Russian's Ruthless Demand(8)

By: Michelle Conder

‘Very funny.’

Giving himself a mental shakedown Lukas got his mind back on track. ‘Or perhaps you just don’t think you can do it.’

Eleanore couldn’t believe the gall of the man. First he insulted her business and then he insulted her. About to lambast the man, the enormous overhead fan kicked in and a blast of cold air shot out of the vents and cooled her heated cheeks. It also blew the loose strands of her hair across her face.

Pulling off a glove she reached up to carefully dislodge the hair that had snagged on her lipstick when her fingers collided with his. Apparently Lukas had also removed his glove and she knew a moment of absolute shock as the feel of his warm skin against hers zinged through her system in a flash of sexual heat. Like a cyborg waking from a deep sleep, parts of her body came online for the first time and her dazed eyes landed on his sculpted lips so close to her own.

‘An ice hotel,’ he murmured, his gaze lingering on her mouth as if he knew she had been wondering what it would be like to breach the insignificant gap between them and kiss him.

Flustered, annoyed and tired, Eleanore glared at the man. ‘I beg your pardon?’

‘I’m building an ice hotel and my architect just quit. I want you to complete the design and project-manage the build.’

An ice hotel? A whole ice hotel? For a moment all Eleanore’s other senses came to full attention. She’d tried to convince Isabelle to do an ice hotel in Canada the year before but she had thought it a waste of time and money. ‘Why did your architect quit?’

‘Because his ego was larger than his talent.’

Eleanore’s lips quirked at his incongruous statement. ‘I’m sure he didn’t phrase it like that.’

‘Perhaps not.’ He gave her a slow smile. ‘But I can see I have your attention now.’

Annoyed at the victorious gleam in his eyes she shook her head. ‘Which part of no didn’t you get, Mr Kuznetskov? The n or the o?’

‘I don’t tend to respond that well to the word no,’ he drawled.

‘Then you haven’t wasted your time coming here after all because you’re about to be taught an important life lesson. And anyway, my sister would never agree to it.’

Isabelle had been even angrier about Lukas’s disparaging comments two years ago than Eleanore had been.

‘Well, that’s too bad.’ He shrugged. ‘Perhaps I’ll approach Spencer Chatsfield and see what he can do for me.’

Spencer Chatsfield? He was probably the only other man Isabelle disliked more. And what did Lukas know about their current feud? ‘Is that some sort of threat?’ she asked incredulously.

‘I never make threats.’ His smoking-hot grin told her he knew he had her. ‘I’m in room 1006 if you change your mind.’

‘We don’t have a room 1006.’

His grin faded into a cocky smile as if he knew his next words would choke her. ‘Room 1006 at The Chatsfield.’

And he was right.

Eleanore blinked as he strode unhurriedly from the bar, his loose-limbed grace drawing both male and female glances his way.

Arrogant, horrible...

‘That got a little heated,’ Lulu said, materialising at her side.

She wasn’t kidding.

Eleanore frowned. ‘Have you seen my phone?’

‘Yeah.’ She reached behind an ice shelf on the bar. ‘I put it here when we got busy before and forgot to tell you.’

Picking it up Eleanore tried to get her cold fingers to work long enough to call Isabelle. It was still early in New York—if in fact her sister was even in New York—but she still couldn’t get through to her.

About to leave a message, she hung up. Would Lukas Kuznetskov really approach the Chatsfields for help with his ice hotel? And if he did what would Isabelle say if she knew Eleanore had passed up the opportunity to get in first?

‘I’m in room 1006 if you change your mind.’

Arrogant, horrible...

Annoyed Eleanore downed a glass of water on the bar and only realised halfway through that it wasn’t water.

Lulu smacked her on the back repeatedly as she went into a coughing fit. ‘Honey, that was straight tequila,’ she advised.

Eleanore dabbed at her watering eyes. ‘It’s in a water glass,’ she wheezed.

‘We ran out of shot glasses.’

Great. A burnt oesophagus on top of everything else. What more could go wrong tonight?

                      CHAPTER TWO

TEN MINUTES LATER Eleanore found herself in a cab outside the main entrance of The Chatsfield, Singapore.

She glanced out the window, scouting for any paparazzi lurking in the shadows. Fortunately no one was around other than a liveried doorman and she steeled her spine as he reached out to open her door.