“Then it’s settled.” Liam grinned, his dark eyes crinkling at the corners. “When do I get to meet this Daisy of yours?”
Daisy of yours? Sebastian picked up his cup of tea again. He liked the sound of it. His Daisy. “Shall we get everyone together at G.R.’s to celebrate my engagement and successful negations?”
“Positive visualization—I like it.” Liam finished his tea and set it down on the tray. He straightened his tie. “Let me pop down to my office, get the paperwork we need on my end, and meet you in conference room three in about fifteen minutes.”
Sebastian moved to his desk, clicked on Outlook, and began to read his emails. “See you then.” Liam exited the room, the door closing with a soft click.
Ten minutes had passed before he remembered he needed to inform Daisy of his plans. God, she was going to be furious with him, possibly hurt. Although she was already mad enough at him not to even care if she didn’t see him for a couple of days.
Change of plans. You’ll need to find something to do today, tonight, and most of tomorrow. Dinner with my friends has been moved to Wednesday night at seven thirty. I have business meetings that cannot be missed. Shall I arrange a tour for you?-S
There. He’d informed her of his plans and now she could make her own, with any help from him she needed.
Daisy stared at Sebastian’s latest text. Was he serious? He was going to leave her alone for the next two days? To do what? Oh yeah, take a tour he would arrange for her.
Bless his heart.
No thank you. Have fun at your playdate. Tell the other dictators I said hi and you suck. ~D
Crap. Not he sucked, which he did, but the other guys. Not you suck, btw. They suck. ~D
Whether or not he meant to be funny, she wasn’t sure.
The maid showed her to one of the six guestrooms in the five-story mansion. Another servant, dressed in a dark suit, brought up her suitcases and set them on a low dresser.
“Shall I unpack for you, ma’am?” the maid asked with a smile.
Daisy returned her smile. “No, thank you. But could you tell me what’s the best way to tour London?”
“Sorry, but I wouldn’t know, ma’am.”
“Thanks anyway,” Daisy said as the maid left the room.
Sighing, Daisy padded to one of several windows overlooking a green square with several huge trees, heavy with green leaves. Men, women, and families walked around. A few gathered in small clusters in the shade of the trees.
Maybe she could join them.
The nap she thought she had to have was replaced by the thrill of being in a foreign land, doing foreign things, and loving every minute of it.
“Conquer the bucket list,” she sang.
After taking care of her most pressing needs, she grabbed her coat and purse, and headed downstairs. Just as she opened the front door, the bodyguard she’d met in Holland Springs intercepted her.
“Where are you going?” he asked, his accent thick. Russian, she’d bet.
She smiled. “To the park across the street, and then who knows?”
“I have to know.” Leather creaked as he crossed his arms.
Her smile faded. “I can’t just explore and see where the day takes me?”
“Oh.” She tried again. “But—”
“Mr. Romanov would fire me, if I let you go…exploring.”
Well, she didn’t want to get the man fired and she understood that here things would be different. Like Sebastian had been. But understanding and actually experiencing were two very different things. “Okay. Well, I guess I’ll figure out my itinerary and give it to you.” So much for spontaneity.
He nodded once. “And clear it with Mr. Romanov.”
Clear it? Like she had to have his approval? She opened her mouth to argue again.
“Mr. Romanov values your safety above his own. He left me here with you, instead of Boris.”
“You’re better than Boris?”
“Da. I trained Boris.”
Though she knew she shouldn’t be swayed by that, she felt the tiniest bit of anger and resentment slip away. “Then shouldn’t he be just as good as you?”
His jaw worked. “I’m still the teacher and he’s still the student.”
Well, she couldn’t argue with that logic. “It would have been nice to have been told all this ahead of time.”
“Da. Make your plans, Countess.”
“I’m not a countess.” She never would be.
“You will be.” His mouth twitched. A smile maybe? “I’ll take you where you want to go. Mr. Romanov left a credit card for you to use.”
“Okay.” Her heart felt heavy as she jogged back up the stairs and walked inside her room. Pulling out her phone, one that Sebastian had equipped with a new sim card, she began searching for and saving all the places she wanted to see.
Ten minutes later, she’d made her list and texted it to Sebastian, since she didn’t have his email address.
Have fun –S
I will. Your bodyguard’s a riot. ~D
I don’t pay Ivan to be funny. I pay him to keep you safe –S
You paid me to be your fiancée, which meant spending time with you, not your bodyguard. ~D
And why are we still ending our texts with our initials? I know it’s you. You know it’s me. ~ D
Setting her purse on the dresser, she removed her wallet and stuck it, along with her phone, into her coat pocket. Determined to make the most of her trip, she marched to the door, down the hallway and the stairs, calling out Ivan’s name when she reached the bottom floor.
The enormous bodyguard appeared, sunglasses on, weapon concealed, and leather coat creaking. “Where to first, Countess?”
“The Tower,” she said as he opened her door. “I want to see if they have any vacancies.”
It was nearly midnight when Sebastian arrived home. He trudged up the stairs, rubbing the back of his neck. For the time being, everything was going according to plan. Liang Technology wanted to do business with Romanov Industries. The details merely had to be worked out. But the devil usually cropped up in those, so he had to be wary and hire his own translators to make sure the agreement would be profitable for both companies.
He blinked, his jaw cracking on a yawn. He needed to sleep and check on Daisy. The report from Ivan said they’d visited the Palace today and the Tower. Though he hadn’t needed one from his bodyguard.