The Russian's Ultimatum(6)

By: Michelle Smart

Escorting Emily to Aliana Island wouldn’t affect anything. He could accompany her there and be back in Europe within thirty-six hours. And yet...

Pascha didn’t like leaving anything to chance. He wanted to be there on the scene should any unexpected crises be thrown up, not halfway round the world with a blackmailing thief.

The inter-connecting door opened and Emily burst into his private space, a space not even his executive secretary or PA were permitted to enter. More curls had sprung free from the bun she’d wedged her hair in, ebony tendrils falling over her face and down her back.

Without any preliminaries, she launched straight in. ‘If I agree to effectively be kidnapped by you, I want it in writing that you’ll exonerate my father from any and all charges.’

‘I’ve already agreed to that.’

‘I want your written guarantee. I doubt he’ll ever be in a position to return to work, so I also want you to back-date the money he’s been denied since being under suspension. And I want you to give him a decent pay-off of, say, a quarter of a million pounds.’

Pascha shock his head, almost laughing at her nerve. ‘Your demands are ridiculous.’

She shrugged mutinously. ‘That’s what I want. If you agree to my demands, then I will agree to your demands.’

‘I think you forget who is in the driving seat. I’m not the one whose father’s future hangs in the balance.’

‘True. But your wish for secrecy over your involvement in the Plushenko deal is in the balance.’ Here, her face transformed, lighting up with faux sweetness. ‘Either you agree to my demands or I whistle it to the world. We can call it a deal of mutual benefit or, if you prefer, mutually beneficial blackmail.’

Emily had never been on the receiving end of such pure loathing before. It radiated off him like a rippling wave.

She refused to cower.

She didn’t care what the motivation was for his buy-out, knew only that it had to be something more than a simple business deal. Either that or the man was completely insane because no one went to such great lengths to secure a business deal.

No. For Pascha Virshilas, this buy-out was, for whatever reason, personal. And if he could use her emotions for leverage then she could certainly use his emotions for her own benefit—or, in this case, her father’s.

Now the ball was back in his court.

After what felt like an age, he gave a sharp nod. ‘I will agree to your demands with regards to your father, but you will disappear until my buy-out is complete. If at any point you find an opportunity to talk and are stupid enough to take it, our deal will be null and void and I will personally ruin the pair of you.’

* * *

Pascha pulled up outside the house in the London suburb Emily had given him as her address.

‘You live here?’ The cosy, mock-Tudor house was nothing like the home he’d imagined she would have. ‘This is my father’s home,’ she answered shortly. ‘I rented my flat out and moved back in a month ago.’

‘That must have been a come-down, moving back in with your parents.’

She fixed him with a hard stare. ‘Do not presume to know me or know anything about my life. Give me twenty minutes. I need to arrange some matters and get my stuff together.’

He opened his door before returning the stare. ‘I’m coming in with you.’

‘You certainly are not.’

‘I’m not giving you a choice. Until we get to your destination, you’re not leaving my sight.’

The fire running in her eyes sparked. ‘To be clear, if you say or do anything to upset my father then our agreement can go to hell.’

‘Then you will be the one dealing with the consequences.’

‘As will you.’ Before his eyes, her face transformed, the hardness softening to become almost childlike. ‘Please, Pascha. He’s in a very bad place. You probably won’t even see him but, if you do, please be kind.’

He’d never had any intention of upsetting her father. All the same, he found himself agreeing to her heartfelt plea. ‘I will say nothing to upset him.’

And, just like that, she went back into her hard shell and jumped out of the car. ‘Let’s go in, then.’

He followed her through the front door and into a spacious yet homely house.

‘Dad?’ she called, shouting up the stairs. ‘It’s only me. I’ll be up in a minute with a cup of tea for you.’ Not waiting for an answer, she headed into a large kitchen-diner, put the kettle on and reached for the house phone.

Pascha grabbed her wrist before she could dial the number. ‘Who are you calling?’

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