‘I’m not staying here to listen any more to this.’

He glanced at her as she got to her feet. ‘Then lose your business, Lisa.’


What alternative did she have? However much it hurt, she had to swallow her pride. She made some rapid calculations. ‘I’ll need internet access, and a phone that works.’

‘You’re in no position to dictate terms to me.’

‘I have to keep in contact with my people. We work as a team.’

‘Then it will be interesting for your team to see how well their leader operates without them. It’s up to you, Lisa. Go home now, and the deal is off. Send the jet back without you, and there might still be a chance. We’ll never know unless you stay.’

‘But if you agree to purchase the company our lawyers will need to know—contracts will have to be drawn up.’

‘True. So you will phone your PA now and tell him to wait to hear from Andreas, my PA.’ Lifting a phone from its square black nest, Tino pushed it across the desk to her. ‘Satellite,’ he explained in answer to Lisa’s questioning look. ‘You won’t get a signal for your mobile here.’

‘So you’re going to be the only one who can contact the outside world?’

‘That’s how it works. If I judge matters are coming to a head, it will be up to me to call the meeting. Now, are you going to make that call, or not?’

Right now it seemed unlikely that such a meeting would ever be called, and, if it was called, she had won. ‘All right, I agree.’

He already knew the small works was profitable, but it pleased him to see how far he could push. She had set herself against him. She had made it a battle of wills. She had no idea what she had unleashed. It was his way, or no way. Always.

It was constantly at the back of his mind that if he gave the smallest concession he risked pulling a stitch that might cause his whole life to unravel. He had climbed out of the gutter; he had no intention of slipping back there.

She had to go through with it. It was that or lose the deal.

He watched her as she made the call, reassured her PA and gave him the necessary information. She handled it well. In a tight spot she was cool.


‘Thank you for the call,’ she said, pushing the phone back across the desk towards him.

‘Where do you think you’re going?’

‘I’m staying at your guest house in the village.’

‘There’s no need to do that.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘You’ll be staying here.’

‘Here? With you at the villa?’

‘There’s no need to sound quite so unimpressed.’

‘But Arianna—’

‘Will do as I say.’

Lisa tensed with anger, and it was mostly on Arianna’s behalf. She felt no envy for the young woman now, only pity.

‘That’s my final offer, Lisa. Take it, or get back on your jet and get out of here.’

That wasn’t an option for her, Lisa realized; too many people were depending on her to get this right. She couldn’t just walk away. ‘All right, I’ll stay. But on the understanding that we only meet for business—’

‘I told you before you’re in no position to make terms, Lisa. This is my island, and I decide when and where we hold our meetings—’

‘So, I don’t have any say at all?’

She didn’t like that. Tough. Being nice to him for five whole days was the most refined torture he could have devised for her. ‘Don’t let me keep you, Lisa—’ He gestured towards the door. ‘You can use the internal phones in your suite to order any food you would like—and have it delivered to your room.’

Lisa knew her cheeks were glowing bright red with humiliation. She might have said she didn’t want to socialise with him, but she had never thought he would confine her to her room. For a moment she wondered why he hadn’t agreed to her staying at the guest house. That way he would have kept her out of Arianna’s way… But, of course, at Villa Aphrodite she was out of everyone’s reach… completely isolated, completely alone. ‘I have to go back to the village to collect my things. So why don’t I just stay at the guest house, as I planned?’

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