“I just want you in my life again.”
He gave a harsh bark of laughter. “Nice try. I may be busy, but not so much that I haven’t heard about all the trouble your husband is in. What’s the problem? Is all the money gone, and you can’t live like you used to?”
She gestured around the room. “You have all this, and you can’t even help your mother?” she asked accusingly. “It’s not like you have a wife and kids. You’ve sold millions of records. You own a record company. You wouldn’t even miss a couple hundred thousand dollars.”
He shook his head sadly. The only reason she had come was for money. He studied her in the bright, too tight dress, overly made-up face and cloying perfume—groupie indeed.
Then another thought occurred to him, one that almost dropped him to his knees. He’d turned his back on someone who was loving and giving and asked nothing in return—all because of this selfish, greedy woman.
Terrence stalked to the door, snatched it open and turned toward her. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Spencer. I can’t help you. Please do not contact me again. If you’ll excuse me, I have a meeting.”
She slowly approached, lifted her hand toward his face and opened her mouth to speak, but he cut her off.
Taking a step back, he glared down at her. “You didn’t want the life you had, so I hope you’re happy with the one you chose. Mrs. Lewis, Mrs. Spencer is leaving. Can you please see her out?”
“Certainly,” she said with a smile. “Mrs. Spencer, right this way.”
He paced his office like a caged animal trying to get a grip on his anger—anger at his mother and at himself. Mostly at himself for allowing her to control his life this way.
His mind traveled back to the day she walked out and the crushing pain of rejection he’d felt. He abruptly stopped pacing, recalling Janae’s words. I can’t understand how a mother could turn her back on her child like that or walk out on a sick husband.
He slowly dropped down on the leather sofa and buried his head in his hands. “Oh, my God. What did I do?” he asked himself in an agonized whisper. In trying to protect himself, he’d hurt Janae and probably lost the only woman he would ever love. He lifted his head when the door opened.
“Son, are you all right?” Mrs. Lewis sat on the sofa next to him.
He couldn’t even pretend to be okay, and his man card was in serious jeopardy because he was a heartbeat away from breaking down.
She covered his hands with hers. “So that was your mother.” His surprised gaze met her amused one. She chuckled softly. “You two were a little loud, and these walls aren’t that thick.”
“You’ve been sulking for the past three weeks, and I know it’s because of a woman. If you love her, go after her. You deserve to be happy.” She patted his hand and moved to stand.
Terrence stood and helped her up.
“Monte, don’t let your mother’s choices be yours.”
“Thanks, Mrs. Lewis. I don’t know what I’d do without you.” He wrapped his arms around her. In the three years since starting his label, she had been a godsend.
She leaned back. “Good thing I’m not retiring soon, then, huh?”
He smiled for the first time. “Definitely.”
“Well, you can thank me by having this mess cleared up by the time I get back. I want to meet this extraordinary woman.”
“I’ll do my best. I think I’m going to leave early today.”
“You have one meeting at noon. After that you’re free. Donovan can handle anything that comes up.”
“Good.” He walked back to his desk, picked up an envelope and handed it to her. “This is for Michelle and Trevor. Tell them I said congratulations.”
Mrs. Lewis accepted the envelope. “You’re such a thoughtful young man. I’m sure they’ll be pleased. I hope you didn’t go overboard like you did for Christopher’s birthday last year,” she added, peering over her glasses.
“What? It wasn’t much.”
She placed her hands on ample hips. “A five-hundred-dollar gift card for a four-year-old isn’t much?”
He grinned sheepishly and shrugged. “I missed a couple.”
She laughed, then went back to her desk.
Terrence sat in his chair and wondered how to get Janae back.
What if she doesn’t want me back?
He struck the thought immediately from his mind. Failure was not an option—he had to get her back.
Janae sat out on her parents’ covered patio looking at the mountains. As night descended, the temperatures had finally cooled enough to sit outside. She needed a place to think. Somehow, all of her brothers had converged on their parents’ Santa Fe, New Mexico, home over the past two weeks, and everyone had watched her with guarded expressions. Admittedly, she’d been rather quiet—totally out of character for her when around her family. No matter what she did or whom she was with, Terrence’s handsome face always appeared.