Inside she was a morass of anger and humiliation, but there was no way she was going to vent her feelings on an innocent old man. It made no sense that she cared about Tino’s dining arrangements, but she did—it hurt a lot. Not only had Tino chosen to dine without her, he was dining with someone else… almost certainly Arianna.
‘Are you sure that is all you require from me this evening, Thespinis Bond?’
‘I’m quite sure. Thank you.’ Lisa smiled again, and waited until the elderly man had closed the door behind him. She would not sit obediently on her solitary perch and take the humiliation Tino had planned for her. She would feel it. Oh, yes, just as he had known, she would feel it, but she would do so in private…
Carefully loading all the supper dishes onto the trolley, Lisa rolled it towards her room. Wheeling it inside, she firmly closed the double doors behind her.
LISA slept more soundly than she had expected. It had to be the sea air, she reasoned, waking slowly. Dawn was just peeping through the white muslin drapes as she stretched like a cat in the sun. At first she was reluctant to leave the warm linen sheets, but then she remembered everything that had happened the previous night.
Slipping out of bed, she padded barefoot across the cool tiled floor and opened the double doors onto the balcony. Today was Monday, the first day of her five-day trial, and she had no intention of wasting a single minute—but she could make time for this. She had guessed the view would be spectacular in daylight, but she had never imagined it could be quite so lovely.
Shading her eyes against the low-slanting sunlight, she realised the villa sat on a promontory with the ocean to three sides. The water far below the cliffs was graded in colour from a white lace frill at the shoreline to palest blue at the midline, and then on to deepest Prussian blue where the ocean floor dropped away.
The gardens surrounding the villa were equally stunning. They combined formal and informal planting with great success, and were ablaze with colour. Beyond the stone patio she could see an infinity pool. She had hoped for a pool, and was longing for a swim, but there was already someone swimming there…
Meeting up with Tino when they were both half naked was a bad idea—but hadn’t the taxi driver mentioned steps leading to the beach, and even a funicular running down the face of the cliff? There had to be a way she could get to the sea without walking past the pool…
Unzipping her overnight case, Lisa plucked out the bikini she had packed in the hope of snatching a few moments in the Greek sunshine. Fortunately, she had remembered to bring her flip-flops too, as well as a wrap.
The stone steps were steep and worn away in some places, and Lisa was glad of the wooden handrail fixed to the rock. When she reached the halfway point she paused to look around and catch her breath. She gazed longingly at the tracks marking the path the funicular would take. If she could have taken that route she would have been down on the shore by now, but the cabin had been too close to the swimming pool for her to risk it, and the mechanism would have alerted Tino immediately had she been foolish enough to try.
The beach formed a tempting silvery crescent, and the sea had turned to turquoise, and seemed completely flat. Fingers of cloud stretched across the brightening horizon, and the air was sweetly scented. Best of all, there was no sign of Tino, so she could relax and the new day was hers for the taking…
Jumping down onto the beach, Lisa kicked off her flip- flops and dug her toes into the damp sand. It felt wonderful against her warm skin. Tugging off her wrap, she tossed it away and ran eagerly towards the sea.
A much older woman followed Lisa’s plunge into the sea with interest. The moment Lisa turned for shore she dipped down to collect the discarded wrap, and then walked down the sand to meet her.
Shaking her long chestnut hair out behind her like a banner, Lisa turned her face to the sun as she ploughed happily through the shallows. She never had time for a holiday, or even for a good swim. Feeling the sunshine on her face, and the tingle of the cool Aegean on her skin, was almost worth braving Tino’s lair for—
Having thought she was alone, Lisa nearly jumped out of her skin at the friendly greeting. She recovered quickly, smiling her thanks as the elderly Greek woman handed over her wrap. ‘Kalimera.’