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 (9 page)

BOOK: The Art of Wedding a Greek Billionaire
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Esther made sure not to look at the woman standing next to Damen.
For as long as she lived
, Esther thought coldly,
she would never acknowledge that trollop as her son’s wife
. Mairi Tanner was the worst sort of gold digger, the kind of woman who was only fit to be a whore and not a wife.
 


Esther
.” Damen was the first to speak, his innate courtesy making Mairi feel even prouder of him. If she had been in his shoes, she would probably have just ended up crossing herself because Esther, for all intents and purposes, seemed very much like the Devil’s advocate.

His mother, unfortunately, was not as polite. “I believe you have the wrong party, Damen. This is a private gathering, and you are only causing yourself a huge embarrassment by coming here uninvited.”

“We both know I
have
been invited to this party.” Damen’s tone was bland when he answered, almost bordering on bored.

It incensed Esther, making her snap, “Well, you should know that it’s inevitable you’d be crossed off the list after what you’ve done.”

“And what is it exactly that I’ve done,
Mother
?”

Her cheeks flushed with color at the way Damen called her ‘mother’ but Esther lifted her chin, determined not to be shamed. He had been the first one to disobey her, to forget that he was her
son.
She said derisively, “I’m not the one who’s been grossly negligent at work.”

But if Esther had thought she would score a reaction from Damen, she was doomed to disappointment. Her son only nodded, his tone ever pleasant as he murmured, “I’d have to agree. If anything, you have been extremely diligent at work.” He paused, and meeting his mother’s gaze straight on, he added in a soft dig that unerringly hit its mark, “Remarkably so.”
 

And that was when Esther realized her son had somehow gained the upper hand in their battle. She didn’t know how or why, but her instincts never failed her. She was sure Damen had somehow come up with evidence about the illegal and unethical steps that she had taken to wrest the company away from his control. And now, like the lethally ruthless entrepreneur he was notorious for being, Damen was biding his time before he went for the kill.

Damen always did like to be thorough, especially when he wanted to hurt someone.

Esther did her best to mask her fear with contempt. “You are wasting my time, Damen.” She sought to wound him at his weakest point, and of course everyone, Esther thought viciously as she glared at Mairi, knew what that was. “We have nothing of import to discuss for as long as you have that slut—”

Damen’s eyes flashed. “
Enough
.” His tone was incisive, authoritative, and everyone in the vicinity, from the reporters to even Esther herself, shut up, all of them unable to help responding to the unmistakable command in his voice.

“I pick my battles very carefully, Mother. I came here to see if you
and
Nelson Athanas could be made to see reason, but you’ve given me the answer to that already.” The cold revulsion on Damen’s face hurt more than Esther would ever admit, but when her son spoke again, his next words produced something she didn’t think a man who had lost all his wealth was capable of inspiring—

“One of us will soon be going down. One of us will lose everything
, permanently
. But that person will not be me. That is my promise to you, Mother.”

—and it was fear.

Esther’s body shook as she watched Damen turn away, his arm around his stupid wife’s waist. Deep down, she knew her son’s promise was a threat that would come true. The premonition of her defeat tasted powerfully bitter on her tongue, making Esther lash out, “If I go down, you will go down with me.”

Damen didn’t stop walking away.

She laughed hysterically. “And I don’t even have to do one thing,
my son.
Because you are that – my son. My blood flows in you, and whatever you do, you will always end up hurting the people who love you. That
slut
at your side will soon realize you can never really love her—”

Damen whipped around, his face white with rage. “
Enough
!”

“You’re a fool to think you can ever change, that you can ever be happy in that kind of marriage,” Esther screamed. She was so furious she no longer cared if the whole world saw her like a madwoman. Her eyes turned wildly to Mairi. “But
you
are the greater fool here, whore—”

“Shut up,” Damen gritted out. He looked down at Mairi, telling her tightly, “Don’t listen to her—”

Esther laughed madly. “Listen to me or not, you will soon learn for yourself that Damen will never learn to trust or love you. How can he? I’ve raised him myself, haven’t I?” She pointed an accusing finger at Damen. “If you really love that slut, Damen, then should you have brought her back into your life? Is it love, knowing that she would be forced to suffer at your side, knowing that it would mean having her face the whole world – knowing that every person she meets thinks of her as your gold-digging whore?” Her laughter turned mocking. “Is that what you call
love
, dear Damen?”

Damen was unable to speak, his mind tortured by the reality of Esther’s words.
Was
he being too selfish again? Would it be better to tear his heart out now and let Mairi go rather than risk destroying hers again?

Mairi felt terribly protective towards Damen when she saw the look of devastation on his face. Taking his hand in hers, she turned to Esther and looked at the other woman in the eye. “You don’t have the right to say that to him.” She had always felt a little intimidated by the older woman, but not anymore. It was funny, the way she had never felt mad at Esther whenever Damen’s mother belittled her. But now that Esther was trying to hurt Damen, everything in Mairi wanted to defend her husband.

Esther hissed, “How dare you—”

Mairi shook her head vehemently, cutting Esther off as she cried out, “How dare
you
talk about love when you’ve never shown it to your children?”

Esther threw back her head in an arrogant, scornful laugh. “And
you
know about love, is that it? After being exposed as a scheming gold-digging bitch by your own husband?”

Lifting her chin, Mairi said evenly, “I don’t give a damn what the world thinks. All I care about is that Damen and I know the truth. We love each other and…and…” Mairi wanted to tell Esther that she was a soulless bitch and a heartless mother, but such cruelty was beyond her, even now, and so she ended up saying, “...our love is real, unlike your nose!”

There was a moment of stunned silence before Esther released a livid gasp, a sound that was immediately drowned by the laughter that burst out from the crowd.

Oh, drat
, Mairi thought a second later. Had she really said that?

An arm curled around her waist, and then she was being spun around. She landed against Damen’s hard body and Mairi found herself looking up at him. Relief flooded her when she saw that he no longer looked devastated, and there was even a gleam of amusement in his silvery gray eyes.

When he started to speak, she held her breath, fearing he’d be mad at her for saying something so silly. At the back of her mind, she remembered all the times he had chosen not to confide in her about his problems, and she had always feared it was because he thought her too stupid and unsophisticated to help him with it.
 

But in the end all he said was, “How did you know my mother had a nose job?”

Head lowering in shame because she now felt she had been too petty, Mairi whispered, “I typed #EstherLeventis on Twitter and saw a magazine article about it.”

“I have never had a nose job!” Esther was screaming. “I’ll sue you for slander, you bitch—”

“Yes, you have, Mother,” Damen said without heat, his back still to her, his amused gaze still on his embarrassed wife. Something warm and tender had uncurled inside him the moment Mairi took his hand and spoke in his defense, and the feeling only grew stronger the longer he looked at his wife. “I think we’re done here,” he told him quietly. “Shall we go?”

Mairi said simply, “Whatever you want.”

The words made Damen want to kiss her. God, how he loved this woman. Maybe he really was selfish for keeping her with him, but if she ever found it in her heart to love him again, Damen swore on his life he’d devote every second of his time to making her feel cherished.

Mairi watched Damen and Drake exchange looks before they simultaneously moved to keep her in between them while they made their way back to the sidewalk. The silent communication made her bite back a smile.
Maybe one day
, Mairi hoped fervently,
they could even be friends. That could happen, right?

Damen’s arm was still around her waist, and silly or not, she took comfort in the possessive way he held her close to him.
Was it also silly
, Mairi wondered,
that even though they had all the odds stacked against them, she had never felt closer to Damen?
It felt like it was just the two of them against the world, Mairi thought wistfully, and stupid silly her, but she couldn’t be happier about it.

As Drake called for a cab, Mairi saw Damen reach for his phone and answer a call. He spoke Greek in a low voice, but since she stood close to him, it was easy enough for Mairi to understand his words. “I’m not alone right now. I’ll talk to you later.”

When he put the phone down, she asked, “Who was that?”

Damen stilled.
 

After a beat he answered, “No one important.”

All Mairi’s hopes for Damen and her died at those words. She could only think of one person that Damen wouldn’t want her to know he was talking to.

Alina.

Chapter Seven

She said: To wed a Greek billionaire, one must be ready to protect one’s property.

He said: You make me sound very helpless. You do remember I’m bigger and stronger than you, don’t you?

She said: But can you use your strength to hit a woman who’s hitting on you?

He said: (Pause) Point taken.

If Mairi made one of those sexy husky laughs of hers one more time
, Damen thought furiously, he would not be liable for what he would do to the asshole sitting in front of them.

“That’s why PP gets mad,” Drake was saying. “She hated it when I was too soft on her or gave her special treatment.”

Who the fuck was PP anyway? But then did he really care? Right now, what really grated on his nerves was how Mairi was practically sitting on the edge of their seat, leaning against the back of Morrison’s seat as she listened to him talk, the expression on her face making it seem like she was hanging on to his every word. Damen’s lips tightened. And if she said Drake was fucking cute one more time—

“Oh, you are just too cute, Drake,” Mairi gushed.

That was fucking it!

Mairi suddenly found herself being hauled back and as she slammed against the side of Damen’s body, Damen furiously asked her, “What the hell’s gotten into you?”

That was rich, coming from him,
Mairi thought contemptuously. But out loud all she said was, “What are you talking about?”

Damen’s gaze bored through hers. “Don’t play games with me, Mairi.” One minute, all had been right in their world but the moment they had gotten inside the cab, Mairi had suddenly and inexplicably changed. She had ignored him the whole ride, choosing instead to focus all her attention on Drake and asking the other man about “PP”.
 

“I’m not playing games,” she said calmly. “I’m just talking to Drake—”

“You can talk to me,” he snapped.

“Can I?” She wanted to take the words back the moment they came out. She hadn’t wanted to say that at all, but the hurt and jealousy churning inside her made it difficult to control her tongue.

“What the hell does that mean?”

Mairi looked away as she lied, “I…simply meant that there aren’t really a lot of things we’ve got in common.”

He turned her head back to him the moment her gaze strayed. He wanted her looking at him and not at the other man, dammit. “We have lots of things in common.”

She looked at him doubtfully. “Really?”

“Really.”

“Like what?”

Damen racked his brains for something to prove his point.
 

When Damen couldn’t answer, Mairi forced herself to smile. “You see? We don’t really have anything—”

BOOK: The Art of Wedding a Greek Billionaire
10.39Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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