The Redemption of Darius Sterne(75)

By: Carole Mortimer

Dark eyebrows rose. ‘We’ve met?’

‘No. I’ve only seen you once in person. I don’t count the time I was hiding in the bathroom.’

‘You hid in the bathroom?’

‘You were on a firing spree. I didn’t want to be noticed.’

‘So you work for me two days a week, and on the other three days you’re working as a cleaner?’

‘No, I only do that job in the evenings. The other three days I’m doing fieldwork up at Aptera for the summer. But that’s almost finished. I’ve reached a crossroads in my life and I’ve no idea which direction to take.’

‘Fieldwork?’ That sparked his interest. ‘You’re an archaeologist?’

‘Yes, I’m part of a project funded by the university but that part doesn’t pay off my massive college loans so I have other jobs.’

‘How much do you know about Minoan antiquities?’

Lily blinked. ‘Probably more than is healthy for a woman of twenty-four.’

‘Good. Get back into the bathroom and dry yourself off while I find you a dress. Tonight I have to open the new wing of the museum. You’re coming with me.’

‘Me? Don’t you have a date?’

‘I had a date,’ he said smoothly. ‘As you’re partially responsible for the fact she’s no longer here, you’re coming in her place.’

‘But—’ She licked her lips. ‘I’m supposed to be cleaning your villa.’

His gaze slid from her face to the wash of water covering the bathroom floor. ‘I’d say you’ve done a pretty thorough job. By the time we get home, the flood will have spread down the stairs and across the living areas, so it will clean itself.’

Lily gave a gurgle of laughter. She wondered if any of his employees realised he had a sense of humour. ‘You’re not going to fire me?’

‘You should have more confidence in yourself. If you have knowledge of Minoan artefacts then I still have a use for you and I never fire people who are useful.’ He reached for the towel and tugged it off, leaving her clad only in her soaking wet underwear.

‘What are you doing?’ She gave a squeak of embarrassment and snatched at the towel but he held it out of reach.

‘Stop wriggling. I can’t be the first man to see you half naked.’

‘Usually I’m in a relationship when a man sees me naked. And being stared at is very unnerving, especially when you’ve been called fat by someone who looks like a toast rack—’ Lily broke off as he turned and strolled away from her. She didn’t know whether to be relieved or affronted. ‘If you want to know my size you could ask me!’

He reached for his phone and dialled. While he waited for the person on the other end to answer, he scanned her body and gave her a slow, knowing smile. ‘I don’t need to ask, theé mou,’ he said softly. ‘I already know your size.’

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