The Professor Woos The Witch

Page 79

Hugh glared at Sebastian. “I told you that was too low.” He shifted his gaze to Cole. “We’re prepared to offer another ten thousand a year, as well as—Sebastian, the other agreement?”

Sebastian made a growly sigh, took a second sheet of paper from the portfolio and added it to the table. “If you sign a five-year contract, there’s a seventy-five-thousand-dollar signing bonus.”

Cole stared at the contract, unable to react. The amount of money they were offering him was life-changing for him and Kaley. In so many ways.

He thought about what it would mean for him and Pandora. With a calmness that surprised him, he picked up the five-year contract and skimmed it. There was a lot Cole didn’t know about this school, but what he did know was he was being offered the opportunity of a lifetime.

After a moment, Hugh said, “I can arrange for a complete tour of the school tomorrow as well as arrange the meeting with the dean and the board of trustees and some of the teaching staff so that you can have a more complete idea of who’d you’d be working with and what the school is like. I understand this is a big decision. Do you have any questions I could answer now?”

Cole put the contract down. “Just one. Do you have a pen?”

Pandora stepped out of a hot shower feeling almost a hundred percent better. She could probably sleep more, but she didn’t really want to. What she wanted was to catch up with her mother and Cole and see what had transpired since she’d passed out.

Well, she remembered one thing. Last night. With Cole. She grinned as she dressed. That wasn’t something she’d ever forget.

Her phone rang. She grabbed it, checked the caller ID and smiled harder. “Hello, lover.”

Cole laughed. “I guess I didn’t wake you.”

“Nope. Just got out of the shower.”

“How are you feeling?”

“Pretty good. A little tired still, but better. And starving actually.”

“Perfect. I happen to have two of Mummy’s cheesesteaks with fries in my truck right now. Should I bring them over?”

A whiff of grilled meat and spices filled her senses. Was this what being bonded did? Her mouth watered. “You got hot peppers on them, didn’t you?”

“Is there another way to eat cheesesteaks? Still, good guess.”

“It wasn’t a guess. I could smell them. I think that means we’re bonded.”

“Wow. Really? That’s…amazing.”

“I know, right?” Her stomach growled. “Did you get gravy for the fries?”

“Does two plus two equal four?”

“Yes, it does! Bring them over right now. How did you know?” She gasped. “Did you sense my hunger because we’re bonded? Do you think us being bonded means that you can now anticipate all my needs? If so, I approve.”

He laughed. “I just thought you’d be hungry. I’ll be there in five minutes. And I’ll be happy to attend to whatever other needs you might have.”

“Feed me first then we’ll talk.”

Ten minutes later, they were elbow-deep in greasy, delicious cheesesteaks and fries smothered in gravy. Cole smiled at her and pointed at a spot on his face. “You have a little something right here.”

She wiped a napkin over her mouth. “Better?”

He nodded, then eyed her plate. “You weren’t fooling about being hungry.”

“I went full Pumpkin on that cheesesteak, didn’t I? I was starving.”

“You did miss dinner last night. And breakfast this morning.” He ate a fry. “You should go to bed early tonight.”

She leaned back in her chair and twirled a fry between her fingers. “Is that a come-on?”

He laughed. “As much as I would like it be, no. You need your rest. And Kaley and I probably need to talk a little more about everything that happened. It’s going to take her a while to get past what Lila did.”

Pandora nodded. “With you for a dad, she’s going to be fine.”

“I’m sure that’s true. But we still need to talk about it.” He cleared his throat. “Speaking of talking about things, I have good news and I have bad news.”

She put the fry down. This wasn’t good. Well, the good news was, but what if the bad news was worse? She nodded, her mood completely shifted. “Bad news first.” That was the way to do it. Get that out of the way.

“Okay.” His face went solemn. “I’m not giving you the listing on the house.”

“You’re not?” She thought about it, then nodded. He needed the money. She got that. She took a breath. “All right. I can accept that. So what’s the good news?”

An enormous smile erupted across his face. “The reason I’m not giving you the listing. I’m not selling the house. Because Kaley and I need a place to live.”

She squinted at him, not fully understanding. “I can find you a more affordable place. And a family who won’t care about Gertrude in the attic.”

He shook his head. “I don’t want a cheaper place. I want that place. Gertrude and all.” He reached out and took her hands. “I want a place where our kids can grow up. If we have kids. A place that means something to both of us. The history of us includes that house. I don’t want another family living there. Especially since I’m going to be here a long, long time.”

“You are?” The lightness of her mood started to return. “For sure?”

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