‘That is a lot of money.’ And after her dad’s visit she didn’t even have alittlemoney.
‘Not to me.’
It wasn’t a boast, just a statement of fact.
He watched the emotions flicker across her face and concealed his sense of triumph. She had a soft heart, he could have worked the sympathy vote, but the money had swung it. Would this count against her in Marco’s eyes? He didn’t see why it should. Everyone had a price.
Rose took a deep breath. ‘All right, I’ll do it, but for half that amount.’
He blinked. ‘Pardon me?’
‘It’s too much.’
He fought off a smile of disbelief—she had a price, but it was relatively low. The likelihood of Marco’s sister-in-law being a gold-digger seemed fairly remote. ‘As you wish.’
‘Greece...?’ she said in a wonder-packed voice. ‘I’m going to Greece.’
Her travelling had always been done from the security of her armchair with a laptop propped on her knee while she planned trips she’d never be able to afford. And even if she had, she wasn’t sure she was brave enough to venture to exotic places alone. She always thought about what would go wrong. It was a mindset from her childhood when the parent child roles had been reversed—her dad hadn’t thought what might go wrong and someone had to, so she had become, as her father termed it,the voice of doom.
‘You are helping me out of a difficult situation. I’m grateful.’
Is she for real?he asked himself, watching through half-lowered lids as her golden eyes misted.
Anyone who wore their emotions so close to the surface the way she did might just as well walk around with a sign pinned to their back saying,Take advantage of me!
Which was exactly what he was doing.
Though in a benign way, he reminded himself, pushing away the scratch of guilt, and instantly feeling irritated that he felt the rare need to justify his actions to himself.
She swallowed a lump in her throat. It was less what he said and more what he wasn’t saying that made her tender heart squeeze.
‘What is the baby’s name?’ she asked quietly.
She nodded and he watched her soft, sensual mouth quiver. ‘A lovely name.’
He nodded, lowering his lids to hide the gleam of triumph in his eyes. ‘Your passport is up to date?’
‘Pass...oh, yes, I think so.’
‘Think or know?’ he cut back.
‘Know.’ On the receiving end of his obsidian-dark stare, she struggled to know her name, and doubts flicked through her head. There was no hint of the emotional vulnerability that had swung her decision in his face now. ‘So will you...?’
‘Let you know the details, yes.’
She waited but that, it seemed, was all she was getting. He seemed to have tuned her out as he retreated to the other side of the big desk, tapping something into his phone and focused on the screen.
Wondering what she had committed herself to, Rose picked up the bag that she had no memory of dropping at her feet. She turned and glanced over her shoulder, awkwardly and belatedly aware of the questions she should have asked, but it would seem that the moment to ask them had passed. He was speaking in a language that was Greek to her, and might actually have been.
In a daze she walked out of the room, her trainers squeaking on the polished wood floor of the echoey boardroom, the questions that she’d failed to ask a few moments ago buzzing in her head like a swarm of wasps.
She was already having buyer’s remorse or second thoughts. She’d taken a leap in the dark and it did not feel liberating, it felt awful. It swallowed up the excitement of the chance to travel, leaving only anxiety.
Why had she said yes? OK, the moneyhadbeen a practical factor, but turning her back on someone’s need, their plea for help, even if that someone was Zac Adamos, was something her soft heart simply wouldn’t allow her to do.
She tried to imagine anyone saying no to Zac Adamos and felt slightly less feeble. It had probably never happened, but she’d love to witness it when it did. She could empathise with his situation but that didn’t mean that she thought he was any less of an arrogant and up-himself narcissist.