‘Up yours, Zagorakis,’ Mike murmured, showing his own feelings were somewhat less subtle.

‘Mike, please,’ Lisa whispered, finding a smile had crept onto her own lips. ‘Gentlemen,’ she said casually, dipping her head minutely to acknowledge everyone.

There was a stampede to be the first to find her a drink, a canapé, a seat if she wanted one; only Tino stood back, his face a mask she couldn’t read.

The evening was delightful, the food delicious—or that would have been the press-release version, Lisa realised cynically, glancing at Tino. Having chosen a seat as far away from her as possible, he was deep in conversation with his financial director.

‘I shall sulk.’

Lisa turned as Mike spoke to her.

‘I’ve gone to all this trouble and you’re staring at him like a lovesick ninny. Honestly, Lisa, if he wasn’t so gorgeous, I’d be quite put out.’

‘I’m sorry, Mike.’ She touched his arm. ‘Was I being so obvious?’

‘Well, luckily for you, he didn’t notice. He’s far too busy talking business.’

‘Time to mingle again,’ she suggested.

The dinner was over, last dregs of coffee and brandy had been drunk. Mike half rose—Lisa stopped him, putting her hand on his arm. ‘Mike, can I come back with you to the guest house?’

‘Of course… but why?’

‘Well, I’ve been staying here at the villa.’

‘I know.’

‘And now…’

Mike held his hands up to silence her. ‘You don’t have to say another word—as long as you’re quite sure about this?’

Lisa followed Mike’s gaze to where she could see Tino turning on the charm. He looked fiendishly fabulous: stronger, taller, and more interesting than any other man present, talking easily to everyone, except her. She caught a flash of white teeth as he responded to another man’s comment, and then a fierce, black-eyed stare when he caught her looking at him. ‘I’m absolutely sure.’

‘OK, then, but we have to brave the receiving line, or whatever the opposite of that might be,’ Mike informed her briskly. ‘Come along, darling, everyone else is starting to leave now. You just stay with me, and I’ll see you through it safely.’

There were some things even Mike couldn’t fix.


‘Where do you think you’re going?’ Tino said.

‘I’m going to the guest house with Mike.’

Instead of arguing with her, Tino took hold of Mike’s elbow, and drew him to one side, leaving Lisa standing alone out of earshot. And when Mike half turned to her, Tino put his hand on his arm and drew him back again to say something more. To Lisa’s amazement, Mike, her right- hand man, her PA, her friend, walked away without another word, and when she tried to go after him Tino caught hold of her arm and held her back.

‘What the hell do you think you’re doing?’ she demanded, looking down at his hand on her arm.

‘I might ask you the same question,’ he replied icily.

‘It’s clear you don’t want me here, so I’m going to where I am wanted.’

‘You’re talking like a spoiled brat, Lisa.’

He led her back inside the house, and closed the door. ‘Did you have to make such an exhibition of yourself?’

‘Do you have to hold my arm so tightly?’

He released her immediately. ‘You’d better come into my study and we’ll talk there.’

‘We’ve nothing to discuss.’

‘So, this is the thanks I get?’

‘Thanks? For what?’ Lisa demanded incredulously. ‘For making a fool out of me?’ She tried to push past him and go outside again to find Mike, but he blocked the door.

‘All this is for you, Lisa.’

‘And you didn’t think to tell me you had called my people over?’

‘I wanted to surprise you.’

‘Well, you certainly did that.’

‘I tried to find you… I tried to warn you they were here, but no one knew where you were.’

Lisa smiled bitterly. ‘Maybe because I was doing something for you.’

‘What?’

‘It really doesn’t matter now.’ She reached past him to the door handle. ‘Let me out of here now, Tino.’

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