Sizzling(Buchanans, Book 3)(27) by Susan Mallery
Pod person, he thought as he stared at her. Definitely a pod person.
“How do you know that?” he asked.
“I would, on occasion, watch you play. And I learned about the game. It’s sports, Reid. It wasn’t difficult to pick up a few basics.”
“You never told me.”
“I didn’t think it mattered.”
He reached out his arm and lightly touched the back of her hand. “It would have mattered a whole lot. It still does.”
They stared at each other. For the first time in his life, he realized his grandmother had cared about him. It was good to know. A little scary, but good.
She broke contact first. “This Seth fellow. He sounds like a complete idiot. It’s one thing to handle your fan mail and requests for appearances, but it’s another to screw it up completely. What do you know about Zeke?”
“That he’s been in the business twenty years and that he’s totally honest. He won’t even let his clients give him Christmas presents. We’re allowed to send a food basket to the office for the entire staff, but nothing else. No kickbacks, no perks. Not even tickets to the game.”
“Good. Fire Seth and put Zeke in charge. You aren’t going to be making any public appearances for a while. Should the need arise, I have the names of a couple of media people who know what they’re doing and they’re not idiots.”
“You’re trying to run my life,” he said, not actually annoyed by her suggestions. He knew he had to fire Seth—he’d just been putting off the inevitable. But he was surprised she was taking an interest.
“You can do this,” she told him. “Take responsibility. We’ll change together.”
“This isn’t a conversation I ever thought we’d be having,” he admitted.
Gloria smiled. “Surprise.”
FIRST THING in the morning Reid fired Seth by phone and followed up with a fairly aggressive letter from his attorney. Seth tried protesting but quickly gave it up, which told Reid the guy knew he’d screwed up, but rather than fix it, he preferred to walk away. His next call was to Zeke.
“You heard from my attorney?” he asked by way of greeting.
“About Seth? Sure. About time.”
Reid leaned back in his chair and groaned. “You knew he was a loser?”
“He’s lazy. He does the least he can do and calls that a win. He’s in it for the money and the perks. He likes having a successful client list.”
Which explained why he’d let Reid go without a whimper. No more baseball career and since all that negative attention in the media, not much of a potential for endorsements.
“I told him to send me everything,” Reid said. “I’ll be forwarding a lot of it to you.”
“You know we’ll get the job done,” Zeke told him.
“I know. How’s the money situation?”
Zeke chuckled. “I assume you mean yours.” There was the sound of typing on a keyboard. “Your portfolio is diversified. Stocks, real estate, a few small companies. Ballpark? One hundred and eighty-five million, give or take a few.”
Reid swore silently. He’d never paid attention to things like investments. That’s what he paid Zeke to take care of. He’d done what he loved for nearly ten years and he’d been paid well. He’d lived hard, but he’d never been stupid with his money.
“All that and I couldn’t send those kids home from their state championships,” he muttered.
“We took care of that,” Zeke told him. “We sent out a check more than a month ago.”
“A thousand dollars. What was that supposed to cover?”
“Two return tickets. Why? Did the family have other expenses?”
Family? “Zeke, it wasn’t a family. It was the whole damn team.”
Zeke swore. “I didn’t know. Seth made it sound like just one family. A check for that amount had to have been seen as an insult.”
“It’s worse. They’re families who are barely making it. The screw-up on the return ticket was financially devastating for a lot of them. One family lost their car.”
“Dammit, Reid. That kind of crap isn’t supposed to happen. That’s why you hire people like me and Seth.”
Reid was beginning to realize that Zeke and Seth were nothing alike. “I want to fix this,” he told his business manager. “Can you find out how much everyone spent to get home and send them a couple thousand more than that? And the family who lost their car—let’s get them a new one. And a check to cover any issue with taxes.”
He heard the clicking of Zeke’s computer keyboard. “Consider it done. Anything else?”
“Not right now. But soon. I’ll go over the letters and requests from Seth as soon as they arrive. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot more stuff to make up for.”
“We’ll get it done,” Zeke told him. “This is fixable.”
“Right,” Reid said as he hung up.
Only it couldn’t all be fixed. Like the kid who had died not knowing that Reid cared about him. That couldn’t be fixed or undone. How many other people had been disappointed by him? How many other disasters had his name on them?
THE NEXT MORNING Reid went looking for Lori. Sometime in the night when he once again couldn’t sleep, he’d had an uncomfortable realization.
Lori had been upset because he hadn’t slept with her. He’d slept with the other two nurses but not her.
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