* * *

Lisa had been marching along in silence since they had left the cottage, but now they were out of earshot she could speak her mind. ‘I’m not going another step.’


Tino glanced back at her without slowing. ‘It’s not too far away now. The harbour is just over there, around the base of the cliff.’

‘It’s not the distance that worries me.’

‘What, then?’ He ground to a halt, and turned to stare at her.

‘Stop this, Tino. I’m not going out on your boat. We both know you’ve got me over a barrel, but, if you have any decency left in you at all, you’d come back with me to the villa and hold our meeting like you promised—’

‘Not now, Lisa.’

‘What do you mean, not now?’

‘I mean I don’t want to discuss business right now?’ He put his face very close so she was forced to take a step back.

‘But once the deal is wrapped up we can go our separate ways,’ she pointed out, ‘which I know you want as much as I do.’

‘Once the deal is wrapped up?’ He stared at her mockingly. ‘You’re very sure of yourself.’

‘I’m confident that I’ve come up with the right deal for you?’

He laughed, throwing his head back. ‘So now you’ve got my best interests at heart? I don’t think so, Lisa.’

‘All right.’ She was forced to hurry after him when he started down the path again. ‘So we both need this deal.’

‘I don’t need anything from you.’

‘Really? So why are your people scurrying around trying to buy up everything in sight?’

That stopped him.

‘Maybe it pleases me to know that I can.’

‘I’m very happy for you, but my life is rather more complicated. I have loyalties.’

‘You have an overabundance of pride… and a highly inflated opinion of yourself.’


‘That’s rich coming from you!’

‘And if the tables were turned, you’d treat me differently? No. So don’t expect any leeway from me, when you’d give me none yourself.’ He turned back to the path, forcing her to run after him again.

‘But you gave me your word that this week would be devoted to our negotiations.’

‘On my terms.’ He didn’t pause, or look back.

‘All right.’ Lisa stopped running. Resting her hands on her knees, she tried to catch her breath.

‘All right, what?’

At least he had stopped. He was standing a few yards away, waiting for her to say something. She fought for control. But as she straightened up her feelings erupted. ‘I suppose Arianna is happy about our little pleasure cruise?’

‘Arianna isn’t your concern.’

‘How convenient for you.’

‘Why are you worrying about Arianna?’

‘Someone needs to. I feel sorry for her.’

‘Why, exactly?’

‘I think you know why, Tino.’

‘No, I don’t. I’m waiting to hear what you have to say about it.’

‘All right, then… What the hell are we doing here?’ She gestured around. ‘We should go back to the villa and have our meeting under proper conditions. All this is far too distracting.’

‘I thought that part of our agreement was that I decide when and where our meetings are held.’

‘But we can’t have them here.’

‘Exactly.’ His voice was maddeningly controlled. ‘You’re becoming forgetful, Lisa. I already told you that we are not holding any meetings today.’

‘So, you’re breaking your word?’

‘I don’t remember saying we wouldn’t be holding any meetings this week. You shouldn’t have agreed to something before you were certain of the terms.’

‘Don’t you dare lecture me on business etiquette. I agreed to your terms before I realised how irresponsible you were going to be.’

‘Irresponsible?’

‘Yes,’ Lisa insisted fiercely. ‘Irresponsible. Now, can we stop wasting time, and get back to the villa? I want a shower—I’m all salty. We can still get in a couple of hours of discussions before lunch… What do you think you’re doing?’ She glared down at the hand on her arm. ‘Don’t you dare touch me!’

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