Page 11 of The Greek Tycoon's Revenge

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The car stopped before the entrance of her home, and she turned to Marcus but he was already out and walking around the front of the car. He opened the passenger door and held out his hand. Trustingly Eloise curled her fingers around the firm warmth of his palm, as she straightened and they walked to the door.

‘You have your key?’

‘Yes.’ Reluctantly, she let go of his hand while she extracted the key from her purse and inserted it in the lock. She glanced up at him uncertainly. ‘Do you want to come in?’

‘No, I have to dash.’

He was a tall, broad silhouette outlined by the streetlight, his features in shadow, and for a moment she wondered what lay behind the dark mask of his face. And what was the protocol when you had slept with a man? Suddenly she was nervous for no reason. ‘Well, thank you for a lovely evening,’ she said softly, and stupidly offered her hand.

‘I think we are past the handshaking stage, Eloise, way past,’ Marcus drawled mockingly, making no attempt to take her hand. ‘I’ll be in touch. But I think I might have to go to America for a while.’

Her heart sank. She might not see him again for weeks. ‘Promise,’ she demanded urgently; there was something about the cool remote look in his eyes that worried her.

One dark brow arched sardonically. ‘Oh, I promise, Eloise.’ With a speed that left her breathless, he hauled her into his arms, and kissed her with a savagery that left her reeling. He spun on his heel and was opening the car door before she could say good night.

CHAPTER FOUR

‘SO WHAT do you think?’ Eloise did a pirouette, showing off the black strapless cocktail dress with a skirt that ended a good three inches above her knees, clinging to every curve of her body in between. ‘The new me.’ Her green eyes laughing, she sought the opinion of Katy, who was sitting on Eloise’s sofa a bit like a beached whale, her eyes wide as saucers.

It was Saturday evening and Eloise had spent the whole day shopping for a complete new wardrobe, and for the past hour she had modelled them all for Katy.

‘I’m stunned. They are all gorgeous—quite a metamorphosis from the perennial student to an elegant woman, and not before time.’

‘I know.’ Eloise sat down beside Katy on the sofa. ‘I never really felt the need, what with working and living here, plus I don’t feel so guilty spending money on myself, now I know Ted Charlton is backing us thanks to you and Harry.’

‘Don’t thank us,’ Katy said, staggering to her feet. ‘In my opinion, your new dress sense has little to do with the business expanding, and more to do with a dark-eyed Greek, and I’m glad for you. But be careful.’

Eloise felt the colour rise in her cheeks. Katy was right, but since her dinner date with Marcus her whole attitude had changed. It was four days since she had dined with him, made love with him, and she was missing him quite dreadfully. She only had to think of the kisses they’d shared to be able to taste him on her lips, and when she thought of the rest, her body burned. She could hardly believe the transformation from celibate female to the hungry, needy woman she had become, but she liked it. She felt like a teenager again, and jumped every time the telephone rang.

‘Did you hear what I said?’ Katy chuckled at the dreamy expression on her partner’s face. ‘Be careful.’

‘I don’t know what you’re talking about; I only had dinner once with the man.’ She had not told Katy everything! ‘As for being caref

ul—’ Eloise got to her feet ‘—aren’t I always?’ she murmured dryly. ‘Come on, I’ll help you back down stairs. Harry should be back soon.’

The door slamming and a voice yelling ‘Katy’ made the two women smile.

‘Speak of the devil.’ Eloise laughed as she helped Katy down to her apartment.

Half an hour later, Eloise walked back up to her own place. Harry had returned from Paris, having completed the deal on the property to expand the business. Everything was going great, and all it needed to make Eloise’s life perfect was for Marcus to return.

Relaxing by the telephone on Sunday evening, if one could call it relaxing, as she lived in hope Marcus would call, Eloise idly leafed through the morning paper. Her hand stilled, and her happy state of anticipation, took a nosedive. Her stomach turned in a nauseous roll, her eyes fixed on the glossy photograph in the celebrity section. Marcus Kouvaris with his beautiful companion Nadine snapped at a charity ball in London on Thursday evening. The night after he had taken Eloise out…

Eloise stared at the image of a devastatingly attractive Marcus in a black dinner suit, smiling at the tall blonde hanging on to his arm, and wanted to weep. What a fool she was. Floating on cloud nine, imagining a relationship with Marcus Kouvaris, dreaming impossible dreams of love, and even marriage, rushing out and buying a whole new wardrobe on the strength of ‘I’ll call you’… She ground her teeth together in angry frustration at her own lunatic behaviour.

Slowly, like an old woman, she got to her feet, the paper dropping unnoticed to the floor, and made her way to the bedroom. Her eyes filled with moisture. She flopped down on the bed and let the tears fall. She had vowed at nineteen never to cry over another man again. Strictly speaking, she had not broken her vow, she thought between sobs as she was crying over the same man. But didn’t that make her an even bigger idiot?

She rolled over onto her stomach, buried her face in the pillow and sobbed her heart out. Her slender body shook with the force of her grief.

Finally, all cried out, she turned over onto her back, and with sightless eyes gazed at the ceiling. She could remember every touch, every kiss, the awe, the wonder she’d felt when he’d finally possessed her. But what for her had been a miracle, for Marcus had obviously been simply another roll in the hay. When she finally slept a tall dark man haunted her dreams, and she cried out in her sleep.

Work was Eloise’s salvation, but even that did not occupy her every waking hour, and she found herself making excuses for the man. Perhaps his date with Nadine was innocent, perhaps he would still ring her—and she despised herself for her weakness.

But as March gave way to April, and then May, and Marcus never contacted her again, finally Eloise accepted it was history repeating itself. Marcus had forgotten all about her. She and Katy worked flat out to build up a whole new range for the Paris branch and work stopped her brooding over Marcus.

Katy gave birth to a fine baby boy, Benjamin, and Eloise found herself more involved in the business side than ever. But designing was her strong point so they decided to employ two more staff—a young man, Peter, fresh out of college, to help with the actual making of the pieces, and then there was Floe Brown, a woman in her fifties who wanted to get back into work after being out of the job market for years, who was an absolute gem. When not helping Harry in the office she quite happily looked after the baby and let Katy work; it was a brilliant arrangement.

Eloise had reason to be grateful for her new clothes, even if she had bought them with one particular man in mind. Surprisingly she discovered they gave her a growing confidence in herself. Because of Katy’s involvement with her new baby, Eloise, who had left the publicity aspect of the business to Katy and Harry, now found she was more involved with the setting up of the Paris boutique, doing interviews, and socialising with the ultra-chic French. A welcome spin-off was she actually developed a veneer of sophistication that effectively masked her naturally very private nature.


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