A year ago Yulia, my niece, lost both her parents. Two months ago she completely stopped speaking. Her psychiatrist thought a gentler presence around the house might be good for her. She suggested a nanny for the child. Naturally, I would do anything that would help her regain her happy childhood.
But I didn’t expect the woman who stepped into my office. Yeah, she’s got my attention, all right, but for all the wrong reasons. I sure as hell don’t need this ripe fruit to distract me day and night in my own home.
I tell her she hasn’t got the job, and watch her leave my study, but Fate has other plans. Resistance is futile.
He lives in a white mansion in London’s Knightsbridge, a magnet for playboys and Russian billionaires. Big, burly bodyguards look at me as if I’ve not come for a job interview, but to steal the family silver. Whatever. I maintain my professionalism, I’m determined to get this intriguing job of caring for the girl who refuses to speak. A prim woman leads me to his study. She knocks, and a deep, smooth voice beckons us to enter. The door opens and I set eyes on Yuri Volkov.
His eyes are like a wolf’s. Pitiless. Mesmerizing Dangerous. Obviously he Is drop dead wrong but, I can’t stop imagining his big, tanned hands caressing every inch of me. After the briefest interview in the history of interviews he informs me I haven’t got the job. As I walk away, humiliated, from his study, it happens. The unthinkable.
And I’m suddenly back in the game.Books by Author:Georgia Le Carre Books
The address was only a short walk from the Knightsbridge tube station. The sun was shining as I took the little path that led to the private square called Little Sion. In no time, I was standing in front of a large set of wrought iron electric gates adorned on either side by stone lions set on tall pillars. Before I could press the intercom button, a voice with a foreign accent brusquely instructed me to go through the small side gate.
As I got to the gate, it clicked open. I pushed it, and walked through. Standing on the asphalt driveway for a second, I looked up at the mansion. Wow! Painted brilliant white, it practically glinted in the sun. As if it were some ice palace from a fairy tale. Who"d have thought such a massive palace existed right in the heart of Knightsbridge.
A huge bald man wearing an earpiece and a black suit that was a size too small for him was making his way towards me. The guy was so big the top of my head only came up to his tree-trunk biceps. Of course, as basic human interaction demanded, I smiled politely at him.
He didn"t smile back as he let his eyes dart over me suspiciously.
Okay. Be like that then. "I"ve come about the job. I have an appointment with Mr. Volkov," I said.
He grunted. "I know. Come with me." He turned on his heel.
I fell into step beside him. Actually, it was more like a jog, or to be even more accurate, a fast-paced sprint. Damn him. "My name is April Winters, what"s yours"" I gasped, in an effort to be civil and pretend the speed we were travelling at was my normal pace.
He grunted again, before his eyes slid down to me. The expression on his face didn"t change. "Brain," he said.
I mean, I could have said, "what", or laughed outright, or if I wanted to carry on being polite and civil, "pardon me", but I kinda knew I"d heard right. Somehow, the name suited him to a T. Of course, he would be called Brain.
I gave up any pretense of civility at that point, and silently followed him up to the house.
Two more "brains" in black suits watched us from the entrance of the house. They wore the same expressions of extreme distrust.
For the first time, I wondered what the hell I had got myself into.
Who was my employer"
Obviously, the first thing I did when I was told I"d been selected to apply for this job was Google Yuri Volkov. All I found were images of an extraordinarily handsome businessman escorting beautiful women to high society parties. No mention of a palace in Knightsbridge, or goons that behaved as if they belonged in a bad Mafia movie.
Come to think of it now, in every photo I did come across he was unsmiling, giving me the impression of a cold, aloof man. Still not every rich, unsmiling Russian is a mobster or a money launderer. None of that bothered me any.
If I got the job, I would be in charge of his niece and report her progress to him. And that was all I would be doing. Since I was extremely good at my job, I didn"t foresee needing to take shit from Mr. Volkov.
There was one picture of him though, playing polo in Windsor, which caught my attention. Something about the expression in his eyes as he leaned down to swing his mallet. Here was a man who got what he wanted. An implacable man. A man you did not antagonize.
A man you allowed into your body.
Did I just go there"
I crushed the thought.
I was a professional, and I had no intention of ever being anything else. Under no circumstances was I exchanging my good reputation for any man. No matter how hot he was. Besides, it wasn"t as if a man like that would ever give a woman like me a second look. All those beautiful women swarming around him like flies to shit. Not a chance.
Which obviously was a good thing.
The last thing I needed was temptation.
Not that I"m saying I was tempted.
The man opened the grand doors and my jaw dropped. Jesus! Mr. Volkov must be a very, very successful businessman. If the exterior was impressive, the interior of his abode made me feel like I had just stepped into an episode of The Secret Lives of Billionaires. It had one of those foyers with a wide spiral staircase. From the glass ceiling four floors up, hung the biggest chandelier I"d ever seen in my life. It seemed to have millions of crystal pieces that caught the sunlight streaming in from the top and practically blazed like it was on fire.
Our shoes rang on the marble floors. Some poor minion had polished them so hard I was afraid Brain would be able to see up my skirt. Fortunately, he kept his eyes ahead. We turned into a room, which I suppose could be called a music room, since there was a gleaming grand piano in it.