Hell on Heels(7)

By: Victoria Vane



“I’ve paged him for you. That’s all I can do.”

For precisely seven minutes and thirty-three seconds Monica was punished with the ear-bleeding torture of Barbara Streisand’s Memory and Neil Diamond’s September Morn before a new voice jarred into her Muzak-induced coma.

“Ms. Brandt? This is Dr. Chen. Our records show that you are Thomas Brandt’s health-care surrogate?”

“Yes.” She swallowed the lump lodged in her throat. “I’m also his daughter. What’s happened to him?”

“I regret to inform you that he’s had a cerebrovascular accident and is currently under close neurological observation in our critical-care unit.”

“Oh God! A stroke? How bad is it?”

“It was hemorrhagic. That means he had some bleeding inside his brain. We’ve stabilized his intracranial pressure, but it may be some days and several tests before we can make an accurate prognosis. Of course we’ll need to consult with you regarding his follow-up care. In the meantime, there are a number of forms we need you to sign.”

“Of course,” she whispered. “You can fax them here to my office, but I intend to handle anything else in person. I’ll be there on the next flight.”

Slamming the phone down, she hit the intercom. “Delores, I need you to get me on the first plane to Las Vegas. I don’t care which airport I fly out of, just get me there tonight.”

“Right, Ms. Brandt. I’m on it.”

Monica slid her laptop into its case and began packing up her things.

“What the hell was that disappearing act all about?” She looked up to find Evan shadowing her doorway. “There’s a big fucking deal on the line here, Monica. I need people I can count on. Are you on ‘Team Evan’ or not?”

“Of course I am, but I have a family emergency.”

“What kind of emergency?”

“My father’s had a stroke.”

“If only I was so lucky,” he replied dryly. “Don’t look so censorious, Mon. You know I despise my father, the controlling son of a bitch. So what’s the news about . . . ?” He waved his hand vaguely as if searching his memory.

“Tom?” Monica supplied, annoyed as hell that he couldn’t recall her father’s first name. They’d even had dinner together once. Tom had surprised her by flying all the way from Oklahoma to celebrate with her when she’d landed her current job at Hirschfeld & Davis. Tom was always thoughtful like that. Her mother, on the other hand, rarely even remembered her birthday.

“Not good,” she answered. “I need to go out to Las Vegas for a while, but Michael can handle all the preliminaries in my absence.”

“The hell he can! You think I’m going to let a clueless associate handle a hundred-million-dollar deal?”

“He’s not clueless, just intimidated by you. And I didn’t say I was handing it off to him completely. There’s no reason I can’t take care of things remotely. All I need is an Internet connection. I’m going to Nevada, not Mars.”

“How long will you be gone?”

“I’m not sure yet.” Monica scanned the stacks of folders on her desk, wondering what she should pack, but the billions in pending deals sitting there suddenly meant nothing. “A few days,” she replied absently. “Maybe a week or two. I won’t really know until I get there.”

“Ms. Brandt?” Delores’s voice interrupted.

Monica punched the intercom. “Yes? Did you get me a flight?”

“The last one out tonight departs from LaGuardia at seven-fifteen.”

Monica drew back her sleeve to check her watch. Shit. It was almost five. Even if she left straight from the office, there was no way in hell she’d ever get through the midtown rush hour in time. “When’s the next one?”

“Six-fifteen tomorrow morning out of Kennedy.”

“Put me on it. And please hire a limo while you’re at it. I’ll need one to Kennedy and another in Vegas when I arrive. Could you also call the hospital to let them know I want to meet with the neurologist as soon as I get there?”

“Absolutely. Will do, Ms. Brandt.”

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