said goodbye to John and followed her.

She’d taken off the hard hat and freed her hair from the band that had held it in place. She was running her fingers through her hair when he met up with her.

She clutched her note pad and hat close to her chest as she walked, like a schoolgirl with a stack of books. She looked innocent and happy. But just from the way she usually reacted to him, he knew she was protective against men.

Without looking at him, she acknowledged him by speaking. “I’ve never ridden that far up in a construction elevator before.”

“I thought you were an executive’s assistant in real estate.”

“Sure, but he didn’t build buildings. He had them built for him. By the time I rode the elevators, they were inside the building, and so were the walls.”

“It can be a little unnerving the first time.”

“To say the least. How old were you the first time you walked twenty stories in the air with no walls?”

“I was six and as excited as any boy could have been seeing the big machines that built buildings.” Even as a grown man, the thought made his stomach bubble with excitement. “My father had his finger looped through my belt buckle the entire time. I think he knew I would try to run from one side to the other and not stop.”

She laughed, and it unleashed that need for her that she wouldn’t release to him. Her laugh would haunt him in his dreams if he let it.

She kept her eyes forward as they walked. “So what are your big plans for the weekend?”

“Well, of course the luncheon at my mother’s. Then I have tickets to the symphony on Sunday.”

“Symphony? Oh, that sounds nice. Well you’ll enjoy yourself. I haven’t been in years.” She sighed with a smile. “Sunday I have dinner plans that include pie.”

“Ah.” He wondered if she’d added that quickly so that he wouldn’t be tempted to ask her to attend the symphony with him, which he’d intended to do. “Dinner with the doctor?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact.” She lowered her head and bit down on her lip. Zach wondered if there was a problem with the doctor. Perhaps the other man who’d answered her door.

“I guess I won’t see you until Friday then, or even Monday if everything goes as planned in Los Angeles.”

As they neared the office building, she swung her arms freely, the notebook still in her hands. “Your suitcase is by your elevator. Your folder with your tickets and itinerary are on your desk. A car will be waiting for you at the airport. And the tiramisu is in the fridge in your office. I cut it into servable slices. She just needs to put it on an elegant tray.”

“You got the tiramisu?” He stopped and she turned to him.

“Yes. It’s in the fridge.”

“I’d forgotten about it. I just threw that in the mix, never assuming…”

“If you say you need it, I get it done. That is my job.” She lifted her brows, smiled, and started to walk again.

He jogged to catch up to her. “Let me know where you bought it. She’ll expect me to come up with it again.”

“I didn’t buy it, I made it. I’ll bill you,” she said on an airy laugh as she walked through the revolving door and toward the bank of elevators while he stood on the sidewalk wondering how on earth he was going to prove to her she could trust her heart with him.


Carlos threw bags of barbecue on the table then turned and grabbed two forks. He handed one to Regan and sat down across from her.

Regan opened one of the takeout trays and stuck her fork into the potato salad. “Since you started sleeping on the couch, I swear it’s started to sag. Not to mention, you’re going to make
fat by bringing in all this beer and takeout every night.”

“Mom wouldn’t want me starving you on my
time off.
” He set down two glasses filled with ice and split a can of soda between them.

“Speaking of
time off
, haven’t found a job?”

“No. No one wants a Puerto Rican dancer with a receding hairline.”

She covered her mouth to keep the food from flying out. “Puerto Rican dancer? Is that your new talent?”

“No, but hell of a way to pick up ladies,” he said spooning potato salad into his mouth with a smile and a raise of his brows.

“Didn’t think you were interested in the ladies right now.”

“I got divorced, Regan. I didn’t die.” He grabbed a rib from another container and began to pull the meat from the bone with his teeth. “I think I should be thinking of other women. It’s healthy. At least if I’m thinking of other women, I’m not thinking of Madeline and that

“It’s been two years,” she said softly, resting her hand on his.

“Two years to just give up, is that what you’re saying?”


“Sorry. I’m just in a bad mood about it all. You share your life with someone, and then one day it’s over. Worse is when she runs to your best friend for support and now he’s married to her.”

“She didn’t run off with him.”

“I know. It just makes me feel better about being so mad.” He drank down his soda. “Anyway, I’m just looking for that silver lining that Mom’s always talking about. Single and sleeping on my sister’s couch is not a positive in my life, no offense.”

“None taken. It isn’t really
couch.” She smiled.

“It’s just… Eduardo needs braces. Christen needs a new uniform for football, and now Clara wants to dance. Money’s too tight to let them do everything they want to do, but I don’t want to turn them down. Just because Maddie and I couldn’t see eye to eye doesn’t mean they should suffer. So the job thing’s just got me down. I got passed over for another one today.”

“The private school in Memphis?”


“I’m sorry.”

“No big.” He shrugged.

“Well, I was thinking,” Regan began, to change the subject. “If you were interested, I think I could get you a job on a site. One right here in Nashville.”

“You mean on one of your building sites?” He sat up straighter in his seat.

“Yes, that’s what I mean.” She shook her head. Carlos was a brilliant man, but he kept that in check by acting the imbecile most of the time.

“Sure, college, graduate school. Yeah, I’ve reached the level I could pound nails into wood.” He retrieved another soda from the fridge and drank right from the can this time.

“I didn’t mean to insult you. I just wanted to help.”

“I know. I’ve applied to eight schools in three districts. I’ve already gotten the
thanks but no thanks
from three of them.”

“Well then, there are five who need to decide you’d be the best for their kids.”

He nodded. “I’ve got three months to do something. My savings is almost depleted, and if Arianna comes back in July and sees the dent in her couch, I’ll have one in my head.”

“You don’t think she already knows you’re sleeping on the couch?”

“No, or she would have had something to say about it by now.”

Regan covered her brother’s hand before he could lift another bite to his mouth. “ I propose if neither of us is on our feet like we want to be by the time she comes back and claims back her house, I’ll spring for the cardboard box, and we’ll live together by the river.”

“Sounds like a fantasy fulfilled.” He lifted the soda can in a salute. “So what’s the job?”


Zach parked his car around the side of his mother’s house near her front rose garden, knowing he’d want to make a quick exit. This would save the hassle of having his car penned in by the guests that would soon be arriving. The grounds were green and manicured. The white pillars on the front porch and the large arched windows welcomed him. He appreciated southern architecture. Wouldn’t it be nice to build a large building with white pillars and arches like the grand old houses had? But steel and glass were the way of it.

He strolled to the front door. He had the tiramisu carefully balanced in his arms and had brought his mother roses. She had gardens of roses of every shape and color, but she loved when they came through the door in tissue paper. Audrey Benson answered the door in her white flowered sundress. A lavish wide-brimmed hat that matched her dress adorned her head like a crown.

She kissed his cheeks and smiled.

“Are those for me?” She took the roses and cradled them in her arms. “They are lovely.”

BOOK: The Executive's Decision
8.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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