Reluctant Mistress, Blackmailed Wife

Reluctant Mistress, Blackmailed Wife

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by Lynne Graham
     
 

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Single mother of twin boys, Katie didn't want their father, Greek billionaire Alexandros Christakis, back in her life. But poverty pushed her to ask for his help.

Alexandros demanded that Katie marry him. They had nothing in common—except their mutual burning sexual attraction, but resistance was futile: both the twins and Katie needed Alexandros. She

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Overview

Single mother of twin boys, Katie didn't want their father, Greek billionaire Alexandros Christakis, back in her life. But poverty pushed her to ask for his help.

Alexandros demanded that Katie marry him. They had nothing in common—except their mutual burning sexual attraction, but resistance was futile: both the twins and Katie needed Alexandros. She would submit to becoming his mistress…

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781552546888
Publisher:
Harlequin
Publication date:
11/01/2006
Series:
Greek Tycoons , #2580
Sold by:
HARLEQUIN
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
102,172
File size:
0 MB

Meet the Author

Lynne Graham lives in Northern Ireland and has been a keen romance reader since her teens. Happily married, Lynne has five children. Her eldest is her only natural child. Her other children, who are every bit as dear to her heart, are adopted. The family has a variety of pets, and Lynne loves gardening, cooking, collecting allsorts and is crazy about every aspect of Christmas.

Read an Excerpt

AS WRY amusement lit his eyes, which could be as dark and deep as an underground river, Alex-andros Christakis watched his grandfather walk round the sleek silver Ascari KZ1 he had just had delivered. A supercar, it was the ultimate boy-toy, for only fifty would ever be built. The older man's excitement at being that close to such a rare and powerful vehicle was palpable.
"A car that costs almost a quarter of a million." Pelias, tall and straight in spite of his seventy-five years, shook his grizzled head and smiled with almost boyish approval. "It is sheer madness, but it does my heart good to see you taking an interest in such things again!"
Alexandros said nothing in response to that leading comment, his expression unrevealing, his legendary reserve impenetrable. Gossip columnists regularly referred to the billionaire head of the CTK Bank as beautiful. Alexandros loathed the press, and had little time for such frivolity. His lean, bronzed features might have a breathtaking symmetry that turned female heads wherever he went, but the forceful angle of his jawline, the tough slant of his cheekbones and the obdurate set of his wide, sensual mouth suggested a fierce strength of character that was more of a warning to the unwary.
"You're still a young man--only thirty-one years old." Pelias Christakis spoke with caution, for he had long been in awe of his brilliant grandson and rarely dared breach his reticence. "Naturally I understand that you will never forget your grief, but it is time for you to take up your life once more."
Marvelling at the old man's essential innocence, Alexandros murmured flatly, "I took my life back a long time ago."
"But all you have donesince Ianthe passed away is work, and make more and more money from bigger and bigger deals! How much money can one man need in a lifetime? How many homes can one man use?" Pelias Christakis flung up his hands in an extrovert gesture that encompassed the superb Regency country house in front of him. And Dove Hall was only one item in his grand-son's vast property portfolio. "You are already rich beyond most men's dreams." 'I thought onwards and upwards was the Chris-takis motto." Alexandros brooded on the unhappy truth that people were never satisfied. He had been raised to be an Alpha-male high-achiever, with the merciless killer instincts of a shark. He was competitive, ambitious, and aggressive when challenged. Every aspect of his upbringing had been carefully tailored to ensure that he grew up as the exact opposite of his late father, who had been a lifelong layabout and an embarrassment to his family.
"I'm proud of you--immensely proud," his grandfather hastened to assert in an apologetic undertone. "But the world can offer you so much more than the next takeover or merger. Companionship may seem an old-fashioned concept--"
"Of course there have been women.'Alexandros compressed his handsome mouth, only his respect for the older man's good intentions restraining him from the delivery of a more caustic response. "Is that what you want to hear?"
Pelias raised a beetling brow in rueful emphasis. "I'll be more interested to hear that you've been with the same woman for longer than a week!"
Exasperated by that censorious response,Alexandros immediately grasped what his grandfather was driving at, and cold annoyance overpowered tolerance. "But I'm not in the market for anything serious. I have no intention of getting married again."
His companion treated him to a look of surprise. "Did I mention marriage?"
Unimpressed by that air of virtuous naivety--for Pelias was not a good dissembler--Alexandros said nothing. He was grimly aware that the very fact that he was an only child put an extra weight of expectation and responsibility on him. Traditional Greek culture set great store on the carrying on of the family name. Understandably, his grandparents held the convictions of their age group. But Alexandros felt equally entitled to his own views, and believed that only honesty would suffice. As he had not the slightest desire to be a father, he had no plans to remarry. Becoming a parent had been his late wife's dream, if not her obsession. Now that Ianthe was gone, he saw no reason to pretend otherwise.
"I don't want another wife...or children, for that matter,'Alexandros admitted in a flat, unapologetic undertone, his lean dark face aloof. "I appreciate that this must disappoint you, but that's how it is and I'm not going to change."
Pelias Christakis had lost colour. Stripped of all the natural exuberance of his warm, engaging personality, he suddenly looked old, troubled, and very much at a loss. Feeling like the guy who had not only killed but also tortured Santa Claus, Alexandros suppressed any urge to soften the blow and raise false hopes. It had had to be said.
* * * Now a veteran at jumble sales, Katie leapt straight into the competitive fray, rummaging through the pile of baby clothes. Emerging victorious with an incredibly smart little jacket and trouser set, she asked the lady on the stall, "How much for this?"
It was more than she could afford, and she put it back with a regret that was only fleeting--because she had long since learned that her real priorities were shelter, food and warmth. Clothes came fourth on her survival list of necessities, so newness and smartness were almost always out of reach. She found a sweater and a pair of jeans at a price within her means. Though both garments were shabby they had plenty of life left in them. The twins were growing so fast that keeping them clothed was a constant challenge. As she paid, the lady offered to reduce the price on the trouser set, but Katie flushed and said no thanks, for she had now spent what she had to spare. The pity she saw in the woman's eyes embarrassed her.
"They're lovely boys,'the stallholder said reluctantly. She had noticed that Katie's hands were bare of rings, and although she hoped she was a charitable woman she very much disapproved of young unwed mothers.
Katie glanced at her sons, seated side by side in the worn twin buggy, and a rueful smile of maternal pride crept across the weary line of her mouth. Toby and Connor were gorgeous babies, and very well advanced for their age of nine months. The combination of black curly hair, pale golden skin and big brown eyes gave them an angelic air that was rather deceptive. The twins thrived on attention and activity, screeched the place down when disappointed, whinged at length when bored, and required very little sleep. But Katie absolutely adored them, and often studied them with the dazed feeling that she could not possibly have given birth to two such clever and beautiful children. Not only did they not look like her, they did not act like her either. Only in low moments, when she was fighting total exhaustion, was she willing to admit that she was finding it a real struggle to cope with their constant demands.
On the walk home, she found herself looking at other young women. It bothered her when she caught herself thinking that the ones without kids seemed more youthful, light-hearted and attractive. She saw her reflection in a shop window and stared, her heart sinking. Suddenly she wanted to cry. There had been a time when, had she made the required effort, she would have been called pretty. Now that was just a memory, and she was a small thin girl with a pinched face and red hair caught back in a ponytail. She looked nondescript and plain. She swallowed hard, knowing that Toby and Connor's father would never look at her now.
Once she had marvelled that he had ever deigned to notice her. She had thought it was so romantic that a dazzlingly attractive male who could have had literally any woman should instead have chosen her. But the passage of time and cruel experience had destroyed her fanciful illusions one by one and forced her to face less palatable truths. Now Katie accepted that he had only noticed her because she had been the sole female in his vicinity when he'd felt like sex. She had given him what he wanted without making a single demand. He had never at any stage regarded her as anything other than a social inferior--for he had never even taken her out on a date. When her breathless adoration had palled, he had dumped her so hard and fast she still shivered thinking about it. Nothing had ever hurt her as much as that cold, harsh descent from fantasy to reality.
Only a few minutes after she'd got back to her bedsit, her landlord appeared at her door. "You'll have to go," he told her bluntly. "I've had another complaint about the noise your kids make at night."
Katie stared at him in horror. "But all babies cry--"
"And two babies make twice as much of a din." 'I swear I'll try to keep them quieter--" 'You said that the last time I spoke to you, and nothing's changed," the older man cut in, unim-pressed. "You've had your warning and I'm giving you two weeks' notice. If you don't move out willingly, I'll have you evicted. So let's keep it simple. Get yourself down to Social Services and they'll soon sort you out with another place!"
Appalled at his belligerent attitude, Katie tried in vain to reason with him. Long after he had gone, she sat with her arms wrapped round herself while she fought the awful feeling of despair stealing over her. She was painfully aware that she had virtually no hope of fighting such a decree when complaints had been lodged against her. Her tenancy was only of the unassured variety, and she did not even feel she could blame the other tenants for kicking up a fuss. The walls were paper-thin and the twins did regularly cry at night.
The bedsit needed decorating, the furniture was battered and the shared facilities were dismal. But the room had still come to feel like home to Katie. Furthermore, the building was in good repair and the area was reasonably respectable and safe. She was not afraid to walk down the street. Unlike during her pregnancy, when she had spent a couple of months in a flat on an inner city estate. Drug dealing and gang warfare had been a way of life there, and she had been terrified every time she'd had to go out.

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