Under Pressure

By: Kira Sinclair

1


“YOU’RE MY ONLY OPTION.” Sure, the words might have sounded like a plea for help, but that wasn’t how Kennedy Duchane meant them. At all.

She glared at the man in front of her, ready to use whatever means necessary to compel his cooperation. Despite being a foot shorter and roughly a hundred pounds lighter, she wasn’t opposed to dropping Asher Reynolds to his knees if that became necessary.

She had an older brother who also happened to be a former navy SEAL—he’d taught her plenty over the years.

Asher’s mouth formed a lazy smile. “Aww, cupcake, we both know that isn’t true. I’m sure the devil would be happy to fix whatever’s got your panties in a twist if you just ask nicely.”

Kennedy blinked. As far as she was concerned, Asher Reynolds was the devil, but she had no intention of asking him for anything, nicely or otherwise. She was demanding. He might be her boss—or one of them—but not even that was going to save him from doing what she needed this time.

Florida sunshine poured through the window at Asher’s back, gilding him in a way that was frustrating and enticing all at once. She could practically feel it warming her skin and wished she were on one of their beautiful Jacksonville beaches right now instead of in this office arguing—again—with the frustrating man.

But wishing wasn’t going to take care of the problem. Taking a deep breath, Kennedy marched the rest of the way into his office. As always, he was sprawled out, wireless keyboard in his lap, feet propped up on the corner of his desk. She had no idea how he accomplished anything. But he did.

Kennedy had to give him that, even if it did burn a little. He was brilliant at business. And, given a different set of circumstances, she would have loved to learn from him.

Knocking his black motorcycle boots off the desk, Kennedy relished the way Asher’s body rocked back in the chair as his feet connected with the floor.

“Seriously, you know you’re going to have to do this, right?”

He frowned up at her out of those moss-green eyes that had the ability to make her feel like a butterfly pinned to a board.

Plopping her butt on to the desk corner she’d just cleared, Kennedy crossed her arms over her chest and settled in. This was one fight she would not lose.

“We leave for the Bahamas tomorrow whether you like it or not.”

“Since when do you issue orders, baby girl? I’m pretty sure I’m still the one signing your paycheck.”

“Wrong, Jackson signs the paychecks, but even if you did, you’re still going. I need you on this documentary.” The words grated a little coming out of her throat, but they were true. She did need him. Desperately.

Several months ago, her brother, Jackson, had discovered a sunken Civil War ship lost for more than one hundred and fifty years. The company Jackson, Asher and Knox owned together, Trident Diving and Salvage, now had exclusive recovery rights. If the rumors of gold in the ship were true, it would put an end to their financial worries for good. In the meantime, she hoped the documentary about Trident’s discovery and salvaging of the Chimera would keep them in the media spotlight and bring in new clients.

“I don’t think so,” Asher drawled, his Southern accent smooth as aged whiskey. “Get one of the other guys to do it. Someone who’s actually spent time on the salvage team. Ryan, Juan, Drake.”

She was already shaking her head before he’d even gotten one name past his lips. “No, no and no. I promised the production company Jackson. I’ve already had to do some fancy footwork in order for them to accept you. Luckily, your face is rather appealing and makes up for your smart mouth.”

“Aw, shucks. You’re gonna make me blush.”

“Shut it,” Kennedy growled, knocking the pointed toe of her shoe against his shin. The tap wasn’t hard enough to even leave a mark, let alone a bruise. But she couldn’t quite suppress the small, petty spurt of satisfaction when he winced.

“I’m telling dad.” Asher mock whined.

“Go right ahead. I’m pretty sure he loves me more.”

Asher let out a huff, the first sign that he was really taking her seriously. “Jackson can leave Loralei in charge for a couple weeks.”

“You know we can’t spare either of them right now.”

It was bad timing. There was no doubt. But Kennedy couldn’t muster the energy to regret Jackson and Loralei’s newest discovery, several clustered artifacts found at the bottom of the Mediterranean. They were all salivating over the possibility that this new find could indicate a lost ancient city. Since they’d been challenged for their rights to the Chimera, they were taking no chances with their latest score. They had to keep it quiet until the paperwork was in place. And Jackson needed to stay at the site to protect their claim.

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