The Russian's Ultimatum(5)

By: Michelle Smart



She’d never seen such stillness. It was unnerving. Almost as unnerving as her attempt to blackmail him. But then, she’d never thought she would break into an office with the sole intention of stealing data from a billionaire’s laptop.

After what felt like an age, where Emily’s skin became tense enough to snap, Pascha leaned forward to rest his elbows on the desk and draw his fingers together.

‘So, Miss Richardson, you think you can blackmail me to get what you want? I will not be threatened and I will not have the deal I’ve spent two years working on be destroyed.’ The grey in his eyes glittered with loathing. ‘I will not capitulate to your demands. No. You, Miss Richardson, are going to disappear.’

That made her sit up straight. She shook her head, as if unsure she’d heard him correctly. ‘What? You’re going to make me disappear?’

‘Not in the sense you’re thinking,’ he said shortly, aggrieved to see her face had turned white. What kind of a man did she think he was? ‘I can’t take the risk of you disclosing the specifics of this deal, so I need you to disappear for a week.’ And he knew the perfect place to take her.

Emily stared at him with wide, disbelieving eyes that held a hint of relief, probably at the confirmation he wasn’t going to make her disappear via a wooden box. ‘You can’t be serious.’

‘I am never anything but serious.’

‘I don’t doubt it. But I’m not going anywhere.’

‘Yes, you are. I will agree to clear your father’s name but in return you must agree to go into hiding for a week.’

He had to give her something in exchange, that much he knew. And, seeing as it was her father’s name she wanted to clear, then that was what she would have. It was hardly a trivial sum either. One-hundred-and-fifty-thousand pounds had gone missing on her father’s watch. He was the only person who could have taken it.

Her stomach roiling, Emily forced her mind to think clearly. As deftly as a professional tennis player, Pascha had regained control of the court. But this wasn’t a game. Not to her. And, she knew, not to him either. What he was demanding of her was unbelievable, yet the set expression of those cool, grey eyes and the line of those wide, firm lips showed he wasn’t bluffing. ‘I can’t just leave... I have commitments...’

‘You didn’t think of those commitments when you entered my office for illegal purposes.’

‘Yes, I did, but I only planned on losing a couple of days if I got caught. Not that I expected you to catch me. I was told you were in Milan.’

‘You really are remarkably well-informed.’ Those gorgeous lips curved into the semblance of a smile. Gorgeous lips? Had her anger addled her brain...? ‘But have no fear—I will learn who your mole is.’

She threw him a tight ‘that’s what you think’ smile. Emily would never sell out a friend, especially to a man as dangerous as Pascha Virshilas, who ruined people’s health and reputations for fun. She would bet that was the extent of any fun he had. He was so buttoned up, he probably even treated sex with the utmost precision.

And now she was imagining his sex life—where on earth had that come from? He’d unnerved her more than she’d credited.

Pascha rose to his feet and looked at his watch. ‘I will give you five minutes to make your decision: your father’s freedom in exchange for yours.’

‘But where will I go? I have nowhere to go to.’

‘I have somewhere to take you. It’s safe and out of the way.’

Leaving her standing there to glower at his retreating figure, Pascha opened the inter-connecting door and stepped into his private space.

Emily would agree. Complying would give her exactly what she’d come here for.

He pulled out his phone and fired off an email to his PA, telling her to rearrange all his appointments for the next two days. As he wrote, he ruminated over the arrangements needed to get Emily out of the country and then immediately fired half a dozen more emails to the people and organisations he paid to make things like this happen.

Not that he’d ever done something quite like this before. And, if he felt any discomfort over what he was doing, he was quick to remind himself that she’d thrown the first ball. Emily had broken into his office to steal his company’s data and then had tried to blackmail him. She didn’t deserve him to feel any guilt.

Everything was in hand with regards to the Plushenko buyout. All the negotiations had been finalised; now it was just a case of dotting every ‘i’ and crossing every ‘t’. His lawyers were in the process of doing just that. There was nothing more for him to do other than sign the final contracts in exactly one week.

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