The Argentinian's Demand(7)

By: Cathy Williams

‘I’m always serious when it comes to work.’ Leandro, still leaning forward with his elbows splayed on the desk, was looking at her very carefully. ‘As you might have gathered by now, I’m not a man who takes chances when it comes to my companies...’

‘I get that—but I would never disclose anything confidential to anyone!’

‘Better safe than sorry, though, wouldn’t you say...?’

Would she even miss him?, he thought, enraged with himself for even thinking it.

‘I’ll get in touch with the agency first thing in the morning.’

Distractedly she thought that a person could get lost in those dark eyes of his, which were resting on her with lazy, brooding speculation, and then she mentally slapped herself on the wrist for letting her imagination get the better of her.

Not only was it foolish but it was entirely inappropriate, given the current circumstances.

‘No need just yet...’

Whoever said that a good head for business precluded a talent for creative thinking?

‘I have a project that’s coming to an end on a small island in the Caribbean. Finishing touches to one of my hotels before the grand opening in six weeks’ time. I need to be there personally to sign off on the details...’

Not strictly true, but it would certainly serve his purpose at this juncture. No way she was going to just up sticks and disappear into the sunset without a backward glance. Furthermore, she intrigued him—and now, with this peculiar letter of resignation, she was intriguing him even more.

‘That’s not a problem. I’m more than capable of covering in your absence, and of course I will communicate daily on email. I can even begin sifting through prospective replacements so when you return you only have to interview the handful I’ve selected...’

‘Not precisely what I had in mind. I do have to keep an eye on you—as you have so aptly brought to my attention... So here are my thoughts: you and I will travel to my hotel and test-drive it, so to speak. Make sure the nuts and bolts are all in place, the paperwork is spotless, the teams are ready for when the place opens... And, of course, out there you will be removed from any temptation to get in touch with anyone who might be interested in buying sensitive information and it will give me time to get my people to firewall anything that could be stolen... What do you think? No, scratch that. Just get your passport, pack a suitcase and book two first class tickets for us to leave first thing in the morning. Much more fun than sifting through potential candidates for a job, wouldn’t you agree?’

Emily blanched. ‘What sort of timescale are we talking about?’ she asked faintly.

There seemed little point in taking issue with his implication that she might be a common thief. His suspicious nature had helped get him where he was today, and it was as ingrained in his personality as an icy wasteland was in hers.

‘Well, you do have to give me a month’s notice... I imagine a fortnight should suffice when it comes to overseeing the final touches of the hotel...’

‘Two weeks?’

‘You sound shocked. I know you have a passport, so where’s the problem?’

‘I’m sorry, but I’m not going to be able to do that.’

‘And that would be because...?’

‘Because I have certain commitments.’

‘And would these “commitments” be related to that letter of resignation you produced an hour ago?’


Emily drew a deep breath and looked away. She could feel curiosity emanating from him in waves. Leandro Perez had a brilliant and enquiring mind. Was he about to let her go without trying to delve into the precise reasons for her resignation? How naive she had been to imagine that that might have been the case.

‘I’m all ears—because I’m still paying your salary and asking nothing that breaches the bounds of your duty.’

‘I realise that. It’s just that...that...’

‘That what?’

‘I’ll be leaving London. I’m getting married...’

            CHAPTER TWO

FOR A FEW seconds Leandro wondered whether he had heard correctly. Getting married? It was as ludicrous as if she had suddenly announced that she was resigning so that she could fulfil a lifelong ambition to climb backwards up Mount Everest. No, it was even more ludicrous—because never, not once, not for a passing moment, had she intimated that she had any kind of social life. She might very well have kept her personal life to herself, but there wasn’t a woman on the face of the earth who could resist letting slip something as big as that.