Page 4 of The Greek Tycoon's Revenge

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‘A very impressive man,’ Ted said as Eloise watched Marcus and Nadine stroll off to where their table awaited them. The maître d’ stood hovering around the pair like a mother hen. But then, a man of Marcus Kouvaris’s power and wealth commanded that kind of attention wherever he went, Eloise thought wryly.

‘Yes, Ted.’ She sighed and turned her attention back to Ted. ‘Nadine is a lucky woman.’

‘No, you’re wrong there, Eloise. She hasn’t a hope in hell of catching Kouvaris. But you—you watch out. Take it from a man who knows his own sex. I saw the way Kouvaris looked, and danced with you. But I have heard rumours about his womanising, and you are far too nice a lady for a man of his reputation.’

‘I’ll take that as a compliment,’ Eloise said softly. ‘But I don’t think you need worry.’ And, with a swift glance at the other couple, the black head touching the blonde, she grinned ruefully back at Ted. ‘You’re right, he’s way out of my league.’

They finished off their dinner with coffee, and Ted persuaded Eloise to make a night of it, so they stayed to watch the late-night cabaret, and dance. It was a fun evening, and Eloise was yawning widely by the time Ted took her home in a taxi.

At the door of the town house where Eloise lived and worked, Ted smiled teasingly down at her. ‘I won’t come in, before you ask, but thank you for a lovely evening, Eloise, and you can tell your partners they have nothing to worry about. I will invest. I’ll be in touch with Harry in the morning to do the deal. Okay?’ Planting a brief kiss on her cheek, he said, ‘Good night.’

Letting herself into the elegant entrance hall, Eloise ran lightly up the staircase, and stopped at the first floor. She glanced at her wristwatch, and grimaced. Three a.m. It was far too late to call on Katy and Harry now and tell them the good news and she turned to mount the next flight of stairs.

Strictly speaking, the house was Eloise’s, but it was also the biggest asset of the company. The basement was the work room, the ground floor the showroom and offices, the first floor was Katy and Harry’s apartment, the second floor Eloise’s, and the attic apartment was rented by a gay couple.

Julian and Jeff were two beautiful young men. Julian earned his living as a freelance photographer and had made up a fantastic catalogue for KHE jewellery, and also talked quite a few models into wearing it, and that had been instrumental in getting the firm noticed and into several of the glossy magazines. Jeff worked in the showroom of KHE and was great at selling. The female customers adored him, and the male customers, while taking his advice, were not threatened by his beauty. For Eloise it was the ideal set-up; she loved the house and felt perfectly safe.

‘Is that you, Eloise?’ A stage whisper broke into Eloise’s thoughts and, swinging around, she ran lightly back down the stairs and straight into the arms of Harry.

‘Break out the champagne, folks. Ted is going to come in with us,’ she said as Harry swung her around and into the open door of their apartment where Katy was waiting looking, thankfully, very well, if rather round.

‘You’re sure?’ Katy grasped her arm and pulled her into the sitting room. ‘Tell all.’

Half an hour later her two friends had the whole story.

‘So…’ Katy looked mischievous but beautiful with her black curly hair and big brown eyes; she fixed Eloise with a speculative glance. ‘We can take it the business will expand, much like my waistline. But what about this Mr Kouvaris? Wasn’t that the name of the chap you met, and then left you on that holiday with your mother?’

Immediately on the defensive, Eloise said, ‘Marcus didn’t leave me—he was called away because his father was ill, and apparently the old man died.’ It was strange to be saying his name out loud after five years of trying to forget it, and stupidly she could feel herself blushing. ‘It was no big deal and look, it’s four o’clock in the morning. We’ll talk tomorrow.’

She was still trying to convince herself of the fact ages later lying in her queen-sized bed, unable to sleep. She did not want to take a sleeping tablet the doctor had prescribed. She hadn’t used them in years, and simply seeing Marcus Kouvaris again was not going to drive her into taking one.

CHAPTER TWO

INSTEAD she practised her relaxation exercises, turned on her back, and let her mind roam freely back to her holiday in Greece.

Eloise had been carrying a tray of drinks out on to the terrace when she had first seen Marcus. He was standing next to her mother and Theo Toumbis by the edge of the swimming pool, laughing at something her mother had said. Eloise had nearly dropped the tray, such was the instant effect of his sheer male beauty on her teenage heart. Dressed casually in white shorts, and a shirt open down the front revealing his muscular chest with a sprinkling of black body hair, and long legs glazed in gold by the afternoon sun, the man looked like the reincarnation of a Greek god to Eloise’s naïve eyes and she had stood transfixed simply staring at him.

‘Stop loitering, sis, we are dying of thirst here.’ Her mother’s command had the ten or so people around the pool turning to look at her, including Marcus.

Eloise blushed scarlet, and for a second Marcus’s eyes met hers, before she dropped her head and stepped forward.

Miraculously he appeared at her side. ‘Here, let me take that. A beautiful young girl like you should be waited on, not the other way around.’ And that was how it had started…

He’d introduced himself as Theo’s nephew and had encouraged her to strip off the long cotton shift that concealed her white skinned, bikini-clad body, and join him in the pool. Marcus in his swimming trunks was enough to make any woman weak at the knees, and Eloise had been no exception. He had talked and teased and flirted with her and by the end of the evening he knew she was an unattached nineteen-year-old student on holiday abroad for the first time in her life with her sister Chloe who

had rented the villa.

Eloise had hated lying to him, but her mother had insisted no one should know they were mother and daughter, and it had seemed a small price to pay to spend time with her mother. Eloise knew her mother loved her in her own way; she had proved it when after the funeral of her parents Chloe had not even minded that they had left all they owned to Eloise, including the house. Eloise had felt terrible, and it had taken all her powers of persuasion to get her mum to at least take the money from the sale of the house. Even so her mum suggested she set up a joint account and they could share the proceeds. Eloise happily agreed, but never touched the account until after her mother’s death.

Stirring restlessly on the bed, Eloise ran the tip of her tongue over her full lips; it seemed like only yesterday she had felt the touch of Marcus’s lips on hers for the first time. Sighing, she rolled over on her stomach and buried her head in the pillow, the memories coming thick and fast.

Before Marcus had finally left, well after midnight, he’d gathered Eloise gently into his arms and kissed her, and from that moment she knew she was in love.

At ten the next morning Marcus had turned up in an open-topped sports car, and whisked her away to the other side of the island.

‘Come on, sweetheart.’ Marcus stopped the car only a few feet away from the edge of a cliff, stepped out and was holding open the passenger door with one hand and a picnic basket in the other with a blanket over his arm. ‘We’re going to have a picnic.’

‘Here?’ Eloise glanced around the rocky outcrop not more that a yard square.


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