‘No one in their right minds would call the Stellamaris Odyssey a boat, Lisa.’
‘Oh, well, excuse me! What am I supposed to know about billionaires’ toys?’
‘This is the woman who owns a jet talking?’
‘I don’t own a jet; my company owns a jet.’
‘Forgive me—I understood you owned Bond Steel?’
‘Most of it,’ she admitted tightly.
‘In my opinion a day out on a luxury yacht is nothing special. I use it for business, and for impressing clients. You don’t need to be impressed, do you, Lisa?’
‘No, of course not.’
‘Excellent, because I’ve got something rather different planned for you.’
Now he was making her nervous… the sexual tension was still crackling. Craning her neck, Lisa tried to see past him. Whatever craft they would be using had to be here somewhere, she reasoned, but the last boat in line after the Stellamaris Odyssey was a modest blue and white fishing boat. ‘Do you mean that?’
‘What’s wrong with it? Or is my poor fishing vessel not good enough for you, Your Royal Highness?’ He gave her a mock bow.
Holding herself firmly in check, Lisa took one last longing look at the Stellamaris Odyssey.
Following her gaze, Tino smiled. ‘Oh, no, Lisa, that would be far too self-indulgent. I’m sure you agree that lean and mean is the best way to do business. You do still want to do business with me?’
‘Of course I do.’
‘In that case, come along—the galley on the fishing boat is rather primitive, and we don’t want our wine getting warm.’
It was fun. She hadn’t expected that. The day she’d moved in with her father, five-star luxury had become the norm— and even a five-star norm could become boring after a while. Not like this… This was special. The sun was warm on her face, and the breeze tasted salty and fresh…
While Tino took the helm, Lisa stored their provisions in the simple galley before joining him on deck.
‘I hope you found the ice. I had someone from the yacht bring it over in a bucket.’
‘Don’t worry—our wine is now in that bucket.’ She wasn’t going to let him run away with the idea that she was still disappointed. ‘Are you going to tell me where we’re heading, or is that still a secret?’
‘No secret—somewhere special… somewhere private.’
Private? How well did he intend them to get to know each other? Lisa’s heart started pumping. ‘How much more private does it get? This is your island, isn’t it?’
‘Why don’t you wait and see?’
Tino was right. The tiny cove they sailed into was completely secluded, and the only sound apart from the rolling surf was the beat of a thousand wings as birds rose in a cloud as they approached. The boat puttered in with its engine idling, and when she leaned over the side Lisa could see tiny fish swooping in vast shoals beneath them. ‘Come and see this,’ she called excitedly, forgetting the state of their relationship.
Cutting the engine, Tino joined her at the rail. ‘We’ll have to swim ashore. I can’t take her in any closer.’
‘What about our food?’
‘I’ll just drop anchor.’
Lisa turned to watch Tino pad across the deck. He looked like no businessman she’d ever seen before. The ones she was used to dealing with were somewhat lacking on the strong-tanned-leg front… and on the muscular-torso front too.
‘Food?’ he reminded her when he came back.
‘What? Oh, yes, the food.’
‘Well? Where is it?’
‘In the galley.’
‘So, go and get it.’ He folded his arms.
It seemed compliance was her lot—for now, Lisa accepted grimly.
‘There’s a waterproof ice-box in the galley,’ Tino called after her as she hurried off. ‘Fill it up with our provisions, and then attach the rope you’ll find on the shelf. When you’ve done that, give me a shout, and I’ll carry it up.’
‘I can manage.’
‘I’ll carry it up.’
She turned and they stared at each other unblinking.
‘I’m just going to check the lobster pots to see if I have a treat to take home for Stella,’ he told her steadily, ‘and then I’ll come down and get the ice-box and carry it up for you.’