Shackled by Diamonds

By: Julia James



But why, then, was he keeping her at his side? And if her, then why not the other models in turn?

She said as much at one point. He had just disengaged himself gracefully from a Dutch banker and his wife, and had taken Anna’s elbow to guide her towards the buffet tables.

‘Isn’t it time to show off the other stones now, Mr Makarios? There’s Kate with the rubies—over there.’

She indicated where the brunette was gazing awestruck, or so it seemed to her, at one of the men in the group she was part of. He was, Anna recognised, the orchestra’s conductor.

Leo Makarios’s gaze flicked across to Kate.

‘How could I deprive Antal Lukacs of his latest adoring fan?’ he murmured sardonically. ‘And such a young and beautiful one.’

Anna’s eyes widened. ‘That’s Antal Lukacs?’ Even she had heard of such a world-famous conductor.

The heavy-lidded eyes glanced down at her.

‘Would you like to meet him?’

‘I’m sure he’s quite bored enough with people gushing all over him,’ she said dismissively.

‘Somehow,’ Leo Makarios murmured, ‘I can’t see you gushing over anyone.’ His voice became dryer suddenly, more critical. ‘You are certainly quite unimpressed to be wearing jewels that every woman here envies you wearing.’

Anna looked up at him.

‘They’re just carbon crystals—valued only because they are rare. Lots of other common crystals are just as beautiful. Diamonds are only worth money—’

‘They are the Levantsky diamonds! Works of art in their own right,’ Leo said sharply.

She shrugged. ‘So is Mozart’s music—and that doesn’t cost millions to enjoy!’

The dark eyes rested on her. She watched them narrow very slightly. She did not look away. Why should she?

‘I was told,’ he said softly—and it was that same softness that had raised the hair on the nape of her neck earlier ‘—that you have an attitude issue. Lose it.’

She smiled sweetly up at him. She could feel adrenaline start to run in her.

‘Is that another of your instructions, Mr Makarios?’

For a long moment he looked at her. She felt the adrenaline curl around every cell in her body.

‘What is your problem, Ms Delane?’ he asked, in that same soft, deadly voice.

You, she wanted to say. You’re the problem.

Then, even as she stared defiantly back at him, her false smile straightening to a thin, pressed line, something changed in his eyes.

He seemed to move minutely, as if closing her off from the rest of the room.

The lashes swept down over his eyes, and she felt the breath in her throat tighten.

‘Don’t fight me,’ he said in a low voice. Then she could see it. Something else came into his eyes, something that made a hollow where her stomach usually was. ‘You really are,’ he added slowly, ‘quite incredibly beautiful…’

Anna felt the hollow where her stomach had been turn slowly over.

No. She didn’t want this happening. She didn’t.

She opened her mouth to say so. Say something. Anything. But all she could do was stare. The room disappeared; the people disappeared; everything vanished. She was just standing, looking up at the man—letting him look at her. Look at her with those powerful heavy-lidded eyes, over which those long dark lashes were sweeping down.

The hollow where her stomach had been pooled with heat—heat that was starting to spread out through the veins in her body, carried by her treacherous beating heart.

She saw him see it. See the way the heat was starting to flow through her body. The eyes, so dark, so lambent, narrowed. A smile curved along his wide, mobile mouth. It was a smile of acknowledgement, satisfaction.

Anticipation.

He murmured something to her. So quietly that in the buzz of noise and conversation all around Anna thought she must have imagined it.

Of course she had imagined it.

But for a moment she thought he had murmured, ‘Later…’

Then, in an instant, his expression changed, becoming smooth and bland.

‘Ah, Minister…’

The perambulation resumed. And Leo Makarios still kept Anna at his side.



Anna kicked off her shoes with a sense of relief. Then she peeled off the long black satin gloves, dropping them onto the dressing table stool in her room. Hooking her now bare fingers round her back, she started to undo the painstakingly fastened together dress. The diamonds had been handed back into the care of the security company, and finally the models had been free to go up to their rooms. Anna had hardly been able to wait.

God, the evening had been endless!

And more than that. Her nerves were shredded, stretched to breaking point.

Being touted around by Leo Makarios had been excruciating.

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