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Wrapping her fingers around the handles, she dragged a drawer open and stared inside. A sigh slowly peeled out of her. Underwear that she had only ever lusted after before was stacked—not laid, but stacked in neat piles—and arranged carefully according to colour. Of course she could easily have afforded any of it, but where clothes were concerned she was frugal. In the commune dozens of outfits had been shared around, but she had always worn the same threadbare track suit, guarding it jealously. The habit had stuck; though her clothes were no longer threadbare, she still kept her wardrobe to a minimum.

On the rare occasions when her father had pressed money into her hands so she didn’t disgrace herself at a social function, she had spent as little as possible, returning the change to a man who had been as bemused by his daughter’s parsimony as he had been appalled by her mother’s reckless transfer of funds to the commune. Treating herself had been out of the question, wasting her father’s money unthinkable, and she still kept rigid control of her finances. This abundance of luxury goods was like every birthday come at once…

It certainly beat having things sent on approval to the office, Lisa reflected ruefully as she rummaged through the drawer. Who, for goodness’ sake, had time to choose briefs made of the finest flesh-coloured gossamer net? As she held them up she knew that her decision to keep some of the things was already made. She might be destined to eat dinner alone, but she was going to be dressed to kill.

She chose an elegant floor-length silk skirt in dove-grey with a matching camisole that had a toning, chiffon over-shirt in shades of grey and smoky lilac. The colours were ideal for her complexion, and she wore her hair down. In one of the drawers she was stunned to find a pair of beautiful amethyst earrings in a small velvet case. She never wore jewellery, but these were gorgeous—and whoever had chosen them had exquisite taste. Maybe she would develop a taste for jewellery too, Lisa mused, viewing her reflection in the floor-length mirror.

She turned at a knock on the door, feeling rather foolish as she hurried to open it. She was dressed for an occasion, not to eat dinner alone on her balcony.

‘Oh.’ Lisa stared with amazement at the vast floral arrangement the maid was holding out to her.

‘For you, Thespinis Bond.’

‘Are you sure?’

The girl looked at her.

Of course, she was sure, Lisa realised, kicking her sluggish brain cells into action as she stood back to let the young girl into the room.

‘Shall I put them over here for you, Thespinis Bond, where you can see them from the bed?’ The maid hovered by an ornate console table.

‘Yes, please. That’s definitely the right place for them… They’re magnificent.’

‘They are all from the gardens here at Villa Aphrodite.’


‘I almost forgot, Thespinis Bond. There is a card for you.’

Taking the vellum envelope, Lisa waited until the maid had left the room before opening it. Her heart started to thump heavily as she read the firm, uncompromising script. ‘I would be delighted if you could join me for dinner this evening, Tino.’

So he hadn’t forgotten. Her heart was hammering like a piston. She was excited and apprehensive too. A small part of her wanted this to be the most romantic thing that had ever happened to her—that was ever likely to happen to her—but she knew she had to be wary of Tino’s motives. This was all very nice, but she couldn’t afford to be distracted yet again from the purpose of her visit. Was this just part of his business plan—his well-thought-out strategy to soften her up? Everyone said Tino Zagorakis would stop at nothing. Was this just another example of the tactics he was prepared to employ?

As Lisa stared at the beautiful flowers they might as well have sprouted darts all aimed in her direction. There was another discreet tap on the door, and when she opened it Lisa found the same maid hovering.

‘I’m sorry to trouble you again, Thespinis Bond, but Kirie Zagorakis would like your answer now. Will you be joining him for dinner, or would you prefer to dine in your room tonight?’

‘Tell him…’ Lisa glanced towards the balcony where she could see the lights from the garden reflected on the stone balustrade. Whatever Tino’s motives, she didn’t feel like hiding in her room. ‘Tell him I will be down shortly.’

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