Page 40 of The Greek Tycoon's Revenge

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‘It is,’ she murmured tilting back her head to look up into his agonised face.

He stared at her for a moment in solemn silence, his eyes probing hers with a burning intensity; then, as if he could not help himself, he groaned again, his dark head descending. ‘I love you so much, Eloise.’ He buried his face against her throat. ‘I can’t bear the thought of anyone hurting you, and I know I must have hurt you. God! I took your innocence, I made you stay with me. I am no better than the scum who stabbed you.’

She felt as if all the air had left her lungs, by the fierce pressure of his arms, and she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Her mouth fell open in shock. Marcus loved her. She lifted a tentative hand to his head. She hated to see her proud, arrogant lover so distraught, and she knew what she had to do.

‘Marcus, you never hurt me, and certainly not physically. I always wanted you, even when we fought. I want you to believe me.’

‘You are too soft-hearted for your own good,’ he groaned against her throat and, lifting his head, his black eyes lingered on her slightly parted lips. ‘You need someone to take care of you,’ and he brushed his mouth over hers in the lightest of kisses. ‘Let it be me, and I swear no one will ever hurt you again.’

‘You…you love me?’ She had to ask, to be sure.

‘Eloise,’ he murmured thickly, his fingers brushing her hair lightly from her flushed cheeks, while his eyes devoured her. ‘I love you, and I have never felt more unworthy than I do at this moment. I can only pray that you will forgive me and let me try to make you happy.’

Her green eyes widened to their fullest extent as he spoke; it was almost too incredible to believe, but it was there in the gleaming depths of his dark eyes. It was there in the arms that tightened around her almost in desperation, and she finally knew it was there in his heart. ‘There is nothing to forgive,’ she whispered unsteadily. ‘Just kiss me and tell me again you love me.’

He kissed her with a tender passion that stirred her more deeply than anything had ever done before. Her arms linked around his neck and she lost herself in the miracle of the moment.

‘I love you, Eloise,’ Marcus groaned and, sweeping her off her feet, laid her down on the bed, removing her nightgown in between kisses. He stared down at her and, with a hand that visibly shook, he traced the length of her leg and the hard ridge of tissue. For a second his dark eyes flashed violently. ‘God, I could kill him,’ he snarled.

‘Marcus.’ She held out her arms to him. ‘Forget him and come to me.’

He made love to her with a care a depth of passion that touched her soul. His mouth found the scar and laved the length, and more. Eloise held nothing back and gave as much pleasure as she received, until they lay sated in each other’s arms, two hearts beating as one perfect whole.

‘Please marry me,’ Marcus rasped throatily, and Eloise moved sinuously against him.

‘Another deal?’ she teased, glancing up at the darkly handsome face above her, and was stunned by the vulnerability in his night black eyes.

‘No.’ His sensuous mouth tightened. ‘You never were, or were never meant to be.’ Marcus said with scrupulous honesty. ‘We need to talk.’ Rolling onto his side, he propped his head on one hand and looked down at her.

‘When Theo died, and I discovered what Chloe had done, I hired a detective to find her. When I was informed Chloe was dead and she had no sister, I was intrigued. The money meant little to me; I was more interested in finding you, to be brutally honest,’ he said ruefully. ‘You had haunted my dreams for years, seriously curbed my womanising ways, and I was curious to discover what had become of you.’

‘I don’t think I like the woma

niser bit.’ Eloise grinned up at him, but the rest was like manna to her love-starved heart.

‘Yes, well, when the detective found you and informed me of your real name, and you owned a jewellery firm, I was bitterly disappointed; along with the signature on the contract it seemed to confirm that you were in league with Chloe. Then, when the detective told me you were as pure as the driven snow, I didn’t want to hear any more. In my cynical mind, I thought he was being sarcastic. I decided to look you up, and come to some arrangement over what I considered should be Theo’s share.’

‘But I told you the truth, Marcus. My mother used my college project and she also forged my signature. It had absolutely nothing to do with me,’ Eloise protested.

‘I know that now.’ Marcus calmed her with a finger across her lips. ‘Let me finish. When I saw you by chance at the supper club, I was struck dumb; you were more beautiful than I remembered, and you were with a much older man.’

‘I wasn’t with Ted, well…’

‘Shh. For the first time in my life I was hit by jealousy. And I thought of what you and your mother had done to my uncle and his family—and I was furious.’

‘I told you….’

His dark head swooped and he stopped her with a kiss. ‘Please, Eloise, I want to get everything out in the open between us. No more secrets.

‘When I took you out to dinner, I was going to expose you as a liar and a cheat and demand Theo’s money back—but, over the meal, you were so sweet, so much fun, I thought, why bother? I didn’t need the money, and then, when we made love…’

Eloise smiled dreamily up at him. ‘That night was so perfect. It was a miracle for me. I never expected to be able to let a man touch me, but with you it was different. I think it was because I had known you before the attack, and so you weren’t a stranger. It was as though the trauma of the past didn’t exist and I was nineteen again.’

His dark eyes locked with hers. ‘God, Eloise! What I have put you though?’ he said slowly, and she felt his muscles lock with tension. ‘I know it was your first time. You were so nervous, so obviously inexperienced. I fully intended to keep on seeing you, and to forget about the fraud against my uncle.

‘Then, after the phone call, when we were leaving, and you quite happily said you had obtained finance from Ted Charlton the night before. Everything you said suggested you’d slept with him. You got back to your apartment at three. You were so excited it was five before you finally slept—I wanted to strangle you. Then you signed the deal in the morning and celebrated over lunch.’ His dark eyes clouded with remembered pain. ‘I was gutted, thinking I must have been mistaken about your innocence, as you had spent the night and half the day with Ted to get him to invest in KHE, just like your mother, and then came to me.’

‘You…’ Amazement made her eyes widen. ‘You actually… I wondered why you were so dismissive when you took me home.’ Eloise stared at him. ‘But it was nothing like that! Ted left me at the door. When I said we discussed Paris, I meant Katy, Harry and I. They waited up for me, as they tend to worry over me since the attack. Ted called the next day for a meeting with Harry, and then took us all out to lunch.’ Recalling the conversation at the time, Eloise realised how it might have sounded. ‘But if you thought… No wonder…’ she trailed off.

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