Read The Art of Wedding a Greek Billionaire Online

Authors: Marian Tee

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Women's Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Romance, #Contemporary, #New Adult & College, #Romantic Comedy, #Contemporary Fiction, #Teen & Young Adult

The Art of Wedding a Greek Billionaire (2 page)

BOOK: The Art of Wedding a Greek Billionaire
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Did Mairi know what was going on in Damen’s life now? It wasn’t just that he was no longer a Greek billionaire. According to the media, almost all of his accounts were frozen. It would be a miracle if he even had a
million
to his name.
 

Although Norah knew her niece was in no way materialistic, she also knew that part of Damen Leventis’ appeal was because he had fit the bill of the man of Mairi’s dreams. But now that he no longer possessed a billion-dollar fortune? What now?

Would Mairi finally see Damen for what he really was? A man who trusted no one, a man who could be inhumanly cruel in his revenge, and a man who might be incapable of love?

Looking around their living room, Vilma could easily recount all the years that had gone by. It was here they had often discussed the stories they would read for bedtime, the debate becoming more fun and lively as Mairi grew up and formed her own strong opinion about her favorite kind of hero.

Closing her eyes, she remembered the time she and her sister had been right here, keeping an eighteen-year-old Mairi company as she wrapped the covers of her books with plastic. Mairi was messy with her stuff like most teenagers, but she had been quite the neat freak when it came to her favorite books.

Mairi was seated on the rug, legs tucked under her and bent over a sheet of plastic. “Maybe it’s time we don’t read about Greek billionaires. They’re so predictable, don’t you think? That makes them boring…” The words came out of nowhere, and Mairi spoke them without bothering to look up from her task. Her attention was entirely focused on cutting a straight line through the plastic.

Vilma saw Mairi gazing musingly at the cover of a Lynne Graham novel, one with another Greek billionaire hero whose wife had been an expert on ferns. It was a very good book, that one. It gave Vilma hope that one day a nice and rich young man would not think Mairi odd for being such a hopeless romantic.

Norah looked like she wanted to cross herself at the blasphemous words. “What are you saying? Boring? How can they be boring? They’re excitingly unpredictable because of how they’d go to such lengths to show their love!”

Vilma asked, “Anyway, what do you suggest we read? Some Arab sheikh who’s sure to force a woman to live in the desert with him and die of heat stroke?”

Norah still seemed extremely offended and wagged a finger at her niece’s face. “And do not start again,” she warned starkly, “about Dutch surgeons! Maybe some women dig men who have ice in their veins, but not us!”

They had been so offended by Mairi’s protestations about Greek billionaires that it had completely surprised them when their niece suddenly burst into laughter.

It was then they realized in chagrin that the young girl had only been pulling their legs off.

Seeing the glowers on their faces, Mairi had gotten up from where she was seated and threw her arms around both aunts. “Oh, come on, you two! Of course I wouldn’t stop reading or dreaming about Greek billionaire heroes. I was just teasing you guys.”

Mairi had sighed wistfully, her gaze distant as she returned to her place on the floor. Absently tracing the now plastic-wrapped cover of her book, Mairi said softly, “I won’t stop dreaming about my future husband, but do you think it’s possible I could be the kind of girl he’d dream of?”

The memories pained Vilma. Her usually strong voice became uncharacteristically weak as she admitted shakily, “I no longer know what to do. I don’t even know if what we did was right.”

They had never really known about what Mairi had gone through when she was in high school. If their niece had her way, they wouldn’t have known at all. But then that odious woman Farah had entered the picture, and there was Stavros, too. It was as if the past had suddenly come to life, and it demanded Norah and Vilma to revisit the facts.

And when they did, what they learned broke their hearts.

Mairi had chosen to be expelled, had chosen not to fight for herself and her rights, had swallowed everything people threw at her because she did not want anyone blaming Norah and Vilma for who she was. Their sweet gentle Mairi, who had not one mean bone in her body, had gone
ballistic
when her school’s principal suggested Norah and Vilma were bad influences on her.

And they were
, Vilma thought sickly. Everything that had happened to Mairi
was
their fault. They had encouraged Mairi to dream, foolishly, and they had lived vicariously through her dreams, never pausing to think what those dreams could do to Mairi.
 

Tears stung Vilma’s eyes as she remembered the time Mairi had flown home to them from Greece. She had been trying so hard to smile, not wanting to worry her aunts.
 

“Are you all right, Mairi?” Norah had demanded brokenly.

“I’m fine, Aunt. I just…I just need to…” Mairi’s voice had caught, and the pain that had flashed in her eyes was so bleak it made Norah start to cry and had Vilma feeling like she was about to lose control in public for the first time.

“I need your help,” Mairi whispered. “Can you help me to stop…dreaming? Because the dreams…they’re not real. And I just want to stop dreaming.”
 

Vilma began hoarsely, “When I found out what Damen Leventis did to her, all I wanted was to protect Mairi…to make her strong. I thought giving her Drake Morrison to protect her was right. I thought with Drake, she would learn to be strong and learn what we couldn’t teach her. I wanted her so strong that no one would ever have the power to hurt her.” She shook her head wearily. “But she ran away from us, Norah.
She ran away
.”

Norah inhaled painfully at her sister’s words. In her mind, she remembered the blood on the ground that the guards had shown them – blood that their little Mairi had shed in order to escape the dogs. In order to escape
them
.
 

They had forced Mairi to bleed, to run away like a common criminal, to hide from them just so she could be with Damen Leventis, a man who had never stopped hurting her.

Norah gripped her sister’s hand tightly. “I don’t know any more than you do, but maybe this time we can…we can trust her. If she wants to be with Damen Leventis, then we can just be there for her, the way she’s always trusted us.”

Vilma slowly nodded. “We may be able to pull some strings and get information about what’s caused Damen Leventis’ rights to be taken away and make it a matter of legal dispute. But if we do this, Esther Leventis and perhaps the Kokinos clan will be our enemies as well.”

“Let her do her worst.” Norah’s voice, normally gentle, became hard and uncompromising. “This time, we will truly stand by Mairi’s side and we will do our best not to let her down.”

Chapter Three

6 Days Ago

Drake Morrison pressed
Delete
after reading the file the head of his security team emailed him. Afterwards, he calmly proceeded with destroying all the information he had filed about Mairi Tanner. But when he came to the new data he had received regarding Damen Leventis and all his interests, Drake hesitated. He recalled the earlier conversation he had with his security head on the phone.

‘How grave was her injury?’ Drake asked. He had a difficult time not reacting to the photo he held in his hand. Being ex-army had made him immune to the sight of blood a long time ago. But the fact that the photo showed evidence of Mairi suffering, of Mairi bleeding – the fact that he had forced a young woman to such desperate straits was what was making his stomach turn over.

“The nearest hospital was just a block away, but she didn’t admit herself there. She went straight to Damen Leventis’ hospital. She also appeared not to have any money with her as she paid the cab driver with her bracelet.”

Drake breathed harshly. “Did she get treated right away there?”

“No. She insisted on seeing Damen first. She went hysterical when the staff didn’t allow her into his room. Damen’s sister arrived about thirty minutes later and that was when she was finally able to get in.”

Slowly, Drake swung his chair around so he could hold the photo over the wastebasket. He lit up one corner using his lighter. As the tip of the photo began to burn, the flame engulfing the entire photo in seconds, Drake slowly allowed the ashes to fall.
 

It reminded him of the time he still had nightmares of, a day when ashes rained all around. He remembered
her.
A short-haired brunette whose eyes were always compassionate, even when they had witnessed inhumane acts over and over during the war. Even when Drake had been forced to abandon her,
she
had not stopped looking at him like he was her hero.

Go, Drake. I can’t keep up and I won’t be able to save the hostage.

I can’t fucking leave you—

Yes. You can. You have to. Now go! It’s either me or the hostage, and you know I’d rather kill myself if an innocent dies because of me. So please go.

I’ll come back for you.

I know you will.
 

And he had gone back for her, but by then he was too late. She had disappeared.

In a moment of uncontrollable rage, Drake kicked the waste basket away as he got to his feet. He punched the wall in sheer fury, and the cement cracked under his fist. He was no hero, never was, and never would be. His failure to rescue her had been proof of that, and all these years the only thing he had been able to do was find ways to convince himself that Paige could have survived. That Paige was alive.

Now he understood why he had been so damn determined to woo Yanna Everleigh away, even if it had been obvious she was in love with her Dutch billionaire boss. If Yanna had fallen for him, her secret bodyguard, then maybe Paige could have suffered from Stockholm Syndrome and fallen for her own captor. If she had, life would have been good for her. She was the kind that any man could fall in love with.

But if she had not, then she would have fought to the death.
 

Now he understood why he had been so damn determined to push Mairi past her limits and force her to be strong. If Mairi had been able to cope, even when it felt like the man she loved more than life had abandoned her, then it would have meant Paige could also have survived.
 

And Mairi
had
survived, but at what cost?

If he had the chance to turn back time, would he have changed his mind?

The answer had Drake stalking back to his table. He transferred all the data he had to make or break Damen Leventis into a memory stick. He had used Mairi callously, selfishly, and ruthlessly. He would never be able to make it up to her, but at least what he had in his hands could secure her future with Leventis.

I’m sorry, Mairi. I’m sorry I had to use you.
 

He had needed to see Mairi fight with everything she had to be strong. It was the only way to make himself believe that somewhere in this world, Paige was alive and was waiting for him to save her.

Stay alive, Paige. Stay alive for me.

Part Two

Chapter One

She said: To wed a Greek billionaire, one must be prepared to have all expectations surpassed.

He said: You’re being sarcastic, aren’t you? Our wedding was like a hole-in-the-wall affair and I still think we should marry again. You deserve a proper—

She said: I mean it. My every dream came true when I saw you waiting for me.

Note to editor: We’ll get back to drafting this chapter later. My beloved wife has just given me a raging hard-on that cannot be ignored a moment longer.

A tall dark-haired man stood with his back to the windows, sunlight cascading from behind to lay golden stripes on the royal blue carpet. He had the strong classic features of a Greek god, but marring its perfection were the faintest shadows of bruises that were still in the process of healing. He was dressed in a well-tailored black suit, with a snowy white shirt underneath.

The room he was in had marble floors, expensive stenciled wallpaper, and high vaulted ceilings. At two hundred square meters, the room was the largest in the building and cost more than a thousand dollars at night, something not any ordinary person could afford.

Even so, there was no denying the truth.

This was a hospital room, and it was not fit to be the wedding venue for a man who was once a billionaire.

When the door opened, Damen Leventis drew his breath sharply at the sight that greeted him. Standing in the doorway was the girl he would risk everything for.
 

BOOK: The Art of Wedding a Greek Billionaire
8.63Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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