“I’ve done a lot of reading about concussions and their effect on the brain. Don’t get me wrong—involvement in team sports is beneficial. But Ruby Tech has an opportunity to put sensors using its biofeedback algorithms into equipment to make it safer.”
He nodded. “The proposal is very clear on those points. You should talk to one of the lead engineers, however. It’s hazy when it comes to tech specs.”
“See?” She smiled. “I knew there was something wrong with it.”
He got up from her desk and started for the door, allowing her to admire his perfect rear end in action. But instead of exiting he turned around to face her. “This is a good proposal. Stop selling yourself short.”
A tendril of exasperation curled up her spine. “I don’t.”
“You do. You could be the foundation director if you wanted.”
“I like recruitment.”
“You could do more.”
This felt like caring, coming from him. But it wasn’t. She was merely a convenient means to an end. That the sex curled all their toes was just the cherry on this sundae. She had to keep reminding herself. “I’m good at what I do.”
“I didn’t say you weren’t. I said you could do more. Make a difference.”
“Search does make a difference. I find people good jobs.”
“I’m giving you a compliment.”
“And I said thank you.”
“I—” His phone rang, much to Danica’s relief. She watched him take it out of his pocket and answer it. Then she watched a shutter fall over his expression, turning it blank and emotionless. “Yes... No... Yes...” he said at different intervals. Then he hung up and turned to leave her office. His movements were rigid, his shoulders held tight.
Her anger was doused, replaced by concern. She got up from her chair and blocked him from exiting. “Who was on the phone?”
“No one,” he said. “I’ll see you at home tonight.”
She narrowed her gaze. “What’s wrong? Cinco Jackson? Nestor? Irene?” The last name tasted like vinegar on her lips.
Irene had been friendly—too friendly. Every day brought a new invitation: lunch, a shopping trip, tickets to a charity event, seats at the San Francisco Symphony. Danica finally attended a tea to benefit a local women’s shelter. Much to her surprise, Danica enjoyed herself. Irene was friendly and very charming. No wonder Luke had had an off-and-on “benefits” relationship with her.
He shook his head as if trying to shoo off a winged insect. “An appointment I thought would be cancelled.”
The phone screen in his hand was flashing. “You’re getting another phone call.”
He cursed under his breath. Then he answered. “What? I just hung up with her... I said I would be there... No... I said, no.” His index finger punched End, but not before Danica saw the caller ID. Jonathan Dallas.
“Family?” she asked.
“My father,” he agreed.
“That’s the appointment?” She knew Luke’s father had retired to West Palm Beach, Florida, while his mother and her current husband traveled between their homes in San Francisco, Paris and Cape Town. “Is he in town? Should we invite him over for dinner?”
His mouth twisted. “Hell, no. Lunch on neutral ground is bad enough. They’re suggesting we meet in Half Moon Bay. Driving over the mountains in the middle of a work day is supposed to be convenient for me.”
His phone rang again. This time the caller ID read Phoebe Ailes. Luke hit a button and the ringing stopped. He put the phone in his pocket and regarded Danica. “You should consider taking the foundation job.”
Nice try. She wasn’t biting. “If your parents are in town, why haven’t I met them?”
“You’re being nosy.” It was not a compliment.
“I’m always nosy. It’s what I do. I pry into people’s lives so I can find the right employment fit.”
“I have a job. To which I need to get back.” His words were reinforced with steel.
She sighed and stepped aside. “Fine. But if you want to talk about your family, I’m here.”
“I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Especially not on you.” He opened the door.