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The Greek Demands His Heir

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«The Greek Demands His Heir» - Линн Грэхем

‘Don’t Be Silly, Leo. Strangers Don’t Get Married.’Leo Zikos should be celebrating securing a perfectly convenient fiancée, but it’s left him cold. Instead it’s stranger Grace Donovan’s impeccable beauty that fires his blood. So he decides to pursue one last night of freedom…But that night, and the two little blue lines on the pregnancy test that follow it, blows Leo’s plans apart. Now he must break with his fiancée and marry Grace. She might resist marrying a man she barely knows, but Leo will claim his legacy – and he has all the riches and influence he needs to ensure his demands are met!Discover more at
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‘Why did your family throw you out?’ Leo enquired directly.

Grace gave him a wry glance. ‘I think you already know why.’

‘But that news should have come from you directly to me,’ Leo told her grimly. ‘I had a right to know first!’

‘And perhaps you would’ve done were we in a relationship,’ Grace countered quietly. ‘But since we’re not, the situation is rather different.’

‘If you’re pregnant, we definitely have a relationship,’ he contradicted.

Grace wrinkled her nose. ‘Well, I am having your baby,’ she conceded reluctantly. ‘But we don’t have to have any kind of a relationship!’

‘And how do you work that out?’ Leo gritted, becoming steadily more annoyed by her dismissive attitude.

‘I can manage fine on my own. I’m very independent,’ Grace informed him. ‘And as far as I know you don’t legally have any say in the matter,’ Grace went on, in an apologetic rather than challenging tone. ‘Only married fathers have those kind of rights.’

‘Then I’ll marry you.’

Grace groaned at that knee-jerk reaction. ‘Don’t be silly, Leo. Strangers don’t get married.’

Leo lifted his dark head high and surveyed her with glittering golden eyes that were mesmeric in their intensity. ‘I don’t care how we go about it, but I want our child and I am prepared to do anything to make it happen.’

Introducing Lynne Graham’s fabulous new duet, full of prestige, power and passion!

These are two alpha males you just won’t be able to put down.

The Notorious Greeks

… and the women they claim!

Whether it’s the boardroom or the bedroom, Leo and Bastien Zikos are masters of all they survey. Until they each meet a woman who has the temerity to deny them the one thing they most desperately crave …

In a true battle of wills, Lynne Graham whisks you away to glamorous destinations and epic tales of love in:

The Greek Demands His Heir August 2015

The Greek Commands His Mistress September 2015

The Greek


His Heir

Lynne Graham

LYNNE GRAHAM was born in Northern Ireland and has been a keen romance reader since her teens. She is very happily married, with an understanding husband who has learned to cook since she started to write! Her five children keep her on her toes. She has a very large dog, which knocks everything over, a very small terrier, which barks a lot, and two cats. When time allows, Lynne is a keen gardener.



The Notorious Greeks

Title Page

About the Author










‘OH, YES, I should mention that last week I ran into your future father-in-law, Rodas,’ Anatole Zikos said towards the end of the congratulatory phone call he had made to his son. ‘He seemed a little twitchy about when you might. setting a date for the wedding. It has been three years, Leo. When are you planning to marry Marina?’

‘She’s meeting me for lunch today,’ Leo divulged with some amusement, unperturbed by the hint of censure in his father’s deep voice. ‘Neither of us has any desire to sprint to the altar.’

‘After three years, believe me, nobody will accuse you of sprinting,’ Anatole said drily. ‘Are you sure you want to marry the girl?’

Leo Zikos frowned, level black brows lifting in surprise. ‘Of course I do—’

‘I mean, it’s not as if you need Kouros Electronics these days.’

Leo stiffened. ‘It’s not a matter of need. It’s a matter of common sense. Marina will make me the perfect wife.’

‘There is no such thing as a perfect wife, Leo.’

Thinking of his late and much-lamented mother, Leo clamped his wide sensual mouth firmly closed lest he say something he would regret, something that would shatter the closer relationship he had since attained with the older man. A wise man did not continually look back to a better-forgotten past, he reminded himself grimly, and Leo’s childhood in a deeply troubled and unhappy family home definitely fell into that category.

At the other end of the silent line, Anatole made a soft sound of frustration. ‘I want you to be happy in your marriage,’ he admitted heavily.

‘I will be,’ Leo told his father with supreme assurance and he came off the phone smiling.

Life was good, in fact life was very good, Leo acknowledged with the slow-burning smile on his lean, darkly handsome face that many women found irresistible. He had just that morning closed a deal that had enriched him by millions, hence his father’s phone call. His father was quite correct in assuming that Leo did not need to marry Marina simply to inherit her father’s electronics company as a dowry. But then Leo had never wanted to marry Marina for her money.

At eighteen, a veteran of the wretched warfare between his ill-matched parents, Leo had drawn up a checklist of the attributes his future wife should have. Marina Kouros ticked literally every box. She was wealthy, beautiful and intelligent as well as being a product of the same exclusive upbringing he had enjoyed himself. They had a great deal in common but they were neither in love nor possessive of each other. Objectives like harmony and practicality would illuminate their shared future rather than dangerous passion and horrendous emotional storms. There would be no nasty surprises along the way with Marina, a young woman Leo had first met in nursery school.

It was forgivable for him to feel just a little self-satisfied, Leo reasoned as his limo dropped him off at the marina in the French Riviera where his yacht awaited him. Exuding quiet contentment, he boarded Hellenic Lady, one of the largest yachts in the world. He had made his first billion by the age of twenty-five and five years on he was enjoying life as never before while at the same time ensuring that, although the cutthroat ambiance of the business world was where he thrived, he still took time off to recuperate after working eighteen-hour days for weeks on end.

‘Good to have you on board again, sir,’ his English captain assured him. ‘Miss Kouros is waiting for you in the saloon.’

Marina was scrutinising a painting he had recently bought. A tall slender brunette with an innate elegance he had always admired, his fiancée spun round to greet him with a smile.

‘I was surprised to get your text,’ Leo confided, giving her a light kiss on the cheek in greeting. ‘What are you doing in this neck of the woods?’

‘I’m on the way to a country house weekend with friends,’ Marina clarified. ‘I thought it was time we touched base. I believe my father has been throwing out wedding hints—’

‘News travels fast,’ Leo commented wryly. ‘Apparently your father is becoming a little impatient.’

Marina wrinkled her nose and strolled restively across the spacious room. ‘He has his reasons. I suppose I should admit that I’ve been a little indiscreet of late,’ she remarked with a careless shrug of a silk-clad shoulder.

‘In what way?’ Leo prompted.

‘I thought we agreed that until we got married we wouldn’t owe each other any explanations,’ Marina reminded him reprovingly.

‘We may have agreed to go our separate ways until marriage forces us to settle down,’ Leo agreed, ‘but, as your fiancé, I think I have the right to know what you mean by “indiscreet”.

Marina shot him a bright angry glance. ‘Oh, Leo, don’t be tiresome! It’s not as if you care. It’s not as if you love me or anything like that!’

Leo remained silent, having long since learnt that listening was by far the best tool to use to calm Marina’s quick temper and draw her out.

‘Oh, all right!’ Marina snapped with poor grace, tossing her silk scarf down on a luxurious sofa in a petulant gesture. ‘I’ve been having a hot affair...and there’s been some talk, for which I’m very sorry, but, really, how am I supposed to stop people from gossiping about me?’

His broad shoulders squared below his exquisitely tailored jacket. ‘How hot is hot?’ he asked mildly.

Marina rolled her eyes and burst out laughing. ‘You don’t have an atom of jealousy in your entire body, do you?’

‘No, but I’d still like to know what’s got your father so riled up that he wants us to immediately set a wedding date.’

Marina pulled a face. ‘Well, if you must know, my lover is a married man...’

Leo’s stunning clean-cut bone structure tautened almost infinitesimally, his very dark eyes shaded by lush black lashes narrowing. He was taken aback and disappointed in her. Adultery was never acceptable in Leo’s book and he had made the fatal mistake of assuming that Marina shared that moral outlook. As a child he had lived with the consequences of his father’s long-running affair for too many years to condone extra-marital relations. It was the only inhibition he had in the sex department: he would never ever get involved with a married woman.

‘Oh, for goodness’ sake, Leo!’ Marina chided, her face colouring now with angry defensiveness in receipt of his telling silence. ‘These things always burn out—you know that as well as I do!’

‘I won’t pretend to approve. Furthermore that kind of entanglement will damage your reputation...and therefore mine,’ Leo reproved coolly.

‘I could say that about the little lap-dancer you were sailing round the Med with last summer. You could hardly describe that slutty little baggage as adding lustre to your sophisticated image!’ Marina remarked cuttingly.

Predictably, Leo did not even wince, but she flushed uncomfortably at the look he shot her. But then very few things put Leo Zikos out of countenance and regular sex was as important to him as ordered meals and exercise and indeed rated no higher than either by him. He was a very logical male and he saw no need to explain himself when he and Marina had yet to share a bed. The very fact that they had both chosen to retain the freedom of taking other lovers during their long engagement had convinced them that it would be much more straightforward just to save the sex for when they were married.

There is no such thing as a perfect wife, his father had said only an hour or so earlier, but Leo had not expected to be presented with the definitive proof of that statement quite so soon. His high opinion of Marina had been damaged because it was obvious that she saw nothing inherently wrong with sleeping with another woman’s husband. Had his own views become so archaic, so unreasonable? Was he guilty of allowing childhood experiences to influence his adult judgement too much? He was well aware that he had friends who engaged in extra-marital affairs, but he would never accept such behaviour from anyone close to him or indeed within his own home.

‘I’m sorry but I’ve had Father on my case. He’s not ready to retire and let you take over yet but he’s terrified that I’ll scare you off,’ Marina confided ruefully. ‘As I supposedly did with your brother—’

Leo tensed, disliking the reminder that until today Marina’s single flaw in his judgement was the reality that she had once enjoyed an ill-judged one-night stand with the younger half-brother whom Leo loathed. That Bastien had treated Marina appallingly in the aftermath was another thing Leo never forgot for, more than anything else, Marina was virtually Leo’s best friend and he had always trusted her implicitly.

‘Perhaps we should set a wedding date to keep everybody happy,’ the brunette suggested wryly. ‘I may only be twenty-nine but Father’s already getting scared we’re getting too old to deliver the grandkids he wants.’

Leo frowned, barely contriving to suppress the need to flinch when she mentioned children. He still wasn’t ready to become a father. Parenting required a level of maturity and unselfishness that he was convinced he had yet to attain.

‘What about fixing on October for the wedding?’ Marina proposed with the sort of cool that implied she had not the faintest idea of his unease. ‘I’m no Bridezilla and that would give me three months to make the preparations. I’m thinking of a very boho casual do in London with only family and our closest friends attending.’

They lunched out on deck, catching up on news of mutual friends. It was very civilised and not a single cross word was exchanged. Once Marina had departed, Leo reminded himself soothingly that he had not lost his temper. Even though he had agreed to the wedding date, however, his strong sense of dissatisfaction lingered. Even worse, that reaction was backed by an even more unexpected feeling, because suddenly Leo was astounded to register that what he truly felt was...trapped.

* * *

‘Nonsense, Grace. Of course you’ll go to Turkey with Jenna,’ Grace’s aunt, Della Donovan, sliced through her niece’s protests in her usual brusque and bossy manner. ‘A free holiday? Nobody in their right mind would turn their nose up at that!’

Grace gazed out stonily at the pretty garden behind her aunt and uncle’s substantial house in north London. Her thoughts were in turmoil because she was trying to come up fast with a polite excuse to avoid the supposed treat of a holiday with her cousin.

‘I mean, you’ve sat all your stupid exams now, haven’t you?’ her cousin, Jenna, piped up from the leather sofa in the snug beside the kitchen where Grace was seated with Jenna’s mother. Mother and daughter were very similar, both of them tall, slender blondes in stark contrast to Grace, who was small and curvy with a fiery mane of red hair and freckles.

‘Yes, but—’ Her pale green eyes troubled, Grace bit back the admission that she had been planning to work every possible extra hour at a local bar so that she could save up some money to cushion her when she returned to university at the end of the summer. Any overt reference to her need for financial support was always badly received by her aunt and regarded as being in poor taste. On the other hand, although her aunt was a high-powered lawyer and her uncle a very well-paid business executive, Grace had only ever been given money when she worked for it. From a very early age, Grace had learned the many differences between her standing and Jenna’s within the same household.

Jenna had received pocket money while Grace had received a list of household chores to be carried out. It had been explained to her when she was ten years old that she was not their real daughter, would never inherit anything from her aunt and uncle and would have to make her own way in adult life. Thus, Jenna had attended a fee-paying school while Grace had attended the comprehensive at the end of the road. Jenna had got her own horse and riding lessons while, in return for the occasional lesson, Grace had got to clean the riding-school stables five days a week after school. Jenna had had birthday parties and sleepovers, which Grace had been denied. Jenna had got to stay on at school, sit her A-levels and go straight to university and at twenty-five years of age worked for a popular fashion magazine. Grace, on the other hand, had had to leave school at sixteen to become a full-time carer for Della’s late mother, Mrs Grey, and those years of care and the strain of continuing her studies on a part-time basis had swallowed up what remained of Grace’s far from carefree teenage years.

Complete shame at the bitterness of her thoughts flushed Grace’s heart-shaped face. She knew she had no right at all to feel bitter because those years of caring for an invalid had been payback to the family who had cared for her as a child, she reminded herself sternly. The Donovans, after all, had taken Grace in after her mother’s death when nobody else had wanted her. Without her uncle’s intervention she would have ended up in the foster-care system and while the Donovans might not have given her love or equality with their own daughter they had given her security and the chance to attend a decent school.

So what if she was still the modern-day equivalent of a Victorian charity child or poor relation within their home? That was a comparatively small price to pay for regular meals and a comfortable bedroom, she told herself firmly. She always reminded herself of that truth whenever her uncle’s family demanded that she make herself useful, which generally entailed biting her tongue and showing willing even if she didn’t feel willing. Sometimes though she feared she might explode from the sheer effort required to suppress her temper and watch every word she said.

‘Well, then, I suppose I’m going to be stuck with you,’ Jenna lamented, sounding far younger than her years. ‘I can hardly go on a girlie holiday alone, can I? And none of my mates can get time off to join me. Believe me, you’re my very last choice, Grace.’

Grace compressed her soft full mouth and pushed her rippling fall of fiery hair back from her taut brow where a stress headache was beginning to tighten its grip. Her cousin’s best friend, Lola, who had originally planned to accompany Jenna, had broken both legs in a car accident. Sadly that was the only reason that Grace was being invited to take Lola’s place and, equally sadly, Grace didn’t want to accompany Jenna even though it was a very long time since Grace had enjoyed a holiday.

The unhappy truth was that Jenna didn’t like Grace. Jenna had never liked Grace and even as adults the cousins avoided spending time together. A much-adored only child, Jenna had thoroughly resented the arrival of another little girl in her home and Grace wasn’t even sure she could blame her cousin for her animosity. The Donovans had hoped that their daughter would see Grace as a little sister, but perhaps the fact that only a year separated the two girls in age had roused competitive instincts in Jenna instead and the situation had only worsened when Grace had unfailingly outshone Jenna in the academic stakes and eventually gone on, in spite of her disrupted education, to study medicine.

‘I’m afraid at such short notice Grace is your only option.’ Della directed a look of sympathetic understanding at her daughter. ‘But I’m sure she’ll do her best to be good company.’

Jenna groaned. ‘She barely drinks. She doesn’t have a boyfriend. She doesn’t do anything but study. She’s like a throwback to the nineteen fifties!’

Della sent Grace an exasperated look. ‘You will go with Jenna, won’t you?’ she pressed. ‘I don’t want to go to the expense of changing the name on the booking only for you to drop out.’

‘I’ll go if Jenna really wants me to...’ Grace knew when to beat a strategic retreat because crossing Della Donovan was never a good idea.

While she continued to live below the Donovans’ roof and paid only a modest amount of rent, Grace knew she had to toe the line in any family crisis, regardless of whether or not it suited her to do so. As a child she had learned the hard way that her compliance was taken for granted and that any kind of refusal or reluctance would be greeted with the kind of shocked reproach that screamed of ingratitude.

For that reason the cash fund she had been hoping to top up to help her through term time would have to take a setback. More worryingly though, could she even hope to still have a job to return to if she took a week off at the height of summer when the bar was busy? Her boss would have to hire a replacement. She suppressed a sigh.

‘We’re so lucky I thought to renew your passport when I was still hoping to take Mum away for a last holiday...’ Della’s voice faded and her eyes filmed over at the recollection of her elderly parent’s passing.

‘I haven’t really got any clothes for a beach holiday,’ Grace warned mother and daughter, conscious that Jenna was extremely snobbish about fashion and very conscious of appearances.

‘I’ll see what I can find you from my cast-offs,’ Jenna remarked irritably. ‘But I’m not sure my stuff will stretch to your big boobs and even bigger behind. For a wannabe doctor, you’re very laid-back about having a healthy body image.’

‘I don’t think I can fight my natural body shape,’ Grace responded with quiet amusement, for she had grown past the stage where Jenna’s taunts about her curves could inflict lasting damage. Yes, Grace would very much have liked to be born able to eat anything she liked and remain naturally thin but fate wasn’t that kind and Grace had learned to work with what she had and exercise regularly.

* * *

A door slammed noisily and Grace came suddenly awake, sitting up with a start and swiftly realising with a sinking heart where she was.

‘I am sorry but it is forbidden for people to sleep here. It is a reception area,’ the young woman behind the desk told her apologetically.

Grace threaded unsteady fingers through her tousled mane of hair and rose to her feet, glancing at the clock on the wall with relief. It was after ten in the morning and hopefully she could now return to the apartment she was supposed to be sharing with her cousin.

The blazing row she had had with Jenna late the night before returned to haunt her. So far, the holiday had been a disaster. Possibly it had been rather naïve of Grace to assume that her cousin would not be on a holiday man hunt when she already had a steady boyfriend back home. Unhappily Grace now knew differently. Jenna had only wanted her cousin for company until she found a suitable holiday fling and now that she had found him she simply wanted Grace to vanish. And unfortunately for Grace, Jenna had met Stuart the very first day. He was a banker, loud-spoken and flashy, but her cousin was really keen on him. For the past two nights, Jenna had told Grace that she could not come back to the apartment they were sharing because she wanted to spend the night there with Stuart. Grace had sat up reading in Reception that first night but when Jenna tried to throw her out a second time she had stood her ground and argued.

‘I’ve got nowhere else to go,’ she had pointed out to her cousin. ‘I don’t want to sit up all night in Reception again!’

‘If you were halfway normal, you’d have found a man of your own by now!’ Jenna had snapped. ‘Stuart and I want to be alone.’

‘It’s a one-room apartment, Jenna. There isn’t room for anyone to be alone in a one-room apartment. Couldn’t you go back to his place tonight?’ Grace had dared to suggest.

‘He’s sharing with a crowd of six blokes. We’d have even less privacy there. In any case, my parents paid for our apartment. This is my holiday and if it’s not convenient for me to have you staying with me, you have to get out!’ Jenna hissed with a resentful toss of her head.

Recalling that final exchange, Grace grimaced and knocked on the apartment door rather than risk utilising her key because she did not want to interrupt the lovebirds. It was a surprise when Jenna opened the door. Her cousin was already fully dressed and, astonishingly, her blonde cousin smiled at her. ‘Come in,’ she urged. ‘I was just having breakfast. Do you want a cup of tea?’

‘I’d kill for a cup.’ Grace studied the bathroom door. ‘Is Stuart still here?’

‘No, he left early. He’s off scuba-diving today and I don’t know if I’ll be seeing him tonight. I thought you and I could go to that new club that’s opening up.’

Relieved by Jenna’s friendlier attitude while being irritated that Stuart’s elusiveness had caused it, Grace nodded. ‘If you like.’

Her cousin clattered busily round the tiny kitchen area. ‘Stuart wants to cool it...thinks we’re moving too far too fast—’

‘Oh...’ Grace made no further comment, knowing how touchy Jenna could be, confiding in you one moment and snapping your nose off the next.

‘There’s plenty more fish in the sea!’ Jenna declared, slamming the fridge door and straightening, blonde hair flying round her angry face. ‘If he comes calling again, he won’t find me waiting for him.’

‘No,’ Grace agreed.

‘Maybe you’ll meet someone tonight,’ her cousin mused. ‘I mean, it’s past time you leapt off the old virgin wagon and got a life!’

‘How do you know I haven’t already?’ Grace enquired.

‘Because you always come home at night and never that late. Know what I think? You’re too fussy.’

‘Possibly,’ Grace conceded, sipping her tea while wondering how soon she could make her excuses, strip off and get into bed to catch up on her sleep.

Jenna’s entire world seemed to revolve around the man in her life and she got terribly insecure if she didn’t have one. Grace’s world, however, revolved round her studies. She had worked incredibly hard to win a place at medical school, was currently at the top of her class and was convinced that men could be a dangerous distraction. Nothing was going to come between Grace and her dream of becoming a really useful person with the medical knowledge and the skills to help others. After all, she had been raised with the warning story of how her mother had screwed up her life by relying on the wrong man.

On the other hand, Grace also knew that sooner or later she would have to find out what sex was all about. How could she possibly advise her future patients if she didn’t have that all-important personal experience? But she had yet to meet anyone she wanted to become intimate with and thought it was very sad that something more than logic was required to fuel attraction between a man and a woman. After all, if only logic had ruled, Grace would have become involved with her best friend and study partner, Matt.

Matt was loyal, kind and thoughtful, exactly the sort of man she respected. But if Matt, in his wire-rimmed spectacles and the sweaters his auntie knitted for him, had threatened to take his shirt off she would have run a mile. There was not even the smallest spark on her side of the fence but she kept on trying to feel that spark because she knew that Matt would make a wonderful partner.

* * *

Leo stood in the rooftop bar admiring a bird’s-eye view of Turunc Bay. By night the busy resort of Marmaris encircled it like a multicoloured jewelled necklace. Flaring scarlet lights in the night sky announced the grand opening of the Fever nightclub. Leo smiled. Rahim, Leo’s partner in Fever, knew how to publicise such events and attract the attention of the tourists.

‘You’ve done an amazing job here,’ Leo commented approvingly, gazing down through the glass and steel barriers at the packed dance floor.

‘Let me give you a proper tour,’ Rahim urged, keen to show off his masterpiece. A renowned architect and interior designer, he had good reason to want to show off the sleek contemporary lines of his creation. Having delivered exactly what he had promised, Rahim was keen to interest Leo in making another, even larger investment.

Almost a week of solitary introspection on board Hellenic Lady had driven Leo to the edge of cabin fever. He was fed up with work, sick of his own company but in no real mood for anyone else’s. He strolled down the illuminated staircase with Rahim, his bodyguards surrounding him. The noise of the music was such that he caught only one word in two spoken to him. Rahim was talking about an exclusive hotel complex he wanted to build further along the coast but Leo was not in the right mood to discuss the project. From the landing he gazed down at the crowded floor and that was when he saw her standing by the corner of the brilliantly lit bar, light shining off hair an eye-catching shade of metallic copper...

Her? Just another woman, his brain labelled while his brooding gaze clung to her triangular face. He tore his attention from the fey quality of her delicately pointed features. Fey? he silently repeated to himself. Where had he got that strange word from? He noted a lush full pink mouth and the curling mass of glorious red hair snaking down her narrow spine. More red than copper, it also looked natural. His attention lingered, positively drinking in the swooping curves lovingly delineated by a pale lace dress. She had the figure of a fertility goddess with high full breasts, a tiny, highly feminine waist and a voluptuous bottom. His long brown fingers curled round the guard rail, a spooked sensation making the hair rise at the nape of his neck even as the throbbing pulse at his groin reacted and swelled with a very male lack of conscience or morality.

He couldn’t remember when he had last been with a woman, an acknowledgement that almost shocked Leo back to reality. Of course, when he was working he would never waste time seeking out a woman...and when he wasn’t? The necessity of explaining his engagement and specifying no-strings-attached upfront had unequivocally cooled his libido. But now, without the smallest warning, he was recalling Marina’s married lover and he was angrily asking himself why he had bothered to halt his high sex drive. After all, Marina didn’t care what he did as long as he didn’t interfere with her pleasures. And was that truly what he wanted from his future wife? A woman who would never question where he went or what he did? Or demand that he love her?

Of course it was what he wanted, he reasoned with growing impatience, particularly when the alternative was jealous, debilitating scenes. Marina’s affair had put him on edge but did that affair offend him so much that he intended to break off the engagement and start looking for a more puritanical bride? That would be nonsensical, he decided squarely. He would never know any woman as well as he knew Marina Kouros.

Struggling to suppress his unusually troubled and uneasy thoughts, Leo focused on the redhead’s glorious shape. Hunger filled the hollow inside him and it was the sort of hunger he hadn’t felt in years, gnawing powerfully at him with painful persistence, ignoring his rigorous efforts to pursue a functional conversation with Rahim. In an abrupt movement of rejection, he looked away from the redhead, but every muscle in his big well-built body snapped taut. Nerves he hadn’t known he had jangled like alarm bells until Leo was forced to glance back to the corner of the bar lest he lose sight of the woman. What was it about her? Perhaps he should find out.

* * *

In receipt of a chilling glance from Jenna, who was standing at the bar with Stuart, Grace hurriedly turned her head away, colour sparking high over her cheekbones. Stuart had gatecrashed their night out. Jenna had been overjoyed and within minutes of Stuart’s appearance had made it clear that Grace was a gooseberry. Clutching the drink that Stuart had insisted on buying her, Grace sipped the sickly sweet concoction and wondered what she was going to do with the rest of her evening. Where was she to go? At least in a crowd she was virtually invisible and attracting no particular attention.

Jenna pushed her way through the crush and settled impatient blue eyes on Grace. ‘Why are you still here? I assumed you’d have left by now.’

Grace straightened. ‘I’m coming back to the apartment tonight,’ she warned her cousin. ‘I’ve spent two nights sitting up in Reception and I’m not doing it again.’

‘I can’t believe how selfish you’re being!’ Jenna complained. ‘You wouldn’t even be having a holiday if it wasn’t for me!’

‘Change the tune,’ Grace advised ruefully, weary of the constant battle to restrain her own nature and simply wanting to be herself. ‘The “be grateful, Grace” one is getting old. You asked me on this holiday and I’m afraid you’re stuck with me until we go home.’

As Grace averted her attention from her cousin’s furious face she noticed a man standing on the stairs watching her. He was drop-dead beautiful, Mr Fantasy in the flesh with black hair, gypsy-gold skin and stunning symmetrical features. He was also tall, broad-shouldered and surprisingly formally clad in a business suit, as were his companions. Somehow, though, she couldn’t drag her eyes from him for long enough to scrutinise the other men. His brows were dark and straight, his eyes deep set, glittering in the flickering lights, his nose a classic arch, his mouth a sensual masterpiece.

Please don’t come back to the apartment tonight,’ Jenna pleaded. ‘I haven’t got much time left to be with Stuart...’

Stuart lived in London too and Grace marvelled at her cousin’s lack of pride. He’d already spelled out the message that he wanted nothing more than a fling. Jenna flung her a last look of angry appeal before turning on her heel to return to Stuart. As Grace turned away, intending to leave the club and find a quiet café where she could read the book in her bag, she almost tripped over the large man in her path.

‘Mr Zikos would like you to join him in the VIP section for a drink.’

Involuntarily, Grace raised a brow as she glanced back at the stairs. Mr Zikos? He nodded acknowledgement and suddenly he smiled at her and in the space of a second he went from stunning to downright breathtaking, the clear-cut austere lines of his darkly handsome face slashed by an almost boyish grin that was utterly and incredibly appealing. Later, Grace swore her heart, always the most reliable of organs around men, leapt in her chest and bounced with enthusiasm, leaving her feeling seriously short of breath and oddly dizzy.

A drink? The VIP section? What did she have to lose? A bouncer undid the ceremonial velvet rope cutting off the stairs and Grace unfroze, moving forward with the strangest sense of anticipation.


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