The Greek Tycoon's Secret Heir [Secure]
Click on image to enlarge.
by Katherine Garbera
Description: "You will marry me." Marry Christos Theakis? Ava Monroe has always longed for his proposal. But Christos's demand is not just for Ava--he wants custody of her son. A child he believes to be his brother's. Temptation leads Ava to join the shipping magnate on his lush Greek island home. This is her chance to prove she never betrayed the imposing, arrogant and lethally attractive Christos. If only she can win back his trust. For without trust, there can be no love....
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Silhouette Desire,
eBookwise Release Date: January 2008
15 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats [Secure - What's this?]: OEBFF Format (IMP) [249 KB]
GEOGRAPHIC RESTRICTIONS: Available to customers in: US, NZ, SG, TW, ER, GQ, LS, MG, MW, SD, SN, HM, MN, GD, JM, LT, SI, BY, FO, TR, PS, BM, AS, IO, SB, FK, SR, AF, FJ, CA, ES, PR, PH, BF, EG, KE, NG, RE, BV, TF, GE, KP, MV, PK, TL, BQ, HT, KN, CZ, CH, GI, IS, RS, SJ, BH, MH, NU, BO, AD, AL, AE, GF, MX, FR, IT, BE, CF, DZ, EH, GN, MA, MZ, SO, TD, TG, BT, KG, NP, VN, IM, AW, BB, CW, EE, LU, VA, IQ, QA, KI, PF, TK, AR, PE, AM, NI, KR, VI, UM, KM, MR, NA, NE, TN, TZ, KH, TJ, GG, LC, CY, FI, GR, HR, MD, JO, KW, OM, SY, YE, CC, FM, GT, MY, CD, CG, GA, ZA, ZM, ZW, MM, DM, GP, TT, VG, DK, HU, IE, LV, PT, SE, MC, ME, NO, IL, LB, GL, CK, GU, NR, PG, CL, GY, BL, BZ, DE, CN, BJ, CM, CV, GM, SH, UG, HK, UZ, GS, PN, SX, AT, AX, BG, MT, RO, BA, LI, MK, RU, PM, CX, PW, VU, CO, SV, UY, AU, BR, JP, BI, BW, CI, SL, BD, BN, ID, IN, LA, MO, TH, TM, MS, BS, CU, DO, MQ, TC, VC, PL, SM, UA, SA, TO, WF, HN, PY, NL, DJ, ET, GH, GW, LY, ML, MU, RW, ST, SZ, AZ, KZ, KY, MF, SK, JE, IR, MP, NC, NF, TV, WS, CR, EC, PA, VE, LK, AG, AI What's this
"There's a man waiting for you in the principal's office," Laurette Jones said as she came into Ava Monroe's classroom. "I'll take care of your class until you come back."
"Is everything okay with Theo?" Ava asked. Her son was enrolled in pre-kindergarten at the exclusive Florida boarding school where she taught second grade. It was rare for her to be called away from her class in the middle of the day. The relative quiet of the warm February afternoon suddenly seemed ominous.
"I don't know. Karin asked me to come and get you." Laurette worked for principal Karin Andrews in the administration offices.
"Thanks, Laurette," Ava said, hurrying down the hallway, fighting the urge to run. She knew she was borrowing trouble, but Theo had asthma and they'd yet to find any medicine to get it under control. Just the thought that he might be having a breathing episode made her palms sweat.
She stopped by the nurse's office on her way and learned that Theo wasn't there. Relief swamped her. She hoped that Theo hadn't gotten into trouble in class. He wasn't a hellion but he was lively, and his teacher was pretty understanding most days.
She rounded the corner leading to the administration offices and heard a deep voice speaking in a heavy accent. She froze in her tracks. She'd never forgotten that voice, because she still heard it in her dreams. Christos Theakis. Her heart beat faster as she tried to tell herself she was imagining things. But she knew she wasn't. She rapped on the frame of the open door that led to Karin Andrews's office.
"Come in, Ava, we've been waiting for you."
She stepped into the office. And there he was. Christos leaned against Karin's desk, but straightened to his full height when she entered. He was about six feet tall and dressed in that cool European style that was both casual and sophisticated.
She brushed her hands down the sides of her floral-print skirt and told herself she wasn't still the small-town girl he'd once seduced. But she felt as though she was.
"Hello, Christos. I am so sorry about your recent loss."
He nodded his head solemnly at her offer of condolences. She saw grief and sorrow in his eyes, but he quickly controlled the emotions.
She'd had Christos and the entire Theakis family on the brain since they'd been in the news over the past month. His older brother, Stavros, sister-in-law, Nikki, and two nieces had been killed when their private jet had crashed minutes after take-off from Athens, Greece.
Ava, who had once been nanny to the girls, had burst into tears when the reporter had revealed the names. Things hadn't ended well with her employment with the Theakis family, but she'd adored those children.
Her son had been confused about why she was crying and had consoled her as only a four-year-old could, with his favorite stuffed animal, Monkeyman, and lots of hugs.
But the sting of knowing that the little girls she'd played with and cared for were deceased was still with her.
"We need to talk."
Christos's terse words snapped her back to the present. Such arrogance. She used to find it attractive. Ah, who was she kidding, she still did. There was something appealing about a man who knew what he wanted and made no bones about it. So different from the wishy-washy men in her circle, who struggled even to decide where they should eat dinner on a Friday night.
"Yes, we do," she said, trying to project a little arrogance of her own.
Christos arched an eyebrow at her and turned away. "May we use your office, Ms. Andrews?"
Karin flushed under Christos's gaze, something Ava had rarely seen the ultraprofessional woman do. She gave Christos a warm smile as she stood and walked toward the door. "Of course. And please, call me Karin."
The walnut-paneled door closed behind the principal with a distinctive thud. Christos said nothing and the silence built around them. Ava tried to figure out what to say but all the words running around in her head sounded banal.
Finally she glanced up at him and found he hadn't moved from his position against the desk. "So…why are you here?"
"To claim the Theakis heir."
* * *
Ava was exactly as he remembered her. The strawberry-blond hair, the delicate features and those wide blue eyes that were more mysterious than the deepest fathoms of the ocean. She had been unique to him. An anomaly in a world filled with people who wanted to be near him because of his money, his connections or his pedigree, she'd wanted to be with him in spite of all that. Or so he'd thought. She'd seemed fresh and innocent, and he knew that was a large part of the reason he'd been so attracted to her.
He would have bet his vast fortune that Ava was incapable of lying. And he knew now that he would have lost. He let the silence grow between them, watching her, knowing it made her uncomfortable. He still wanted her. Damn her for that. Even knowing she'd given birth to his brother's child…
Ava deserved the discomfort, he thought. She'd slept with him and his brother, and now he needed the child. His brother's son. God, what a mess.
Christos was the playboy of the family, the jetsetter who, for the most part, had always been more interested in his own pleasures than anything else. But for a few brief months during that summer when Ava had been in Greece…forget it, he wasn't going to rehash that.
He'd cast her out of his life, but everything had changed with Stavros's death. God, he missed his older brother and his nieces. He didn't miss his sister-in-law as much, but then Nikki had never been the kind of woman who'd wanted to be friends with him. He'd always been the second son to her. Not the heir.
Copyright © 2008 by Katherine Garbera.