Page 12 of The Greek Tycoon's Revenge

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It was a warm June afternoon, and just two hours to the grand opening of KHE of Paris. Eloise glanced around the elegant shop with a professional eye. The jewellery on display was some of their best work and, fingers crossed, she prayed the new outlet would be a success. They had spent an awful lot of money and taken on quite a debt, but according to Harry it was manageable. It had better be, she thought dryly, or they might all end up out on the street, instead of in the plush hotel where they had spent the last two days getting everything ready.

‘Right, Jeff. I’m leaving you in charge; don’t touch anything, and don’t start on the champagne. Katy, Harry and I will be back by five-thirty, ready to open the doors for the preview at six. Okay?’

‘Stop fussing; go and make yourself beautiful. Julian is determined to get some really stunning photographs tonight for the glossy mags. If even half the people invited turn up it will be a great success, so stop worrying.’

Standing in front of the bathroom mirror in her hotel an hour later, Eloise could not help worrying. Outlining her full lips with one last coat of lip-gloss, she patted them with a tissue, and stepped back. Her red hair was piled high on the top of her head in a coronet of curls. Her makeup was subtle, a touch of eye-shadow and eyeliner accentuated her wide green eyes, her thick lashes held the lightest trace of mascara, and a light moisturiser was all she needed. Around her throat she wore a glittering jade and jet choker that draped down her breastbone in a waterfall of intricately cut beads, one of her own designs, and displayed perfectly against her pale skin. Matching earrings and a wide bracelet around her slender wrist completed the set.

Eloise ran her hands down her hips, smoothing the fabric of the simple black strapless sheath dress she was wearing over her thighs, to where it ended some way above her knees.

Yes, Katy had been right, it was the perfect foil for the jewellery, Eloise thought musingly and, leaving the bathroom, she picked up her purse and headed for Katy’s hotel room.

‘At last,’ Harry blurted as he opened the door at Eloise’s knock. ‘We’re going to be late for our own opening.’

‘Don’t panic.’ Eloise looked at his frazzled expression, and wanted to laugh. ‘I’m sure everything will be fine.’

And it was, Eloise thought some three hours later looking around the crowded room. The two French staff they had employed were being kept busy. Julian was happily taking shots of at least four supermodels, and a handful of the top French designers were present, plus a lot of their very wealthy clients.

The jewellery had been admired and sold, plus they had taken a highly satisfactory number of orders and one elderly lady had even tried to buy the set Eloise was wearing. The champagne and canapés seemed to be holding out, and she allowed herself a small sigh of pleasure as she took a sip of champagne. The first drink she’d had, as she’d wanted to keep a clear head.

‘I told you, Eloise—’ Ted Charlton appeared at her side ‘—you have a winner, no doubt about it.’

‘I hope so, for your sake as well as ours.’ She smiled at the burly American.

‘Oh, I’m not bothered,’ Ted said, and in abrupt change of subject added, ‘how well do you know Marcus Kouvaris?’

She stiffened. ‘I had dinner with him a while ago. I suppose you could say we are friends.’ The fact she had hoped they could be a lot more still had the power to hurt her, and with a dismissive shrug of her slender shoulders she made herself add lightly. ‘Or perhaps acquaintances would be a better word.’

‘Good, good, that’s what I thought.’ The obvious relief in his tone was plain.

‘Why do you ask?’ she demanded.

Ted took a glass of champagne from a passing waiter, and gulped it down, before turning his attention back to Eloise. ‘I’m taking you out to dinner later. We’ll talk then, okay?’

She liked the older man and she didn’t want to make an issue out of a casual question, especially not about Marcus. ‘Okay, Ted.’ She grinned.

‘Great,’ and, patting her shoulder, he moved off into the crowd.

Eloise shook her head, Ted was half drunk already and, draining her own glass, she turned and placed it on the table behind her.

‘Hello, Ted, great to see you again.’

Eloise recognised the deep, slightly accented voice above the hum of the crowd, and shock froze her to the spot. It was Marcus Kouvaris. What was he doing here? She certainly hadn’t invited him. Though she might have done if he’d ever bothered to keep in touch, her own innate honesty forced her to admit, as she fought to control her pounding heart.

How long she stood with her back to the crowd, she had no idea, but finally schooling her features into a polite social mask she turned around, head high, and let her glance roam apparently idly over the room. Then she saw him. His dark head was bent towards one of the models, apparently listening to what the woman was saying.

He was easily the tallest man present and, with his dark good looks, and wearing an immaculately tailored lightweight beige suit, he stood out from the crowd. Eloise could not take her eyes off him; animal magnetism didn’t cover it, she thought helplessly. Whatever it was, Marcus had it in spades.

Suddenly he lifted his head and night-black eyes clashed with hers and just as suddenly Eloise had the totally unladylike desire to yell at him? ‘Where the hell have you been for the past three months?’ Of course she didn’t, but instead she managed a stiff smile, before tearing her gaze from his.

She feigned interest in the elderly lady who was once again admiring her necklace, but without hearing a word the poor dear was saying.

A large hand lightly brushed her forearm, to attract her attention; her head jerked up. It was Marcus at her side. Keep it cool, you’re a sophisticated businesswoman, she told herself firmly. So what if she had a one-night stand with the man? She wasn’t the first and she certainly would not be the last where a sexual predator like Marcus Kouvaris was concerned. She had no illusions on that score, and though he didn’t know it he’d done her a favour…

‘Marcus, what a surprise. I thought you would be far too busy to attend this sort of thing,’ she opined lightly.

‘Ah, Eloise, would I miss your opening?’ he prompted his dark eyes holding a glint of wicked humour. ‘I’m only sorry I didn’t get in touch sooner.’ His smile was disarming. ‘But pressure of work.’ He gave a shrug of his broad shoulders. ‘That’s how it goes sometimes.’

‘Yes, of course.’ Eloise couldn’t say anything else under the circumstances. She had no claim on the man. So he had taken her to bed and taken her virginity? What did that matter to a devil like Marcus?


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