‘Not just business,’ he said deeply. ‘Not just business, but pleasure as well.’
‘Pleasure?’ Jessica found that the word caught in her throat, choking her so that she couldn’t get it out. ‘What pleasure?’
Once again Angelos turned that frankly sceptical look on her face, his eyes lighting with total disbelief that she could possibly be so naïve.
‘What pleasure?’ he echoed softly, his voice becoming husky and rough on the word. ‘What pleasure could there be but sexual, agape mou? This would be both a business and a sexual partnership. That way we would have the very best of both worlds.’
‘A sexual partnership—you’re asking me to be your mistress!’
The bitterness that ate into her soul with the realisation that just for a few moments she had been fool enough to let herself think he was actually offering her a genuine partnership made her voice shake in shocked disgust.
‘What else?’ Angelos tossed at her. ‘You surely did not think that I was going to go down on one knee and ask you to marry me?’
Kate Walker was born in Nottinghamshire, but as she grew up in Yorkshire she has always felt that her roots are there. She met her husband at university, and originally worked as a children’s librarian, but after the birth of her son she returned to her old childhood love of writing. When she’s not working, she divides her time between her family, their three cats, and her interests of embroidery, antiques, film and theatre, and, of course, reading.
You can visit Kate at www.kate-walker.com
Recent titles by the same author:
SPANISH BILLIONAIRE, INNOCENT WIFE
THE GREEK TYCOON’S UNWILLING WIFE THE SICILIAN’S RED-HOT REVENGE SICILIAN HUSBAND, BLACKMAILED BRIDE
BEDDED BY THE GREEK BILLIONAIRE
THE driving rain lashed against the windscreen of the car, obscuring the road and blurring the sign fixed to the low stone wall, but Angelos Rousakis needed no help or guidance in finding his way to the place he was looking for. The country lane that led to the Manor House hadn’t changed at all in the years since he had last seen it, and his hands were already moving on the steering wheel, ready for the turn, even before he glimpsed the gateway.
The savage downpour meant that he could only take the steep, curving driveway in low gear and at a crawling speed but that wasn’t something that troubled him. He had waited for this moment, planned for it, for so long that a few more moments didn’t matter. The truth was that he was enjoying the anticipation almost as much as he expected to enjoy putting his planning into operation, and as the big sandy-coloured house came into view the sense of grim satisfaction that had been with him ever since he had left Athens deepened and darkened at the thought of what was to come.
Inside that house Jessica Marshall was acting out her part as lady of the manor, unaware of the fact that her days in that role were strictly numbered—had, in fact, already come to an end. In a very short space of time the reality of her situation would hit home to her and he would be there to see her reaction as her world fell apart around her. The thought of that moment was something that made the long, tedious journey from the airport bearable, even in this appalling weather.
‘I think we’re ready now.’
Jessica spoke softly, stopping her stepfather’s butler just as he was about to leave the room after ushering in the latest black-coated, sombre-faced arrival.
‘Would you ask them to bring the cars around to the front of the house? Is there a problem?’ she added, blue eyes frowning slightly as Peters hesitated, looked a little concerned.
‘No problem, miss,’ the elderly man explained. ‘It’s just that I think it might be best to wait a little while yet—until everyone has arrived.’
Jessica pushed a hand through the soft fall of her chestnut hair as she looked round the room, struggling to remember just who had been invited today. She couldn’t think who, if anyone, was missing.
‘But everyone is here—aren’t they?’
Again there was that flash of a disturbing expression—one that crossed Peters’s face and was gone in a moment. But Jessica had seen it and the feeling that it left in its wake was one of unease, a niggling sense of something she didn’t know about—but felt that she should. Something that unnerved and worried her, setting her on edge like a nervous cat.
‘Not quite everyone, miss.’
Jessica glanced around the room, frowning as she completed another survey of the guests. Everyone there was elderly, like most of her stepfather’s friends, and she couldn’t think if someone was obviously missing from the list of people who should have been invited to Marty’s funeral.
‘I can’t think of anyone…’
‘There is one last…’ Peters hesitated over the right way to describe the person he meant. ‘A person I was told to expect,’ he finished awkwardly
‘Told by who?’
‘Mr Hilton—Mr Simeon Hilton.’
Her stepfather’s solicitor. So this person, whoever they might be, was known to Simeon Hilton. But why hadn’t Simeon told her about him—or her—when they had had their last discussion about the preparations?
‘I’ll ask…’ she began when the sound of a powerful car’s engine outside cut through her words, making her break off. The next moment the rich, purring sound had been silenced too as the car drew to a halt beyond the big bay window, just out of sight.
‘It looks as if our missing guest is here,’ she told Peters, whose attention had been caught as well. ‘I suggest you go and let them in now and we can get on our way to the church.’
And she could find out who the missing person was, she told herself as she smoothed back a wayward lock of her gleaming hair that had fallen loosely around her face once more, tucking it behind her ear in an attempt to secure it. She’d fastened most of it back for today, but it seemed that one bright lock was determined to escape.
The new arrival must be someone important, she reflected. Important enough for Simeon to have told Peters not to start without them. But if that was the case, then why hadn’t he mentioned this expected arrival to her when they had been going over the details of Marty’s funeral? She’d asked him to let her know if there was anyone she ought to take particular notice of.
Out in the hall she heard the big, heavy oak door creak open and the murmur of voices.