Ilios was in no mood to let her continue lying to him. ‘You owe me money, Miss Wareham, because of your involvement with the apartments built by my cousin on my land. Plus there is also the matter of the outstanding payments for goods and services provided by local suppliers to you.’
‘That isn’t my fault. The Rainhills were supposed to pay them,’ Lizzie defended herself.
‘The contract supplied to me by my cousin states unequivocally that you are to pay them.’
‘No—that can’t be possible,’ Lizzie repeated
‘I assure you that it is.’
‘I have my copy of the contract here with me, and it states quite plainly that the owners of the apartments are to pay the suppliers direct,’ Lizzie insisted.
‘Contracts can be altered.’
‘And in this case they obviously have been—but not by me.’ Lizzie’s face was burning with disbelief and despair.
‘And you can prove this?’ Ilios Manos was demanding, the expression on his face making it plain that he did not believe her.
‘I have a contract that states that my clients are responsible for paying the suppliers.’
‘That is not what I asked you. The contract I have states unequivocally that you are responsible for paying them. And then there is the not so small matter of your share of the cost of taking down the apartments and returning the land to its original state.’
‘Taking down the apartments?’ Lizzie echoed. ‘But that was nothing to do with me. You were the one who ordered their destruction—you told me that yourself…’
Lizzie badly wanted to sit down. She was tired and shocked and frightened, but she knew she couldn’t show those weaknesses in front of this stone-faced man who looked like a Greek god but spoke to her as cruelly as Hades himself, intent on her destruction. She was sure he would never show any sign of human weaknesses himself, or make any allowances for those who possessed them. But there was nowhere to sit, nowhere to hide, to escape from the man now watching her with such determined intention on breaking her on the wheel of his anger.
‘I had no choice. Even if I had wanted to keep them it would have been impossible, given their lack of sound construction. The truth is that they were a death trap. A death trap on my land, masquerading as a building constructed by my company.’
As he spoke Ilios remembered how he had felt on learning how his cousin had tried to use the good name of the business Ilios had built up quite literally with his own bare hands for his nefarious purposes, and his anger intensified.
His company. Lizzie automatically looked at his hard hat and its logo. She remembered Basil Rainhill smirking when he’d told her that Manos construction was ‘fronting’ the building of the apartments, and that they had a firstclass reputation. Then she had assumed his smirk was because of the good deal he has boasted about to her, but now…
‘I don’t know anything about how the apartments were built. In fact, I don’t understand what this is about. I was contracted to design the interiors of the apartments, that’s all.’
‘Oh, come, Miss Wareham—do you really expect me to believe that when I have a contract that stages unequivocally that payment for your work was to be a twenty per cent interest in the apartment block?’
‘That was only because the Rainhills couldn’t pay me. They offered me that in lieu of my fee.’
‘I am not remotely interested in how you came by your share in the illegal construction my cousin built on my land, only that you pay your share of the cost of making good the damage as well as what you owe your suppliers.’
‘You’re making this up,’ Lizzie protested.