Reluctant Mistress, Blackmailed Wife [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Lynne Graham
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Single mother of twin boys, Katie didn't want their father, Greek billionaire Alexandros Christakis, back in her life. But poverty pushed her to ask for his help. Alexandros demanded that Katie marry him. They had nothing in common--except their mutual burning sexual attraction, but resistance was futile: both the twins and Katie needed Alexandros. She would submit to becoming his mistress....
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Presents
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2006
79 Reader Ratings:
AS WRY amusement lit his eyes, which could be as dark and deep as an underground river, Alexandros Christakis watched his grandfather walk round the sleek silver Ascari KZ1 he had just had delivered. A supercar, it was the ultimate boy-toy, for only fifty would ever be built. The older man's excitement at being that close to such a rare and powerful vehicle was palpable.
'A car that costs almost a quarter of a million.' Pelias, tall and straight in spite of his seventy-five years, shook his grizzled head and smiled with almost boyish approval. 'It is sheer madness, but it does my heart good to see you taking an interest in such things again!'
Alexandros said nothing in response to that leading comment, his expression unrevealing, his legendary reserve impenetrable. Gossip columnists regularly referred to the billionaire head of the CTK Bank as beautiful. Alexandros loathed the press, and had little time for such frivolity. His lean, bronzed features might have a breathtaking symmetry that turned female heads wherever he went, but the forceful angle of his jawline, the tough slant of his cheekbones and the obdurate set of his wide, sensual mouth suggested a fierce strength of character that was more of a warning to the unwary.
'You're still a young man—only thirty-one years old.' Pelias Christakis spoke with caution, for he had long been in awe of his brilliant grandson and rarely dared breach his reticence. 'Naturally I understand that you will never forget your grief, but it is time for you to take up your life once more.'
Marvelling at the oldman's essential innocence, Alexandros murmured flatly, 'I took my life back a long time ago.'
'But all you have done since Ianthe passed away is work, and make more and more money from bigger and bigger deals! How much money can one man need in a lifetime? How many homes can one man use?' Pelias Christakis flung up his hands in an extrovert gesture that encompassed the superb Regency country house in front of him. And Dove Hall was only one item in his grandson's vast property portfolio. 'You are already rich beyond most men's dreams.'
'I thought onwards and upwards was the Christakis motto.' Alexandros brooded on the unhappy truth that people were never satisfied. He had been raised to be an Alpha-male high-achiever, with the merciless killer instincts of a shark. He was competitive, ambitious, and aggressive when challenged. Every aspect of his upbringing had been carefully tailored to ensure that he grew up as the exact opposite of his late father, who had been a lifelong layabout and an embarrassment to his family.
'I'm proud of you—immensely proud,' his grandfather hastened to assert in an apologetic undertone. 'But the world can offer you so much more than the next takeover or merger. Companionship may seem an old-fashioned concept—'
'Of course there have been women.' Alexandros compressed his handsome mouth, only his respect for the older man's good intentions restraining him from the delivery of a more caustic response. 'Is that what you want to hear?'
Pelias raised a beetling brow in rueful emphasis. 'I'll be more interested to hear that you've been with the same woman for longer than a week!'
Exasperated by that censorious response, Alexandros immediately grasped what his grandfather was driving at, and cold annoyance overpowered tolerance. 'But I'm not in the market for anything serious. I have no intention of getting married again.'
His companion treated him to a look of surprise. 'Did I mention marriage?'
Unimpressed by that air of virtuous naivety—for Pelias was not a good dissembler—Alexandros said nothing. He was grimly aware that the very fact that he was an only child put an extra weight of expectation and responsibility on him. Traditional Greek culture set great store on the carrying on of the family name. Understandably, his grandparents held the convictions of their age group. But Alexandros felt equally entitled to his own views, and believed that only honesty would suffice. As he had not the slightest desire to be a father, he had no plans to remarry. Becoming a parent had been his late wife's dream, if not her obsession. Now that Ianthe was gone, he saw no reason to pretend otherwise.
'I don't want another wife…or children, for that matter,' Alexandros admitted in a flat, unapologetic undertone, his lean dark face aloof. 'I appreciate that this must disappoint you, but that's how it is and I'm not going to change.'
Pelias Christakis had lost colour. Stripped of all the natural exuberance of his warm, engaging personality, he suddenly looked old, troubled, and very much at a loss. Feeling like the guy who had not only killed but also tortured Santa Claus, Alexandros suppressed any urge to soften the blow and raise false hopes. It had had to be said.
* * *
Now a veteran at jumble sales, Katie leapt straight into the competitive fray, rummaging through the pile of baby clothes. Emerging victorious with an incredibly smart little jacket and trouser set, she asked the lady on the stall, 'How much for this?'
It was more than she could afford, and she put it back with a regret that was only fleeting—because she had long since learned that her real priorities were shelter, food and warmth. Clothes came fourth on her survival list of necessities, so newness and smartness were almost always out of reach. She found a sweater and a pair of jeans at a price within her means. Though both garments were shabby they had plenty of life left in them. The twins were growing so fast that keeping them clothed was a constant challenge. As she paid, the lady offered to reduce the price on the trouser set, but Katie flushed and said no thanks, for she had now spent what she had to spare. The pity she saw in the woman's eyes embarrassed her.
Copyright © 2006 by Lynne Graham.