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A Stormy Greek Marriage

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«A Stormy Greek Marriage» - Линн Грэхем

A marriage full of secrets – stormy, sexy and set to implode? Billie’s wedding day should have been the happiest of her life. She was marrying the father of her baby…her secret baby. But tycoon Alexei Drakos had suffered amnesia, so he had no recollection of the incredible night he’d spent with Billie a year ago… Tonight he was expecting his new bride to be a virgin…Billie knew that a marriage laced with hidden surprises was not likely to last. If only for their son’s sake, she had to convince Alexei of the truth…starting tonight in the honeymoon bed…The Drakos Baby Rip-roaring passion, revelations and the reunion of a lifetime!
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Chapter One

‘He stays here.’

She twisted round, anguished eyes seeking his. ‘I can’t do that. He’s my son, my responsibility.’

‘You can visit…when I’m not around,’ Alexei breathed, with a raw note in his rich, dark drawl. ‘I’ll cover his every need. He can have round-the-clock nannies, every luxury…’

‘You can’t ask me to choose between you!’ Billie exclaimed wretchedly, suddenly grasping the devil’s bargain he was laying down for her like a cruel gin-trap for the unwary foot.

Remorseless golden eyes struck her disbelieving gaze head-on. ‘That’s the deal for now, and it’s your choice.’

The Drakos Baby

An enthralling linked-story duet by top Modern author,


A Greek billionaire with amnesia, a secret baby, a convenient marriage…it’s a recipe for rip-roaring passion, revelations and the reunion of a lifetime!

Available last month:



Billie has a job that most women would love—PA to gorgeous Greek billionaire Alexei Drakos. She tries to convince herself she’s immune to his extraordinary charms, but when events throw them inextricably together she finds herself in his bed. However, within hours Alexei has an accident and loses his memory of their special night together, and Billie discovers she’s pregnant—by a man who has no recollection of having slept with her…

Available this month:



Billie’s baby has been born, but she hasn’t told Alexei about his son’s existence. Yet when she returns to Greece and he proposes a marriage of convenience she knows she just has to take her chance to be with the man she loves. But Alexei is amazed to find his wife isn’t a virgin on their wedding night—and that’s just the first shocking revelation in this stormy marriage…

A Stormy Greek Marriage


Lynne Graham


Chapter One

THE opulent cloakroom was adorned with stylish contemporary fittings and fresh flower arrangements and was as large as many reception rooms. At a vanity unit that was more private than any of the others on offer, the bride was touching up her smudged eye makeup with a careful hand, while scolding herself for getting so weepy and overcome at the altar. However, her green eyes also shone with happiness. She jumped when the door from the hall noisily opened to feed in a burst of animated chattering females.

‘…Calisto threw tantrums, so clearly Alexei decided that life would be easier with a doormat,’ a very correct English voice pronounced with a giggle. ‘He will get bored so fast—’

‘And she’s just a worker from his office…Who ever would have believed that a Drakos would even have looked at her?’ someone else observed acidly.

‘And so plain—positively dumpy!’ the first speaker added with vitriol. ‘As for that dress. No train and all that fussy dated embroidery. Obviously Alexei is on the rebound—’

Gritting her teeth together and keeping herself out of view, Billie was literally trying to mentally seal her ears and stop listening to the bitchy comments. She reflected in disbelief on the exquisite hand-embroidered heirloom dress that she had fallen madly in love with, feeling affronted and hurt by that criticism of her gown. She could have put a face to every voice though. All three women featured on Alexei’s impossibly long list of former lovers, each of whom had gone on to marry or move in with one of his wealthy friends or business colleagues and thus contrived to stay within his social circle.

‘Calisto must have really screwed up—a billionaire on the rebound. If I’d known that miracle was on the horizon, I’d have gone for a divorce and made myself available!’ the Englishwoman confided in a petulant tone that implied her outrageous suggestion was far from being a joke.

‘But Calisto was a one-off,’ her companion returned crushingly. ‘She’s the only one of Alexei’s exes that he’s ever revisited.’

‘What’s that worth now when he’s just married right out of his class and culture? I give this mismatched union three months, four if she plays her cards right and ignores it when he strays,’ the Englishwoman forecast. ‘Then Alexei will ditch his homely little bride so hard and fast her head will spin!’

That was the exact moment when a glint of defiant green flared in Billie’s eyes. Pride would not allow her to skulk out of sight somewhere in the splendid villa that was now her home. As she moved into view three female faces froze in a rictus of almost comical discomfiture. Sidestepping their stilled figures, her bright auburn head held high, Billie left the cloakroom.

Hilary, her aunt, was walking in circles in the hall while she rocked the sobbing baby in her arms. Her eyes settled on Billie in some relief. ‘I’ve been looking everywhere for you. Nicky just won’t settle for me. I think he’s getting another tooth—’

‘Let me take him.’ Billie sped over immediately to grasp the little but solid, squirming body of her baby son. Her secret son, she reminded herself guiltily, gazing down worriedly into his cross little face. She adored him, wanted to show him off, not behave as though he were Hilary’s child and her infant cousin. But that masquerade had been forced on her when she chose to bring Nicky and her aunt back with her to the island of Speros, for she had yet to tell the man she had just married that morning that she had conceived a child by him on the night following his parents’ funeral.

Unhappily, Alexei, having suffered a fall and a blow to the head shortly afterwards, had no memory of their brief intimacy. Their son’s face was flushed below his spiky shock of silky black hair. She hugged him close in spite of her aunt’s exhortations for her to be careful of her wedding gown. The scent and feel of the baby in her arms was a comfort to her frayed nerves and the charm seemed to work both ways because Nicky started to simmer down and indeed began to snuggle into his mother’s soothing embrace.

A tall, devastatingly handsome, black-haired, olive-skinned male strode across the echoing hall towards Billie and Hilary. Instantly, all Billie’s senses went on red alert and she sucked in a ragged breath to steady herself. She collided with Alexei’s dark-lashed exotic bronzed eyes and her surroundings became immediately invisible: his effect on her was that shocking and intense. Her mouth ran dry because she could still barely credit that she was now his wife. That was a dream so long held and suppressed by her that even on her wedding day it could only seem to her to consist more of fantasy than fact. Alexei, blithely ignoring the greetings of those who would have sought to deflect him from his bride, drew level with her.

For a split second he seemed to stare at the sight of Billie cradling a child in her arms and his attention lingered on the striking contrast of the baby’s tawny complexion and black hair against Billie’s white dress, auburn hair and naturally pale skin. It struck him as surprising that the kid bore not the slightest resemblance to any one of his female relatives. A slight frown line forming between his sleek ebony brows, he dismissed that fleeting thought and snapped an imperious set of long fingers to bring a manservant running, at which point he addressed him in a low-pitched aside.

‘You keep on disappearing like mist, khriso mou.’ He inclined his handsome dark head in approval as one of the team of nannies hired to take care of the guests’ children joined them and put out her arms to take Nicky.

‘Oh, no…I’ll take care of him,’ Hilary said straight away.

‘Nonsense. That is why the nannies are here, so that our guests can relax and enjoy our day with us,’ Alexei pointed out lazily.

Billie passed over Nicky with pronounced reluctance. He began to complain but the nanny swept off again at speed and her son’s muted cries of protest soon disappeared into the distance. Her cheeks pink, Billie gave Alexei a glance that spoke of reproach. With the cool intolerance of an autocrat, he had banished Nicky from their wedding celebration for the simple sin of crying. She folded her empty arms, shaken by how protective she felt of her child and of how much she longed for the nerve to chase after the nanny and retrieve him. Alexei had to be told the truth about Nicky’s origins soon…he had to be!

‘You shouldn’t have interfered,’ Billie remarked as her aunt drifted off at a signal from her sister—Billie’s mother, Lauren.

‘As a good hostess you should have taken care of the problem for your aunt,’ Alexei admonished smoothly. ‘Hilary can’t even dance with a baby in tow. I should imagine she’ll be glad of a break from the incessant demands of so young a child.’

At that rebuke, the colour drained from Billie’s face, leaving her pale while her soft brown curling lashes screened her discomfited gaze. She was shaken by the awareness that Alexei had spoken the truth and that it was a truth that she had ignored in her eagerness to keep her son within reach. Nicky should have been passed over to the nanny team earlier in the day along with all the other young children, leaving her aunt free to take full relaxed advantage of a rare day out. More and more she was appreciating just how complex and challenging her deception had become. She was no longer being fair to Hilary. Although Hilary had agreed to look after her great-nephew and behave as though he were her son, neither woman had foreseen just how onerous and complicated that responsibility might become.

From the doorway, Billie regretted their combined naivety about Nicky while she watched as the captain of Alexei’s yacht, Stuart McGregor, boldly swapped place cards at the top table to ensure that he got a seat beside her attractive blonde aunt. The older man had been keenly pursuing their acquaintance from the first day that he had met Hilary. He had already visited Billie’s house on several occasions, calling in on the pretext of books he wanted to loan her aunt and then inviting her out to lunch or for a walk. Although Stuart had yet to suggest that he was seeking anything more than platonic companionship from Hilary, the recent widow seemed to like Stuart and might well already be wishing that she could come clean and admit that Nicky was not actually her child. Billie realised that the pretence that Nicky was Hilary’s son had put her aunt in a very awkward position. For the first time it occurred to Billie that a lot of people other than Alexei would condemn both women when the truth finally came out. After all, nobody liked to be lied to and deceived.

‘You’re very fond of Hilary’s baby, aren’t you?’

‘Of course, I am,’ Billie responded, almost wincing at the unnecessarily defensive note in her reply.

Alexei laughed softly. ‘And the compliment is returned. The child was clinging to you with both hands like a little limpet.’

‘The child’s name is Nicky,’ she told her bridegroom.

‘Whatever.’ Alexei had already lost interest in the topic and without further comment he curved an arm round his bride’s slender body to direct her back into the airy room where their guests were already taking their seats for the meal.

The world-famous and very beautiful singer whom Alexei had engaged to entertain them while they ate rested her huge sultry brown eyes on the bridegroom and aimed every lovelorn passionate note she sang in his direction. Steadily growing as rigid as a concrete post in her seat, Billie watched the byplay and registered that something much more important than good business was prompting the entertainer’s behaviour. Evidently there was, or had been at one time, a much more intimate link between her husband and the artiste, the existence of which Billie had never suspected.

Before she could even think of what she should or should not say on that score, Billie found herself leaning closer to her new husband and saying in an acid undertone new to her repertoire, ‘You’ve slept with her, haven’t you?’

Alexei quirked a satiric brow. ‘I won’t dignify that question with an answer.’

‘Well, it’s pretty obvious to everybody here,’ Billie declared, refusing to heed the voice of caution chiming to be heard inside her head. ‘I’d have to be stupid not to see the way she’s looking at you.’

‘I don’t see a problem—’

‘Well, I expect you wouldn’t,’ Billie agreed, thinking bitterly that he was too accustomed to receiving languishing looks and flirtatious smiles from women to appreciate that his bride might find such displays particularly offensive on her wedding day. Just for once she would have enjoyed the absence of that kind of blatant behaviour in his radius. Just for once she wanted to take pole position and shine more than any other woman around him. As the juvenile quality of her wishes pierced her, she almost laughed. Since when had she wanted to show off? And just when had she forgotten that she owed the ring on her wedding finger to qualities that Alexei deemed superior to mere sexual attraction? It was a sobering acknowledgement.

‘I don’t expect you to fuss about such trivialities,’ Alexei told her drily.

Billie bridled, as she very much disliked the suggestion that she had no right or excuse to experience feelings of resentment and disapproval when other women went out on a limb to give an unashamed sexual come-on to her new husband. Feverish colour highlighted her cheekbones and enhanced the bright emerald sparkle of her eyes. ‘If it was an ex-lover of mine parading the fact in front of you, how would you feel?’

‘I’d knock his teeth down his throat,’ Alexei conceded with a softness that was all the more chilling for its assured cool and conviction. ‘But then I’m the only lover you’ll ever have, so, in our case, that situation will never arise. You’re exclusively mine, khriso mou. I like and appreciate that.’

That macho response sent Billie’s teeth flying together with a snap and she bit back a stinging response. It infuriated her that he was right, that he would never know the slightest discomfort on her behalf in another man’s radius. She had no past, no sexual history to challenge his indefensibly sexist and hypocritical attitude, but then she was holding back on enough secrets to sink the Titanic, she reflected with a belated shiver of foreboding. It worried her even more that he was so confident that she was a virgin. It was a little too late to disabuse him of that notion now. She had allowed too many comments in that line to flow past her unchallenged. But after that night following the funeral when he had swept her off to bed with him, she was no longer intact. Would he be able to tell the difference? She very much hoped not.

She had already decided to wait until the next day before making a clean breast of events with regard to that night. She was praying that they could enjoy their wedding day and hopefully their wedding night as well without the daunting necessity of a confessional session that would shatter all harmony between them. Even one night of intimacy would surely make Alexei a little more understanding and approachable? After all, nobody would be less tolerant than Alexei when he suddenly discovered that he was not in possession of all the information there was to know about her, or indeed that she had gone out of her way to conceal certain facts about herself. Her troubled eyes resting on his hard classic profile and the fundamental strength and obduracy that were etched there, Billie struggled to stay calm despite the daunting challenges that lay ahead of her. With an idle thumb she massaged the new ring on her wedding finger as if it were a talisman that would protect her.

‘The only problem I can see right now is…your mother,’ Alexei delivered in a stern undertone. ‘She’s getting out of control.’

Billie’s startled gaze followed his across the room to where Lauren had risen from her seat to begin dancing with a man, even though the rest of the guests were still sitting. Her mother cannoned clumsily into another table and then a chair while continuing to laugh and talk very loudly, all her attention predictably pinned to her male partner. Lauren, who had obviously imbibed a fair amount of alcohol, was impervious to the dirty looks she was attracting as those around her tried to concentrate on listening to the world-class performance the singer was putting on.

‘Oh, for goodness’ sake!’ Billie framed between gritted teeth because she was mortified by her mother’s rude behaviour. A thousand times and more, when she was younger, Billie had suffered similar squirming moments when her parent made a spectacle of herself in public. But today of all days was special! Already very conscious of her humble beginnings, Billie had prayed beforehand that, just this once, Lauren would not embarrass her by doing anything to draw attention to herself in polite company. But her mother, it seemed, would always be as irresponsible as a defiant teenager, particularly if there was an attractive man within her radius. In the background Billie saw Hilary rise from the same table and advance on her giggling, swaying sister.

Lauren paid heed to Hilary in a way she wouldn’t have to her daughter. Within the space of a minute the dancing display was over. Lauren returned sulkily to her seat while the man she had been dancing with returned to his at an adjoining table.

‘Thank goodness for Hilary,’ Billie remarked with relief. ‘Who’s the man that Lauren was with?’

‘One of my cousins, who is old enough to know better.’

‘Age doesn’t necessarily make people wiser,’ Billie retorted half quietly; the supposed wisdom of experience and maturity had made little mark on Lauren, who remained as giddy as an adolescent. What was more, Billie thought ruefully, men always seemed to quickly shed their inhibitions and behave badly in her mother’s company.

‘Don’t make yourself responsible for Lauren any more,’ Alexei urged Billie, surprising her with that unwelcome recommendation. ‘She’s not going to change. Just let her live her life.’

Billie thought that it was all very well for him to hand out such advice, but he had never had to cope with the hard reality of Lauren’s problems when an affair broke up and she was abandoned once again. At such times, her mother would sink into depression and self-pity and use alcohol as a crutch and it was then that she needed her daughter or her sister. Without such support Lauren did not have the resources to pick herself up again.

‘Of course, I will always support her financially,’ Alexei added. ‘You don’t need to worry about that.’

Billie reddened. ‘She’s pretty much fine since I bought her the house. She doesn’t need to hang on your sleeve—’

‘I have plenty of relatives of my own who do,’ Alexei fielded evenly. ‘It makes sense.’

That Alexei was making a point of spelling out his intentions towards her feckless parent surprised Billie and made her smell a rat. ‘What do you know that I don’t know?’ she prompted, wondering if her mother had got into financial trouble again and if it was possible that Lauren had made a direct request to him for his help.

‘I don’t want to talk about this now,’ Alexei answered coolly.

And Billie found herself thinking of all the many occasions when, as an employee, she had had no choice but to respect such arrogant embargos. ‘She’s my mother. I have a right to know what’s going on.’

Alexei dealt her a dark look of exasperation. ‘Do we really have to discuss your mother’s debts on our wedding day?’

Hot colour ran up like a banner below Billie’s fair skin and her slender spine stiffened. It was news to her that Lauren had run up debts again and she was furiously embarrassed by the revelation. ‘You should’ve told me—’

‘Why?’ Alexei sent her an impatient glance. ‘Your problems are my problems now.’

With effort Billie overcame the sense of humiliation that was threatening to overpower her. She grasped that he’d had no prior intention of telling her and regretted her own persistence. ‘Just one more question—how did you find out that Lauren had such problems?’

‘Speros is a small place.’

That revealing assurance ensured that Billie’s sense of mortification and shame lingered. The awareness that some islander, probably either a tradesman or a shopkeeper, had clearly approached Alexei on the score of an unsettled bill cut her to the quick. For years she had been proud of the fact that the financial help she’d given her mother had prevented such embarrassing situations from arising. She remembered too well how it had felt as a child when Lauren had owed money everywhere in the village.

‘It’s time for us to dance,’ Alexei breathed, closing a hand over Billie’s and raising her from her seat.

Unmercifully conscious of being the cynosure of attention when she was much more accustomed to playing the role of a backroom girl, Billie found it impossible to lean into the strong, hard support of his tall muscular length. Lean fingers splayed across the curve of her hips and sexual heat flared through her in jagged response.

‘Why are you so tense?’ Alexei censured in a roughened undertone. ‘You feel like a little steel girder in my arms.’

Billie had to force her slender body to yield into his. She was quivering with tension and the sudden onslaught of a sexual awareness that was almost painfully strong. Memories of their short-lived intimacy on the night that Nicky was conceived were sizzling through her and her body was awakening again, shedding the taut suppression of feelings and tight self-discipline that she had practised for so many months.

‘That’s better, khriso mou,’ Alexei told her thickly, shifting against her so that even through the barrier of their clothing she could feel the unmistakable urgency of his arousal.

And a kind of heavenly satisfaction enveloped Billie at that instant, for she had never truly managed to see herself as a sexually appealing woman in Alexei’s eyes. After all, what they once briefly shared had been unreservedly forgotten by him and she had found it hard to equate that cruel hard fact with the idea that their intimacy had been in any way special on his terms. But now, in the most primitive way of all, she could enjoy the proof that Alexei wanted her as a man wanted a woman and as a husband wanted a wife. Her, miraculously; not one of the more beautiful and sophisticated women present who had entertained him most successfully, though if only for a little while. And what if she came to the same end? The thought struck like a dagger in Billie’s vulnerable heart. What if those gossiping exes of his were right and Alexei got bored and swiftly realised that he had made a mistake in marrying her?

Anxious green eyes screened, she luxuriated in his embrace while her mind teemed with rampant, fearful thoughts that dismayed her. Since when had she been so scared? But all too often in recent months Billie had appreciated that loving Alexei and having Nicky had changed her in a fundamental way: she was much more at the mercy of her emotions than she had once been.

And, of course, she was nervous about the future. After all, Alexei wasn’t in love with her. He had married her on the rebound after breaking off his relationship with Calisto Bethune. That particular taunt, overheard in the cloakroom, had not been without foundation. Alexei had chosen Billie as a wife because he believed he knew her well and considered her to be thoroughly sensible and trustworthy. He had not chosen her because she was gorgeous, exciting or fantastic fun. He had picked her with his head, not his heart, deeming her perfect for the role of a conservative, low-maintenance wife. How would he react tomorrow when her revelations forced him to appreciate that she was as flawed and imperfect as any other woman?

They left the floor to circulate among their guests. Later, in the early evening, Hilary, her eyes full of dismay, sped over to her niece and whispered urgently, ‘Lauren’s talking in the room next door. She’s drunk and saying silly stuff. She wouldn’t listen to me—’

‘I’ll come with you.’ Sliding free of Alexei’s hold, Billie hurried in her aunt’s wake.

Lauren was easily spotted. The table in front of her was littered with empty glasses. With a cigarette in one hand and another burning in the ashtray beside her, Lauren was revelling in being the centre of attention.

‘Billie!’ Lauren exclaimed with enthusiasm when she laid eyes on her diminutive daughter. ‘You know that’s not her actual name. That’s what Alexei christened her when she was a kid—her real name is Bliss…’

‘What else can you tell us, Lauren?’ an eager brunette prompted.

‘Obviously, I know where all the bodies are buried!’ Throwing back her shoulders in emphasis and exposing rather too much bosom in her low-cut dress as she did so, Lauren widened suggestive eyes, only to start coughing violently as the smoke from her cigarette wafted up into her face.

‘There are no bodies,’ Billie interposed firmly, finding her way to the bedraggled blonde’s side and slapping her on the back.

‘Don’t listen to her…there’s lots of bodies!’ Lauren carolled rebelliously loudly. ‘And one of them is very little. In fact, I warned my daughter to keep all her secrets until she was safely married. At least that way even if the marriage crashes and burns, she’ll be rich and secure—’

Losing all patience in the wake of that outburst, Hilary grasped one of her sister’s arms and hauled her bodily from her seat. ‘It’s time for us to go home now, Lauren—’

‘I don’t wanna go home,’ the middle-aged blonde slurred as she swayed. ‘I’m enjoying the party.’

A horrible little silence fell and only as she assisted her aunt with her stumbling, angrily muttering mother did Billie register that Alexei had joined them. Her face burning, her tummy twisting with fear, she clashed with blazing golden eyes.

‘I’ve organised a car for you,’ Alexei told Hilary in a gentle undertone as a nanny appeared to pass over Nicky into her care. ‘I’m sorry that you have to leave early.’

Lauren, who, for all her outspokenness, was intimidated by her son-in-law, had turned an ashen colour and was now avoiding both his gaze and her daughter’s. Billie was wan and uncomfortable as she watched her aunt leave with Nicky and her mother.

‘I think Lauren may well need professional help,’ Alexei breathed with icy cool.

‘Sorry. I know she’s an embarrassment…but professional help?’ Billie echoed, finally working up the courage to look directly at him.

‘A stint in rehab might at least cure her of looking forward to our marriage crashing and burning,’ Alexei countered sardonically, brilliant golden eyes cutting as lasers. ‘Clearly she hasn’t read the terms of our pre-nup. But what the hell was she talking about? Buried bodies? Secrets?’

Pale as milk, Billie trembled as she registered how close her mother had come to exposing Nicky’s parentage in public. ‘She was drunk and getting carried away with all the attention she was getting—that’s all. But I don’t think she needs to be packed off to rehab just yet—’

‘Leave me to deal with Lauren,’ Alexei interrupted with ruthless cool. ‘I understand her better than you do.’

And Billie, accustomed to her mother’s single-minded obstinate egotism, reckoned that he very probably did.


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