‘No, Lisa, the whole of Clifton—’
She went cold. ‘But they can’t—’ This time Zagorakis had really caught her out. How could anyone move that fast? ‘But what about our deal with Zagorakis Inc?’
‘Word is Zagorakis has gone cold on our small works. It’s all or nothing for him. I heard in the last hour that he’s asked his people to start courting Clifton… and, Lisa…’
‘Yes?’ Lisa tensed, wondering what else there could be.
‘He’s after us too—’
‘No,’ Lisa exploded, sitting bolt upright. It was everything she had been dreading. ‘Bond Steel isn’t for sale, Mike. I only need to sell the small works. The cash injection that will bring is all we need to set us back on our feet.’
‘It may be too late.’
‘We’re not going to give up, and throw Bond Steel to the lions.’
‘To one lion in particular, you mean?’
‘Get Zagorakis on the phone.’
‘Who do you want to speak to?’
‘Tino, of course.’
‘He doesn’t speak to anyone directly.’
‘He’ll speak to me.’
‘What if he won’t?’
‘Do anything you have to do to get his private number, Mike,’ Lisa pressed grimly.
‘It won’t help you.’
‘What do you mean it won’t help me?
‘He took off at dawn to fly to his private island in Greece. There’s no way anyone can contact him there— even his staff aren’t allowed to do that. They have to wait for Zagorakis to ring them.’
‘But that’s ridiculous.’
‘Maybe. But that’s the way it is.’
‘Are you sure about this?’
‘Totally. I’ve got a friend at Clifton.’
Lisa’s mind raced. ‘The financial director? That tall, good-looking blond guy?’
‘We’re seeing each other, Lisa.’
‘I guessed.’ A faint smile broke through Lisa’s tension. ‘I hope you’ll both be very happy.’ That explained how Mike had learned everything so fast, and also confirmed that everything he had told her was one-hundred-per-cent accurate. And without the cash from the sale of the small works to Zagorakis Inc, she was in serious trouble.
‘Shall I give you the good news now?’
‘Good news? I can’t believe you can have anything good to tell me after that.’
‘You are fit to fly.’
‘Anything but a joke.’
‘This is no joke. The Bond Steel company jet has just been signed off. It’s ready to go when you are.’
‘Mike, that’s not good news—or had you forgotten the purpose behind selling the engineering works? We can’t stand more expense right now. If things get any worse than they are the jet will be the first thing that has to go.’
‘Sell it by all means—but not yet, Lisa,’ Mike insisted. ‘Zagorakis’s island is quite small. The landing strip can’t take commercial airliners.’
Lisa’s tense face softened abruptly. ‘Mike, you’re an angel! I need one clear day to prepare,’ she added, thinking aloud. ‘So, make sure the jet is fully fuelled and ready to fly on Sunday. Have the pilot file a flight plan for Stellamaris—’
‘So, you’re chasing Zagorakis?’
Mike was smart—that was why she had hired him in the first place. But after what he had told her, she was going to Stellamaris, not just to save the deal, but to nail Zagorakis to the mast. ‘No, Mike,’ she assured him, ‘I’m chasing business.’
* * *
Stellamaris was beautiful. So beautiful, it made Lisa want to cry. And she never cried. Well, not since she was a child. Never in her adult life had she ever shed a tear—except on Friday morning after Mike’s phone call. But those had been very different tears—Mike would have said she was having a tantrum and he would have been right. Everything within reach had been thrown at the wall. And then she had wasted another hour clearing up the mess. She never lost control. She never would again after that. What a time-wasting loss of energy that had been. Sore throat? Sore head was closer to the truth. Did Tino Zagorakis really think he could direct events that, not only affected her own life, but the lives of people she cared about, from his private island?