For the Love of a Devil

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For the Love of a Devil Page 3

by Margaret Carr

  Why must the beastly man always catch her at a disadvantage. First it was the darkness that hid him, then she couldn’t recall his name, now here he was silhouetted against the sun. She turned to look across to where Yvonne lay but there was only an empty chair.

  ‘Miss Campbell left to get some drinks I believe. May I sit until she returns?’

  ‘Please yourself,’ she was well aware that she was being churlish but seemed unable to help herself. The man rubbed her up the wrong way. She lay back and closed her eyes, offering up a small prayer for Yvonne’s swift return. She heard the creak of the chair as he sat down.

  ‘I believe you are on a week’s holiday here in Rhodes. I myself travel extensively which is why I have bought a second place in England. However, Rhodes is my home, my family reside here. I’m a widower with a daughter who lives with my brother and his wife.’

  Why am I getting his family history, she wondered. Then her eyes flew open in shock at his next words.

  ‘I would like to offer you a job here in Rhodes. If you think you might be interested please contact me here.’ And he placed a card on the chair as he got up to leave.

  Selina watched him walk away past the pool, the only man in a business suit, collar and tie. When Yvonne returned she found her friend sitting with a stunned expression and clasping a small card in her hand.

  ‘What did he want?’

  ‘He offered me a job.’

  Yvonne scowled, ‘What kind of job?’

  ‘Not a clue, he left his card in case I wanted to know more.’

  ‘And do you, want to know more?’

  Selina shook her head. ‘I don’t know, it’s something to think about though, don’t you think?’

  Yvonne handed her a drink and sat down. ‘What about your job in England?’

  ‘I could do with a break. My friend recently got married and we shared a life for a long time, flat, holidays, that sort of thing. I shall miss her back home. If I stayed here it would be a new start for me.’

  They had another swim then returned to their rooms to prepare for dinner.

  ‘How are you feeling now, better I hope?’ Clifford had arrived punctually at eight and Yvonne had left after their initial drink.

  ‘Sorry for snapping at you earlier. My headache cleared up and the swelling on my legs has gone down considerably since my swim.’

  ‘You should have said you were going swimming, I’d have stayed over.’

  ‘I didn’t think of it until a friend called and reminded me how helpful it might be.’

  ‘A friend?’

  ‘Yes, an Australian girl, she was with me when the car hit me.’

  A frown creased his brow. ‘I didn’t know it was a traffic accident. Did you see who knocked you down?’

  Sipping her drink, she regretted letting that bit of news slip. ‘He drove me to the hospital.’

  ‘I should think so and all,’ Clifford growled. ‘It was the least he could do. Are you covered for insurance, I can help if there’s a problem.’

  ‘No thank you, everything’s fine.’

  ‘Did you get a name? I think he should know that you are not alone. He’ll think twice about dodging responsibility if he knows there’s a man behind you. It’s very much a man’s world here you know. Women are second class citizens.’

  Selina’d had enough and changed the subject. For the rest of the evening he was a pleasant companion, so after a bit of persuading she promised to meet him for a ride out the next day.

  Over the following week she had little time to herself with a trip to Lindos where she climbed the Acropolis and a visit to the ancient city of Kamiros. In between Clifford took her to the valley of the butterflies, Faliraki, and to several little coves on the quiet north coast, where they swam and picnicked.

  Yvonne taught her enough Greek words to pass a quiet greeting to shopkeepers and make herself understood in the tavernas. She returned often to the little taverna with the canary under the awning and became friendly with the owner who told her he had to work very hard for he had two daughters both of which needed good dowries to find them good husbands.

  She was searching through her bag one day while sitting at one of the tables when a piece of card dropped out and fluttered to the ground. The old man placed her order on the table and stooped to pick it up. He made a moue with his mouth and his bushy moustache twitched.

  ‘You know this man?’

  Selina looked up, saw he’d read Demitri Vardos’s card and nodded her head.

  ‘Ne, a little.’

  ‘He is a good man,’ he gave her a wide grin, ‘important man, old family, much wealth.’

  Selina was horrified, what was the old man thinking, that she was out to find a rich husband. Heaven forbid, but how did she explain.

  ‘Business,’ she said, smiling. ‘I have business with Mr Vardos.’

  ‘Ah business.’ This seemed to satisfy him and he waddled off back inside.

  Looking at the card in her hand she realised exactly what she must do, make up her mind, was she going to contact him and find out about this job or not. Nothing ventured nothing gained, she thought and taking out her mobile rang the number on the card.

  The female voice that answered sounded cold and disinterested. Demitri Vardos was not at home.

  ‘Then would you please ask him to contact me at the Hotel Belvedere, the name is Selina Adams.’ The phone went down with a snap leaving her staring at the tiny mobile in her hand. It would appear that the whole family were afflicted with the same unfortunate arrogance.

  Yvonne and Clifford were having a game of pool in a room at the hotel set aside for games when Selina joined them.

  Clifford lay down his cue and coming forward took hold of her hands. ‘There’s a party at my hotel tonight, I’m hoping you’ll say you’ll come.’

  On the point of refusing she changed her mind. Why not, she thought, after all hadn’t she come here to have a good time. She glanced over at Yvonne who was studying the layout on the table.

  ‘Why not?’

  A beautiful smile lit up his face. ‘Good, I’ll pick you up at eight-thirty.’

  Selina smiled back. After he’d gone she waited for Yvonne to say something, but her friend just handed her a cue. ‘Righty-oh, girl, show me what you’re made of.’

  Later on as they sat in the bar with a drink Selina asked, ‘Don’t you have a job back home?’

  ‘What, me, a job? No, I thought about it, mind, when the parents offered to have me with them, I could have stayed behind and worked, I was a beautician once upon a time. But my only other relative is my brother and he lives in New Zealand with his wife and four screaming kiddies, not really my scene, know what I mean.’

  The party was a wild one, but Clifford was very protective of her and when he saw her flagging suggested that they take a walk along the beach. The sea whispered along the sand’s edge while the lights of the fishing boats twinkled across the bay. The velvety darkness enfolded them as they walked. It was all very romantic and when Clifford stopped and took her into his arms she tried very hard to fall into the mood. His kiss was light and affectionate and in gratitude she kissed him back.

  It was after one when they headed back to the car. Selina had offered to get a taxi but Clifford wouldn’t hear of it and insisted on driving her back to the hotel. They were only a few miles out of Faliraki when the car gave a shudder and stopped.

  ‘We can’t have run out of fuel. I filled her up this morning,’ he said, climbing out and lifting the hood. His head disappeared inside, there was some tapping and thumping, then the slam as he dropped the hood. ‘I’ll give it another try.’

  Ten minutes passed, then fifteen as Clifford became more and more hot and upset. ‘I’ve tried everything I can think of, you wait until I get to that garage in the morning.’

  ‘Look,’ Selina cried, ‘lights, there’s something coming, perhaps they can help.’

  Clifford was out of the car and flagging down a large black vehicle. As i
t rolled to a stop Selina’s heart nearly stopped with it. When the driver rolled down the window to talk to Clifford, she could have died.

  When Clifford returned to their car he said, ‘The driver seems a decent sort, he’s going to take me back to my hotel then you back into town. The garage can collect this heap of junk in the morning.’ He helped Selina out of the car as he talked and led her over to the black BMW of Demitri Vardos.

  Clifford handed her into the rear seat then climbed in beside the driver. As the car moved forward Selina’s glance clashed with that of the Greek’s in the mirror. Once Clifford had left the car at his hotel Demitri insisted Selina sat in front.

  ‘Well, Miss Adams, we seem destined to meet.’

  Selina remained silent, staring directly ahead. Within minutes they passed the broken down car.

  ‘Have you given any more thought to my offer?’

  ‘Umm, yes as a matter of fact I rang you earlier today and was told you weren’t at home.’

  He turned his head giving her a quick glance. ‘What time would that be?’

  ‘Oh, about two.’

  They travelled the rest of the way in silence and soon reached the Belvedere. He pulled up in front of the hotel and climbed out to come around and open the door for her, but he was too late for she was already out and moving into the hotel. Walking behind her he escorted her first to the reception desk, where the night porter handed her the key, then to the door of the lift.

  ‘I will call at ten, then perhaps we can discuss what it was you wanted to tell me on the phone. Goodnight, Miss Adams.’

  Selina stepped inside the lift and pressed the bell as he walked away.

  Ten o’clock that morning she was sitting in the foyer when he arrived. She had been up and about since five o’clock, unable to sleep. She still didn’t know what she was going to say to him. Say nothing, she told herself, let him do the talking. I didn’t ask for the job, he offered it, so it’s up to him to sell it to me. Round and round her thoughts chased themselves until her head ached.

  He was standing before her. ‘Can I get you something to drink?’

  ‘No, thank you.’

  ‘Shall we go somewhere a little less crowded.’ He indicated a bus load of new arrivals.

  Before she could answer a little man was standing before them indicating that they should follow him. Selina stood up and allowed herself to be led into a small office, then the little man disappeared as quickly as he had arrived.

  When they were both seated he said, ‘Now perhaps you would be so good as to tell me why you were phoning me?’

  ‘I was enquiring as to the position you spoke of.’ That sounded OK.

  His eyebrows rose questioningly. ‘You are interested?’

  ‘I was.’

  ‘Does that mean something has happened to change your mind?’

  ‘Not necessarily.’

  ‘So. You are still interested?’

  This isn’t going right, he’s supposed to be doing all the talking, all he’s doing is asking questions. ‘Supposing you just tell me what the job involves.’ That’s better.

  Placing his elbow on the arm of his chair he rested his chin on a bent forefinger. ‘I need someone as a companion to my daughter. She is very delicate so a person with nursing qualities would be preferable. As I said before, I travel a lot so she lives with my brother and his wife. They have no children of their own, so she has no company to play with.’ Now his whole features relaxed and his mouth lifted in as much of a smile as she assumed him capable of.

  ‘My sister-in-law,’ he hesitated. ‘I think my home needs a lighter touch, Miss Adams, for the child’s sake.’

  ‘How old is your daughter?’

  ‘She will be five next week.’

  ‘Why, she’s just a baby.’

  ‘Does that make her beneath your capabilities to care for?’

  ‘No, oh no, just when you said companion, I suppose I thought . . .’

  ‘She plays a mean game of chess.’

  Selina caught what she had been going to say in her throat. ‘My holiday ends in two days’ time. I’ll let you know before then, I can’t say one way or the other at the moment.’

  ‘Very well, Miss Adams, two days from today.’ They stood up, shook hands and walked out into the foyer.


  ‘My mind’s made up, I’m going to take the job,’ Selina told Yvonne two days later. ‘The only thing now is how to tell Clifford. He’s set on us seeing each other when we get home.’ They were sitting on the terrace in front of the hotel, overlooking the sea.

  ‘When do you leave?’ Selina asked her friend.

  ‘We’re going to Paris next week, then I think we’re to visit Stepa’s relatives in Sweden.’ She sounded as if she couldn’t care less.

  ‘Why do you trail around with them, Yvonne?’

  The pain was back in her eyes, but she shrugged it off. ‘I’m recuperating after an accident, I’ve taken a year off.’

  Selina nodded, knowing better than to ask more, if her friend didn’t want to confide then so be it.

  ‘Are you meeting Clifford later?’

  ‘Yes, for lunch.’

  ‘When will you tell Vardos you’re accepting his job?’

  ‘I’ll ring him after I’ve seen Clifford.’

  They chatted idly for the next twenty minutes then Selina asked, ‘You still coming with me on the mystery tour tonight?’

  ‘Yup, sure am.’

  ‘Good, see you later then.’

  Upstairs in her room Selina stared back at her reflection. The crisp yellow dress still looked good, her hair tied back on her nape was cool and still tidy apart from the odd wisp that escaped here and there. She took a deep breath and leaned forward to inspect that the light lipstick was still in place, for she had a habit of chewing it off.

  She picked up the small white bag that matched her sandals and left the room, going downstairs and back on to the terrace where Clifford waited for her, conscientious as ever he had chosen a shaded table. He stood up and kissed her cheek before they sat down. They ate a light lunch of dolmades, vine leaves stuffed with lamb mince and rice in a golemono sauce.

  She broke the news of her stay in Rhodes as they relaxed after their meal.

  Clifford was shocked speechless. After a few minutes of staring at her he sat back in his chair and said, ‘I thought we had something going here. Will you be tied to a contract, how long will it be for?’

  ‘I’m sorry, but I need a change, now Caro’s married.’

  He shook his head as though to clear his mind of this unexpected revelation. ‘Yes of course, you hinted as much at the wedding, I just didn’t think it would be so sudden. Are you quite sure? I mean, it is a bit extreme.’

  ‘I don’t suppose I would have thought of it but for the job offer. I haven’t discussed the details yet, but I’ll let you know when I do.’

  ‘So, I’ll be going home alone as they say, the day after tomorrow. I’ll give you my address,’ he said, pulling a pen out of his shirt pocket and looking around for something to write on.

  Selina offered him a beer mat and when he had written it down put it into her bag.

  ‘Does that mean I can have you all to myself tomorrow?’

  Selina laughed. ‘Tomorrow is all yours, Mr Harris.’

  The following morning when she rang Demitri Vardos he demanded that she came for an interview at eleven o’clock. She said she had other plans but he was adamant that he was in meetings until eleven after which he would be flying to America.

  When she told Clifford he was appalled, saying she shouldn’t let him bully her. ‘If he gets away with it now there’s no knowing where it will end. Are you quite sure you want to work for someone like that?’

  ‘We will just have to wait and see what happens at this interview, though I’m glad I didn’t throw away my ticket. There was never any mention of an interview before, he let me think the job was mine for the taking.’

  ‘Just go
es to show you can’t trust him.’

  ‘Oh, I don’t know, to be fair I suppose it’s common sense to want to know more about me and to tell me more about the job. It won’t stop us getting a morning’s drive in and then perhaps afterwards we could go for a swim.’

  ‘Then in the evening I insist we dance the night away.’

  The taxi would only take her to the gates of the old town, after which she must walk to the address the woman had given her on the phone. The streets were narrow and cobbled between the high stone walls of the buildings that flanked either side. The knights’ palace, down the street of knights, yes, she found her way down to the square at the bottom, then first on the left and follow it to a square on the right, the house was set at the back of this square.

  As she turned into this last small square with a bubbling fountain in the centre she was facing a large iron studded door with an old-fashioned bell pull at the side. She couldn’t believe that she was really considering working for this outrageous man, who lived in a place like an ogre’s castle, and treated people as though they were serfs. For no apparent reason she suddenly gave a chuckle, that developed into laughter. Well, she had wanted a change, hadn’t she, and it looked as though she was about to get one.

  She gave a strong pull on the bell and heard its echoing toll, like something she’d heard in a ‘House of Horrors’ film. After some time the door was slowly opened by a tall woman with scraped back hair and dressed all in black. Stick thin, her gaunt features and deep set black eyes nearly set Selina off laughing again. Giving herself a silent reprimand she stated her business and followed the woman inside.

  Led through a tiled hall with stone stairs leading upward, Selina couldn’t help but stop and stare from time to time at the armour and weaponry that hung from the walls and stood sentinel in corners. The stairs gave on to a long corridor open at one side looking down into the courtyard below, while on the inside the wall was hung with dark portraits of knights and their ladies. Rooms led off this gallery at intervals, but then they turned a corner and everything changed.

  Stairs led down into a beautiful lounge with full length lace-draped windows and several comfortable looking seats and small tables. At the back of this room were two doors, the farthest one of which led them into a carpeted passage. The woman stopped at the first door down this passage and rapped quietly.


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