"We finally meet, Miss Hope."
Her first impression of him was his energy. Powerful. Confident. Commanding. The second thing she noticed was his size. He was a huge man, six feet three inches, towering over her, making her five feet six inches seem insignificant and small. Sam stared at his black silk shirt and slowly raised her gaze past the strong, tanned column of his throat up to his face.
Her breath caught.
His picture hadn't done him justice. In person, Leo's pure, male energy enveloped her as she stared into a face that looked more ruthless than handsome. Dark hair curled a little past his collar and was sexily rumpled, as though he'd been running his fingers through it. His nose, straight and long, flared slightly and his mouth, curled into a sardonic smile, held a hint of sensuality and cruelty, suggesting pleasure as much as it did pain.
Sam released the small breath she was holding. Slowly, almost fearfully, she looked up at his eyes and nearly drew back at the full impact of his dark, unwavering gaze. From the photograph in Toni's apartment, Sam had thought his eyes were black, but now, up close and in person, she noticed they were the darkest of blues, midnight blue, and all she could see in them was contempt.
"I've waited a long time to finally meet the woman who called me a heartless boor and suggested I get my head out of--what were the exact words--ah, yes, the medieval clouds I was pompously floating in," he drawled, deliberately sliding an insolent gaze down the length of her and back up to her startled face. "I must say, I've thought of our conversation often the past two months and since my sister emailed me wedding pictures and I saw you, one thing hasn't ceased to amaze me. How a woman as innocent-looking as you could have the tongue of a sailor."
A bucket of cold water over her head couldn't have been more effective in bringing her to her senses. She snapped out of her reverie and flashed him a haughty look.
"I didn't travel twelve hours to be insulted, Mr. Stefanos."
He raised a dubious brow. "If it was kindness you were hoping for, perhaps you should have thought about that before you insulted me and my family two months ago."
Sam tensed, recalling their telephone conversation. "You were being unreasonable trying to call off Toni's wedding," she replied hotly.
Another trickle of sweat ran down the side of her face and she brushed it away, wondering ridiculously if he had a built-in cooler in his clothes. He stood tall, proud, and completely dry as though the heat dare not affect him. And to top it all off, he was dressed in black trousers and a black shirt--a deadly combination in this weather for any other person.
He flicked a derisive scrutiny over her. "Americans have no tolerance for our weather. Come," he ordered suddenly. "The car is air-conditioned. You look like you're ready to drop and I notice you've gotten thin. Food will make you feel better."
"You don't need to concern yourself over me, Mr. Stefanos." Sam saw him bend toward her luggage. "I'm not going anywhere with you."
Leo lifted a mocking brow as he straightened with a bag in each hand. "You don't have much of a choice."
She tore her gaze away from his and searched the crowds for a woman who fit Toni's description of Maria. "My lift is running late."
"That is an understatement," he said dryly.
"What do you mean?"
His expression darkened with impatience. "Your lift is not showing up. I am your lift," he replied with an arrogant curl to his lips. "Maria notifies me whenever someone will be staying at the house and as I have some work in this part of the country, I decided to pick you up myself and stay at the house until I've concluded my business--which should, incidentally, take about two weeks."
Sam's stomach lurched. There was no way she was going to spend two weeks with him. "No... I mean... I don't want...to impose, Mr. Stefanos."
"Leo, please," he supplied in a cool, measured tone as he smiled briefly, showing a perfect set of white teeth, a startling contrast to his tanned face. A smile, Sam noticed, that did not reach his eyes. A shiver ran down her spine in spite of the scorching weather.
"Mr. Stef... Leo," she began, flustered and nervous. Damn it! She had to get herself under control. "Perhaps it would be best if I remained here and took the next available flight back. I... Toni said no one would be... I don't want to impose myself on you," she repeated, watching his expression harden as she spoke.
"Ah, but you've already imposed yourself on me, haven't you, Miss Hope?" he commented softly. "When my sister married your American John, you indirectly broke the agreement between my family and the Giannakis."