Greek Escape: The Dimitrakos Proposition / The Virgin's Choice / Bought for Her Baby - Линн Грэхем - Читать онлайн любовный роман

В женской библиотеке Мир Женщины кроме возможности читать онлайн также можно скачать любовный роман - Greek Escape: The Dimitrakos Proposition / The Virgin's Choice / Bought for Her Baby - Линн Грэхем бесплатно.

Правообладателям | Топ-100 любовных романов

Greek Escape: The Dimitrakos Proposition / The Virgin's Choice / Bought for Her Baby - Линн Грэхем - Читать любовный роман онлайн в женской библиотеке LadyLib.Net
Greek Escape: The Dimitrakos Proposition / The Virgin's Choice / Bought for Her Baby - Линн Грэхем - Скачать любовный роман в женской библиотеке LadyLib.Net

Грэхем Линн

Greek Escape: The Dimitrakos Proposition / The Virgin's Choice / Bought for Her Baby

Читать онлайн
Предыдущая страница Следующая страница

7 Страница

IN RECEIPT OF that attack, Acheron stiffened in astonishment and angled his arrogant dark head back, his black-as-jet eyes gleaming with angry incomprehension even as his attention lingered on how astonishingly lovely Tabby looked fresh from his bed with her long blonde hair in a waving, tousled mass round her shoulders, her small face warm with self-conscious colour and her ripe pink mouth still swollen from his kisses. Even as he fought to think clearly, his reaction to that view and those thoughts was instantaneous and very physical. ‘What the hell are you talking about?’

‘The instant you had your satisfaction you leapt out of bed and abandoned me as though I was suffering from some horrid contagious disease,’ Tabby condemned. ‘Not an experience I would be tempted to repeat—you made me feel like a whore!’

‘That’s melodramatic nonsense,’ Acheron fielded with derision, willing back his increasing arousal with every fibre of his self-discipline.

‘No, I don’t think it is. You couldn’t even bear to hold me close for thirty seconds,’ Tabby reminded him doggedly. ‘Well, I think it’s sad that the only way you feel comfortable physically touching anyone is in a sexual way.’

Acheron cursed in Greek. ‘You don’t know me as well as you think you do. But I warned you that I didn’t do cuddling.’

‘You think that excuses you?’ Tabby asked with scornfully unimpressed eyes of violet blue dominating her flushed and furious face. ‘It doesn’t. It simply shows you up as selfish and inconsiderate, and I deserved better.’

‘I don’t fake affection for anyone just because it’s the acceptable thing to do,’ Acheron bit out between clenched teeth. ‘And I have so little practice at it, I would feel foolish and uncomfortable!’

And that was the most strikingly truthful thing he had told her about himself to date, Tabby reckoned, stunned by the raw honesty of that irate reply. Indeed his admission of ignorance and discomfiture squeezed her heart like a clenched fist. Without even thinking about what she was doing, she closed the distance between them, deliberately invading his personal space to stretch her arms round his neck and look up at him.

‘Practise on me,’ she urged quietly. ‘I practised on Amber. I wasn’t a very touchy-feely person either before I got to hold her for the first time.’

Acheron swallowed hard, insanely aware that she was making a platonic approach and quite impervious to the reality that below the towel he was still ragingly erect. He didn’t want to hug her as though she were his friend; he wanted to shag her senseless. But he knew that option wasn’t in the ring at that moment and he closed his arms round her slowly and lifted her to the other side of the big bathroom. ‘You shouldn’t have got dressed again,’ he scolded.

‘I assumed we were done,’ Tabby confided bluntly.

Acheron bent down and lifted the hem of her dress to take it off over her head. Totally disconcerted, Tabby froze there for a split second, her arms crossed defensively across her bare breasts. ‘What are you doing?’

Acheron hooked a finger into her knickers and jerked them down, lifting her again into his arms to trail them off. ‘I may have leapt out of bed but I was thinking about your comfort,’ he breathed as he lowered her down into the warm embrace of the scented water filling the bath. ‘Now lie back and relax.’

Thoroughly disconcerted, Tabby surveyed him in wonderment. ‘You came in here and ran a bath for me?’

‘I hurt you...I thought you’d be sore,’ he breathed huskily as he lit the candles in the candelabra by the sink and doused the lights.

‘It was just one of those things, not your fault.’ But Tabby reddened and sank deeper into the soothingly warm water, resting her head weakly back on the cushioned padding on the rim. In truth she was sore, that part of her so tender she was now uncomfortably aware of her pelvic area. What a pair they were, she thought morosely. He couldn’t do ordinary affection and she couldn’t do sex.

There was a pop as Acheron released a cork from a champagne bottle and sent bubbling golden liquid down into a pair of goblets.

‘Where did that come from? And the candles?’ she pressed weakly.

‘Honeymoon couple, wedding night? The staff had all the trimmings waiting in the bedroom... It would be a shame not to use them,’ Acheron remarked, perching on the side of the bath to offer her a glass of champagne.

‘No, thanks. I never drink,’ she said stiltedly.

Acheron thrust the glass into her hand. ‘Unless you have a drink problem, one glass isn’t going to do any damage.’

Her small fingers tensed round the stem.

‘No, I don’t have a problem but my parents did.’

‘That doesn’t mean you have to avoid it altogether.’

‘I always like to play it safe,’ Tabby confided, taking a small sip of the champagne, tiny bubbles bursting below her nose and moistening her skin.

‘I’m more of a risk-taker. I enjoy excitement,’ Acheron traded wryly.

‘I think I could’ve worked that out for myself.’

Acheron compressed his mouth, his eyes semi-concealed by his black lashes. ‘I didn’t stay in bed with you because I didn’t want you to have unrealistic expectations of our relationship.’

She grasped what he meant immediately and wished she didn’t, a tiny pang of hurt pinching somewhere down deep inside her. He didn’t want her getting the idea that there was anything more complex between them than straightforward sex. ‘I may be inexperienced but I’m not stupid,’ Tabby told him with pride.

‘And I’m not good with words if I gave you that impression,’ Acheron acknowledged grimly. ‘Tabby, I don’t have conversations like this with women. I’ve never met a woman like you.’

‘Are we still talking about me being a virgin?’ Tabby asked in a small voice.

‘I’m accustomed to women who know the score.’

‘I know it too,’ Tabby breathed, skimming a glance across his hard-edged profile, her chest tightening with a sense of constraint. ‘I’m a very practical person.’

Acheron scanned her small, tight face, the set grip of her tiny hands over her raised knees as he read the valiant defensiveness she used as a screen and his stomach hollowed out at the prospect of hurting her. He had never felt that way around a woman before and he didn’t like it at all. She might be fragile but she had made a choice, just as he had done, and they were both adults, he reminded himself impatiently as he straightened again.

At the same moment, Tabby sat up abruptly and set down the champagne flute, water sloshing noisily around her slight body. ‘Oh, my goodness, what am I doing in here? I can’t stay! The baby monitor is in my bedroom.’

‘Melinda will take care of Amber’s needs. Relax,’ Acheron urged.

‘Melinda can’t be expected to work twenty-four hours a day. I told her I’d take care of Amber at night,’ Tabby countered as she rolled onto her knees, concern for Amber overcoming her self-consciousness, and began to stand up. ‘Pass me a towel—’

‘No, you stay where you are,’ Acheron instructed, his hand closing over her shoulder to press her back into the warm water again. ‘I’ll collect the monitor and check on Amber as well.’

Her violet eyes widened. ‘You...will?’

Acheron strode back into the bedroom to retrieve his jeans and wandered back to the doorway, dropping the towel with total unselfconsciousness to pull on the jeans. ‘Why not? You’ve already shown me what to do with her if she’s crying.’

‘I wasn’t expecting you to help,’ Tabby commented. ‘It’s my job, not yours, after all.’

‘Our arrangement isn’t that clear cut. This is a joint venture when it comes to me requiring a wife and you requiring an adoptive father figure,’ Acheron reminded her, turning on his heel.

Stiff with uncertainty, Tabby lay back in the warm water and sipped the champagne while still feeling thoroughly confused by Acheron’s behaviour. She had got him wrong when she condemned him for abandoning her immediately after sex. But then, had the simple act of sex put him into a particularly good mood? Could a man be that basic? In consideration of her needs, he had run her a bath before he went for his shower. Now he was actually off to check on Amber for her as if the child was something more than the extra baggage she had assumed he deemed her to be. At the same time, however, he had also clearly felt the need to spell out the lowering message that the only thing between him and Tabby was sex. As if she didn’t already know that!

Acheron was the ultimate womaniser, steering clear of involvement and commitment. And why shouldn’t he? common sense asked. A young, handsome, wealthy male was in high demand in the world of women and had no need to settle on only one. In addition, Acheron had issues but then who didn’t after such a childhood as they had both undergone? In remembrance, Tabby suppressed a shiver. He had probably learned just as she had that if you kept everyone at arm’s length you didn’t get hurt.

But Tabby had moved on from that self-protective stance when she first opened her heart to friendship with Sonia and then Amber and finally understood how much more warm and satisfying life could be with love and loyalty in it.

She knew she had lost her business and her first home because she had chosen to personally care for Sonia and Amber but she had no regrets about the choices she had made.

Amber was now her sole responsibility, she recalled, while wondering what she was doing lying back in a luxury bathtub drinking champagne when the baby she loved might be in need of her. In an instant she had clambered dripping out of the bath and swathed herself in a big warm towel, hurriedly patting herself dry before reaching for her dress again. It was time to get back to the real world, she told herself urgently, and there was nothing ‘real world’ about lounging around lazily in Acheron’s opulent bathroom.

Acheron groaned when he heard the baby crying through the monitor. The little plastic speaker was set on the dressing table and as he studied it he became aware that something had been written on the mirror.

‘Go home, whore!’ someone had printed with what looked like a red felt-tip pen.

Bemused, nerves still jumping at the sound of the baby crying, Acheron hesitated only a moment before striding into the bathroom to snatch up a towel, dampening it and walking back to wipe the mirror clean again before Tabby could see it. For a split second he paused, brooding over the disturbing awareness that only his household staff had access to the bedroom and that one of them clearly wasn’t trustworthy. But why leave such a message for Tabby to find? he questioned furiously. She was his wife, his legal wife with every right to be in his house. Who would target Tabby? His handsome mouth down-curved: Kasma was the most likely suspect. Pure rage blazed in Acheron as he dug out his cell phone, called his head of security and brought him up to speed on the development. His temper uneven, he strode off to take care of the baby. She was only a baby, he told himself bracingly, of course he could handle one tiny baby without help.

Amber was sitting upright screaming at the top of her voice, her little face red as fire. Acheron hovered a few feet from the cot. ‘Nothing’s that bad,’ he told Amber in what he hoped was a soothing tone.

Amber lifted up her arms expectantly.

‘Do I need to come that close?’ Acheron asked uneasily. ‘I’m here. You’re safe. I assure you that nothing bad is going to happen to you.’

Amber fixed bewildered brown eyes on him, tears rolling down her crumpled face, and lifted her arms again in open demand.

Acheron released his breath on a slow measured hiss and moved closer. ‘I’m no good at the cuddling stuff,’ he warned her ruefully, reaching down to lift the child, who startled him by wrapping both arms tightly round his throat and hanging on as firmly to him as a monkey gripping a branch.

An exhausted sob sounded in his ear, and he splayed a big hand across the little girl’s back and shifted his fingers in a vague circular motion aimed at soothing her fears. A vague shard of memory featuring a woman’s face momentarily froze him where he stood. He didn’t recall what age he had been but he had certainly been very small when the woman had come in the night to comfort him, rocking him in her arms and singing to him until he stopped crying. Had that woman been Olympia, Amber’s late grandmother and his own mother’s former carer? Who else could it have been? Only Olympia had ever shown him concern and treated him as if he was something other than a nuisance part of her well-paid job.

‘I owe you,’ he told Amber heavily and he rearranged her awkwardly in his arms and began to rock her, suppressing that rare memory of the past with the profound discomfort that such images always brought him. ‘But even for you I can’t sing.’

Amber startled him by smiling widely up at him, showing off her two front teeth, and he smiled back before he even knew what he was doing.

And that was how Tabby saw them when she came to a halt in the doorway: Acheron with a tousled black curl falling over his brow, his haunting dark eyes locked to Amber while the most glorious smile lifted his wide, sensual mouth. Barefoot and bare-chested, well-worn jeans hanging low on his lean hips, he looked both extravagantly handsome and unusually human at the same time. Her breath feathered in her throat and her mouth ran dry because that smile was pure sensual dynamite.

‘Let me take her,’ she proffered quietly. ‘I’ll put her back in bed.’

‘We were managing fine,’ Acheron announced, not without pride in the accomplishment as he settled Amber into Tabby’s arms. ‘Obviously she’s not very choosy.’

‘Well, you’re wrong there. She can actually be quite choosy and can be difficult with some people,’ Tabby admitted as she rested Amber down on the changing mat and deftly changed her before placing the child back into her cot, gently stroking her cheek when she grizzled. ‘It’s bedtime, sweetness. We don’t play at bedtime.’

‘I’ll organise cover for the nights,’ Acheron remarked as she joined him in the corridor.

‘That’s not necessary.’

‘You can still go to her if you want but you can’t be dragged out of bed every night,’ he told her drily.

‘I’m still the woman who wants to be her mother. It’s my duty to be there for her,’ Tabby reminded him gently. ‘I don’t want other people looking after her all the time.’

‘Be reasonable.’ Acheron paused outside the two doors that led into their separate bedrooms. ‘Are you joining me for what remains of the night?’

The ease with which he asked the question disconcerted Tabby because she had assumed that once his lusty curiosity was satisfied she would no longer be of interest to him. His approach both pleased and annoyed her. ‘I’m afraid if I did join you, there would have to be rules,’ she murmured awkwardly, her hand closing on the handle of her own bedroom door.

‘Rules?’ Acheron repeated in wonderment. ‘Is that your idea of a joke?’

‘No, I rarely joke about serious stuff,’ Tabby countered gently. ‘If you want to hear the rules, ask me.’

‘I don’t do rules,’ Acheron ground out between gritted teeth. ‘Perhaps it has escaped your attention, but I’m not a misbehaving child!’

Tabby closed the door quietly in his face.

She had donned one of her slinky new nightdresses before the door opened again. She scrambled hastily below the top sheet and looked across the room enquiringly.

‘What bloody rules?’ Acheron slung at her, poised hands affixed to his lean hips, his hard-muscled abdomen prominent.

‘One,’ Tabby enumerated. ‘Any relationship we have has to be exclusive and if you plan to stray you have to tell me and finish it decently. No secrets, no sneaking around on me.’

Acheron surveyed her with wild golden eyes of increasingly wrathful incredulity. ‘I don’t believe I’m hearing this!’

‘Two,’ Tabby continued unconcerned. ‘You treat me with respect at all times. If I annoy you, we have it out but not around Amber.’

‘You’re absolutely out of your mind,’ Acheron breathed with unsettling conviction while he studied her with seething, dark golden eyes. ‘And I married you.’

‘Three,’ Tabby pronounced woodenly, although her colour was high and her hands clenched into fists by her side. ‘I’m not a toy you can pick up and put down again whenever you feel like it. I’m not the entertainment when you’re bored. If you treat me well, I will treat you equally well, but if you don’t...well, all bets would be off then.’

‘Na pas sto dialo!’ Acheron murmured wrathfully. ‘It means, go to hell, and take your precious rules with you!’

Tabby didn’t breathe again until the door had snapped closed behind him and then she lay back in bed, her body feeling heavy as a stone dropped from a height, her tummy rolling like a boat on a storm-tossed sea. Well, that was one way of getting rid of Acheron without losing face, one way of ensuring he was forced to see her as an equal. What else could she have said? Sliding willy-nilly into a casual sexual affair with no boundaries was not her style and with a man as volatile as he was it would be a sure recipe for disaster. But now that the ultimate womanising, free-spirited man knew that she would make major demands, he would be careful to avoid her from now on.

And what sort of idiot was she to feel sad about that fact? She would get over her silly notions about him—of course she would, because there was really no other option open to her. He wanted one thing, she wanted another, so it was better to end it before it got messy and painful and humiliating. Better by far...

* * *

In the middle of the night, Acheron went for a cold shower. His erection wouldn’t quit and he was still in an unholy rage. Rules, blasted rules. Was he suddenly back at school? Who did she think she was dealing with? Even more crucially, what did she think she was dealing with? Did she assume he had got into that bed and somehow signed up for the whole relationship charade? Trust a woman to take a concept as simple as sex and complicate it!

Even so, he was as furious with himself as he was with her. He had suspected that her naivety would lead to problems and he knew he should have listened to his misgivings. But just as the hot blood pulsing through his tense, aching body wouldn’t stop, his desire for her had proved unrelenting. He’d had to know what she was like and he’d found out and, even worse, she had been amazing and no sooner had he stopped than he wanted to go again...and again...and again. His even white teeth clenched hard. That fast he was recalling the hot clenching of her tight little body around him, an explicit memory that did nothing to cool his overheated libido.

* * *

‘So, who’s the cutest little baby in the world?’ Tabby chattered the next morning while Amber waved her spoon in the air, cheerfully responding to the warm, loving gush of Tabby’s appreciation.

Acheron suppressed a groan and slung himself down into a chair by the dining table on the terrace. Baby talk at breakfast time, one more thing she had brought into his life that was not to his taste. First thing in the morning he liked sex and silence and since he had had neither he could not be expected to be in a good mood, he reasoned impatiently. The sight of Tabby in a little red strappy top and shorts that exposed far too much bare creamy skin for his delectation didn’t help. Even a glimpse of the tattoo on her arm as she swivelled in her seat failed to switch off the ever-ready pulse at his groin.

Tabby tried to scan Acheron without being obvious about it, sending little flips of her eyes in his direction with her lashes quickly dropping again. He was so beautiful; it was surely a sin for a male to be so beautiful that she was challenged to stop staring at him. Even the awareness of the lingering tenderness between her legs couldn’t dull her appreciation of that long, lean, powerful frame of his, gracefully draped in the chair like a work of art to be admired. The sunlight glittered over his black springy curls, and she wanted to run her fingers through his hair, stroke that stubborn jaw line set like granite until she awakened that wonderful smile again. Disconcerted by her treacherous thoughts, Tabby twisted her head away, resisting temptation.

Amber extended both arms in Acheron’s direction and beamed at him. ‘Not right now, koukla mou,’ he murmured. ‘Have your breakfast first.’

That he had acknowledged Amber’s presence but not hers aggravated Tabby. Last night she had only been a body but this morning she was evidently invisible into the bargain. ‘Good morning, Acheron,’ she said curtly.

‘Kalimera, yineka mou,’ Ash murmured silkily, noting the fiery brightness of her extraordinary violet eyes as she settled her gaze on him. ‘Did you sleep well?’

‘Like a log,’ Tabby lied, wondering why he brought out a mean streak in her that she had never known she had.

A maid poured his coffee, and the rich aroma flared her nostrils, inexplicably reminding her that Sonia had become preternaturally sensitive to certain smells when she first fell pregnant with Amber and an edge of panic suddenly sliced through Tabby’s surface calm. ‘Last night...’ she prompted abruptly, waiting with a rapidly beating heart and hot cheeks for the maid to retreat. ‘You did use protection, didn’t you?’

Magnificently nonchalant in the face of that intimate question, Acheron widened lustrous, dark golden eyes in mocking amusement. ‘You think I would be stupid enough to neglect such a precaution?’

‘I think in the heat of the moment if you wanted something enough you would take risks,’ Tabby admitted tautly.

Acheron lifted a winged ebony brow and cocked his handsome head in Amber’s direction. ‘Not if it meant risking the acquisition of one of those,’ he declared. ‘Passion doesn’t rule me.’

‘Or me,’ she echoed half under her breath. As she leant forward to help Amber clear her plate, her breasts stirred beneath her tee with the movement, pushing her unbearably sensitive nipples against the fabric, and made her think that a bra would have been a better idea than going without. Particularly in Acheron’s radius.

The same view was not wasted on Acheron either, who recalled the precise pout of her delicate flesh and his almost overpowering desire to eat her alive. While the smouldering silence at the table stretched, the nanny entered and removed Amber from her chair to bear her off for a bath.

Acheron dragged in a deep, cooling breath of the sunshine laden air, knowing that, for the sake of peace and better understanding, he had to challenge Tabby’s misconceptions. ‘Your rules?’ he mused with a dismissive shrug of one broad shoulder. ‘My rules? I never ever get involved with clingy, needy women.’

Coming at her out of nowhere, that statement crashed down on Tabby like a brick dropped on glass and her head flew up, violet eyes wide. ‘Are you calling me clingy and needy?’

‘What do you think?’

Tabby sprang out of her chair, the feet of it slamming back noisily across the tiles underfoot as she stabbed her hands down on the table for support. Anger had gripped her in a stormy surge. ‘How dare you? I’ve never been clingy or needy in my life with a man!’

‘Yet your first move is to try and hedge me round with rules. You want reassurance and promises about a future that is unknown to both of us,’ Acheron reasoned with cold precision. ‘I don’t own a crystal ball.’

‘I don’t like the way you operate!’ Tabby vented fiercely.

‘Yet you know nothing about me. For years I’ve been exclusive in my affairs and I don’t move on without saying so when I lose interest,’ Acheron declared lazily, rising upright to study her, his brilliant, dark eyes hard and glittering. ‘It is offensive that you should condemn me for lies and infidelity on the basis of your assumptions about my character.’

‘You’re so smooth...I wouldn’t trust a word that came out of your mouth!’ Tabby hurled at him accusingly, refusing to acknowledge that he had a point.

‘Now who’s guilty of prejudice?’ Acheron riposted with soft sibilance. ‘What do you find most offensive about me? My public-school education, my wealth or my lifestyle?’

Ferocious resentment held Tabby rigid where she stood, her small face taut and flushed with indignation, but it was the soft pink fullness of her lush mouth that welded Acheron’s attention there. ‘What I find most offensive is your certainty that you know best about everything!’

‘I do know that we are poles apart and that this arrangement will work most efficiently if we stick to the original agreement we made.’

Tabby’s tummy flipped as though she had gone down in a lift too fast, sheer strain locking her every muscle into tautness. ‘You should’ve kept your blasted hands off me!’ she slammed back.

Acheron flashed her a grim appraisal from his stunning golden eyes, and his mouth twisted sardonically. ‘Sadly, I couldn’t...’

And with that final admission, Acheron strode back into the air-conditioned cool of the villa and left her alone to contemplate the truly fabulous view. The rolling green Tuscan hills stretched out before her marked out in a colourful patchwork of woodland, olive groves and vineyards. She snatched in a deeply shaken breath, the hot air scouring her lungs. He wanted them to return to the sensible terms of their platonic agreement, which was exactly what she had believed she wanted. Why, then, when she had achieved her goal, did she feel as though she had lost the battle? Indeed, instead of feeling relieved and reassured by his logical approach to their differences, she felt ridiculously hurt and abandoned...


Получить полную версию книги можно по ссылке - Здесь

Предыдущая страница Следующая страница

Ваши комментарии
к роману Greek Escape: The Dimitrakos Proposition / The Virgin's Choice / Bought for Her Baby - Линн Грэхем

Комментарии к роману "Greek Escape: The Dimitrakos Proposition / The Virgin's Choice / Bought for Her Baby - Линн Грэхем" отсутствуют

Ваше имя


Введите сумму чисел с картинки