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Authors: Kim Lawrence

The Greek Tycoon's Wife

BOOK: The Greek Tycoon's Wife
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Kim Lawrence is a rising star in Harlequin Presents
®
. Her fast-paced, exciting stories, packed full of sizzling attraction and laugh-out-loud moments, will whisk you away!

Praise for Kim Lawrence

About
Baby and the Boss:

“Ms. Lawrence's tale has great character rapport, charming scenes and strong chemistry.”

—Romantic Times

About
A Convenient Husband:

“Kim Lawrence's layered conflict creates an emotional tale about strong characters.”

—Romantic Times

 

They're the men who have everything—except a bride…

Wealth, power, charm—
what else could a heart-stoppingly 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 the turn of favorite Presents author Kim Lawrence, with her attention-grabbing romance
The Greek Tycoon's Wife.

This tycoon has met his match, and he's decided he
has
to have her…
whatever
that takes!

There's a new GREEK TYCOONS story coming in February!
The Greek Tycoon's Secret Child
by
Cathy Williams
Harlequin Presents #2376

Kim Lawrence
THE GREEK TYCOON'S WIFE

CHAPTER ONE

O
NLY
the privileged few ever got to see the top floor of the towering glass edifice that was the Lakis Building, and entry to the boardroom was even more exclusive. It therefore came as something of a shock to the élite few gathered there when the big double doors crashed open in the middle of a board meeting.

Nikos Lakis, silver shards of annoyance filtering into his dark almond-shaped eyes, opened his mouth to deliver a devastating reprimand, then closed it again as the identity of the intruder was revealed.

The attractive redhead strode into the room and planted her hands on her curvy hips just as Nikos's breathless PA appeared behind her. The younger woman rolled her eyes and shrugged apologetically towards her boss before retreating post-haste.

‘Well!'
There was a long dramatic pause, timed to perfection, before Caitlin Lakis delivered her punchline.

It was worth the build-up.

‘Is it true, Nik? Are you actually planning to marry
that
woman? Have you lost your mind…?'

Caitlin didn't actually expect her stepson to defend his actions or lack of them to her. In her experience Greek men in general were not prone to explaining themselves and the Lakis men in particular.

The individual these scathing accusations were aimed at appeared to be the only person around the long table who was not excruciatingly embarrassed by the attack. During the pulsating pause that followed his stepmother's heated harangue Nikos sat there calmly rotating the pen he held between his long brown fingers.

‘If nobody has any objections…?'

The suited figures he addressed showed no inclination to object, most would sooner have leapt from the twentieth-floor plate-glass window that revealed the city below than disagree with him. Two years earlier they had been reluctantly prepared to accept his presence just because of who his father was, most had not thought he would last long.

Now the respect they gave him was based on the fact they knew he delivered the goods. The playboy had turned out to have a brain like a steel trap and nerves to match. He gave his all and expected those around him to do no less.

‘Then I think that's it for today. Thank you, gentlemen.'

The board members got to their feet with alacrity.

‘How is Father?'

‘Your father is fine. Don't change the subject,' Caitlin retorted. ‘I'm waiting.'

Nikos appeared more amused than dismayed by this stern pronouncement as, one dark brow raised, his glance slid significantly towards the men who were hurriedly gathering their belongings.

Though she looked irritated, Caitlin managed to restrain herself until the door closed behind the last of the board members; she even responded politely to several stilted enquiries after her health.

A flicker of amusement slid into Nikos's silver-shot eyes as he watched her efforts to contain her frustration. The woman who had married his father some eighteen years earlier had many virtues, but patience wasn't one of them. Though he conceded Caitlin had been patient enough when it had come to gaining the trust of her suspicious stepsons.

He could recall the exact moment she had won him over. He still couldn't decide if her display of ignorance and panic when faced with a table groaning with antique silver and priceless porcelain had been genuine or just for his benefit.

‘It doesn't really matter what fork you use,' he'd explained. ‘Just act like you know what you're doing and people will think they've got it wrong.'

For a full sixty seconds Caitlin had stared at the twelve-year-old before shaking her head and exclaiming, ‘That could have been your father talking.'

Nikos had felt a warm glow at her words.

‘You must be thinking of Dimitri.' Dimitri the favoured eldest, was being groomed to take over from his father.

‘Dimitri looks like Spyros,' Caitlin conceded. ‘But you…' she tapped her head ‘…think like him…'

 

Now the owner of her own successful fashion business, Caitlin, an extremely attractive forty-five, didn't look so very much different as she had done back then.

‘Right, they've gone,' she said briskly the moment the big double doors closed. ‘Though I think it's a bit late for discretion. Since I got to Athens that's all I've been hearing…
when is the wedding?
' She gave a snort. ‘You can't tell me you're in love with Livia Nikolaidis.'

‘What's love?'

Caitlin rolled her eyes and clicked her tongue at this blatant piece of provocation. ‘So you've had a couple of bad experiences…who hasn't?' she snapped unsympathetically. ‘So kindly spare me the weary cynicism and stop avoiding the issue, Nik.'

Nikos accepted the reprimand with a rueful grin.

Caitlin might be his stepmother, but she was female and her stern expression briefly softened perceptively.

Even as she tartly observed, ‘You should smile more,' she privately conceded he maybe didn't have that much time or reason to smile since the responsibilities of the entire Lakis empire had fallen on his shoulders. No matter how broad those shoulders might be—in Nikos's case, enough for two average men.

‘I'm not in love with Livia,' he admitted calmly.

Being in love with Livia might have been an obstacle to their successful union, because if he'd been in love he wouldn't have been able to see that though Livia was beautiful and accomplished she was also extremely selfish and terminally vain. This way he had no unreasonable expectations of her that might later disappoint him. And Livia, being a product of a background very similar to his own, would not make unreasonable demands on him and his time.

Caitlin gave a deep sigh of relief. ‘Then it's not true, you haven't been seeing her…'

‘Did I say that? Many women fantasise about marrying a rich man…'

‘My, you do have a high opinion of my sex.'

Nikos acknowledged his stepmother's dig with a shrug. ‘I can only speak from my own experience.'

‘Which is wide and varied…' Despite the disapproval in her tone Caitlin didn't find it particularly surprising that her stepson had gained this jaundiced perspective of women. From the moment he hit puberty girls
and
women had been drawn to him like a magnet and he was selling himself short if he thought his wealth was the only thing they were after.

‘The reality of marriage to the man who is responsible for the day to day running of the Lakis business is something which many women couldn't handle.'

‘I did,' Caitlin reminded him. The severity of her expression softened. ‘With a little help from my friends.'

‘You are an exceptional woman. Livia is not exceptional, but she is born to the life. I think Livia and I might suit very well.'

Caitlin stared at him, horrified; it seemed there was nothing more humourless or stupid than a reformed playboy.
‘Oh, my God…!'

‘I take it you don't like Livia,' Nikos observed, smiling in an indulgent manner his stepmother found extremely provocative.

‘My liking her has nothing whatever to do with it.'

Nikos raised one eloquent winged brow.

‘Well, maybe a bit,' his stepmother conceded, thinking of the perfectly groomed brunette with the calculating smile and the hard eyes. As she worriedly scanned her handsome stepson's face her antagonism slipped away, leaving an expression of deep concern. ‘Nik, darling, she's all wrong for you. You
can't
marry her.'

‘That's true, I can't—not while I'm already married.'

His stepmother fell gracefully off her chair.

 

‘Wow, what a rock!' Sadie breathed, catching hold of her friend's small hand before she could hide it beneath the table. She blinked as the diamond, which seemed almost too heavy for the younger girl's finger, caught the light. ‘It's gorgeous,' she said enviously. ‘Though I have to admit,' she mused, lifting her eyes to Katie's slightly flushed face, ‘I'd have thought you'd have gone for something a little less…'

‘Flashy…?' Katie responded without thinking. She frowned to hear the wistful edge in her voice. There was just no pleasing some people, she chided herself irritably.

‘Less…conventional,' Sadie contradicted tactfully. ‘Something to go with your charity-shop bargains. It's so unfair, I spend more on clothes in a week than you do in a year and look at me!' she invited gloomily. ‘Maybe if I didn't eat for a month clothes would look like that on me…' With an envious sigh she examined her friend's tall, effortlessly slender figure. ‘No, that wouldn't work—I'd end up with even smaller boobs than I already have!'

She eyed the younger girl's well-defined bosom with good-natured resentment and then philosophically bit into the last cream cake on the plate.

Katie's thoughts drifted as she sat looking at her finger, thinking a little wistfully of the ruby ring set with seed pearls she'd seen in the window of a small antique shop.
The one Tom had seemed to quite like until he had got a look at the modest price tag; then he had dismissed it as a pretty trifle not worthy of consideration.

‘You pay for quality,' he explained patiently as they left the shop empty-handed. ‘What a peculiar girl you are,' he added with a perplexed expression on his open, good-looking face. ‘Tell most girls price is no object and they'd head for the most expensive jewellers in town. I'm not a mean man, sweetheart.'

‘I know that. In fact you're
too
generous, Tom.' A frown pleated Katie's broad, smooth forehead. Tom just wasn't able to accept the fact that she would have been just as happy with an inexpensive token as the extravagant gifts he showered her with.

‘Well, once we're married you'll have to get used to it,' Tom announced. ‘You're a beautiful woman, you deserve beautiful things, and I,' he told her firmly, ‘am going to make sure you get them. Whether you like it or not,' he added with a determined grin.

‘But all I want is you, Tom,' she told him earnestly.

Tom looked startled and then pleased as he drew her to his side.
‘Really…?'

‘Of course really.' Katie was uneasily aware that she sounded like someone trying to convince herself. ‘I guess I'm just not a very…demonstrative person,' she admitted regretfully.

‘I've told you I don't mind waiting,' he told her quietly. ‘I admire your principles, darling.'

Principles or just a low sex drive…?

Katie ignored the vexatious voice in her head and reminded herself how incredibly lucky she was to have discovered such a sensitive, understanding man who loved her to distraction.

But not so much distraction that he can't keep his hands off you…
Katie muttered to herself.

With extra warmth she pressed a soft kiss to Tom's lips.

After all, why would you want to be with a man who would be unable to restrain his base animal urges…?
The sarcastic voice in her head just had to have the last word.

‘Tom really liked this one,' she told her friend.

‘That figures.' Sadie bit her lip and looked apologetic. ‘Sorry, love, but you have to admit he does operate on a strict “if you've got it, flaunt it” policy.'

Katie sighed. ‘I know, but he means well, Sadie, and he really is the
kindest
man I've ever met,' she told the older girl earnestly.

And dull as ditch water!
‘So it's official now.'

For six months Tom Percival had pursued Katie with single-minded determination.

Sadie balanced her chin on her steepled fingers. ‘So how did he take it when you told him?'

Katie took a sip of her tea; her grimace wasn't because the liquid was hot. ‘Well, actually…' she began, avoiding eye contact.

Sadie gasped. ‘You
did
tell him…?'

Katie's shoulders hunched defensively as Sadie's shocked response reinforced her guilt. ‘He was so happy and I was waiting for the right moment.' It sounded a pathetically lame excuse even to her own ears.

Sadie groaned so loudly that half the people in the tea shop turned around to look at them. ‘When would be a better time—at the altar?' she croaked, gazing at the younger woman incredulously. ‘Listen, I'd be the first to agree that what happened before he came along is none of his business, a girl's skeletons are her affair, but you're still
married
, love. That does sort of make it relevant.'

‘I know…I know!' Katie closed her eyes and twisted her fingers. ‘I just don't
feel
married. I was
going
to tell him…I
will
tell him, but I might as well wait now until I hear back from Harvey.'

‘Harvey's the lawyer who brokered the marriage deal?'

Katie nodded.

‘He sounds a bit shady to me.'

Hearing the very proper and fairly prim Harvey Reynolds, QC described this way made Katie smile; she felt she had to defend his good name.

‘Well, he isn't, he's one of the top criminal lawyers in the country. I've known him since I was a little girl.' She caught her full lower lip between her teeth and gnawed gently on the soft pink flesh. ‘I can't see that there will be any problem getting a quickie divorce…?'

Sadie's eyebrows lifted to a satirical angle. ‘I'm probably not the best person to be asking about amicable divorces,' she responded drily.

‘It's not like it was a real marriage or anything.' Surely that made a difference.

‘Have you
really
not seen him since the ceremony?'

Katie shook her head, she wasn't surprised at the incredulity in her friend's voice. Who wouldn't be shocked about someone marrying a total stranger? Heck, she was herself. Sometimes it seemed to her as if it had happened to someone else.

BOOK: The Greek Tycoon's Wife
3.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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