But he was already propelling her along the path.
‘I’m warning you—’
‘And I’m telling you,’ he fired back, dragging her in front of him to stare into her eyes. ‘I make the decisions here, and today business is off the agenda. You heard me tell Stella I’d get her some fish for her supper? Well, that takes precedence over anything else.’
‘You’re going fishing?’ Lisa demanded incredulously.
‘No, Lisa—we’re going fishing.’
Before Lisa could stop him he swung her off the ground, and held her so tightly she couldn’t fight him off.
‘If I say we’re going out on the boat, we’re going out on the boat,’ he informed her as he strode along. ‘And if I choose to take hold of your arm, I take hold of your arm. Do you understand me any better yet, Lisa?’
‘I understand you’re a brute—and you’d better put me down right now, or face the consequences.’
‘Consequences? What consequences are those, Lisa?’ His pace didn’t falter. ‘Are you going to set your lawyers onto my legal team? Because I strongly advise you to think twice before you do that.. unless, of course, you want to be begging me to give you a job in a couple of months’ time.’
‘I wouldn’t expect you to give me the dirt from under your fingernails.’
‘As I don’t have any, you’ll have to excuse me if I’m not too worried about that.’
‘Are you going to put me down—or shall I scream?’
‘Scream all you want.. no one will hear you.’ They’ll only think we’re having fun. You’re not going to win this one—accept it.’
Lisa kicked her legs furiously in reply. ‘This isn’t a joke, Tino.’
‘What’s your problem? Are you still worried about Arianna? Or are you more worried about being alone with me?’
Lisa gave a short, scornful laugh. ‘Yes, I am worried about Arianna—but as for you?’ She looked at him with disdain. ‘I couldn’t give a damn about you.’
Dropping her to the ground, he held her at arm’s length, the tension flaring between them. ‘No need to descend to the language of the gutter, young woman.’
‘To describe you?’ Lisa couldn’t believe she was shouting. ‘I’d say it’s absolutely necessary.’
‘And if I told you Arianna and I aren’t a couple?’
‘I’d be happy, relieved—for her. And I’d still want to go back to the villa. No contact between us other than for business, remember that, Tino?’
‘So, we shouldn’t do this, for instance…’
The breath shot out of Lisa’s lungs as he dragged her close. Feelings exploded out of her. And it wasn’t the fact that Tino was kissing her that went storming through her brain, it was the fact that she loved it. He felt good, better than good. Making rough, animal sounds, she moved passionately against him. But as he moulded her even closer to him she hated him—hated him for making her want him so badly it hurt, so badly her legs were giving way beneath her.
She came to her senses abruptly. Bond Steel’s future depended on her, and this was how she behaved? Tino was only playing games with her, and while she was distracted his troops were swarming all over her business.
She started fighting him then. She fought his mouth, his lips, his tongue, and she grappled with his hands, making sounds of fury in her throat. But he had her bound so tightly against him, she could hardly breathe, let alone break free. And then, just when she felt she had no more fight left in her, he let her go, and stood back.
‘So this is your idea of persuasion?’ he said.
‘It’s a lot more honest than kissing you back.’ Turning her face away from him, she held her forehead with her hand. ‘I can’t believe I’m in this position. I hate you so much.’
‘No,’ Tino countered steadily. ‘What you hate is the way I make you lose control.’
‘I know what I mean.’
‘Dangerous ground, Lisa. You know what they say about hate.’
‘Don’t flatter yourself!’