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Authors: Catherine Dane

The Passionate Greek

BOOK: The Passionate Greek
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The Passionate Greek
Catherine Dane

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2012 by Catherine Dane

Author: Hazel Slater, pen name Catherine Dane.

[email protected]


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter One

The house nestling in the English countryside looked
just as it always had. Not much changed in two hundred years and
certainly no different from when Melanie had first seen its
beautiful mellow stone façade. Then she had been at the side of the
man she loved. His arm in hers he had led her round to the paved
terrace circling the back of the house and shown her the sweeping
view of the valley below.

‘Our children will have a wonderful life
here,’ he had told her with a loving smile and Melanie thought she
had never been happier.

‘Do you want me to wait for you?’ The taxi
driver’s query broke into Melanie’s past and propelled her into the
present as she counted out the fare and tried to calculate whether
she could afford to have him wait. It was a long way back to the
train station.

Her taxi had pulled up behind a small car
and Melanie saw that the girl at the wheel wore the smart uniform
of a children’s nanny. Perhaps another interviewee for the job
thought Melanie and a potential lift back to the station when the
interviews were over. Dismissing the taxi Melanie mounted the stone
steps and stood side by side with the girl who was pulling at the
old bell rope. It took all of Melanie’s self control not to say
that it didn’t work. Smiling at the girl she said, ‘Let’s try this
one as well,’ and she reached for the small bell push at the side
which she knew would ring inside the vast hall and at the back of
the house in the staff quarters. Melanie hoped fervently that
whoever came to answer it would not know her.

‘I’m coming for an interview with the big
cheese Mr billionaire himself,’ said the girl cheerfully. Her hand
flew to her mouth and eyeing Melanie’s well cut coat and skirt
said, ‘Oo, sorry, didn’t mean to be impolite. ‘You must be a friend
of his. Me and my big mouth. They don’t call me gobby Gabby for
nothing,’ she giggled, not really put out. ‘He’s interviewing three
of us nannies today. We all got through the first stage with one of
his assistants – and a right tartar she was,’ she grimaced. ‘Now
he’s going to choose one of us himself. I hope it’s me. We’ll be
spending the summer on a private Greek island. Imagine that!’

Melanie could do more than imagine it. She
knew Skiapolos intimately, remembered the Villa Leandra, the sharp
white profile of its walls edged against the deep blue skies, the
vine clad terraces descending to the sandy white bay lapped with
the almost purple sea. How that sea was warm to bathe in, the sun
so hot on their languid limbs after she had made love with the man
she adored in long, drowsy afternoons when the world seemed only to
belong to them. Oh, yes she knew Skiapolos and there was one reason
and one reason only that she wanted to go back there again and it
wasn’t Nikos Chalambrous.

The door was opened by a black-coated
manservant whose face Melanie was relieved to see was unfamiliar to
her. Melanie’s breath caught in her throat as he showed them into a
small informal drawing room leading off the main hall. She had
whiled away many happy afternoons in that room, stretched out on
the window seat reading and gazing out of the mullioned windows
down to the valley serenely happy to be carrying a baby for the man
she loved.

Gabby cast an amazed look at Melanie.
‘You’ve never come for the job, have you? She squealed. ‘With your
looks you could be a model or an actress. Whatever do you want with
being a nanny? I bet you got that lovely designer suit from the
last mother you worked for. We don’t get paid enough to buy clothes
like that,’ she laughed.

Across the room seated bolt upright, ankles
demurely crossed, hands folded in her lap, was, Melanie guessed,
another prospective nanny who cast a reproving glare at Gaby.

Melanie wanted to explain that her desighner
outfit was several seasons old and she could certainly no longer
afford such luxuries but was saved by the re-appearance of the

‘Mr Chalambrous will see you all in
rotation,’ he announced. ‘Miss Gabriella Hinckley, please come this
way,’ he intoned, for all the world as if he was ordering her to
execution. Gabby, suppressing a giggle, whispered ‘I’ll wait for
you after and we can compare notes.’

Melanie’s attempts at conversation with the
remaining interviewee were not welcomed and she subsided into
silence. Maybe this other girl was nervous. ‘Well, she can’t be as
nervous as I am,’ Melanie thought to herself.

Some half an hour later the second
prospective nanny was summoned and Melanie was left alone in the
blue drawing room desperately trying to calm her nerves. Now she
was here the plan that she had thought in her desperation might
just have some small chance of success seemed increasingly foolish
the nearer she came to confrontation with Nicos Chalambrous.

Just as she was sure her nerve would desert
her the manservant was back and beckoning her to follow him.
Melanie’s heart was beating a rhythm so loud she was sure the
manservant would hear it over the click of her high heels on the
parquet floor. In a few seconds she was standing before the double
doors, which she knew, opened to the spacious study where Nicos
Chalambrous conducted his business. No turning back now. She was
being announced.

‘Miss Stephanie Brooks, Sir,’ said the
manservant and withdrew.

The man seated behind the vast leather
topped desk did not look up straight away. Melanie’s treacherous
heart turned over at the sight of his dark head, powerful shoulders
and the familiar way his bronzed, lean long fingered hands held the
paper before him.

‘I see you speak some Greek,’ he said his
English faintly accented in the way Melanie had always found so
attractive and was disturbed to find she still did. He did not look
up, but continued to leaf through the CV’s pages.

‘It is essential that whoever looks after my
daughter can speak to her in my language. I need someone who will
stay with her from babyhood and into her school years. So the
successful applicant will be very committed. Electra must grow up
knowing her Greek roots and speaking the language. Only her mother
is English,’ he said with a dismissive wave of his hand.

‘So, Miss Brooks, I will be putting a lot of
trust in the person who is looking after my daughter and I need to
be absolutely confident that they will always put her welfare

‘Who better to do that than her mother?’ The
anguished retort burst unbidden from Melanie’s lips. All the
self-restraint she had schooled herself to show gone in the first
few seconds. ‘Stupid, stupid, stupid,’ she mentally castigated

But even then he did not raise his eyes from
the paper in front of him, only the sudden whitening of his fingers
on the pages he held betrayed him.

‘Perhaps you would like to tell me the
meaning of this charade?’ His tone was icy. Melanie could not know
that the sound of her voice had pierced him with a searing regret.
Somehow he had known it was her. Something intangible when she had
walked into the room; the scent of her. He could not say what.

For the first time he raised his head and
looked at her. Tawny hair a little shorter now, eyes just as green,
lips as full, cheekbones more sharply planed than he remembered.
Her face had lost some of its youthful vulnerability, but perhaps
that was to be expected after how she had spent the last few
months. She was still beautiful but the pull of her beauty was a
trap and he was not going to be caught in it again.

Melanie remained furious with herself. This
was not how she had planned it. She had thrown away all chances of
a reasonable discussion. ‘What a fool I am,’ she told herself.
‘What chance was there ever going to be of a reasonable discussion
with this man? He was in control, always was, always would be. She
was trying hard to hate him but inside she was crying ‘Oh, Nicos,
Nicos, how did this happen to us?

His dark stare was daunting and it took all
her courage to hold his gaze.

‘I apologise for the deceit,’ she said,
surprised at how cool she sounded even though it was taking all the
self-control she had so nearly lost.

‘Oh, Please don’t apologise.’ he said, irony
heavy in his voice. ‘Deceit is your stock in trade, isn’t it?’

Melanie resisted the urge to lash out. She
resolved there would be no more outbursts. Cool control was the
order of the day. She had started badly and now she knew she had to
do anything she could to try to retrieve the situation.

‘I knew you wouldn’t let me talk to you face
to face,’ she went on determinedly. ‘You would just refer me to
your lawyers as you have done before. I have no desire to deceive
you but there was no other way you would see me.’

‘Very resourceful of you,’ he said flatly.
‘Now I would like you to leave.’

‘Not until you have listened to me,’ said
Melanie, determined to stand her ground.

‘What is it you want?’ he said. ‘And please
keep it brief. As you know I am a very busy man.’

Melanie was having difficulty in keeping her
fury in check. Who was this cruel implacable man? This was not the
Nicos she had known, the kind generous man she had loved so
passionately. Could she have been so wrong?

‘I’m waiting,’ he said. ‘What is so
important that you have to say to me that cannot be better said to
my lawyers?’

Melanie took a deep breath and hardly daring
to look at him, said, ‘I want to take care of our daughter.’

It seemed to Melanie that Nicos towered from
behind his desk as he rose to his feet. His faced darkened and
suddenly he was standing in front of her, so close she caught the
scent of him, a sensual animal aroma that was all his own. All her
senses were alive to the closeness of him. Sexual longing for him
shot through her shocked body. She still desired him.

‘You want what?’ His tone was a whispered
incredulous hiss.

Melanie flinched at his fury but she
ploughed on rushing her words.

‘You have to listen to me. I know I gave her
up to you voluntarily but I was under enormous stress and I thought
it was best for her to forget me. But I’ve had time to think things
through. I want to be near my baby. I want to hold her in my arms
again. Let me have a few months with her. It’s all I’m asking.’

The harshness of his reply rocked her. ‘I
will not put my daughter into the care of a jailbird,’ he

Rage and shame swept through Melanie at his
words and all she knew was that she wanted to hurt him as much as
he was hurting her. She struck out at him, catching him unawares
the first rake of her nails across his cheek. He grabbed her
shoulders and spun her around. Reaching out blindly her fingers
grasped the heavy paperweight on his desk. He knocked it easily
from her hand and grabbed hold of both her shoulders, pulling her
roughly towards him.

Melanie sagged against him and felt his grip
tighten. He was so close now she could feel his breath on her
cheek. His arms snaked around her and pulled her body to his. His
mouth pressed down on hers and his probing tongue teased her lips
open. She was responding to him the way she always had, like
nothing had ever come between them.

He was shrugging off her jacket, stroking
her breasts through the silk of her camisole top and lifting her
urgently up on to the desk behind her. Melanie was lost in sexual
need of him. She could feel him hard against her. She felt his hand
moving up between her thighs easing her legs apart. His breath came
in short gasps and she knew he wanted her as much as she wanted
him. Time seemed to go backwards. This is how it had always been
between them when they had made love whenever and wherever they had

The ringing of the desk telephone broke the
spell between them, its drilling ring breaking through the mists of
desire and sending shock waves of shame through Melanie. How could
she have let that happen?

Nicos grunted with annoyance and rammed his
fist onto the machine. Melanie slipped awkwardly down from the
desk, pulling down her skirt and adjusting her jacket round her
shoulders. When she dared to meet his eyes he looked oddly

BOOK: The Passionate Greek
4.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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