|Название||The Price Of His Redemption|
|Автор произведения||Carol Marinelli|
|Серия||Mills & Boon Modern|
As she stepped in Libby blinked. She was standing in a postcard view of London. She might just as well have bought a ticket for the London Eye, though there would never have been someone quite as delicious sitting opposite her there!
He had dark hair, dark eyes and pale skin and there was a livid scar across his left cheekbone. He sat straight in his seat at a very large desk, watching her with mild interest.
Despite the huge office, despite the vast space, he looked so formal and imposing that he owned every inch of it.
‘Thank you for agreeing to see me, Mr Zverev,’ she said, while privately, such was his impact, she rather wanted to turn and run.
‘My, my, Mr Tennent,’ Daniil said. ‘What a high, clear voice you have.’
His own voice was deep and his words were dipped and richly coated in a chocolaty Russian accent, and as she realised he was alluding to the appointment being with her father her smile stretched further and she lost her fear.
‘And, oh, Mr Tennent,’ Daniil continued, his eyes taking in her slender bare legs, ‘what smooth skin you have.’
She stood before him and, no, Libby wasn’t scared in the least. Still she smiled.
‘I think we both know, Mr Zverev...’ she started, and then halted as she properly met those cold grey eyes that pierced her. She sent a silent apology to the women she had so merrily scorned for getting involved with him. She had never understood women who could simply leap into bed with a man but she had to wrestle to hold on to her conscience, for he was so beautiful, his stare so intense and so sexy that he could possibly have had her then.
She had to clear her throat so she could continue speaking, and she had to recall their words just to find her thread.
Yes, that’s right...
‘I think we both know, Mr Zverev,’ Libby said, ‘that you’re the big bad wolf!’
SURPRISINGLY, WHEN SHE was so bold as to call him the big bad wolf to his face, Daniil actually smiled. ‘Indeed I am.’
Libby caught her breath. Those hooded, guarded features briefly relaxed, that deep red sulky mouth stretched and the cold grey eyes softened. Not a lot, just enough that, for a brief second, he didn’t look quite so formidable.
But very quickly that changed and it was down to business.
‘Take a seat,’ he instructed.
Libby did, crossing her ankles and resting her hands in her lap.
‘Would you like some refreshment?’ he offered.
‘No, thank you.’
‘You’re sure?’ he checked.
‘Quite sure.’ Libby nodded, just as she realised she was terribly thirsty, yet she felt uncomfortable knowing what she was about to ask him and cross with her father for the position she was in.
Daniil reached across his desk and opened a bottle of sparkling water. It was chilled, she could see that from the condensation on the bottle, and, suddenly very thirsty, Libby heard the delicious fizzing sound as he opened it and then the lovely glug, glug, glug as he poured it into a heavy glass.
He didn’t offer again.
But then he pushed the glass towards her, and with a slight roll of her eyes she took it. ‘Thank you.’
He poured his own and she glanced at his hands—even they were beautiful, his fingers long and slender, his nails short and manicured.
‘So?’ Daniil said.
Oh, yes. She dragged her mind back to the reason she was there. ‘My father is very sorry that he couldn’t make it this evening. He was involved in a car accident earlier today.’
‘I’m sorry to hear that,’ Daniil said. ‘He wasn’t seriously injured, I hope?’
‘Oh, no.’ She was surprised at the concern in his voice. ‘It’s just a mild concussion...’
Daniil hid his smirk as her voice trailed off and he watched as Libby frowned. It was a very mild concussion. In fact, the doctor had come in just as Libby had been leaving and had told Lindsey that he could go home.
If this meeting with Daniil had been so pressing, so vital and urgent, then surely he could have made the effort and come?
‘He needs to rest for the next forty-eight hours,’ she said, though suddenly she felt as if she was convincing herself instead of him. ‘As you know, he’s an events planner and—’
‘And the event that he is planning will not go ahead unless I attend.’ Daniil broke into her chatter.
‘Yes.’ Libby took a sip of her water. ‘Sir Richard is very adamant that without his son there...’ She looked at Daniil and saw the tiny rise of his eyebrows and she had the feeling he was laughing at her, though his lips did not move. ‘Well, it’s their fortieth wedding anniversary. That’s quite an achievement these days.’
‘What is?’ Daniil checked.
‘A forty-year marriage.’
Libby blinked at his question. ‘Well, I guess if it’s a happy marriage then it’s quite an achievement.’ She shot out a nervous laugh—he picked up on everything.
‘I guess it is something.’ Daniil shrugged. ‘I have never made it past forty-eight hours...’
His eyes held hers, really held hers, and to her astonishment Libby realised that there was a warning there. A delicious warning perhaps, and Libby’s own eyes narrowed at something she couldn’t quite put her finger on.
One—she pondered, was he flirting with her?
Possibly, she conceded. A lot of work would have gone into honing his technique so he was just idly practising perhaps.
Two—if he could be so direct then so would she.
‘There was that German supermodel...’ Libby wagged her finger at him. ‘You lasted two weeks with her, I believe.’
‘You’ve done your homework,’ Daniil said approvingly. ‘Ah, yes, Herta. I followed her to a photo shoot in Brazil, not because I was lovesick, more that I had to check something...’ His gorgeous index finger went to his Adam’s apple.
‘I kept thinking—she was so tall and that voice of hers was so deep...’
Oh, my God, he was shocking.
‘And was she...?’ Libby croaked.
‘A she?’ Daniil said, and nodded. ‘She definitely was. Thank God.’ He let out a low laugh and Libby forgot what planet she was on. It was Daniil who had to bring her back to earth. ‘Go on,’ he said.
She had two big guns to use on him and a very impatient target. She could almost sense her time with the great man was about to expire.
‘Well, as you know, Lady Katherine is unwell,’ Libby said. ‘Extremely unwell.’
‘Not so unwell that she can’t throw a party,’ Daniil pointed out.
She tried to trip or even make a tiny jiggle on his guilt switch but he just coolly stared back at her as she spoke. ‘Well, there might not be a forty-first.’
‘Is that it?’ Daniil