Greek Tycoon, Inexperienced Mistress - Линн Грэхем - Chapter Two Читать онлайн любовный роман

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Грэхем Линн

Greek Tycoon, Inexperienced Mistress

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Chapter Two

‘WE CAN make tea, coffee and sandwiches at The Lodge,’ Lindy told Phoebe only minutes later, whipping herself straight back into her sensible self and suppressing all memory of that temporary slide into a persona and behaviour alien to her. ‘Everyone will need a break and my house is the most convenient. I have to get my bike. If you have nothing more pressing to do, follow me down in your car.’

But even back within the cosy confines of her safe home Lindy discovered that she couldn’t stop her hands shaking. She might have mastered her thoughts, but her body was still caught up in shock. She leant up against the sink, breathing in and out in steadying streams. She had gone into the house and got Dolly. That was all that mattered. She hadn’t let her terror of fire paralyse her as it had threatened to do, she reminded herself soothingly. She was not the hysterical type. She was not. She would leave the past where it belonged and stay calm. There would be no crying or silly fussing. The deed was done and nobody had got hurt.

Slowly her hands began to steady and she felt in control again. That reminded her that for a timeless instant in the circle of the Greek tycoon’s arms she had felt frighteningly out of control. Of course the fire had roused distressing fragments of memory which had knocked her very much off balance. How silly she had been, clinging to him like that! But these days what was in a kiss? she asked herself in exasperation. In the press, kisses had become almost meaningless in the face of far more intimate embraces, and in the literal heat of the moment were men not more prone to such physical reactions?

It hadn’t meant anything—of course it hadn’t. It was just that they were both shaken up and rejoicing in being alive and unharmed. Goodness, she wasn’t Atreus Dionides’s type at all! She wasn’t small, blonde and beautiful, or even wellgroomed. Lindy glanced down at the corduroy skirt and V-necked sweater she wore and a rueful peal of laughter parted her lips. The kiss had just been one of those crazy inexplicable things and she would soon forget about it…

But she would not forget how he had made her feel. No, indeed. It would take total amnesia to wipe out the memory of that jaggedly sweet pleasure—jagged because it hurt to feel anything that strong and sweet, because it had melted every bone in her body and dissolved her self-discipline. No other guy had ever managed a feat like that. In fact, never until now had Lindy realised what all the fuss was about when it came to sex. She might not yet have met a man she wanted to sleep with, but she had certainly kissed plenty of frogs in her time. By no stretch of the imagination was Atreus a frog, but that had no bearing on the fact that he was as out of her reach as an astronaut on the moon.

Phoebe finally arrived with a laundry basket packed with provisions. The owner of the village shop had opened up specially to sell her bread and cooked meats, and had donated a pile of paper cups. The two women set about making trays of sandwiches.

‘Lindy?’ Phoebe said tautly, breaking the companionable silence. ‘Please don’t be offended, but I feel I should warn you to be careful with Mr Dionides. I have every respect for him as my employer, but I can’t help having noticed that he’s a very smooth operator with women. I don’t think he takes any of them seriously.’

‘The kiss was a flash in the pan—one of those daft things that just happens in the heat of the moment,’ Lindy responded in a dismissive tone of faked amusement. ‘I don’t know what came over either of us, but it won’t be happening again.’

‘I would hate to see you getting led down the garden path,’ the housekeeper confided in a more relaxed tone.

‘I’m very resilient and not given to flights of fancy,’ Lindy countered.

And she reminded herself of those facts when Atreus himself put in an appearance an hour later. She saw him across the crush in her small packed living room where, to find a space, people stood or sat on the arms of chairs, or even lounged back against the walls. Atreus was unmissable because he towered over everyone else, his dark well-shaped head instantly visible. He was talking on a mobile phone, the shadow of stubble outlining his masculine jaw line heavier than before. He had fabulous bone structure, from the defined width of his proud cheekbones divided by his arrogant blade of his nose to the unsettling fullness of his wide, sensual mouth.

She had to drag her attention from his hard, handsome face to notice that there was a long rip in the sleeve of his jacket, and the cuffs and front of his shirt were smoke-stained. She wondered with a stab of concern if he had got hurt. She glimpsed the glimmering gold of his stunning eyes as he frowned, ebony brows pleating, and she ducked back into the kitchen before he could see her. Even after that brief exposure her heart was already hammering as fast as if she’d run a marathon. He was gorgeous—there was no other word to better describe him.

Instant exhilaration and renewed energy leapt and bounded through her, banishing her weariness, overpowering any sensible train of thought.

‘More tea?’ Phoebe prompted.

‘No. I think the rush is over.’ As the kitchen door opened Lindy swivelled, and when she saw who it was she felt ridiculously like a schoolgirl being confronted by a grown-up who knew she had a huge crush on him.

‘So this is where you are,’ Atreus drawled. ‘Come into the other room.’

‘I’m really busy—’

‘You’re a hive of industry, a very capable woman. I’m impressed, but it’s time you relaxed,’ he intoned, closing a dominant hand over hers and tugging her willy-nilly back to the door where he stood.

Never comfortable in receipt of praise, Lindy frowned. ‘I didn’t do anything that other people didn’t do.’

‘You organised them all. I saw you in action. You’re a remarkably bossy little thing,’ Atreus remarked with unhidden amusement.

Nobody had ever described Lindy as ‘little’. But then he was very tall, and in comparison to him she supposed that she could be considered small. Her fingers trembled in the hold of his. After those unexpected compliments she could hardly catch her breath, never mind speak. They were on the threshold of the living room. Heads turned in their direction and stayed turned at the sight of them poised there together. Her creamy skin flamed. She saw the speculative looks they were attracting and averted her gaze.

‘It doesn’t take much to encourage gossip round here,’ she warned him ruefully.

‘Does that bother you? Conventional women don’t strip and jump into rivers in broad daylight,’ Atreus countered.

Lindy froze. ‘I still haven’t forgiven you for the way you behaved that day.’

Atreus was not accustomed either to seeking forgiveness or indeed absolution. Women invariably made life easy for him by affecting not to notice his mistakes or omissions. Last-minute cancellations and his appearances in the company of other women were always ignored to ensure that he called again. He had learned that when it came to her sex he could get away with just about anything.

‘You were a real seven-letter-word that day at the river!’ Lindy proclaimed without hesitation, when he made no comment.

Atreus tried to recall when he had last heard anyone utilise such care to avoid a swear-word and he was amused.

‘You were rude, thoroughly unpleasant and unreasonable, and you humiliated me!’ Lindy spelt out in a fiery rush to get her point across.

‘I apologised to you,’ Atreus reminded her, with more than a touch of impatience. ‘I rarely apologise.’

It was true that he had apologised, Lindy acknowledged ruefully, wondering if she was being unfair in still holding spite. After all, the man had saved her from serious injury when she’d rescued Dolly. He had also proved that in a crisis he was cool, courageous and protective, all sterling qualities of character which she very much admired. So why couldn’t she escape the suspicion that treating a woman well didn’t come naturally to Atreus Dionides?

‘I don’t know why you’re flirting with me,’ she told him flatly.

‘Don’t you?’

The doubt in his tone provoked her into looking up, and she met smouldering golden eyes below the black sweep of his lashes. Excitement hurtled through her like a wild wake-up call. Thought and breath were suspended. Without any warning at all she wanted his mouth so badly on hers that being denied it hurt. In shock, she tore her gaze from his and retreated into the kitchen.

A split second later all the lights in the house went out. A buzz of dismayed comment was accompanied by the sound of switches being put on and off without success. The kitchen door opened.

‘Your electricity supply must be connected to that of Chantry House, which has been disconnected for safety.’ Atreus’s accented drawl came out of the darkness. ‘It’ll take some time to reorganise that, and it’s unlikely to be today.

‘Oh, great,’ Lindy muttered ruefully, leaning back against the kitchen cupboards and pushing her dark hair off her damp brow. The shower she had been dreaming about was out of reach now.

The locals began to leave with a chorus of thank-yous for her hospitality.

‘You go as well, Phoebe,’ Lindy urged the Chantry housekeeper, who was hovering at her elbow. ‘It’s been a long night and there’s no need for you to stay on. Most of the cleaning up has already been done.’

‘If you’re sure?’ Phoebe said uncertainly.

‘Of course I am.’

‘Why don’t you come home with me?’ the older woman asked. ‘At least we have electricity.’

‘We’re not that far away from dawn. I’ll be okay,’ Lindy pointed out, reckoning that her companion, who had five children and a husband packed into her tiny terraced house, had quite enough people to contend with when she got home. She groped below the sink to locate her torch, and lit Phoebe’s departure through the back door, locking up in the older woman’s wake.


Lindy flinched in surprise at the sound of the Greek tycoon’s distinctive accented drawl, travelling from the room next door. ‘I thought you’d already gone,’ she admitted, able to distinguish now between different shades of light and dark and picking out his tall, dark silhouette by the living room window.

‘Some thanks that would be for the assistance you gave tonight—abandoning you here without either power or heating,’Atreus derided. ‘I have a suite booked at Headby Hall and I’d like you to come with me.’

‘I couldn’t possibly,’ Lindy breathed, taken aback by that casual invitation to the leading country house hotel for miles around.

‘Don’t be impractical. You must be as eager for a shower and a break as I am,’ he pointed out. ‘In little more than four hours I have to be back at the house to meet the insurance assessors and the conservation team being put together as we speak.’

‘I’ll be fine here,’ she asserted.

‘You would genuinely prefer to sit here unwashed and cold rather than accompany me to a more civilised and comfortable location?’

Her small white teeth set together hard, because he was making her sound peculiar while at the same time his tone somehow contrived to suggest that such standoffish behaviour was only what he had expected from her all along. ‘Give me a couple of minutes to pack a bag,’ she told him, her voice as abrupt as the decision she had reached.

By the light of the torch she flung pyjamas and a change of clothes into an overnight bag. The dogs had food, water and cosy kennels, and although they were accustomed to sleeping indoors with her they would be all right until the morning. Even so, she was belatedly stunned that she could have agreed to go to a hotel with Atreus Dionides, for such bold behaviour didn’t come naturally to her.

Lindy eased into the back of the limousine with as much cool as she could muster. In the act of regretting her agreement, she turned to address Atreus—but his phone was already ringing again and his attention was elsewhere. She listened to him talking in what she assumed to be Greek and asked herself why she should feel so apprehensive. After all, he was only being kind in offering her an escape from a cold, dark house without hot water.

Headby Hall was the ultimate in luxury hotels, and Lindy had never crossed its threshold before. She was horribly conscious of her humble clothing and severely tried by Atreus’s efforts to get her to walk through the foyer ahead of him when what she most wanted was to reach the lift without being noticed by a single living soul.

‘Aren’t you tired?’ she asked him in wonderment when he completed yet another phone call.

‘I’m still operating on adrenaline.’

‘I’m sorry about the house. I know that the work you were having done was almost complete.’

‘I have other houses,’ he asserted.

Without thinking, Lindy rested a light hand on his arm. ‘I noticed the rip in your jacket. Did you get hurt?’ she asked anxiously.

Atreus looked down into her warm, sympathetic gaze and wondered when a woman had last looked at him as if she was restraining a powerful need to offer him comfort and a hug. Never, he acknowledged wryly, not even when he had been a child. In his experience women were usually more gifted at taking, and there was a hefty price ticket attached to anything on offer with any greater depth.

‘It’s only a scratch.’

Meeting his brilliant dark golden eyes, she felt her mouth run dry and her tummy lurched. The lift doors opened and she stiffened and tore her gaze from his. They walked down a private corridor to a door that was already being opened by a member of his staff. Tense with unease, Lindy entered a splendid, sumptuously furnished reception room adorned with fresh flowers. Designer luggage was being carried into one bedroom while her ancient holdall was already comfortingly visible through the doors of a second.

‘I’ve ordered some food for us. You didn’t eat anything while I was around,’ Atreus remarked.

‘I’ll get changed,’ Lindy muttered, heading for the second bedroom with alacrity.

In the en suite bathroom, she stripped where she stood and used the hotel toiletries to wash her hair and freshen up in the shower. It was wonderful to rinse away the smell of smoke that seemed to have impregnated her skin and everything she wore. Clean again, she dried her hair with the dryer provided, using her fingers and then fetched her clothes from the holdall. She donned a long green skirt and a cream T-shirt, and left her legs and feet bare because she couldn’t face struggling into tights or shoes. She grimaced at her reflection in the mirror, for her glossy dark brown hair had fallen into the natural waves she disliked and she was convinced that her face was as pink as a freshly scrubbed lobster.

A trolley of food now stood beside the table and chairs in the reception room next door. Atreus was waiting for her and, like her, he had opted for informality. His black hair was damp and swept back from his lean, darkly handsome features. He was wearing black designer jeans and an open-necked shirt. As she appeared he studied her for a long moment and then slowly smiled.

And that smile on his wide, sensual mouth lit Lindy up inside like the blazing fire that had devoured a good third of Chantry House. It left little room for anything but instant reaction on all fronts. Her face was hot, and she sat down because she felt dizzy. Eyes screened by her lashes, she surveyed him, from his straight brows and dark deepset eyes to his newly shaven jawline, no longer defined by a blue-black shadow of stubble. There was something about the exact arrangement of his arrestingly beautiful features that drew her more than mere good-looks, she acknowledged in a daze. He magnetised her, exuding an irresistible pull of energy that overwhelmed her usual common sense. Sexual attraction had never hit her so hard.

Lindy accepted a couple of snacks and nibbled at them without much appetite while Atreus talked about the meetings he already had lined up for the morning. Even the sound of his voice set up a responsive vibration in her backbone. When she met his eyes she felt as if the ground had vanished and she was in mid-air, in the act of falling from a great height. It was terrifying and exhilarating and, because such excessive sensations were previously unknown to her, she decided that feeling that way around him was wrong and dangerous.

Indeed, as soon as an opportunity offered itself Lindy rose to her feet and smoothed damp palms down over her skirt. ‘I’m very tired. I think I’ll turn in now. Thanks for supper…and the shower was very welcome,’ she added with a warm smile.

And just like that she was gone.

Atreus studied the closed door of her bedroom in amazement and wondered when he had last run into a brick wall put up by a woman flatly refusing to acknowledge or respond to his signals. Never. He was torn between amusement and frustration.

Lindy leant briefly up against the back of the door and tried to be proud of her self-restraint. She had resisted him, the most beautiful sexually compelling male she had ever met. She was still stunned that he had found her attractive. Or had it simply been a matter of her being the only woman available for a little dalliance after a stressful day? Was that her putting herself down again? Whatever, she had no doubt that he had had every intention of their ending what remained of the night in the same bed.

That would have been a very foolish move on her part, she told herself ruefully. The idea of a one-night stand with a man she hardly knew filled her with distaste. On the other hand, a little voice she didn’t recognise murmured inside her head, he might well have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Or was that wishful thinking? She was ashamed of the way her mind was working. She had never planned to be a virgin at her age; it was just something that had happened when a serious relationship failed to transpire. Atreus was pretty much the first man to seriously attract her since those first heady days in Ben’s radius. Of course she was curious about sex, but that was not an excuse to conduct an experiment. If she had been embarrassed when he’d seen her naked in the river, how would she feel meeting him in future if she had shared a bed with him?

With a shudder of reaction at that mortifying thought, Lindy embraced her cautious, sensible self and climbed into bed naked, enjoying the cool feel of the sheets against her bare skin. She had never been so tired in her life, but she still felt very jumpy and found it hard to relax—even though her limbs felt like lead weights on the comfortable mattress. She set her mobile phone alarm to rouse her at eight and mentally counted sheep. Within minutes she was sliding into a deep sleep. Her dreams, however, were very far from being soothing. Too many disturbing memories had been unleashed by the fire, and all her rigorous attempts to suppress those upsetting images while she was still awake had failed to lay them to rest.

‘Lindy…wake up!’ She fought through the barriers of sleep and realised that her shoulder was being shaken.

She sat up with a start, her eyes flying open not on the scary scene which had been unfolding behind her lowered eyelids but on a lamplit and momentarily unfamiliar room. Bewildered, and very distressed by what she had recalled, she only then processed the reality that she was shaking and sobbing.

‘You were dreaming. You’re awake now,’ Atreus asserted, sitting down on the edge of the bed. Bare-chested, he had clearly only paused to pull on his jeans before coming in.

As Atreus entered her field of vision Lindy belatedly acknowledged his presence and stiffened in alarm. ‘Did I wake you up?’

‘You were screaming at the top of your voice. That must have been some bad dream,’ Atreus responded, his attention roaming to the ripe swell of her full breasts which were only just covered by the sheet and resolutely shifting upward again.

A violent shudder rippled through Lindy. ‘Because it wasn’t a dream,’ she shared, on the back of another heaving sob. ‘When I was f-four years old, I was in a house fire.’

Atreus tensed, frowning while he watched the tears drip off her chin and listening to her sniff. She was really crying, and not in a cute way either, for her nose had turned pink and her eyelids were swollen. But there was something extraordinarily touching about her genuine distress, and he closed an arm round her in an abrupt and almost clumsy movement.

It was one of those very rare occasions in life when Atreus felt out of his depth. Being supportive didn’t come naturally to him. He had grown up in a family famed for its reserve and formality. He had been taught to avoid emotion like the plague and he had no close ties with his surviving relatives. He had never had a serious relationship with a woman, and had always walked away when an affair threatened to become complicated.

The warmth of his arm was comforting. Lindy struggled to control the sobs and the tempest of emotion still rising inside her. ‘Afterwards, my mum told me that my dad must’ve fallen asleep with a cigarette in his hand and the sofa caught fire. He’d been drinking—my mum was in hospital. I woke up and there was smoke coming under the door and a funny smell,’ she related shakily.

Atreus swore half under his breath in Greek. ‘And yet you went into a burning house to save a cat tonight?’ he breathed, in wrathful incredulity.

Lindy’s mind was still firmly lodged in past events. ‘I tried to go downstairs but I could see something was in flames at the foot. I was terrified, so I started screaming for Dad.’ Her voice cut off, and she twisted and buried her face in the warm living flesh of Atreus’s bronzed shoulder. ‘For a moment I saw him, but until tonight I didn’t remember that I had actually seen him. He was trying to come to me but the fire got him!’ she sobbed brokenly.

Atreus was appalled. A dark frown stamping his features, he wrapped his other arm round her shuddering body and held her close. He was thinking about the selfless way she had rushed to the fire at Chantry House and helped out in every way she could. Not by a word or even a gesture had she hinted at what that intervention must have cost her emotionally. ‘You’re a very brave woman, mali mou.’

‘I’m just ordinary.’ Lindy snatched in a sustaining breath and choked back another sob, fighting with all her might to get a grip on her flailing emotions. ‘I don’t know why I’m crying now about something that happened so long ago.’‘

‘The fire at Chantry last night brought it all to the surface again. How did you escape when you were a child?’

‘I believe a fireman rescued me, but I don’t remember it. I was incredibly lucky to survive.’ Her voice petered out in shock as she finally registered that the sheet between them had slipped. Her bare breasts were crushed against his hair-roughened masculine torso. ‘I’m so sorry I woke you up.’

‘You didn’t. I couldn’t sleep,’ Atreus admitted, long lean fingers lacing into the tousled tumble of her dark hair to turn her face up.

Smouldering dark golden-brown eyes assailed hers, and then he brought his handsome mouth down and captured her lips with a piercingly sweet eroticism that cut through her defences like a knife. Breathing in little fractured bursts, Lindy drowned in those hungry, drugging kisses, her body quickening and heating in response. There was a frantic driving edge to every sensation: the stingingly tight sensitivity of her nipples, the tugging pull of dissatisfaction at the heart of her.

Atreus closed his hands round the creamy magnificence of her jutting breasts and moulded them with a husky masculine sound of satisfaction. He used his thumbs to chafe the quivering pink tips until, in pursuit of closer contact, he pressed her back against the pillows and put his mouth to her breast instead.

A gasp was dragged from Lindy, who was reeling in sensual shock from the impact of his lovemaking. The tug of his lips and his teeth, and the brush of his tongue on her tormentingly sensitive nipples, made her squirm while desire flared ever higher and stronger inside her. That she had to struggle even to think straight, however, scared her.

‘We hardly know each other!’ she protested.

‘This is the very best way to get to know me, glikia mou,’ Atreus intoned with conviction

‘But I didn’t want to get to know you!’ Lindy objected, guiltily studying the clinging fingers she had knotted into the springy depths of his black hair.

‘You want me and I want you. Why should that be a problem?’

‘Because it is…I don’t do stuff like this.’

‘You don’t have to do anything,’ Atreus declared with single-minded purpose.

‘You’re not my type,’ she told him in desperation.

‘Why didn’t you say so sooner?’ Atreus levered back from her to gaze down at her with shimmering golden eyes full of enquiry.

Lindy crossed concealing arms over her breasts.

‘I love looking at you,’Atreus confided, stroking an appreciative hand down to the point where her surprisingly small waist segued into the violin curve of her hip. ‘You have the most spectacular shape.’

The intensity of his appraisal convinced her of his sincere approbation and lessened her discomfiture. Without being aware of any prompting to do so, Lindy slowly, shyly parted her arms again, because she was discovering that she really loved the idea of him looking at her and admiring her. Not a single compliment on that score had ever come Lindy’s way. Until that moment her voluptuous curves had been a physical flaw and an embarrassment which she hid to the best of her ability. But, transfixed by the glow of bold appreciation in Atreus’s gaze, she felt like a goddess come to earth to mesmerise mortal man.

‘You looked at the riverbank,’ Lindy accused him.

Ise omorfi…you are beautiful…of course I did. The glory of you took my breath away, mali mou.’

He had barely finished speaking before Lindy stretched up and sought his wide, sensual mouth for herself again. She savoured the taste of him like a precious wine, parting her lips eagerly for the erotic plunge of his tongue while she quivered at the clenching tightness of response low in her pelvis. He had ignited a hunger in her that she could not resist.

‘Is this a yes?’

‘Yes…’Lindy whispered, feeling madly daring and sexy for the first time in her life while she defied the voice of restraint and reproach striving to be heard in the back of her head.

The pressure of his mouth on hers was an enticement of no mean order. Her head fell back against the pillows, her neck extending in a soundless sigh as he touched her where she had never been touched before. Little tremors of fierce response assailed her while he teased the honeyed folds of flesh between her thighs. The pleasure was exquisite, but as her excitement grew the pleasure came closer to sensual torture. The more he touched her, the more she wanted, and the less she wanted to wait. He suckled the distended peaks of her breasts and her spine arched, and she cried out as he probed the narrow passage at the swollen heart of her.

She was dimly aware of him removing his jeans and a moment of panic claimed her. ‘Don’t get me pregnant…’ she warned him. ‘I’m not using anything.’

‘That’s not a risk I would ever take,’Atreus imparted, donning protection and hauling her back to him with impatient hands. ‘I want you so much it hurts.’

‘Will it hurt?’ Lindy pressed awkwardly.

A look of bemusement clouded his smouldering gaze. ‘Why should it hurt?’

‘I haven’t done this before…I just wondered.’

Atreus studied her with frowning intensity. ‘I will be the first?’

Her body tingling, her face burning, Lindy nodded.


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