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The Secret His Mistress Carried

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«The Secret His Mistress Carried» - Линн Грэхем

Hiding from the Greek…The ink is barely dry on Giorgios Letsos’s divorce papers and there’s only one thing on this unstoppable Greek’s mind: finding Billie Smith, his mistress before his marriage. But the sweet, pliable woman he once knew slams the door in his face!Billie has fought hard to heal her broken heart after Gio chose to marry someone else. When he storms back into her life she’s determined not to fall for his seduction again. Especially now that she has a secret to protect… their son.But she hasn’t counted on just how badly he wants her back in his bed!Discover more at for The Secret His Mistress Carried:“This was a fast-paced story with lots of interesting angles” – Kim Teamer, NetGalley“Wow! Could not put this down once I had started it. Love Lynne Graham's stories and this is another fantastic one from her.” – Karen Stevens, NetGalley reviewer
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‘Gio … you told me I needed to wise up when you informed me you were getting married and I did exactly like you said … the way I always did,’ Billie muttered tartly. ‘I wised up—and that means not listening to a word you have to say.’

‘I don’t know you like this.’

‘Why would you? It’s been two years since we were together and I’m not the same person any more,’ Billie told him with pride.

‘It might help if you could actually look me in the eye and tell me that,’ Gio quipped, scrutinising her rigid back.

Reddening, Billie finally spun round and collided dangerously with stunning dark deep-set eyes, heavily fringed with lashes. The very first time she had seen those eyes he had been ill, running a high temperature and a dangerous fever, but they’d been no less mesmerising.

She swallowed hard. ‘I’ve changed—’

‘Not convinced, moli mou.’

Gio gazed steadily back at her, enjoying the burst of sexual static now thickening the atmosphere. That her tension mirrored his told him everything he needed to know. Nothing had changed—certainly not the most basic chemistry of all.

‘I want you back.’

LYNNE GRAHAM was born in Northern Ireland and has been a keen Mills & Boon® 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 Secret His Mistress Carried

Lynne Graham



About the Author

Title Page









THE GREEK OIL BILLIONAIRE, Giorgios Letsos was throwing the party of the year at his London town house. Yet, instead of socialising, he was answering his emails, escaping the predatory females who had dogged his every footstep since the news of his divorce became public.

I heard,’ a female voice murmured outside the library door, which stood ajar after a maid had served her employer with a drink and failed to close it, ‘that he got rid of her because she did drugs.’

I heard,’ another voice piped up, ‘that he dumped her back on her father’s doorstep in the middle of the night with all her things.’

I heard,’ a third voice interposed,.‘that the pre-nup was so tight she didn’t get a cent.’

Gio was sardonically amused that speculation was keeping his neglected guests entertained. His cell phone pulsed and he answered it.

‘Mr Letsos? It’s Joe Henley from Henley Investigations...’

‘Yes?’ Gio asked absently, assuming it was the usual quarterly callback to report a negative result, his attention still on his laptop as he mulled over the purchase of another company with the kind of concentration and enjoyment he would never find at any party.

‘We’ve found, at least I’m ninety per cent certain this time,’ the older man carefully framed because neither of them would ever forget the mistake he had once made when Gio had gone racing across the city in his limo only to find himself looking at a complete stranger. ‘I took a photo and emailed it to you. Perhaps you’d like to check it out before we go any further.’

We’ve found her... Suddenly, Gio was galvanised into action, springing out of his chair to his full imposing height of six feet four inches, squaring his wide shoulders while he flicked back to the emails. Fierce intensity had fired his dark golden eyes while he identified the right email before clicking on the attachment.

It wasn’t a great photo but the small curvaceous figure in the floral raincoat was instantly recognisable to his hard, searching gaze. Excitement and satisfaction roared in an intoxicating wave through Gio’s lean, powerful length.

‘You will be generously paid for this piece of detection,’ Gio breathed with rare warmth as he stared at the picture as though it might disappear at any moment. As she had done. She had contrived to lose herself so completely he had honestly begun to believe that even with all the resources he had at his disposal he would never track her down.

Where is she?’ he pressed.

‘I have the address, Mr Letsos, but I haven’t yet acquired sufficient info to make up a proper background report,’ Joe Henley explained. ‘If you give me a couple of days, I’ll proceed the usual way—’

‘All I need, all I want,’ Gio stressed with rippling impatience at the thought of waiting even an hour, ‘is her address.’

And suddenly, Gio was smiling for the first time in a very long time. He had finally found her. Of course that didn’t automatically mean he intended to forgive her, he swiftly qualified, straightening his muscular shoulders. His wide, sensual mouth compressed in a manner that would have made his chief executives quail, for he was a tough man, an inflexible, stubborn man, very much feared in the business world. After all, Billie had walked out on him, was, in fact, the only woman ever to pull that stunt on Gio Letsos. But there she was on screen, his Billie, still wearing flowery clothes like a nature explosion, a shock of caramel-coloured blonde curls flowing round her heart-shaped elfin face, her wide green eyes unusually serious.

‘You’re not a very active host,’ a voice remarked from the doorway. The speaker was as short as Gio was tall and as fair as Gio was dark but Gio and Leandros Conistis had been friends since their schooldays, both of them born into wealthy, privileged and pedigreed, if dysfunctional, Greek families and sent to England to board at exclusive fee-paying schools.

Gio closed down his laptop and studied his old friend. ‘Did you expect anything different?’

‘Even for you, that sounds arrogant,’ Leandros countered.

‘We both know that even if I threw a non-alcoholic party in a cave, it would be packed,’ Gio said drily, well aware of the pulling power of his vast wealth.

‘I didn’t know you were going to throw a divorce party.’

‘That would be tasteless. It’s not a divorce party.’

‘You can’t fool me,’ Leandros warned him.

Gio’s lean, strong face was expressionless, his famed reserve kicking in hard and fast. ‘Calisto and I had a very civilised divorce—’

‘And now you’re back on the market and the piranhas are circling,’ Leandros commented.

‘I will never marry again,’ Gio declared grimly.

‘Never is a long time...’

‘I mean it,’ Gio emphasised darkly.

His friend said nothing and then tried to lighten the atmosphere with an old joke, ‘At least you could trust Calisto to know that Canaletto isn’t the name of a race horse!’

Momentarily, Gio froze, his lean, dark, devastating features tightening, for that gag had worn thin years before he stopped hearing it. Sadly, not Billie’s most shining moment.

‘I mean...’ Leandros was still grinning ‘...I don’t blame you for ditching that one.

..what an airhead!’

Gio said nothing. Even with his oldest friend Gio was not given to making confidences or baring his soul. In actuality, Gio had not ditched Billie; he simply hadn’t taken her out with him in public again.

* * *

In the garage, Billie was going through garments and costume jewellery that she had acquired during the week to sell in her vintage clothes shop. She was sorting items into piles for washing, repair or specialist cleaning while dumping anything past its prime. While she worked, she talked non-stop to her son. ‘You’re absolutely the most cute and adorable baby ever born,’ she told Theo warmly as he kicked his legs in his high chair, smiled beatifically and happily got on with eating his mid-morning snacks.

With a sigh, she straightened her aching back, reflecting that all the bending and stretching had at least started knocking off a few pounds of the extra baby weight she had been carrying for months. The doctor had told her that that was normal but Billie had always had to watch her weight and she knew that while putting it on was easy, getting it back off again was not. And the problem with being only five feet two inches tall with an overly large bust and hips was that it only took a few surplus pounds and a thicker waistline to make her look like a little barrel.

She would take all the kids to the playground and walk round and round and round the little park with the pram, she decided ruefully.

‘Coffee?’ Dee called out of the back door.

‘I’d love one,’ Billie told her cousin and housemate, Dee, with a smile.

Thankfully, she hadn’t been lonely since she had rediscovered her friendship with Dee, yet they might so easily have missed out on meeting up again. Billie had been four months pregnant when she attended her aunt’s funeral in Yorkshire and got talking to Dee, whom she had gone to primary school with although Dee was several years older. Her housemate was a single parent as well. At her mother’s funeral her cousin had sported a fading black eye and more bruises than a boxer. Back then Dee had been living in a refuge for battered women with her twins. Jade and Davis were now five years old and had started school. For all of them life in the small town where Billie had bought a terraced house was a fresh start.

And life was good, Billie told herself firmly as she nursed a cup of coffee and listened to Dee complain about the amount of homework Jade was getting, which related more to Dee’s inability to understand maths in any shape or form than the teacher overloading Dee’s daughter with work. This life was ordinary and safe, she reasoned thoughtfully, soothed into relaxation by the hum of the washing machine and the silence of the children while they watched television in the sitting room next door. Admittedly there were no highs of exciting moments but there were no gigantic lows either.

Billie would never forget the agonies of her own worst low, a slough of despair that had lasted for endless weeks. That phase of her life had almost destroyed her and she could still barely repress a shudder when she recalled the depression that had engulfed her. She had been hurting so badly and there had seemed to be no way of either stopping or avoiding that pain. In fact, in the end it had taken an extraordinary and rather frightening development to show Billie a light at the end of the tunnel and a future she could actually face. She contemplated Theo with glowing satisfaction.

‘It’s not healthy to love a baby so much,’ Dee warned her with a frown. ‘Babies grow up and eventually leave you. Theo’s a lovely baby but he’s still just a child, Billie, and you can’t continue building your whole life round him. You need a man—’

‘I need a man like a fish needs a bicycle,’ Billie interposed without hesitation, reckoning that the disaster zone of her one and only real relationship was quite sufficient to have put her off men for life. ‘And who are you to talk?’

A tall, whip-thin blonde with grey eyes, Dee grimaced to concede the point. ‘Been there, done that.’

‘Exactly,’ Billie agreed.

‘But I don’t have the options you have,’ Dee argued. ‘If I were you, I’d be out there dating up a storm!’

Theo clutched Billie’s ankles and slowly levered himself upright, beaming with triumph at his achievement. Considering her son had had both legs in a special cast for months to cure his hip dysplasia, he was catching up on his mobility fast. For a split second he also reminded her powerfully of his father and she didn’t like that, didn’t go there in her mind because she didn’t allow herself to dwell on the past. Looking back on the mistakes she had made was counterproductive. Those experiences had taught her hard lessons and she had forced herself to move on past them.

Dee studied her cousin in frank frustration. Billie Smith was the equivalent of a man magnet. With the figure of a pocket Venus, a foaming mane of dense toffee-coloured curls and an exceptionally pretty face, Billie exuded the kind of natural warm and approachable sex appeal that attracted the opposite sex in droves. Men tried to chat Billie up in the supermarket, in car parks or in the street and if they were behind a car wheel they honked their horns, whistled out of the window and stopped to offer her lifts. Had it not been for Billie’s modest take on her own assets and her innate kindness, Dee was convinced she would have been consumed with envy. Of course she would have been the last to envy Billie’s unfortunate long-term affair with the ruthless, selfish swine who had broken her tender heart, she thought guiltily. Like Dee, Billie had paid a high price for falling in love with the wrong man.

The knocker on the front door sounded loudly. ‘I’ll get it,’ Billie declared because Dee was doing the ironing and Billie hated ironing with a passion.

Davis hurtled out of the sitting room, almost tripping over Theo, who was crawling earnestly in his mother’s wake. ‘There’s a big car...a really big car on the street!’ the little boy exclaimed.

It was probably a lorry with a delivery, Billie assumed, aware that any vehicle with wheels fascinated Dee’s son. She unlocked the door and then took an immediate and very abrupt step back, astonishment and panic shooting up inside her like a sudden jarring surge of adrenalin.

‘You’re a hard woman to track down,’ Gio murmured with supreme assurance.

Billie’s facial muscles were locked tight by shock. She couldn’t have shown him an expression to save her life but her wide green eyes were huge and anxious. ‘What are you doing here? Why would you have wanted to track me down, for goodness’ sake?’

Gio feasted his shrewd, dark gaze on her. Twenty four freckles adorned her nose and her upper cheekbones: having once counted them, he knew that for a fact. Her clear eyes, delicate features and lush mouth were utterly unchanged, he was relieved to note, his attention sliding inexorably down over her in a staged appraisal because he was strictly rationing himself. A faded blue cotton tee shirt stretched to capacity over her high, rounded breasts and his attention lingered there against his will, lust sending his libido leaping for the first time in a long time.

Relief rather than irritation consumed Gio because it had been far too long since he had experienced that reaction to a woman, so long indeed that he had feared that his marriage had stripped him of his essential masculinity in some peculiar fashion. But then, he would have been the first to acknowledge that he had never wanted any woman the way he had always wanted Billie. He had once flown her out to New York for a single night because he literally could not get through another week without her in his bed.

Billie was so worked up, so horrified that Gio Letsos had come looking and found her, that her feet were glued to the hall carpet. She stared at Gio, unwilling to credit that he was really there in the flesh in front of her, the man she had once loved, the man she had believed she would never see again. Her heart started to thump very, very hard and she sucked in a sudden snatch of oxygen, flinching as Theo drew her back to reality by hauling on her jeans-clad legs with his little fat hands to pull himself upright.

‘Billie...?’ Dee asked from the kitchen doorway. ‘Who is it? Is there something up?’

‘Nothing.’ Billie rescued her voice from her convulsed throat and stooped down in a jerky movement to scoop up Theo, her dazed gaze roaming over her cousin’s children who were studying Gio as though he had just dropped in from Mars. ‘Dee...could you take the kids?’

Her voice emerged all husky and shaken and she had to force herself to direct her attention back to Gio while Dee put out her arms for Theo and urged her own children into the kitchen with her. The kitchen door closed, sealing the hall into a sudden claustrophobic silence.

‘I asked you why you were here and why you would have looked for me in the first place,’ Billie reminded her unwelcome visitor doggedly.

‘Are you really planning to stage this long-overdue meeting on the doorstep?’ Gio drawled, all velvety smoothness and sophistication. He was taking control the way he always did and it unnerved her.

‘Why not?’ Billie whispered helplessly, struggling to drag her eyes from his devastatingly handsome features, remembering all the many times she had run her fingers through his thick black hair, loving him, loving each and every thing about him, even his flaws. ‘I don’t owe you the time of day!’

Gio was disconcerted by that comeback from a woman who had once respected his every word and done everything possible to please him, and his lean, strong face set taut and hard. ‘You’re being rude,’ he told her icily.

Billie’s hand clutched at the edge of the front door while she wondered if its support was all that was keeping her upright. He was so cool, so collected and such a bully, really couldn’t help being one. Life had spoilt Gio Letsos although he had never seen it that way. People flattered him to an extraordinary degree and went out of their way to win his approval. And once she had been the same, she acknowledged wretchedly. She had never stood up to him, never told him how she really felt, had always been far too afraid of spoiling things and then losing him. Only a very naïve woman would have failed to foresee that naturally Gio would choose to walk away from her first.

Her abstracted gaze took in the fact that her neighbour was staring over the fence at them, possibly even close enough to catch snippets of the conversation. Embarrassment made her step back from the door. ‘You’d better come in.’

Gio strode into the tiny sitting room, stepping with care round the toys strewn untidily about the room. He swallowed up all the available space, Billie thought numbly as she hastily switched off the television, which was playing a noisy children’s cartoon. He was so tall, so broad and she had forgotten the way he dominated any room he occupied.

‘You said I was rude,’ she said flatly as she carefully shut the sitting room door, ensuring their privacy.

She kept her back turned to him as long as possible, shielding herself from the explosive effects of Gio’s potent charisma as best she could. It wasn’t fair that just being in the same room with him should send a shower of sparks tingling through her and give her that oh, so dangerous sense of excitement and anticipation that had once seduced her into behaving like a very stupid woman. He was so very, very good-looking that it hurt to look at him and the effect of seeing him on the doorstep had stimulated her memories. In her mind’s eye, she was seeing the straight black brows, the utterly gorgeous dark golden eyes, the distinctly imperious blade of his nose, the high cheekbones, the bronzed Mediterranean skin, the beautiful, wide, sensual mouth that had made seduction an indescribable pleasure.

‘You were rude,’ Gio told her without hesitation.

‘But I was entitled to be. Two years ago, you married another woman,’ Billie reminded him over her shoulder, angry that it could still hurt her to have to force that statement out. Unhappily there was no escaping the demeaning truth that she had been good enough to sleep with but not good enough to be considered for anything more important or permanent in Gio’s life. ‘You’re nothing to do with me any more!’

‘I’m divorced,’ Gio breathed in a raw-edged undertone because nothing was going as he had expected. Billie had never attacked him before, never dared to question his behaviour. This new version of Billie was taking him by surprise.

‘How is that my business?’ Billie shot back at him, quick as a flash, while refusing to think that startling declaration of divorce through or react to it in any way. ‘I still remember you telling me that your marriage was none of my business.’

‘But then you made it your business by using it as an excuse to walk out on me.’

‘I didn’t need an excuse!’ A familiar sense of wonderment was gripping Billie while she listened, once again, to Gio vocalise his supremely selfish and arrogant outlook. ‘The minute you married, we were over and done. I never pretended it would be any other way—’

‘You were my mistress!’

Colour lashed Billie’s cheeks as though he had slapped her. ‘In your mind, not mine. I was only with you because I fell in love with you, not for the jewellery and the clothes and the fancy apartment,’ she spelled out thinly, her hands curling together in front of her in a defensive, nervous gesture.

‘But there was no reason for you to leave. My bride had no objection to me keeping a mistress,’ Gio stressed with growing impatience.

My bride. Even the label still hurt. The back of her eyelids stung with tears and she hated herself but she hated him more. Gio was so insensitive, so self-centred. How on earth had she ever contrived to love him? And why the heck would he have tracked her down? For what possible reason?

‘Sometimes I honestly think you talk like an alien from another planet, Gio,’ Billie countered, tightly controlling her anger and her pain. ‘In my world decent men do not marry one woman and continue sleeping with another. That is not acceptable to me and the idea that you found a woman to marry who didn’t care who you slept with just depresses me.’

‘But I am free now,’ Gio reminded her, frowning while he wondered what the hell had happened to Billie to change her so much that she could start arguing with him the minute he reappeared.

‘I don’t want to be rude but I’d like you to leave,’ Billie admitted unevenly.

‘You haven’t even heard what I have to say. What the hell is the matter with you?’ Gio demanded, shaken into outright disbelief by her aggressive attitude.

‘I don’t want to hear what you have to say. Why would I? We broke up a long time ago!’

‘We didn’t break up—you walked out, vanished,’ Gio contradicted with harsh censorious emphasis.

‘ told me I needed to wise up when you informed me you were getting married and I did exactly like you said...the way I always did,’ Billie muttered tartly. ‘I wised up and that means not listening to a word you have to say.’

‘I don’t know you like this.’

‘Why would you? It’s been two years since we were together and I’m not the same person any more,’ Billie told him with pride.

‘It might help if you could actually look me in the eye and tell me that,’ Gio quipped, scrutinising her rigid back.

Reddening, Billie finally spun round and collided dangerously with stunning deep-set dark eyes, heavily fringed with lashes. The very first time she had seen those eyes he had been ill, running a high temperature and a dangerous fever, but those eyes had been no less mesmerising. She swallowed hard. ‘I’ve changed—’

‘Not convinced, moli mou.’ Gio gazed steadily back at her, enjoying the burst of sexual static now thickening the atmosphere. That her tension mirrored his told him everything he needed to know. Nothing had changed, certainly not the most basic chemistry of all. ‘I want you back.’

In shock, Billie stopped breathing, but within seconds his admission made a crazy kind of Gio-based sense to her. By any standards, his marriage had lasted a ludicrously short time and she knew Gio didn’t like change in his private life. To his skewed way of thinking, reconciling with his former mistress might well now seem the most attractive and convenient option. ‘No way,’ she said breathlessly.

‘I still want you and you still want me—’

‘I’ve built a whole new life here. I can’t just abandon it,’ Billie muttered, wondering why on earth she was stooping to making such empty excuses. ‘You and didn’t work—’

‘It worked brilliantly,’ he contradicted.

‘And your marriage didn’t?’ Billie could not resist asking.

His hard facial bones locked in an expression she remembered from the past. It closed her out, warned she had crossed a boundary. ‘Since I’m divorced, obviously not,’ he fielded, smooth as glass.

‘But you and I,’ Gio husked, reaching out to grasp her hands before she could guess his intention, ‘did work very successfully—’

‘Depends on your definition of successful,’ Billie parried, her hands trembling in his, perspiration dampening her entire skin surface. ‘I wasn’t happy—’

‘You were always happy,’ Gio had no hesitation in asserting, because her chirpy, sunny nature was what he remembered most about her.

Billie tried and failed to draw her hands free of his without making a production out of it. ‘I wasn’t happy,’ she repeated again, shivering as the almost forgotten scent of him assailed her nostrils: clean, fresh male overlaid with tones of citrus and something that was uniquely Gio, so familiar even after all the time that had passed that for a charged and very dangerous split second she wanted to lean closer and sniff him up like an intoxicating drug. ‘Please let go, Gio. Coming here was a waste of your time.’

His hot urgent mouth swooped down on hers and he feasted on her parted lips with fiery enthusiasm, plundering and ravishing with a hunger she had never forgotten. Electrifying excitement shot through Billie like a lightning bolt to stimulate every skin cell in her body. The erotic thrust of his tongue into her mouth consumed her with burning heat and a crazy urge to get even closer to that lean, virile body of his. Wild hunger started a glow of warmth in her pelvis and made her nipples tighten and strain. She wanted, she wanted...and then sanity returned like a cold drop of water on her overheated skin when Theo wailed from the kitchen, jarring every maternal sense she possessed back to wakefulness.

Wrenching her mouth free of his, Billie looked up into the smouldering dark golden eyes that had once broken her heart and said what she needed to say, what she owed it to herself to say. ‘Please leave, Gio...’

Billie stood at the window watching Gio climb into his long black limousine on the street outside, her fingernails biting into her palms like sharp-pointed knives. Without even trying he had torn her in two, teaching her that her recovery was not as complete as she had imagined. Letting Gio walk away from her had almost killed her and there was still a weak, wicked part of her that longed to snatch him back with both hands. But she knew it was pointless, because Gio would be furious if he ever found out that Theo was his child.

Right from the start, Billie had known and accepted that truth when, finding herself accidentally pregnant, she had chosen to give birth to a baby fathered by a male who had only wanted her for her body. There would be no support or understanding from Gio on the score of an illegitimate child, whom he would prefer not to have been born. She had only been with him a few weeks when he had told her that if she ever fell pregnant he would regard it as a disaster and that it would destroy their relationship, so she couldn’t say she hadn’t been warned. She had finally decided that what he didn’t know about wouldn’t hurt him and she had so much love to give their son that she had convinced herself that Theo would not suffer from the lack of a father.

Or so she had thought...until after Theo’s birth when concerns began to steadily nibble gaping holes in her one-time conviction that she had made the right decision. Then she had guiltily asked herself if she was the most selfish woman alive to have chosen to have a child in secrecy who would never have a father and she had worried even more about how Theo might react when he was older to what little she would have to tell him.

Would her son despise her some day for the role she had played in Gio’s bed? Would Theo resent the fact that although his father was rich he had grown up in comparative poverty? Would he blame her then for having brought him into the world on such terms?


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