‘Something like that. Shall we pack up?’
He had changed like quicksilver, and she knew that was the end of his revelations. She knew it because she recognised the same technique she always used to put up a smokescreen to hide the past. She would get nowhere pushing him now.
They travelled back with only the rhythm of the engine and the sibilance of the water streaming past the wooden boat breaking the stillness of late afternoon. Lisa could understand why Tino loved island life, and why he worked so hard to preserve his anonymity. To be able to exchange the feverish pace of the business world for the solitude of Stellamaris had to be the most precious thing he had… But still his past intrigued her. Why was it all such a secret? He had told her a little about the piano, and something about Stella and Arianna, but what else was he hiding? Would she find out more on Stellamaris? Or would she leave the island knowing as little about Tino Zagorakis as she did now?
Glancing at him, Lisa realised that Stella was right: the Greeks did have a natural affinity with the sea. Had Tino named the island after his elderly friend? Or had Stella’s parents chosen her name in tribute to their beautiful island home?
‘Have you thought about dinner, Lisa?’
‘Dinner?’ It was the last thing on her mind. Tino had just cut the engine, and they were drifting slowly towards the mooring. She had been focused on the picturesque houses circling the quay—their Technicolor shades seemed to have been intensified by the fading light. ‘I hadn’t really thought about dinner. I suppose I’ll eat later, on my balcony.’
‘It would be a good opportunity to talk.’
‘To talk?’ Her heart started thundering. ‘About business?’
He sounded mildly impatient—and had every right to, Lisa realised. He would hardly welcome any further investigation into his life—and there was no question of them making small talk, since neither one of them was good at that.
‘Well?’ He was still staring at her.
‘Oy, Tino! Opa! Siga… Siga!’
Hearing the warning shout, they both whipped around in time to see one of the local men gesticulating furiously.
‘Theos!’ Tino swung the wheel violently, narrowly avoiding a collision.
‘That was close.’ Lisa was still shaking with shock, but Tino had made the adjustment in time, and the fishing vessel slid neatly, if narrowly, into its berth beside the Stellamaris Odyssey. ‘I imagine that might have been an expensive mistake if you had crashed into your yacht.’
‘Expensive mistake?’ Tino stared at her for a moment, as if he couldn’t quite believe what had happened, and then he stalked away to toss the mooring ropes to the man waiting on shore.
Straddling the deck and the shore, he looked magnificent. As the two men secured the ropes she could see how much bigger he was than the other man, but, even so, their movements were perfectly synchronised. It was as if they shared the same internal rhythm. If she had learned nothing more than this, Stellamaris was Tino’s true home. But if that was so, then what drove him? What demon in Tino’s past would make him leave his beautiful island home in search of new worlds to conquer, new deals to make?
She was sure now that they shared something more fundamental than business, and it was something very few people would have recognised. They both kept the past hidden, and though she didn’t know what had happened to Tino yet she did know that the past had shaped them, made them both strong—but it was their weakness too.
ON THE walk back from the harbour Tino was lost in his own thoughts, giving Lisa all the space she needed to scroll through the events of an incredible day. Her lips were still burning from his kiss, and how was she supposed to forget that he had almost spanked her, or how aroused that had made her? What might have happened if he hadn’t drawn back? Would she have lost control? Just thinking about all the possibilities was enough to excite her.
‘I’ll leave you now.’
Her cheeks reddened guiltily as he reclaimed her attention.
‘I have to take the lobsters to Stella.’ Reaching past her, he opened the garden gate.
He seemed to have forgotten the dinner invitation. ‘I’ll see you tomorrow morning at eight?’ She spoke briskly. And when he didn’t answer, she added, ‘I can’t let you win this by default because you never found time to listen to my proposal.’