Virgin Brides Bundle [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Julia James & Sandra Field & Jane Porter
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Arranged marriages, the intoxicating allure of innocence, red-hot sex--these sensual, seductive stories offer the best romance has to offer. Bundle includes The Greek's Virgin Bride, The Tycoon's Virgin Bride and The Sheikh's Virgin.
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Presents, Published: 2007
Fictionwise Release Date: October 2007
15 Reader Ratings:
ANDREA could hear her mother coughing wheezily in the kitchen as she made breakfast. Her face tensed. It was getting worse, that cough. Kim had been asthmatic all her life, Andrea knew, but for the last eighteen months the bronchitis she'd got the winter before had never been shaken off, and her lungs were weaker than ever.
The doctor had been sympathetic but, apart from keeping Kim on her medication, all he'd advised was spending the winter in a warmer, drier climate. Andrea had smiled with grim politeness, and not bothered to tell him that he might as well have said she should take her mother to the moon. They barely had enough to cover their living expenses as it was, let alone to go gallivanting off abroad.
A clunk through the letterbox of the council flat she'd lived in all her life told Andrea that the post had arrived. She hurried off to get it before her mother could get to the door. The post only brought bills, and every bill brought more worries. Already her mother was fretting about how they would be able to pay for heating in the coming winter.
Andrea glanced at the post as she scooped it off the worn carpet by the front door. Two bills, some junk mail, and a thick cream-coloured envelope with her name typed on it. She frowned. Now what? An eviction order? A debt reminder? Something unpleasant from the council? Or the bank?
She ripped her thumbnail down the back and yanked open the paper inside, unfolding it. She caught a glimpse of some ornate heading, and a neatly typed paragraph—'Dear Ms Fraser….'
As she read, Andrea's body slowly froze. Twice she re-read the brief missive. Then, with a contortion of blind rage on her face, she screwed the letter into a ball and hurled it with all her force at the door. It bounced, and lay on the carpet.
Andrea had heard the phrase 'red-misting'—now she knew first-hand what it meant.
She felt her hands fist in anger at her side. Then, with a deep, controlling breath, she made herself open her palms, bend down, and pick up the letter. She must not let Kim find it.
All that day the contents of the letter, jammed into the bottom of her bag, burned at her, the terse paragraph it contained repeating itself over and over again in Andrea's head.
You are required to attend Mr Coustakis at the end of next week. Your airline ticket will be at Heathrow for you to collect on Friday morning. Consult the enclosed itinerary for your check-in time. You will be met at Athens airport. You should phone the number below to acknowledge receipt of this communication by five p.m. tomorrow.
It was simply signed 'For Mr Coustakis'.
Dark emotions flowed through Andrea. 'Mr Coustakis's.' Aka Yiorgos Coustakis. Founder and owner of Coustakis Industries, worth hundreds of millions of pounds. A man Andrea loathed with every atom of her being.
Not that Yiorgos Coustakis had ever acknowledged the relationship. Memory of another letter leapt in Andrea's mind. That one had been written directly to her mother. It had been brief, too, and to the point. It had informed Kim Fraser, in a single, damning sentence, that any further attempt to communicate with Mr Coustakis would result in legal action being taken against her. That had been ten years ago. Yiorgos Coustakis had made it damningly clear that his granddaughter simply didn't exist as far as he was concerned.
Now, out of the blue, she had been summoned to his presence.
Andrea's mouth tightened. Did he really think she would meekly pack her bags and check in for a flight to Athens next Friday? Darkness shadowed her eyes. Yiorgos Coustakis could drop dead before she showed up!
A second letter arrived the next day, again from the London office of Coustakis Industries. Its contents were even terser.
Dear Ms Fraser,
You failed to communicate your receipt of the letter dated two days ago. Please do so immediately.
Like the first letter, Andrea took it into work—Kim must definitely not see it. She had suffered far too much from the father of the man she had loved so desperately—so briefly. A sick feeling sloshed in Andrea's stomach. How could anyone have treated her gentle, sensitive mother so brutally? But Yiorgos Coustakis had—and had relished it.
Andrea typed a suitable reply, keeping it as barely civil as the letters she had received. She owed nothing to the sender. Not even civility. Nothing but hatred.
With reference to your recent correspondence, you should note that any further letters to me will continue to be ignored.
She printed it out and signed it with her bare name—hard and uncompromising.
Like the stock she came from.
* * *
Nikos Vassilis swirled the fine vintage wine consideringly in his glass.
'So, when will my bride arrive, Yiorgos?' he enquired of his host.
He was dining with his grandfather-in-law-to-be in the vast, over-decorated house on the outskirts of Athens that Yiorgos Coustakis considered suitable to his wealth and position.
'At the end of the week,' his host answered tersely.
He didn't look well, Nikos noted. His colour was high, and there was a pinched look around his mouth.
'And the wedding?'
His host gave a harsh laugh. 'So eager? You don't even know what she looks like!'
Nikos's mobile mouth curled cynically.
'Her looks, or lack of them, are not going to be a deal-breaker, Yiorgos,' he observed sardonically.
Yiorgos gave another laugh. Less harsh this time. Coarser.
Copyright © 2007 Harlequin Books S.A.