‘Are you all right?’ His voice sounded gruff in his ears.
He braced himself for the explosion he was sure would come, but when she held his gaze her eyes were sparkling brighter than he’d ever seen them…
She wanted him.
He kept his face neutral, though right now his mind was in turmoil. He was relieved to know he hadn’t frightened her, but this wasn’t a game to him any more.. or, if it was, the rules had just changed, because he wanted Lisa Bond more than he had ever wanted anything in his life before… and that made him deeply uneasy.
FOR a few seconds the air between them crackled with intensity. It wasn’t just Tino who had been carried away, Lisa realized; she had been too. The thought of a physical tussle with a man as strong as Tino ending in something that didn’t involve violence was going to play on her mind for a long time to come. If she could trust a man enough… if she could trust Tino enough… if it could be safe. She’d never been with a man before, had always been so scared. Now, all she felt was aroused and very tempted.
‘I’m going fishing,’ Tino said brusquely, breaking into her thoughts. ‘Are you coming with me, or not?’
Lisa glanced down at her salt-caked self.
‘We can get some things for you down at the port.’
‘Wait,’ she called as he started down the path. ‘What are you talking about? What things?’
He stopped, and turned around. ‘Sun cream, a hat… nothing to get too excited about. Come on, then— we’ve wasted enough time.’
‘Can we talk business on the boat?’
‘You never give up, do you, Lisa?’
He stopped so abruptly she almost bumped into him. ‘Do you need forty hours to convince me?’
‘Of course I don’t.’
‘Then what are you worried about?’ He started off in the direction of the harbour again.
‘I’m not worried,’ she shouted after him.
‘Really?’ He lengthened his stride.
‘Cold-blooded son of a bitch,’ Lisa muttered as she hurried after him.
The local store stocked most essentials, and a straw hat with a wide brim was soon found for her, as well as some high factor sun cream—two bottles.
‘You’re very fair-skinned,’ Tino said as he pressed them into her hands. ‘You must use plenty.’
Lisa bobbed her head, still mutinous. Gazing out to distract herself from Tino’s mannish sweep of the store, she saw his yacht towering over the local boats. At least, she presumed it must be his. It was a sleek white colossus amidst all the tiny fishing vessels. ‘That’s an impressive business perk,’ she said when they left the shop.
‘I’m glad you like it.’
He was right. She didn’t need forty hours to convince him, and when would she get another opportunity to take a cruise on a billionaire’s yacht? Lisa was surprised by how childishly excited she was at the prospect. She was even a little impatient when Tino stopped outside another shop and steered her inside.
At the local bakery and general food store, when greetings had been formally exchanged with the beaming host, a wicker basket, not dissimilar to the one Stella had been carrying, was handed to them over the counter.
‘Our picnic,’ Tino explained, taking charge of it.
‘Our picnic?’ Lisa frowned. Didn’t billionaires carry chefs on their yachts these days?
When Tino walked straight past the gangway to the Stellamaris Odyssey, she halted at the foot of it.
‘What now?’ he grated, turning round.
‘But, I thought—’
‘Oh, dear—your bottom lip is trembling, Lisa.’
She probably did look like a child whose promised treat had just been snatched away—that was how she felt. ‘I didn’t want to go fishing in the first place,’ she pointed out, pretending not to care.
‘Does this look like a fishing boat?’ Tino gazed up the sides of his sleek white yacht.
‘No, of course not, but I thought—’
He made it sound like a breakthrough.
‘You insisted we must go out on your boat, Tino—’