Page 39 of The Greek Tycoon's Revenge

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‘I didn’t think you’d be interested. Anyway, Katy has told you now,’ Eloise answered bluntly, staring at him as he wrenched off his tie as if it were choking him and undid the first few buttons of his shirt.

‘Katy thought I knew,’ he raked at her, tight-lipped with temper. ‘After a few calls, I finally received the transcript of the trial and the press reports. I have just finished reading them.’

All the colour drained from Eloise’s face, and the brush fell unnoticed from her hand to the bed. ‘It was a long time ago,’ she tried to say nonchalantly, but the tremble in her voice was plain to hear. She hated the thought of Marcus reading every horrible torturous intimate detail of the worst episode in her life.

‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ Marcus demanded savagely. ‘Why did you lie? I asked you about your scar and you said it had been caused by an accident.’

Eloise slowly stood up, and told him the truth. ‘I was shy; it was the first… I didn’t want you to know, not then, but later maybe.’

‘Why, why in God’s name would you hide such a thing from me?’ Marcus’s fury was so real she took a nervous step back. He saw it, and went white, strain etched in every line of his face. He had thought she was a virgin, but had ignored it, and it only served to make him more furious. ‘You were afraid of me.’ He hissed in outraged disbelief.

Eloise shivered. ‘No, I just wanted to forget.’

‘Forget?’ he bit out incredulously, ‘And how the hell am I supposed to forget?’ Marcus seethed, his glittering black eyes clashing with hers, and she caught her breath. She did not have to listen to this. It was as she had thought—he was disgusted by the court case, disgusted with her.

‘The exquisite face, the luscious body.’ His gaze slid down over her scantily-clad form and he reached out and caught her wrist as she would have whirled away.

‘God, but you’ve got your revenge, Eloise.’ He surveyed her with burning intensity. ‘Have you the slightest idea how I feel? How can I forget that I all but forced you into my bed?’ he demanded, his black eyes raking over her with contempt.

Eloise flinched as though she had been struck, but pride alone made her face him. She stiffened, and stared at him with ice-green eyes. Another room, another man accusing her. As if it was her fault she was a beautiful sexy girl, a tease—of course she led the defendant on. It was the past come back to haunt her yet again.

‘Don’t touch me. Let go of my arm,’ Eloise snapped, cold anger covering the pain he was inflicting by his callous words. ‘If, as you say, you read the transcript, you know that technically it was attempted rape and assault with a deadly weapon. You do not come into that category.?

?? Eloise threw him a look of pure scorn, denying the feelings he could arouse in her even when he was behaving like the worst kind of chauvinist. ‘Yet,’ she concluded viciously.

Marcus released her so abruptly she fell back against the bed. He lifted his hand and drove shaking fingers through his thick hair. Hell, what was he doing, raging at Eloise? None of this was her fault. She was the victim, and he was filled with self-contempt.

‘I shouldn’t have said that,’ he conceded tautly. ‘I allowed my anger to get the better of me. Sorry.’

She raised her eyes. Marcus saying sorry was a new experience—but one look at his face and she realised he looked less in command of himself than usual. In fact he looked absolutely dreadful. ‘Forget it,’ Eloise muttered with a negative shake of her head, and sat down on the bed, her trembling legs no longer capable of supporting her. ‘I have.’ After the court case, she’d vowed never to be forced by any man into defending her actions, and she was not about to do so now with Marcus.

There was a long silence, then Marcus took a deep breath and straightened to his full height. ‘I can’t forget what that man did to you Eloise. I wasn’t angry with you, I was furious with him, and myself.’ His black eyes captured hers, and there was no doubt of the sincerity in their depths. ‘I feel like the lowest of the low. I refused to believe a word you said, because all the evidence made you seem a liar. So I didn’t care how I got you in my bed, as long as I did. I would be lying if I said I regretted making love to you—I don’t, though I recognise I’m not much better than the man who attacked you. But you have nothing to fear from me, Eloise; I will never touch you again.’

Eloise turned paper-white, and there was an even longer silence while she digested what he’d said, and stared back at him, her green eyes curiously blank. She had been a challenge to him, but he didn’t want her any more.

‘It’s okay,’ she said finally. She had always suspected once he discovered her past he would lose interest in her. ‘I’ll go back with Katy tomorrow.’ She wasn’t going to cry, she wasn’t going to beg. ‘As for the money I owe…’

‘You don’t owe me a thing, Eloise. I’ve known that since Harry told me how you’d invested your inheritance to start the business and you’re all equal partners that you don’t care about money.’

Eloise knew somewhere in the back of her mind he was telling her something vital, but she couldn’t think straight. She felt sick inside and, taking a few deep breaths, it was only by a mighty effort of will she managed to shore up the defensive wall in her mind that stopped her bawling her eyes out. ‘Okay.’

She was doing it again. Marcus’s dark eyes narrowed, harsh and brooding, on her pale face and finally his brilliant brain discerned instantly what she was doing. He was appalled he hadn’t recognised the tactic sooner, appalled at his own insensitivity.

‘No, damn it, it is not okay,’ he swore. ‘Don’t do that again. I realise now why you were like that yesterday. You were in shock; it’s self-protection. You knew, didn’t you? You knew the rat was being set free.’

‘I read the paper before we left London. Yes,’ she admitted, her head bent, no longer caring what Marcus thought or felt. Just wishing he would leave, before she broke down completely.

A deep agonised groan had her lifting her head. Marcus stood, shoulders stooped, his hands covering his face, and as she watched his hands slid down to his sides. He stared down at her, his black eyes glazed with moisture, his handsome features twisted in horror.

‘What is it, Marcus?’ she asked hoarsely, deeply disturbed by his ashen pallor.

‘God help me!’ His tormented black eyes caught and held hers. ‘Yesterday you were in shock and I ordered you into the shower.’

Eloise had never seen such pain and anguish in her life, and slowly it dawned on her—Marcus, her arrogant, infuriating, powerful lover, the keeper of her heart if he did but know it, was racked with guilt.

She reached up and placed her hand on his curled fist. ‘I enjoyed our sojourn in the shower,’ she said softly.

He continued to stare at her for a disturbing length of time, as if he had not heard; then his fist unfurled and he clasped her hand in a deathlike grip. ‘Oh, God, Eloise,’ he groaned from deep in his throat, and pulled her up into his arms, crushing her to him. ‘I wish that were true.’

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