The Greek Tycoon's Blackmailed Mistress

By: Lynne Graham

“After seven years, how can we go from having no relationship at all into a living arrangement? And me—a mistress? It’s crazy.”




Aristandros slowly unfolded his big, powerful frame from his seat and strolled toward her like a sleek, dark panther on the prowl. His narrowed gaze blazed golden and welded to her, homing in on the soft pink of her mouth. “It’s not a problem for me. I find you amazingly attractive.”

“And that’s all that it takes for you? Lust?” Ella slung between gritted teeth, with a look of distaste.

“Lust is all that we need to concern ourselves with, glikia mou.” He lifted a hand and let confident fingertips trace the proud curve of her cheekbone. Blue eyes spitting angry flames, she jerked her head away in a violent rejection of his touch. “Let’s keep it simple. I want you in my bed every night.”




PROLOGUE




‘AN ENCHANTING child,’ Drakon Xenakis remarked as he stood at a window, watching the little girl playing in the lush gardens of his grandson’s villa. ‘She reminds me of someone. I can’t think who…’

Aristandros veiled his brilliant dark eyes, his lean, darkly handsome face unrevealing. He said nothing, although he had made a genetic connection at first glance. In his opinion it was impossible not to: that blonde hair, so pale that it was somewhere between white and silver, and those hyacinth-blue eyes and pouting pink mouth were like miniature identity-tags. Yes, fate had placed an immensely potent weapon in his hands and he would have no qualms about using it to get what he wanted. Aristandros always kept his conscience well under wraps. Neither failure nor consolation prizes were acceptable to him. Without a doubt he would triumph—and winning most often meant breaking the rules.

‘But little girls need mothers,’ Drakon continued, his proud carriage impressively upright in spite of his eighty-two years. ‘And you specialise in—’

‘Beautiful models,’ Aristandros slotted in swiftly, conscious that the older man was likely to take a moralistic viewpoint and employ a more judgemental term for the women who entertained his grandson in the bedroom. ‘Timon, however, left me his daughter to raise, and I have every intention of meeting that challenge.’

‘Timon was a childhood playmate and a cousin, not your brother,’ his grandfather countered in a troubled voice. ‘Are you willing to give up the strings of gorgeous women and the endless parties for the sake of a child who isn’t your own?’

‘I have a large, well-trained and reliable staff. I don’t think Calliope’s impact on my life will be that catastrophic.’ Aristandros had never sacrificed anything for anyone, nor could he imagine doing so. But, even if he did not agree with his grandfather’s views, he respected him and he would allow the older man to have his say.

In any case, few men had more right to talk frankly on the score of family responsibility than Drakon Xenakis. The family name had long been synonymous with dysfunction and explosive scandals. Drakon blamed himself that all his children had messed up spectacularly as adults with their car-crash marriages, addictions and affairs. Aristandros’s father had proved the worst offender of all, and his mother, the heiress daughter of another shipping family, had matched her husband in her appetite for self-indulgence and irresponsibility.

‘If you think that, you’re underestimating the responsibility you’re taking on. A child who has already lost both parents will need a lot of your attention to feel secure. You’re a workaholic, just as I was, Aristandros. We’re brilliant at making money, but we’re not good parents,’ Drakon pronounced, his concern patent. ‘You need to find a wife willing to be Callie’s mother.’

‘Marriage really isn’t my style,’ Aristandros countered coolly.

‘The incident you are referring to took place when you were twenty-five years old,’ Drakon dared to remark, watching the younger man’s bronzed features shutter and chill at that less-than-tactful reminder.

Aristandros shrugged a broad shoulder. ‘It was merely a brief infatuation from which I soon recovered.’

Aristandros was, however, pierced by a familiar tide of bitter anger. Ella. He only had to think her name to feel that anger. Seven years ago, he had put a price on the head of the one woman he’d wanted, and the one woman he still couldn’t forget. He had sworn then that, one day, he would take revenge for what she had done to him. The engagement that never was—an unthinkable rejection. Yet, in some ways, hadn’t Ella done him a favour? The early unanticipated disappointment and the sense of humiliation which she’d inflicted had ensured that Ari had never dropped his guard with a woman again. Instead he had concentrated on enjoying the fruits of his fabulous wealth while he’d steadily grown tougher, harder and more ambitious.

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