The Demetrios Bridal Bargain [Secure]
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by Kim Lawrence
Description: Within twenty-four hours of meeting Greek tycoon Mathieu Demetrios, Rose's life is in chaos. Mathieu is convinced he threw Rose out of his hotel bedroom years earlier, branding her a scarlet woman! But Mathieu is looking for a wife of convenience, and taming the wild Rose into gracing his marital bed will be more pleasurable than he ever dreamed!
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Presents,
eBookwise Release Date: December 2007
9 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats [Secure - What's this?]: OEBFF Format (IMP) [310 KB]
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ANDREOS DEMETRIOS, his erect posture making no concession to the whirling blades of the helicopter from which he had just alighted, looked around, his piercing dark glance moving pointedly over and past his reception committee—a younger man standing beside the helicopter pad.
It was a deliberate snub, but nothing in the waiting man's expression suggested that he was affronted by the action. His only response at all was the faintest of sardonic smiles as the older man pointedly turned his back to him.
People did not, as a rule, overlook Mathieu Demetrios. It wasn't just his height—Mathieu topped six four—or his face, though more column inches than he cared to recall had been devoted to his classical profile, which many writers claimed, with what Mathieu considered a lack of originality, could have graced a Greek coin. No, what Mathieu Demetrios had was far less quantifiable; he had that rare indefinable quality—he had presence.
When Mathieu spoke people listened. When he walked into a room heads turned, people watched him—people, that is, who weren't his father. The same father who was at that moment delivering a string of terse rapid instructions to the bespectacled man who had just disembarked with him from the helicopter.
Mathieu's patrician features gave no hint of his feelings as, silver eyes narrowing, he silently observed the interchange. He held himself with natural grace, his body language relaxed as an updraft from the helicopter blades plastered his thin shirt against his body revealing the clearly defined musculature of his powerful shoulders and chest, the same squall tugging at his dark hair.
The man nodding respectfully as he listened to Andreos Demetrios was the only one of the trio who was made visibly uncomfortable by the tension and simmering hostility vibrating in the disturbed air.
Keeping one wary eye on his employer, he risked the Greek financier's wrath by sending the younger man a tentative smile of sympathy before he hurried past him. It was hard to tell whether the gesture was either noticed or appreciated. Unlike his father, Mathieu Gauthier, or Demetrios as they must learn to call him, kept his cards pretty close to his chest and he definitely was not prone to the uncontrolled outbursts of emotion for which Andreos was famed.
If Mathieu Demetrios had been a different sort of man, the sort who looked as if he would appreciate well-meaning advice, he might have taken the younger man to one side and explained that the older man's mood changes, though abrupt, could sometimes be diverted if you learnt to read the danger signs.
Even simply showing a little reaction to his father's outbursts, excepting Mathieu's usual cynical amusement or boredom, would help.
Opinion amongst employees who had to witness the conflict firsthand was split into two camps when it came to the subject of the uneasy relationship between Andreos and his heir apparent. Personally, his logical accountant's brain could not allow him to believe that anyone would deliberately go out of his way to provoke Andreos Demetrios. No, he joined those who said it was a matter of perception, and someone who had hurled a formula-one car at speed around a track for a living as Mathieu Gauthier had could not be expected to perceive danger the same way normal mortals did.
* * *
It was only after the third man had left that the Greek financier faced his son. Andreos had read and reread the comprehensive report he had requested during the flight from the mainland searching for errors.
If there had been flaws in the report he would have found them; there were none. It was clear, concise and drew some unexpected but challenging conclusions, which only seemed obvious once they had been pointed out.
Challenging about summed up his eldest son. A nerve jerked in Andreos's heavy jaw as his eyes, dark and contemptuous, swept upwards from the feet of the younger man to his face.
Only once in all their years of marriage had Andreos ever broken his vows of fidelity to the wife he adored; it was a moment he had regretted and been ashamed of ever since.
But to have the physical proof of that infidelity appear in the form of a sullen, self-contained male adolescent who did not further endear himself to his reluctant father by outperforming his legitimate half-brother in every way both intellectual and athletic had been a nightmare situation.
Ironically it had been his wronged wife, Mia, not Andreos, who had been able to welcome the motherless boy into their home with genuine warmth.
The noise of the helicopter engine faded at the same moment the men's eyes locked—smouldering brown with cool grey.
They stayed that way for a long time.
The older man was the first to lower his gaze. A dull angry colour dusted his cheeks and heavy jaw and he addressed his son. He did not waste time on preliminaries.
'You will cancel your little trip to…' a spasm of irritation crossed Andreos's heavy swarthy features as he trawled his memory '…wherever it was you were going.'
There was no trace of warmth or affection in his curt demand, but Mathieu did not expect it. His father had never made any pretence of affection, but before Alex's death Andreos had not been as overtly hostile as he was now. But then before Alex's death twelve months had been able to go by without father and his elder son meeting.
But Alex's death had changed that.
It had, Mathieu reflected bleakly, changed a lot of things.
'Well, you can change your plans.'
It was not a suggestion. But then the head of Demetrios Enterprises, a global giant that had major interests in amongst other things IT and telecommunications—things had moved on since the days the family were merely Greek shipping millionaires—did not make suggestions.
Copyright © 2007 by Kim Lawrence.