Ten minutes in the shelter and she was clearly suffering from cabin fever.

‘I’m not taking it out on you,’ Pascha said.


‘Good,’ she shot back, the scowl on her face still evident.

He expelled a long breath and ran his fingers through his hair. Technically speaking, it wasn’t Emily’s fault, but if he hadn’t been so determined to get her to the safety of the shelter, and wasted all that time at the beach with her, he would never have forgotten something as vital as his phone charger.

He could kick himself. He should kick himself.

Pascha should be with his lawyers. They’d spoken and corresponded throughout the day, none of them prepared to leave anything to chance, but it wasn’t the same as being in the same room. There was too much that could go wrong and scupper the Plushenko deal, and he was thousands of miles away. And soon he’d be totally cut off from all communication.

He finished mixing her drink and handed it to her.

‘Thank you.’ She turned away and strolled into the living area. Her behind really did sway beautifully when she walked, he noticed, curving nicely in her modest shorts and causing a whole heap of improper thoughts to race through him. Those improper thoughts were not helped by her silver top with its slanting neckline, which displayed a whole heap of porcelain shoulder, transparent enough for him to see the bikini she wore beneath it.

‘So, what is there to do for entertainment in here?’ she asked briskly, curling up on the sofa.

He held back the answer that formed on his tongue by the skin of his teeth. ‘I’m sure a resourceful woman like you can make her own entertainment.’

She took a sip of her drink. ‘Maybe enough of these will send me to sleep and then I’ll be able to wake up and the storm will be over.’

‘You’ll have a headache if you drink too many of them.’

‘Then I’ll take a headache tablet.’

The woman had an answer for everything.

‘Are you hungry?’

Her face scrunched up. ‘A bit.’

‘I’m not the greatest of cooks but I know how to make eggs on toast. Do you want some?’

She jumped back to her feet. ‘I tell you what, I’ll cook.’

‘Can you cook?’ Why did that surprise him?

‘Yep. It’ll give me something to do.’

‘Are you bored?’

‘Yep. Anything you don’t like to eat?’

‘I’ll eat anything.’

She practically skipped to the kitchenette. Opening the cupboards and the fridge, she started examining ingredients, selecting some, rejecting others.

‘Don’t get too excited,’ she warned. ‘I can cook but it won’t be the haute cuisine you’re used to.’

‘I didn’t grow up eating haute cuisine,’ he said drily.

‘Someone with three chefs at his holiday island is not someone who eats simple food.’

He’d followed her to the kitchenette and his huge form blocked her way to the utensil cupboard. A masculine scent with a hint of citrus filled her senses.

‘Excuse me,’ she muttered.

He shifted to the left.

Emily knelt down and snatched at a saucepan, tugged it out and immediately lost her grip, the pan clanging to the floor.

She picked it up and shoved it on the work surface. ‘Look, you’re getting under my feet. Why don’t you sit down while I get on with dinner?’

What was wrong with her? Her entire body was flushed, as if she’d been heated from the inside out; her hands and fingers were refusing to cooperate with her brain.

The only thing she knew with any certainty was that this was going to be a long night.

      CHAPTER SIX

EMILY DID HER BEST to eat her dinner but she struggled to swallow.

Her body just wouldn’t relax.

What she needed was noise. She liked noise. It was comforting. If she’d been eating at her flat or at her parents’ house—correction, her dad’s house—the radio would be humming in the background.

Here, in the shelter, there was nothing but silence. Heavy, oppressive silence.

‘Are you not enjoying your meal?’ Pascha asked her.

Looking down, she found she’d been pushing her pasta around her plate.

‘I’m not very hungry,’ she confessed, adding with forced brightness, ‘They always say the chef loses their appetite when it comes to the actual eating.’

‘Well, I think it’s delicious,’ he said, popping a heaped forkful of her pasta concoction into his mouth to make his point.

She couldn’t help but smile, but as the corners of her mouth lifted nodules in her belly tightened.

How could she eat when Pascha sat so close, near enough that if she moved her foot forward an inch she would graze his leg?

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