|Название||The Price Of His Redemption|
|Автор произведения||Carol Marinelli|
|Серия||Mills & Boon Modern|
‘That’s it.’ Libby sighed and gave in. ‘I’m not very good at trying to persuade people. I tend not to bother, in fact.’
‘Well, just so you know, your technique is all wrong,’ he said. ‘First, you should have given me all the shit, just laid it out on the table for me.’
‘You should have told me that I would have to go by my adopted name if I attended—Daniel Thomas—and that I would be expected to give a speech...’
Libby sat with her mouth gaping, realising he was streets ahead of her.
‘Then,’ Daniil said, ‘when you had my emphatic refusal, then you should have tried to persuade me and talk me round by pointing out my mother’s declining health and such things.’
‘Would it have worked?’
‘Not on me,’ he said. ‘I’m just letting you know, for future reference, that you were working backwards with your technique because, had I dubiously agreed, there was still more you had to ask of me. You hit me too soon with the sob story.’
‘Well, then, it’s just as well this isn’t my usual kind of work,’ Libby said, and peered at him. He completely intrigued her. He was a stunning mix—arrogant and hostile yet somehow approachable.
‘Tell your father the answer is no—I shall not be attending my parents’ wedding anniversary celebrations.’
‘Because?’ she asked.
‘I have no reason to, neither do I wish to share my decision-making process with you.’
‘Was it always going to be a no?’
‘Then, why did you agree to see my father?’
‘Well, he insisted that he had something to say that might change my mind. I notice that you didn’t mention my inheritance going to Cousin George.’
‘I have no reason to, neither do I wish to share my decision-making process with you.’ Libby parroted his words but he just smiled.
‘You know you want to really.’
‘Well—’ Libby shuffled in her seat ‘—I happen to think that’s blackmail.’
‘That’s my parents’ favourite sport,’ Daniil said. ‘Anyway, I don’t need a draughty old mansion on my hands. I loathe the place. I certainly have no wish to ever own it.’
Libby hated that she’d been talked into doing this, she really did. ‘Look, I’m very sorry for interrupting you, Mr Zverev.’
‘Yes.’ Libby beamed. ‘I’ll pass on your response to my father.’
‘If he is annoyed at not getting his way, know that he would have lasted one minute with me. You can console yourself you did better than he ever could have.’
‘I liked watching your mouth.’
‘You can’t say that.’
‘Why not? You demanded to see me, you came into my office without a proper appointment, you don’t get to dictate how I behave in here.’
He stood and she just about folded over in her seat as six feet two of heaven gracefully walked across the floor and retrieved his jacket from a stand. Well, he sort of flicked it off the hook and then slipped it on, all in one lithe motion.
‘There’s water,’ Daniil said, ‘and over there is a fridge with some nice contents. The bathroom is through there...’
‘You’re still sitting and I’m clearly on my way out so I assumed you were staying.’
Even standing was a challenge with him in the room. Her legs had forgotten their role, and so had her head because she even bent down to retrieve her bag, which, of course, wasn’t there.
‘That’s right, I left it at Reception.’
He made her seem slightly mad.
She felt slightly mad.
As she stepped out of his office it was like walking out of a ten-hour back-to-back session at the movies and blinking at the light.
Libby picked up her bag and gave Snooty Pants a smile then headed for the elevator but she jumped in quiet surprise when she realised that he was standing behind her.
‘I thought that you’d have a special elevator,’ Libby observed. ‘One that only goes up.’
Yes, she thought, he would take her to heaven.
They stepped in and the doors closed and Libby waited for the most excruciating elevator ride of her life to commence, but instead it turned out to be the best ever.
He was checking his phone and then he looked up to where she stood. She was leaning against the wall, gazing at his stunning face, intrigued by his scar.
‘Do you want an early dinner?’ he said, and, just like that, he offered her a delectable slice of his time.
‘Well, I’m hungry and I guess you didn’t have time to eat in your haste to get to your critically injured father.’
Libby’s lips twitched into a smile.
‘And then,’ Daniil continued, ‘there would have been all the shock and relief of finding out that he only had mild concussion.’
She laughed. ‘No, I didn’t have lunch.’
‘So do you want dinner?’ Daniil checked. ‘But on one condition.’
They stepped out and walked across the foyer. She glanced at the receptionist who hadn’t been going to let her in and Libby was tempted to poke out her tongue.
‘What’s the condition?’ she asked.
‘Know that I shan’t be changing my mind.’
‘About?’ Libby frowned and then answered her own question—oh, yes, the reason she was there. ‘I get that.’
They walked out and a car with a driver standing outside was waiting for him.
‘How did he know you were on your way out?’
‘Cindy would have rung down to alert him that I was leaving.’
Well, yes, she would be called that.
As she climbed into the car, one of the many things that Libby was thinking about was how much money she had on her and what the balance on her credit card was.
Her mother had always warned her to have enough money for a taxi ride home and she also wanted to know she had money enough on her card to pay for dinner.
He was, she had read, prone to walking off in the middle of a meal, or a holiday, or a photo shoot in Brazil. When bored, he did not push through politely.
He could leave at any moment, and she accepted that—this was transient and temporary.
She wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Now they were out of his vast office and in the smaller surroundings of a car, his size was more noticeable. Tall, his shoulders were wide, but as he had put on his jacket she had noted just how flat his stomach was.
She was small but he