By nine o’ clock that evening Lisa was curled up tensely on the sofa at the penthouse she called home. Warm and pink after her bath, she was anything but relaxed. Wearing her favourite plush robe, she had the music turned down low, a crystal goblet of good burgundy on the side table next to her, and a new book just started. She had read the first page three times, and still didn’t have a clue what it said.
Zagorakis’s chauffeur would call round, she knew that, but still she flinched and dragged her robe a little closer when the doorbell rang. Thankfully Vera would take care of it. Vera, confidante and housekeeper, knew exactly what she had to do.
Just as Lisa had anticipated, the exchange between Vera and Zagorakis’s chauffeur lasted no more than a few seconds. With a sigh of relief, she turned back to her book. But she couldn’t relax… She tried changing the music. She could always find something to suit her mood amongst her vast collection of CD’s… Tonight was different, tonight she had to force her fingers past the boxed sets devoted to the heavenly voice of La Divina Callas. The impassioned Greek-American voice of Maria Anna Sophie Cecilia Kalogeropoulos was the last thing she needed to hear. Right now anything remotely Greek was off limits. Finally, she settled for some low, smoochy jazz. The plangent wail of Miles Davis’ trumpet seemed appropriate somehow.
Returning to her book, Lisa turned the pages dutifully, all the time trying to ignore the keen dark eyes and mocking smile occupying her thoughts. When the doorbell rang again she was surprised and then angry. Zagorakis had some nerve sending his chauffeur round twice in one evening. Couldn’t he take a hint?
Vera answered the door, but Lisa’s curiosity got the better of her. Padding barefoot across the room, she froze. The man’s audacity was unbelievable. His unannounced visit to her office building had been bad enough, but this was outrageous— and Vera was having trouble getting rid of him.
‘Thank you, Vera, I’ll see to this.’
Lisa couldn’t pretend she wasn’t thankful that Vera remained hovering in the background. ‘Yes?’ She stared up at him. Tino Zagorakis was more casually dressed, and even more brazenly male. Without a jacket she could see how toned he was beneath his black shirt. His assessing stare was every bit as hard as she remembered.
‘We arranged to have dinner tonight.’
‘You arranged to have dinner tonight, Mr Zagorakis.’
‘It’s time you called me Tino.’
Oh, really? ‘It’s late—’
‘Exactly,’ he said. ‘And as you pointed out, Lisa, we still have things to talk about.’
Lisa? When did she give him permission to use her first name? Jack Bond’s first law of survival: keep everyone at a distance. Everyone… She relaxed minutely. He was carrying a briefcase. Of course, Zagorakis was a man who would far rather trade than indulge his carnal appetites, but she had already set up their next meeting for the following morning. She had no intention of being railroaded by him twice in one day. ‘Business will have to wait until our respective teams are present.’
‘If you insist.’
‘I do insist. Our next meeting will be held tomorrow morning.’
‘Thank you for reminding me… but we still have to eat.’
His casual shrug and the smile that accompanied it threw her, and while she was trying to figure out his angle he walked past her into the apartment.
‘Like I said, Mr Zagorakis—’ she went after him ‘—it’s late—’
‘And so I took the trouble of ordering in.’ He paused mid-step to turn round and look at her. ‘I didn’t want to put your housekeeper to any trouble.’
And now Vera was sharing a flirtatious smile with him! What was this? A conspiracy?
In fairness, she couldn’t blame Vera; the man was hot. His shirt was open far enough to show some hard, tanned chest, and his blue jeans appeared pressure-moulded to thighs of iron. And there were certain other impressive bulges below the heavy-duty belt…
‘Are you sure you don’t mind me coming inside?’
Lisa quickly adjusted her gaze. The only thing sure about this was that her face was heating up. ‘I don’t wish to appear ungrateful.’