The Greek Tycoon's Love Child, страница 1
Willow stared out at the night sky and wondered what the future had in store.
"I thought you might still be awake."
She hadn't heard the door open, but she heard the husky-voiced drawl and spun around to stare in disbelief. "Get out of my room," she snapped, but as she watched, Theo closed the door softly behind him and turned the key. "Haven't you done enough damage for one day?" she said bitterly.
"Be quiet." He moved towards her. He was wearing only a short toweling robe that exposed his broad chest and long legs.
All arrogant Greek male, cold fury glittered in his dark eyes. He allowed no one to disrespect him—man or woman—and certainly not this woman.
"You owe me, Willow, eight long years, and now is my time to collect."
They're the men who have everything— except a bride. ...
Wealth, power, charm— what else could a handsome tycoon need? In THE GREEK TYCOONS miniseries you have already met some gorgeous Greek multimillionaires who are in need of wives.
Now it's time to meet the incomparable Theodore Kadros in Jacqueine Baird's
The Greek Tycoon's Love-Child
This tycoon is determined to reclaim his woman and child...whatever it takes!
THE GREEK TYCOON'S LOVE-CHILD
First North American Publication 2004.
Copyright © 2004 by Jacqueline Baird.
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, Is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher, Harlequin Enterprises Limited, 225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada M3B 3K9.
All characters in this book have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not even distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author, and all incidents are pure invention.
This edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.
® and TM are trademarks of the publisher. Trademarks indicated with ® are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Canadian Trade Marks Office and in other countries.
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Printed in U.S.A.
Theodore Kadros paid the cab driver. It was a warm June evening and he shrugged off his jacket as he walked up to the open front door of the Georgian terraced house in the centre of London Mayfair. It was a small asset in the vast family-owned international property company. The house had been used over the past few years by his sister, Anna, who was currently sharing with three other students from University College London. He had known all of the girls, but one of them, Liz, had left a month ago, and he had yet to meet her replacement.
A wry smile twisted his firm lips. The new girl was obviously not averse to partying. It was Friday night and the place was fit up like a Christmas tree, a party in full swing. He walked into the hall, hooked his jacket on the wall stand, avoided one or two couples in clinches and headed for the living room. The music was loud and the laughter louder. Anna wasn't expecting him until Monday and she was obviously making the most of her last weekend without her older brother breathing down her neck.
The way he felt at the moment, he did not blame her. After five weeks attending to business in South America he had flown into New York yesterday looking forward to spending a long weekend with his girlfriend of the past ten months, Dianne, a high-flying New York lawyer. Tired and in need of relaxation, Theo had arrived only for Dianne to give him the spiel: Where was their relationship going? Couldn't they just curl up and talk for this evening?
After a lot of talk, he had curled up eventually in the guest bedroom. . . And it was Theo who'd said 'No' in the morning. He had been six weeks without her and consequently without sex. He was always monogamous as long as a relationship lasted, but, lovely as Dianne was, no way would he let her, or any woman, manipulate him using sex. The sound of wedding bells had been so loud in his head, he hadn't been able to get away fast enough.
'Theo. What are you doing here?' Anna gripped his arm, and looked up at him with shock in her brown eyes. 'I wasn't expecting you until Monday.'
'Have no fear,' he mocked. 'Carry on with the party, just make sure you keep your friends out of my suite.' His sister Anna, at twenty-one, was perfectly capable of looking after herself, but at his father's insistence he was supposed to be keeping a wary eye on her. Their father was Greek and their mother Greek American and, while his mother was a modern woman, his father put great store on traditional Greek values. This was the reason Theo had been loosely based in London for the past three years and kept a room on the top floor of the house. At the family home in Athens Anna led a much more sheltered life than she did in London.
'Sure thing, bro. . .' Anna resumed dancing with her partner.
Theo helped himself to a stiff whisky, and looked around the neon-lit living room. . . Not his scene. A glance at his wrist-watch told him it was five minutes to midnight, but unfortunately his body clock was still on American time, and he was not ready to sleep. His hard mouth curled in a cynical smile as he pondered on the vagaries of women. The lovely Dianne in particular.
Dianne had known the score from the beginning. She was a beautiful, intelligent, career-minded lawyer, just the type he liked, and yet within a few months she had been after a wedding ring. But she had picked the wrong man with him. He was a bachelor and intended to stay that way for the foreseeable future.
He glanced around the crowded room. At the end of July Anna would be finished at university. Then the house would be converted into business premises, which had been the original intention when the family firm had bought the place. But when Anna had insisted she wanted to live in student accommodation, their father had flatly refused. This house had been a compromise between father and daughter. Still, looking around now, at the assorted party guests writhing in what looked like a mass fertility dance, Theo could understand his father's point of view.
At the same time he realized he wouldn't mind a writhing body of the female persuasion beneath his own for the night, but he wasn't into one-night stands, and certainly not with his sister's friends. It was a bit too close to home. Turning, he threaded his way through the crowd. A cup of coffee was what he needed, not more whisky, and he made his way to the kitchen.
He pushed open the door and walked in, closing it behind him. Turning, he stopped dead. In all of his twenty-eight years he had never seen anything like her. . .
The woman was standing with her back to him, pouring a bottle of some garishly coloured liquid down the sink. Her hair was as black as midnight and flowed in silken waves almost to her waist. An expanse of smooth pale flesh revealed the feminine flare of her hips and a black band that only just passed for a skirt covered high, firm buttocks. And her legs. . . Theo drew in a harsh breath and shoved a hand in his trouser pocket; he had not been so quickly or so shockingly aroused since he had been a testosterone- fuelled schoolboy. Her legs went on for ever. . .long and shapely and as pale as alabaster.
Willow dropped the bottle in the sink at the sound of the deep masculine voice and spun around. Her lips parted but no sound came out. Walking towards her was the most beautiful man she had ever seen. Tall and casually dressed in softly pleated cream trousers and a blue buttoned-down shirt, he was big and bronzed and radiated energy like an electrical storm. Straight black hair was cut in a well- groomed, if slightly long, style that gave him a raffish air.
He was every teenage romantic fantasy rolled into one. The slow, intimate curl of his lips as he smiled made her heart race out of control and her stomach flutter in the most alarming way. For a moment time stood still and she was completely disorientated.
She had read about the thunderbolt of love at first sight, but had doubted it existed. Then her eyes met his and she saw her own reflection in the dark liquid depths and knew that it was true. Her eyes widened and a frisson shivered through her body as she thought he saw through to her soul, so intense was the connection.
She heard him speak but her breath locked in her throat and she was incapable of making a response. She simply stared, excitement sizzling through her. She had never felt like this in her life before; it had to be love, she thought impulsively. What else could it be? Later, much later, she, would realize her mistake. . .
When the woman turned around Theo was shocked. Brilliant blue eyes blazed into his but the eyes were ringed with thick black kohl and even thicker mascara. Garish blue eye-shadow coated her heavy lids and her mouth was a gash of red. Her face, heavily covered in make-up, was a complete contrast to her pale skin tone.
Her shoulders were bare and as pale as her legs. His gaze dropped lower to the soft curve of pert breasts, which were blatantly displayed by her metallic silver bra, and lower still to her flat stomach and the indentation of her navel, which the apology for a skirt she wore could not hide. Then he saw the jewel in her belly button and he gulped. Bad makeup aside, the woman was sex on legs.
'A beautiful girl like you should not be hiding in the kitchen,' he said, stopping a foot away. 'I am Theo Kadros, Anna's brother, and you are. . .?' He paused and held out his hand. He noticed that her eyes were even more incredibly blue close up and he thought they could not possibly be real. But right at that moment he didn't care; it was her body that was driving him crazy. As the pause lengthened she simply stared at him and he added, 'Are you staying here now?' Maybe she was the new student. 'Or have I conjured you up in my imagination, a legendary Mycenaean beauty,' he teased, 'and you can't speak?' He smiled, her fabulous eyes widened and she blinked.
'My name is Willow, and, yes, I am staying here,' said a cool polite voice. A slender elegant white hand was formally held out to his. He took it and her touch electrified him.
'Your name suits you,' he drawled throatily, his dark eyes sweeping down her shapely body. His iron-clad rule not to get involved with Anna's house mates flew right out of the window. 'So will you dance with me, Willow?'
'I don't think I can,' she said, her voice soft and low. 'Not the way they are in there.' And she tilted her head towards the door, her long, silken hair gliding over one shoulder with the gesture.
'Then let me teach you my way,' Theo murmured, and he didn't just mean dance. Beneath the ton of make-up her features were even, her nose small and straight, her lips full and luscious. In fact she was quite stunningly beautiful, he thought. He wanted her with a hunger that was turning him inside out. The fact that she appeared to have no dress sense faded into insignificance. His body had taken over his mind and he didn't give a damn.
He held her in his arms, ignoring the frenzied antics of the other dancers, and she flowed against him as if she were made for him. He buried his head in her glorious hair and it smelt of fresh apples. She had a unique personal scent like no perfume he had ever known. Their conversation was limited because of the noise of the music, but he did discover she was studying English. He made her laugh with his stories and sigh with the subtle caress of his hands against her slender body. Finally, when he asked her to share a drink with him somewhere a little quieter, her hand trustingly in his, she followed where he led.
Opening his eyes, Theo stretched all six feet four of his bronzed body, a contented sigh escaping him. He felt great, better than great—magnificent, and it was all down to the lovely Willow. Immediately he became aroused again. She was his dream woman, and she had fulfilled his every fantasy. He licked his lips. He could still taste her on his tongue, feel the perfect rose-tipped nipples filling his mouth, and the exquisite length of her long legs wrapped around his hard body. The amazing tightness of her sheathing him. Her keening little cries when they'd climaxed together, and her eager, if somewhat surprised, response when he had led her slowly into ever more erotic ways of making love. If she had not been so wildly responsive he might have thought she had never had a man before.
Yes, breaking up with Dianne was the best thing he had ever done. Willow was much more to his liking. A perfect replacement. He rolled onto his side, reaching for her, and then he realised the bed was empty. She was probably in the bathroom. At one point last night she had briefly left him and had returned with her face washed clean of makeup. Theo had been stunned by her natural beauty and had taken her all over again.
Thinking about it now, he threw back the sheet, swung his long legs off the bed, and stood up, his magnificent body fully aroused. Then he remembered—she wouldn't be in the bathroom. He felt almost like a teenager again, a broad, anticipatory grin illuminating his handsome face.
As the light of dawn had filtered into the bedroom, Willow had eagerly agreed to his suggestion to spend the weekend with him, but not under the curious eyes of his sister. He had agreed and let her slip back to her own room to get ready, arranging to meet her downstairs at nine. Theo was sure the rest of the house mates would still be asleep after the party and they could slip away unnoticed.
Although the thought of sharing a shower with Willow held great appeal, the thought of the days, and nights, ahead held even more. He cast a reminiscent smile back at the rumpled bed, saw the blood stain and froze. . .
Oh, hell! She couldn't possibly have been a virgin? No. He shook his dark head dismissing the notion. It wasn't possible, not dressed the way she had been last night. Or the fact that she had fallen into bed with him within an hour of their meeting. Anyway, Anna had told him that the new girl was doing a postgraduate course so she had to be at least twenty-two. There must be another explanation for it. He glanced around the room, and only then did he register the time: eleven o'clock. Oh, hell! He cursed again; he had overslept for the first time in years. Jet lag had obviously caught up with him—that and his energetic love- making with Willow most of the night.
Dashing into the shower, he told himself not to panic.
After the marvellous night they had shared she would still be waiting for him downstairs, he was sure. Theo's head was full of plans to introduce the beautiful Willow to all the finer things in life, himself included. He would be her style guru and take her to the best beauticians and dress her in designer gowns so she could truly fulfill her magnificent potential.
Five minutes later, dressed in denim jeans and a black polo shirt, he strolled confidently into the kitchen. Anna and her two friends, Maggie and Jo, sat at the table. A fourth, blonde girl whom Theo had never met before was also seated. She must be a hanger-on from the party, he assumed.
'Hello, Theo. Sleep well?' Anna greeted him. 'Sit down and I'll get you a coffee—you look as if you need it.'
Doing as she said, he joined them at the scrubbed pine table and listened in to their post-mortem on the night before. Finally, after drinking a second cup of Anna's strong brew, he asked the question that was uppermost in his mind, hopefully without raising his sister's suspicions. 'So where is your new tenant? I think she said her name was Willow. Tall wi
All four girls started to laugh and the blonde answered. 'I'm the new tenant, Emma. You must mean The Mole, and she's gone.'
Disappointment hit him like a punch in the stomach, and he wanted to yell, Gone where? But, hiding his shock at the information, Theo queried lightly, 'The Mole? Why do you call her that?' Willow had lied to him. She was not the new student in the house, and she had obviously left without saying a word to him. He told himself not to worry—after all, Anna and her friends knew who she was. With a bit of careful questioning it should not be too hard to find out where Willow was and get her back, and he wanted her back.
'She and I attended the same convent boarding-school together. It was popular with families in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Mole was Willow's nickname,' Emma answered. 'Think Wind in the Willows and with a name like Willow and all that black hair, it was obvious. She was much smaller then and had her head buried in a book all the time, so the name sort of stuck, I suppose. She was four or five years behind me, and never had much to say. I don't really know her all that well. We tried our best to get her involved last night but without much luck; she vanished about midnight to her room.'
Theo stilled. Not her room, his. The mention of a convent school made him feel decidedly queasy. But Theo did not betray what he was thinking. 'She didn't look much like a mole to me, with a jewel in her belly and a skirt that barely covered her buttocks,' he drawled sardonically.
The laughter erupted again and this time Anna answered. 'Well, it was a Tarts and Vicars party, not that you would notice, Theo.'
'A Tarts and Vicars. . .' he repeated, his darkly handsome face creasing in a frown. 'You mean you deliberately dressed up like tarts?' he asked angrily, amazed that his own sister could be so dumb. Surely she knew what kind of signal scanty clothes sent out to the male sex.