Kai and Shira had a less than auspicious first meeting – she kicked him in the nuts, thinking he was someone else. Once he recovers, he presses the advantage of her guilt and gets her to agree to join him at a local diner for lunch.
Kai may think he’s being careful, but Shira Wen has good reason to be suspicious…
Her tongue came out to wet her lips. “Kai. Can we just get down to business? Why do you want to make a donation?”
“Because I can. Anthropology has always been a interest of mine. Your father’s research into commonalities within ancient cultures is especially fascinating to me.”
It wasn’t a question. In fact, it was like a cold wind had suddenly blown over her, chilling her eyes.
“Why the sudden interest in my father’s work?” she asked warily. “No one has revisited any of that in years.”
“Which is exactly why the donation is needed,” Kai gave her a placating smile, but it wasn’t well received.
“My father’s research – if you really have read it – was widely discredited as being too vague and without hard scientific proof,” she said coldly. “I’ve worked hard to undo the damage he did to our department’s fine name.”
“I had no idea.”
Kai inhaled slowly, trying to regroup. “Be that as it may, I still admire the work he began and I need the donation as a tax write-off. Surely there are a few programs or pet projects you’d like to fund.”
Shira got abruptly to her feet.
“I’ve changed my mind,” she said.
“About lunch? Or the donation?”
“Both.” She dropped a few dollar bills on the table. “This should cover my diet Coke,” she said. “Thank you for your interest, but I don’t really think we’re a good fit for your money.”
Kai steepled his fingers together, studying her. “You’re turning down a fifty-thousand dollar donation?”
Shira’s eyes widened. “Fifty -”
She stared, open-mouthed and then remembered to close it again. She swallowed. “Fifty thousand dollars? What are you, a millionaire or something?”
A smile ghosted his lips. “Vand Industries is known the world over for its diverse holdings and ventures in the maritime, logistics and technology sectors. You probably use our topographical charting software in your lab.”
“You’re one of those Vands?”
“I’m the only Vand,” he said. “And I’m making you an offer that you’d be foolish to refuse.”
“Make the offer to Dr. Angostino,” Shira said, putting her purse over her shoulder. “I’m no longer acting chair.”
She turned on her heel and walked out the door, while Kai stared after her, thoroughly irritated. He’d obviously touched a nerve by talking about her father. Maybe they hadn’t been a close as he’d been lead to believe.
And why would she be ready to do Dr. Robert Angostino physical harm? She was hardly the hot-headed type. This one was shrewd and cool as a cucumber – at least that’s what she wanted him to think. Those flashing eyes told another story, and the tightening of those full lips hinted that there was more here to be discovered.
It made absolutely no sense for him to pursue this any further. It made even less sense to throw fifty thousand dollars into small college program, even though the part about the tax write-off was true enough. He should just do what he came here to do and be done with it.
His eyes lingered on her perfectly rounded backside as she walked to the door, and the swing of the dark, silky hair that fell to just above it. A part of him wondered how that hair would feel sliding through his fingers….or wrapped around his fist.
This girl was a mystery, and possibly even a challenge.
He hadn’t had a challenge in a long, long while. It was easy to get bored when everything came easily. Shira Wen wasn’t going to come easily.
He couldn’t help the smile that tugged at his lips.
No, she wouldn’t come easily. But that only made her more worth the effort.
Seasinger is book two of The Elemental Destinies series, and book three is coming soon!