Mitchell Hayden wasn’t pretty boy handsome. His eyes were too deep set and his jaw too broad to resemble anything classical. Toss in a nose that looked as if it had been broken once or twice, and you ended up with a face that resembled a street brawler’s. There was a sharp intelligence in those gray eyes that missed little. When Faith was in his sights, just for a little while, she forgot about the youth center, Kat’s precarious future, and Jack Crow.

“I’ll need another half hour here,” she said.

“No rush.” . . .

The shelter director and Margaret motioned Faith forward as the local television station crew arrived to film her and a few donors. “I’ve a couple of details to wrap up. No need for you to stick around.”

“I’ve nowhere to be.”

“Suit yourself,” she said. She crossed the ballroom to the reporter, spoke on camera for several minutes, visited with the guests, and kissed Margaret on the cheek. When she was finished speaking to the hotel staff, it was past ten.

She looked around the room, but she didn’t see Hayden. His patience for the tedious side of her life had its limits. She left the ballroom and headed toward the lobby. Her heels clicked across the marble floor as she made her way to the elevator.

“Dr. McIntyre?”

She turned and saw a tall, lean man with a neatly shaved face and warm brown eyes. Midforties, smartly dressed in a gray suit and a shirt of a similar but lighter shade.

“Have we met?” she asked.

He held out his hand. “Kevin. I saw the event sign with your picture and thought you were someone else for a moment. Then I recognized the McIntyre name. I knew your father.”

“Should I apologize now?” She accepted his hand.

White teeth flashed. “No. He didn’t cross-examine me. Good thing, I suppose. He was known as a real tough nut in his time.”

If by “tough nut” he meant “ruthless legal shark,” then yes. “That he was, Kevin.”

“I just saw you crossing the lobby, and I wanted to introduce myself. Would you like to grab a drink in the bar?”

“No, thank you. It’s been a long day.”

Rejection slid off him like water off a duck. “Maybe we’ll catch up again some time.”

“Have a good evening, Kevin.”

“You, too, Faith.”

Faith sensed that under all his sleek manners and polish lurked an ulterior motive. She’d dealt with several men like him since her father’s death. Wearing nice suits, they came bearing law degrees and threats. And as she’d told them all, Russell McIntyre might have been worth a fortune once, but it was all gone. What she had now had either been left to her by her mother or she’d earned herself. Stones didn’t bleed, no matter how hard you squeezed.

Copyright ©  Mary Burton 2018