Saving Maverick

By: Debra Elise

T.S. flashed her what she was sure was the cheesiest smile in existence. Should she . . .

Through the open door, his secretary cleared her throat. Twice. Kelsey sighed. Saved by the secretary.

“Yes, Lois?” T.S. turned toward his stylish, fifty-something employee.

Hmm, I wonder if she has anything I could borrow? But her hopes were dashed when Lois answered her boss.

“Mr. Scott, Henry is waiting for you down in the garage. He has the car ready to go.”

“Thanks, Lois. Please let him know we’ll be down shortly.”

“How late are we?” Kelsey asked.

Lois answered for T.S., “Thirty minutes. The reception began at five thirty. They’ve been expecting you for fifteen. I’ve had a phone call every five minutes asking for your status.” She sent them both a stern look over her glasses.

Kelsey had to turn her head away. She concealed her laugh with a pretend cough. Good for Lois. T.S. needed someone to keep him in line.

T.S. thanked Lois again, but before he could finish sweet-talking Kelsey into taking on his star pitcher, she cut him off.

“Listen, I appreciate you giving me this opportunity, but as I said on the phone I’m slammed with high-maintenance clients and I’m breaking in a new partner. If it was anyone else, T.S., I would have hung up the phone. So, I’ll hear you out and weigh the pros and cons and then turn you down. Probably.”

She had no room in her schedule for a self-absorbed athlete who refused to help himself.

“Kelsey, you’re killing me here. I need you on this ASAP. Send Lois your invoice for the flight and I’ll cover it for you. Oh, and your Social Security number. She’ll set you up on the payroll tonight.”

“I haven’t said I’d take the job.”

“But, you will.”

“We’ll see,” she countered.

“Kelsey, name your price. I need you on this. Despite our friendship, you’re the best public relations consultant I know—”

“I’m the only one you know.” She laughed.

“— and how you handled the drama between the Carell sisters was brilliant. I need your expertise in handling this situation. Besides, you owe me and I know you too well. You’d never turn down a friend in need.”

“I. Owe. You. Really?” Kelsey loved a good sparring match, and it’d been years since she and T.S. had gone a round. “If you’re referring to the infamous double date, I’d say the statute of limitations has expired on that one. Sorry.”

“Actually I’m referring to three years ago when that Italian businessman wouldn’t take no for an answer. I think I played a very convincing jealous lover, don’t you?”

Kelsey snickered. T.S. did save her from an embarrassing situation, but she’d never let him know that. “If you want to convince me to help you out and take a job I’d normally never consider, you need to do better than that.”

T.S. did better than that. He used his old standby move from their childhood. Dammit.

“All right, all right. Stop flashing me those puppy dog eyes. Jeez, I’m hoping this isn’t how you are in the boardroom. Charming the pants off your adversaries. Eww, just the thought of it gives me the heebie-jeebies.” She shivered for effect and watched him squirm at her teasing.

“So, dazzle me with your pitch, Mr. More-money-than-God.”

T.S. switched back to corporate mode and guided her toward the elevator.

“We can talk in the car and during the party. I need you to jump right in and get this situation contained—as in yesterday.”

“Now there’s the all-business, no-bull billionaire CEO I know and love. Oh, and just because I’m going to this event with you doesn’t mean I’ve agreed to anything. And, my rates will be double what they usually are—if I agree.”

T.S. ignored her comment and continued as if she hadn’t spoken. “I’ve put a lot of my personal money behind this team, but I have investors to answer to, so getting Maverick back on track in the public’s eye and on the pitching mound is my number one priority. My goal, after tonight, is that it’ll become yours as well.”

“T.S., based on the video, I think it’s going to take more than a few days to contain the public outrage over Maverick’s remarks. Plus, there are the rumors that his problems are deeper than losing his pitching control. Any truth to his drinking getting out of hand?”

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