‘That is not part of our agreement—’
‘But you said five days—a working week, Tino. Today is Sunday, so surely our negotiations won’t begin until tomorrow morning?’
‘It is dangerous to make presumptions in business, Lisa. You should know that—’
Lisa’s mouth hardened into an angry line as she stared at him. So that was the way it was to be. ‘I imagined you would extend the usual business courtesies.’
‘And so I will from tomorrow. In the meantime, you will stay here.’
‘As your prisoner?’
‘Don’t be ridiculous! I’m not holding you against your will. You know as well as I do that until a deal is struck we must abide by all the terms of the agreement, and not just the ones that suit us most. You have five days as my guest to convince me that I should do this deal. Hardly an ordeal, I would have thought.’
There was a gentle tap on the door, and Lisa welcomed the distraction as the study door opened, and an elderly servant walked in.
Her mouth fell open as Tino walked out of the room.
‘May I show you to your suite, Thespinis Bond?’
Lisa softened her expression in case she scared the elderly man half to death. ‘Thank you, that’s very kind of you.’
‘It is my pleasure, Thespinis Bond.’
His voice was gentle, and he stood back politely at the door to let her pass. How could such a man bear to work for Tino Zagorakis? Lisa wondered as she followed his elderly retainer across the hall.
The suite of rooms where she was to stay was fabulous. Taking the colours of the Greek flag as inspiration, the furnishings were mostly snowy white with the occasional highlight of cerulean. But before she had chance to properly appreciate the opulence of her surroundings, Lisa’s gaze was captured by the sight of her overnight case standing at the end of the bed. Only the presence of Tino’s gentle servant prevented her from turning on her heel and going to rip the head off his employer. It was obvious that whether she had agreed to stay or not, Tino had already decided that she would, and had taken it upon himself to retrieve her luggage from the guest house.
‘Kirie Zagorakis thought you might prefer to eat out here alone.’
Lisa looked across the room to where the old man was smiling at her. Floor-to-ceiling white muslin curtains billowed gently in the early evening breeze, drawing her attention to the balcony beyond. It was bathed in soft light from some out-of-view lanterns, and she could see that a comfortable chair with a deeply padded cushion awaited her, as well as a dining table, ostentatiously laid out for one.
I bet he did, she thought grimly. Tino had decided she was to be cut off from the rest of the household. She smiled at her elderly companion. He was hardly to blame for his employer’s machiavellian scheme. ‘Thank you. That’s exactly what I’d like.’
Not only had Tino made the unilateral decision that she would stay at Villa Aphrodite, he had delivered instructions to the kitchen for her supper, Lisa discovered when the elderly man showed her the buffet trolley. He must have done that when he’d left the study briefly to get them both a drink, she realised tensely.
‘You have such a beautiful view from here, Thespinis Bond.’
The elderly man was pointing out across the cliff tops to where the ocean had turned coppery pink in the last rays of the sun.
‘I doubt I’ve ever seen anything more beautiful,’ Lisa said honestly. She was rewarded by the old man’s smile… but then she noticed another, larger table had been laid out immediately below and a little in front of her own balcony. The edges of a white lace tablecloth were fluttering gently in the early evening breeze, and crystal and silverware were glittering in the light of flickering candles. And now she heard the sounds of muted conversation, as well as laughter—high, tinkling laughter, as well as a lower, appreciative sound.
‘Would you like to sit down now, Thespinis Bond? Shall I light the candle for you?’
Lisa turned abruptly, realising her elderly companion was still waiting for her to say something. Having struck a match, he was waiting for her permission to light a slim ivory candle. ‘No, no,’ she said, hurrying over to him. ‘Thank you, but I think I’ll wait a little. You’ve been very kind,’ she added, seeing his crestfallen face.