Quirin Stone, The
Cassanda Wallace is nearing graduation and she still hadn’t managed to worm her way into a single expeditionary dig and no one want’s to hire someone with no experience. From everything she’d heard about the professor, she knew her chances of being accepted as a student assistant were probably slim to none, but that wasn’t an adequate excuse for not trying.
Reissued : 03/2015
Word Count: 43,816
Genre: Sci-fi/Paranormal Romance
Available formats: : PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Jenny Dixon, May 2004
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Cassandra Wallace rehearsed her speech as she followed the winding side walk, paying very little attention to her surroundings. From everything she’d heard about the professor, she knew her chances of being accepted as a student assistant were probably slim to none, but that wasn’t an adequate excuse for not trying, particularly when she needed field experience so desperately.
It was a vicious cycle and one that was next to impossible to break. A degree, no matter what the degree, usually boiled down to an attractive piece of paper you could frame and mount on your wall unless you could back it up with some experience--preferably a lot—but nobody wanted to hire you without experience.
She’d been trying to rack up some experience since she’d started college, and here she was, nearing graduation and she still hadn’t managed to worm her way into a single expeditionary dig.
It was Sunday. In a small southern town, that meant the streets were virtually deserted at this time of day.
She had it on good authority, however, that Professor Thor Severnson wasn’t big on church and it seemed likely that she would find him at home. She knew the weekend wasn’t really the best time to bother him, but she’d been trying to get an appointment to see him ever since she’d found out that he had a dig lined up for the summer semester. So far she hadn’t managed to get one. There was only one position still available. She meant to have it if it could be had.
It wasn’t until she finally decided to glance around and get her bearings that she realized she’d walked right past the gate to his house. Feeling vaguely disoriented, she glanced around, checked the number on the house she’d stopped in front of and changed directions.
It was a wealthy neighborhood. The houses were enormous, all vaguely Tudor in style, and the yards looked more like parks than yards. She figured she’d passed the professor’s house about a mile back.
Releasing an irritated noise, she turned and retraced her steps. This time, she kept glancing up to make sure she didn’t miss it again. The closer she got, the tighter the knot in stomach. She wondered vaguely why people referred to it as butterflies. The sensation didn’t feel light and airy enough to be butterflies. It felt more like she’d swallowed a rock and stinging ants had hatched out of it. A cold sweat broke out as she halted finally in front of his gate, looking up at his house.
The man must be independently wealthy, she decided. She found it hard to believe he could afford such a mansion on a professor’s salary, especially not in a ho-dunk little backwater like this.
The thoughts did nothing to calm the frantic thumping of her heart against her ribcage.
Swallowing with an effort against the lump of sheer terror in her throat, she looked down, checking her clothing.
She’d borrowed the dress from a friend, her roommate, actually. She didn’t own one, not of any description. She’d felt she should look as professional as possible, however. Linda swore it could seduce a priest.
She didn’t see it herself. It was short, but not indecently so. It was black and slinky and had a scooped neckline, but the neckline was fairly conservative. She wasn’t wearing a bra, though, because she didn’t own one, and her roommate had said she really needed one of those pushup deals to get the right cleavage.
She’d decided wearing one would be a little too obvious, but she hoped her room mate was right.
There’d been absolutely nothing to indicate that seduction was a possibility, but Cassie was really desperate. Nothing else she’d tried had worked and the professor was a man.
Nobody seemed to have a very clear idea of how old he was, but she figured he must be pretty old to be a professor, and the truth was, anybody over thirty seemed pretty old to her.
So here she was, never having seduced so much as a post, trying to seduce a man known to be absolutely professional with his students.
Shaking the thoughts off, she opened the gate and marched to the door before she lost her nerve. She stood on the porch, counting the seconds in her head after she’d rung the bell. She didn’t want to annoy him right off by ringing the damned thing over and over.
She counted five minutes and leaned close to the door, but she couldn’t hear approaching footsteps. She rang the bell again, leaving her finger on the button just a couple of seconds longer. Ten minutes and two buzzes later, it began to sink in that she might have miscalculated.
It looked like he wasn’t home.
Feeling oddly deflated, she stood indecisively on the porch a little longer, trying to figure out what to do. Finally, she decided to walk around the house and see if she could see a car. Descending the steps, she followed the narrow paved walk that led to the paved drive way and started around the side of the house.
She heard a splash as she neared the back. Relief flooded her. He must be home after all. She stopped, chewing her lip. Approach him at the pool? Or stand out front and wait until he went back in?
She was scared nearly shitless now. She knew if she stood around out front waiting for him she was going to lose her nerve completely.
Dragging in a deep breath, she began to creep stealthily toward the back. She’d just take a peek, make sure it was the professor and see if he looked receptive. If he looked completely unapproachable, she could always run back around to the front and sit on his doorstep until he came out and fell over her.
There was no fence, but a tall hedge surrounded what must have been the pool area and deck, following the curve of the drive. As she moved, she caught several glimpses of the back yard, luscious green grass, the sparkle of blue water, the stones paving the area around the pool.
A splash near the end closest to her caught her attention and she stopped, peering between the two hedges in front of her.
A head and shoulders appeared above the surface of the water. She moved a little closer, pushing back a branch that was obstructing her view just as he stood up and began climbing the steps at the shallow end of the pool. Her eyes widened as his upper torso came into view.
He was built like a—like a—body builder! Massive arms, a chest that looked like it could’ve been on the cover of a bodybuilder’s magazine. Long blond hair, dark now from the water, was slicked back from his brow and hung nearly to his shoulder blades.