Page 21 of The Greek Tycoon's Revenge

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It was the supreme arrogance that got to Eloise. Her palm itched and she longed to smack the grin off his face, but warring emotions stayed her hand. She did not dare, if she hoped to persuade him to at least try and be discreet. Her stomach churned over at the thought of being branded Marcus’s woman. She cherished her privacy above everything.

She looked at him, her green eyes colliding with hard black, and it took every ounce of will power she possessed to hold his gaze. ‘Katy knows me well. She will never believe we are an item, not so fast,’ she said softly.

Marcus threw his head back and laughed out loud and, taking a step forward, his hands settled on her shoulders. ‘Eloise.’ He shook his dark head, his eyes lit with amusement roamed over her. ‘But we were sweethearts on our first dinner date,’ he declared with shattering logic. ‘I bet the last three months you waited for my call, wondered where I was and with whom. And tonight, as soon as you saw me, your gorgeous eyes dilated, and that sexy body of yours sent off signals like the firing of a rocket on the launch pad.’

Mortified, Eloise swallowed hard. ‘That’s not true,’ she mutt

ered.

‘Katy might know your mind, but your body is all mine. Do you want me to prove it to you again?’ Marcus said softly into the suddenly tension-filled atmosphere.

‘No.’ Her green eyes pleaded with him. ‘But please will you be discreet in front of Katy and Harry, at least until they leave Paris? I’ll think of something to tell Katy when I get home.’ Her lips thinned. ‘Obviously not the truth.’

‘Yes, okay.’ Marcus was prepared to set her mind at rest for the moment.

‘Thank you,’ Eloise managed to say and, taking a step back, she added, ‘You can call me that cab now.’ And, while she waited for the taxi, she told him the name of the hotel and the time of the breakfast meeting, plus some of her latest ideas.

Marcus looked at Eloise. She had backed away from him, as far as the door, as if she could not get away fast enough. She was rambling on, and he was pretty sure, she had no idea what she was talking about. As he watched, he realised she actually was incredibly nervous, if not frightened.

His gut tightened, and for a second he wondered if she really was afraid of him, but then he saw the tip of her tongue lick over her bottom lip, swollen from the passion of their kisses. Hell, no, she had wanted him every bit as he wanted her. He was falling into the same old trap of assigning finer feelings to the woman, when he knew for a fact she did not have any. It was more likely she did not want her friend Katy to discover the dubious deal she and her mother had got up to, and realise that Eloise was not quite the honest, straightforward girl she appeared to be.

Picking up his shirt, he slipped it on, a smug smile curving his mouth as Eloise was silenced for a moment, her green eyes watching his every move with a fascination she had great difficulty disguising. He stepped towards her.

The entry phone pealed. The cab had arrived.

Marcus took her down to the street. The soft light of the street lamp turned her glorious red hair into a fiery halo, and he couldn’t help himself. He clasped her face between his hands and looked deep into her emerald eyes, then bent his head and kissed her gently on her softly swollen lips. He felt the sudden tremor sweep through her and her sudden tension as she tried to prevent her reaction.

Her resistance was a challenge and he was about to deepen the kiss, show her the futility of trying to deny the devastating physical desire between them. But for some inexplicable reason he didn’t. ‘I’ll see you back to your hotel,’ he offered softly, running an elegant finger down the soft curve of her cheek, before setting her free. ‘If you like.’ He gave her the choice.

‘No. No, thanks. We will meet at breakfast in a few hours.’

Once inside her hotel room, Eloise headed straight for the shower. She stood under the powerful spray, scrubbing at her slender body, trying to remove the scent of Marcus from her skin. But it was a futile exercise. She only had to think of him to taste him on her tongue, feel him on her skin, and after five minutes she gave up. Drying herself down with a large fluffy towel, she walked back into the bedroom and, picking up the white cotton tee-shirt she favoured for sleeping in, slipped between the sheets on the wide bed and closed her eyes.

But sleep was a long time in coming. She could have spent the night lying in Marcus’s arms. A tear trickled from the corner of her eyes to flow smoothly down her cheek. No matter how she tried to pretend, she knew in her heart she could easily fall in love with Marcus all over again. In his arms she felt safe and loved, which in reality was stupid, she knew. There was no denying the power of the sexual chemistry between them, but it could not negate the fact that they didn’t even like each other. He thought she was a thief and worse. Her innate honesty forced her to admit he had good reason to think so. But did that justify his treatment of her? She had tried to explain but he was incapable of listening, or only heard what he wanted to hear.

She had met a lawyer like that in the criminal court at the tender age of twenty, and it had taken her years to recover from the verbal mauling. Consequently, she was not prepared to justify herself to any man ever again.

No, she would play his game, act the worldly woman he imagined she was until his desire for revenge on her ran out. Dear heaven, she’d had plenty of practice at hiding her true emotions. As a child she’d pretended to her grandparents and everyone else she didn’t mind her parents never being around. How hard could it be to act the successful, sophisticated mistress of a man like Marcus for one solitary year? A vivid mental image of his glorious naked body filled her mind. Not hard at all when the fringe benefits were spectacular sex, she thought, her temperature rising. She rolled over onto her stomach, muffling a groan of frustration in the pillow, and finally fell asleep.

CHAPTER SEVEN

AT SEVEN-THIRTY the next morning Eloise walked into the dining room of the hotel. She had dressed with care in slim-fitting stone linen trousers, with a matching jacket and mint-green silk top beneath. With the careful use of cosmetics, she hoped she had disguised the ravages of the emotional turmoil and sleepless night from her friends’ view. She needn’t have worried! A glimmer of a smile curved her full lips as she saw Katy and Harry already seated at a table, by a window overlooking the river. Katy was wearing sunglasses.

Eloise walked over and joined them. ‘Hangover, Katy?’ she prompted, pulling out a chair and slipping off her jacket. She placed it around the back and sat down opposite her friends.

‘And good morning to you, too,’ Katy mocked, and Harry laughed.

‘Got it in one, Eloise. My wife’s first big night out since becoming a mum, and she has overdone it somewhat. Poor Floe got up with the baby during the night, and she’s busy packing for all of us. Help yourself to coffee, and you and I can run over what needs to be done. We’ll save the big discussion until you return to England.’ He cast a loving look to his wife. ‘Katy is in no state to have any valid opinion on anything, this morning.’

Eloise poured herself a cup of coffee from the pot provided. The table was set for three and Harry had already ordered continental breakfast. She knew they were leaving for the airport by eight-thirty, and she felt a tiny stab of guilt because she had told Marcus the meeting was at eight-forty-five—but then, as she reminded herself, she didn’t owe him any loyalty.

Katy groaned. ‘You’re right. Keep it light.’ Removing her sunglasses, she winced. ‘My God, never again!’ And, raising bleary eyes to Eloise, she added, ‘Trust you to look good. So come on, tell me what you and our new partner Marcus got up to last night after we left?’

‘We had a dance and I got a cab home.’ Eloise took a long swallow of her coffee, successfully fighting back the blush that threatened. She had a vital question of her own she wanted answered. She had realised in the early hours before dawn when she had time to think straight, Marcus couldn’t have blackmailed her half as effectively if he had not now owned a chunk of their company.

Eloise was no fool. She’d realised if it had been a simple question of repaying the money her mother stole, she could probably have arranged a loan on the property that housed the company. It was in her name but was rented at a peppercorn rent to KHE. Unfortunately, with Marcus now having taken over Ted Charlton’s investment in KHE and added a considerable amount to it, he was in a position to ruin them. She didn’t trust him an inch, and the more she thought about it the more she did not believe Marcus had bought Ted’s share in KHE simply to help the man out. It would not surprise her at all to discover it was the other way around. Marcus had sought Ted out to get a bigger hold over Eloise. He obviously had a healthy appetite for revenge.

‘I want to talk to you about Marcus.’ Her determined green eyes fixed on Harry. ‘How exactly did he become involved with our business? I do think you should have discussed it with me first.’ She didn’t want to fall out with Harry, but she could not allow the unorthodox way Harry had behaved go unchallenged.


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