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The Ruthless Greek's Virgin Princess [NOOK Book]

Overview


Thirteen years ago Yannis Markides threw a young princess out of his bed. Even now Marietta's cheeks burn in shame as she remembers her youthful attempt at seduction.

Evicting the scantily clad Marietta was the brooding Greek's last act...

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The Ruthless Greek's Virgin Princess

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Overview


Thirteen years ago Yannis Markides threw a young princess out of his bed. Even now Marietta's cheeks burn in shame as she remembers her youthful attempt at seduction.

Evicting the scantily clad Marietta was the brooding Greek's last act of chivalry. The ensuing scandal destroyed his life and broke his family. Now he's rebuilt his empire, recovered the Markides name...and he's ready to make the princess pay!

Marietta owes him a debt. Her virginity is her price...


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426837845
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 8/1/2009
  • Series: Royal and Ruthless , #66
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 184,257
  • File size: 132 KB

Meet the Author




Trish Morey wrote her first book at age 11 for a children's book-week competition. Entitled Island Dreamer, it tells the story of an orphaned girl and her life on Hindmarsh Island--a small island at the mouth of the Murray River--and was totally self-published. She wrote, illustrated and stitched the pages together herself. Island Dreamer was also to be her first rejection--her entry was disqualified unread because she'd transposed the copyright and title pages. This rejection had a devastating effect on the young writer's psyche. Shattered and broken, she turned to a life where she could combine her love of fiction with her need for creativity. You guessed it--Trish became a chartered accountant.

Life wasn't all dull, though, as she embarked on a skydiving course, completing three jumps before deciding that she'd given her fear of heights a run for its money and it was time to retire her parachute and hang around on terra firma for a while.

Prepared to set the financial world alight, Trish moved from her native Adelaide to Canberra, where she promptly fell in love with a handsome guy who cut computer code. Marriage followed a few years later, along with a stint in Wellington, New Zealand, where Trish worked for the NZ Treasury. There she penned her second book--A Guide to Departmental Budgeting. It didn't have a huge print run and the royalties were nonexistent, but she'd learned something--the pages were at least stapled. Unfortunately, she never got to complete the surefire sequel and New York Times bestseller, Asset Management, as her hormones intervened with a healthy dose of motherhood.

Two years later and back home in Canberra after the birth of their second daughter, Trish spied an article announcing that Mills & Boon was actively seeking new authors. It was one of those "Eureka!" moments. Her whole life clicked into place and immediately she embarked on a professional writing course. She sent off a couple of partials, earned a couple of rejections, had a couple more daughters and even had a couple of feature articles published in the newspapers. Just so she wouldn't get bored, the family moved countries a couple more times. Living in the UK offered more than just the chance to check out the NHS system, though, and the young family took the opportunity to explore farther afield, visiting France, Italy and even Crete, as well as many magical sites in the UK. Tintagel in Cornwall and Hadrian's Wall stand out as two of the highlights.

Back in Australia and now with four daughters, Trish knew it was time to get serious with her writing. She started entering the contests offered by Romance Writers of Australia, achieving third place in her first competition. More successes followed, along with closer involvement in RWA Australia. Trish managed three contests for RWA before serving on the RWA Executive in 2002-3 as conference coordinator, organizing the 2003 Gold Coast "Passion in Paradise" conference. Trish is currently vice president of RWA Australia.

In 2002 Trish entered the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart contest for the first time and was amazed and delighted to final in the short contemporary section. The same manuscript was already under consideration in London, and in June 2003 (actually June 18th at 6:32 p.m.) the magical phone call came. Mills & Boon wanted to buy her book!

According to Trish, selling a book is a major life achievement that ranks up there with jumping out of an airplane and motherhood. All three take commitment, determination and sheer guts, but the effort is so very, very worthwhile.


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Read an Excerpt

He was close, she could feel it.

It wasn't just the prickle at the base of her neck and the catch in her throat that had Marietta Lombardi on full alert. It was the way the air seemed suddenly thinner, tighter, as if the myriad candles in the Castello's enormous dining room had consumed every last drop of oxygen from the atmosphere, leaving a vacuum that ached to be filled.

And then across the room the ancient timber doors swung open, and even the air in her lungs was sucked out.

Yannis Markides, the man she'd vowed never to see again, was finally here in Montvelatte. Dressed entirely in black, he filled the wide entrance like a dark cloud, his eyes purposefully scanning the throng assembled for the wedding rehearsal dinner while an adrenaline-fuelled wave crashed over her, pinning her to the chair and threatening to free thirteen-year-old memories that had been buried in the deepest recesses of her mind.

Apparently not deeply enough.

Yet even a flood of unwanted memories was no match for seeing him in person. The Yannis of her unbidden and unwanted dreams couldn't hold a candle to this man, who looked more like a warrior about to go into battle than an old family friend. Had he always been so tall? Had he always been able to fill a space with his mere presence? And, in spite of the war-like stance, had he always looked so damned good?

She swallowed down on a sudden lump in her throat. She didn't need him to look good. Didn't want him to. She should go now. Slip out in the confusion of waiters serving a multitude of meals before he saw her, before she had to face him again and relive the humiliation of their last encounter.

And then her brother jumped tohis feet beside her, calling across the room, and Marietta knew she'd left it too late. The obsidian eyes she'd been hoping to avoid found their mark as they zeroed in on Rafe, his mouth turning into a smile until those same eyes fell on her, lingering so coldly that she shivered, any semblance of a smile frozen clear away, before they snapped back to Rafe so cleanly and decisively as if even looking at her had been a mistake.

Released from his cold-as-a-grave gaze, Marietta felt as if she'd taken a blow to the gut. She'd known Yannis Markides was not the type of man who would forgive and forget, but it was clear he also had no problems holding a grudge. And from the expression on his face as he'd practically seared her with his gaze, he was as unenthusiastic about seeing her as she was about seeing him.

Fine. The sooner this wedding was over, the sooner they could both go back to never seeing each other again, and the happier they'd both be.

So she was here, just as he'd been warned. His fists clenched and unclenched at his sides in time with the thump of his heart, a deep-seated anger turning his vision to red. He'd always believed in the principle that to be forewarned was to be forearmed. The adage had stood him in good stead over the years in both his professional and his private life, and yet now, coming face to face with the woman who'd done more to destroy his family's financial security than any number of corporate sharks he'd had to deal with in his time, the old adage wasn't holding up to scrutiny. Because it wasn't until now that realised the depths of his resentment. It was as if seeing her had rekindled every last spark of anger and bitterness, reigniting old wounds and sending the flames high.

He didn't want to be here, even if it was his best friend's wedding—not if it meant seeing her again, and certainly not if it meant being thrust back into those dark days.

He dragged in a lungful of air heavy with the combined scents of garlic, rosemary and spit-roasted game and sensed something else in the mix—duty. For he had no choice but to be here. One thing he'd learned over the years was that life didn't necessarily serve up what you wanted. He was here, and somehow he was expected to be her opposite number on the bridal party, to be her partner throughout the festivities, even to take her in his arms and dance with her. No amount of forewarning was going to prepare him for that.

He should have brought a woman. He could have had his pick of any number, even after terminating his brief liaison with Susannah, and he cursed the decision that had seen him arrive alone—although he was still sympathetic with the logic of it. Taking a woman to a wedding was fraught with danger. It put ideas in women's heads, ideas that had no place in his relationships.

'Yannis!' She heard her brother's greeting over the chamber music and hubbub of conversation from the assembled guests as the pair met, shaking hands and pulling each other into a man hug before slapping each other on the back. She watched, unable to move, compelled to watch, waiting for the inevitable moment when Rafe would pull Yannis over to introduce him to his bride-to-be, and for the moment when she would have to look him in the eye and greet him and pretend that what had happened thirteen years ago had never taken place.

'So that's Yannis Markides,' Sienna said, leaning across Rafe's empty chair between them, her head still angled towards the reunion between the two men. 'He's very good-looking, isn't he? Almost as good-looking as Rafe.'

Better.

The rogue thought came unbidden and unwelcome, but as much as she tried to clamp down on it, the truth would not be denied. Having inherited the best of their father's genes, her brother was beyond handsome, and in his dress uniform of maroon jacket and ceremonial sash, even more so. But Yannis, with his unique mix of his Montvelattian mother and Greek-Cypriot father, was something else again. It was as if he'd been blessed with the best genes the Mediterranean had to offer, a combination of dark hair, bottomless eyes and chiselled features. As a twenty-one-year-old, he'd been the best-looking man she'd ever seen. Thirteen years on, as a man in his prime, he was utterly arresting.

'I guess so,' she replied at last as she reached for her glass, looking for something tactile and solid and real to cling onto, telling herself he was only a man, a mere mortal like everyone else.

And then she looked up again.

Under the ballroom lighting, his black hair gleamed thick and healthy, his strong features complemented by the play of light and shadow as he moved, with even the angles and planes of his face speaking of nobility.

Mortal? Then why did he have to look so much like a god? Was it any wonder she'd once imagined herself in love with him? What girl wouldn't be naïve enough to let herself imagine, to think that maybe there was something more to it when this man was your brother's best friend and you saw him practically every day of your life, and when he treated you as if you were something special, the way he always had…

What girl wouldn't have made the same mistake she had? She took a deep breath, her fingers locked tight around the stem of her wine glass. Back then she'd been just a teenager, and clearly impressionable at that. Thank God she wasn't so naïve, so easily driven by her hormones any more. And thank God this ordeal would soon be over. A day, maybe two, and the wedding and the associated formalities would be done with, and they would both be gone from the island.

She could hardly wait.

'I can see why he's so popular with the women,' Sienna continued, 'although I can't believe he's alone now. I expected he'd bring a partner.'

Marietta didn't care. Yannis had a reputation as a playboy, the same label her brother had boasted until his world had connected with Sienna's. If Yannis was by himself, she had no doubt it would only be a temporary situation. 'Maybe she saw sense,' she muttered, not quietly enough.

The other woman's head swung around, 'You don't like him? I thought you guys grew up together, one big happy family. At least, that's how Rafe makes it sound.'

Marietta shrugged and forced a smile to her face. 'You know how it is, two's company, three's a crowd. They've always been best friends and I've always been Rafe's little sister.'

Whether she'd placed too much emphasis on the last two words, or whether they'd contained a hint of bitterness that she'd never quite dispelled, Sienna studied her for a second, as if weighing up her answer. Then she nodded and reached over to squeeze her free hand. 'I think I understand.' And Marietta felt a surge of affection for the Australian woman who would soon be her sister-in-law.

The two men turned then, Rafe gesturing towards the women, and something twisted in her gut, pulling her lower into the chair. She let go the glass she was still holding in a rush, lest she tip it over and spill its contents, and battled to dredge up a plastic smile to affix to her face as they came closer.

'You remember Marietta, of course,' her brother said as he led the way, and the dark cloud hovered before her, brooding dangerously over her before she'd had a chance to find her feet, even if she'd been able to remember how to do so, standing so close to her that she dared not attempt the feat now. Not when the look in his eyes damned her to the core, without the merest shred of warmth at meeting her again.

She'd done that, she realised in a rush. She'd banished every good memory he might have of their years together with one foolish and reckless act. And now, just as he had done thirteen years ago, he was still making her pay the price.

So many years later. She'd been a teenager back then. Made just one foolish mistake. Had what she'd done been so unforgivable?

'Yannis,' she said, needing to do something to break the silence that stretched taut like piano wire between them, 'it's been a long time.'

The searing look he sent her in reply told her he thought it nowhere near long enough, before he dipped his head in the barest nod. 'Princess,' he said, and Marietta swallowed. The way he said it made it sound like an insult, but before she could force her tight vocal cords to relax enough to tell him that he could call her Marietta, as he had always done, Rafe had already turned away to introduce his fiancée, and Yannis had severed contact.

Sienna clearly had more presence of mind than Marietta or maybe it was just that the other woman's knees were still working, as she rose from her chair to greet Rafe's lifelong friend, her smile broad and welcoming as he lifted her hand and pressed his lips to the back of it.

'Raphael always insisted he would beat me at everything. At finding the perfect wife, I'm afraid I must concede this contest.'

Sienna laughed a little, her smile widening. 'Rafe told me you were a charmer. I'm surprised you haven't found the woman of your dreams by now.'

Marietta stiffened in her chair as she awaited Yannis's response, although she wasn't entirely sure why. She'd long ago given up the notion that she was the woman of his dreams. Long ago given up caring who he was with. So she topped up her glass of mineral water, needing the distraction and waving away the waiter who had descended upon her ready to do the task himself.

'Yannis will never marry now, I am convinced of that,' Rafe answered for his friend. 'No woman is good enough for him.'

Especially not Marietta. She hadn't even been good enough to sleep with.

Beyond her, Sienna shook her head at her husband-to-be and smiled softly. 'Tell me, Yannis, how is your father now? Rafe said he's been very ill.'

'He has been, although he's thankfully off the critical list. He suffered another stroke a month ago. My mother apologises for not coming to the wedding, but she cannot leave him now.'

'I'm sorry that they can't both be here, but it is so good to meet you at last,' she said. 'Rafe's told me so much about you.'

'None of it good,' Rafe added, urging them all to sit as waiters appeared from nowhere to bring another meal and fill wine and water glasses. Yannis took his place alongside Sienna, and with a sigh of relief Marietta settled in her brother's shadow, happy for the barrier of the grateful couple separating her from their new arrival.

'Although now,' Rafe continued, 'I'll have to take back the bit about not making it to our wedding. You've missed the rehearsal, though. What kept you? You were supposed to be here days ago.'

Yannis shrugged and picked up the large wine glass, swirling the contents and lifting it casually to his nose, and Marietta thought he would never answer, until finally he spoke. 'The US market has been jittery, and with it some of our clients. It seemed unwise to leave too early. As it is, I'll have to head back straight after the wedding.'

Rafe's face darkened, his brow creased. 'You never mentioned jittery clients in your emails.'

'You're getting married,'Yannis countered, 'there are some things you don't need to know. Besides, you have enough on your plate sorting out Montvelatte's finances.'

'Then why not let Kernahan handle it? After all, you hand-picked the new manager yourself. Why couldn't you have left it to him?'

The other man's eyes glowed unnaturally bright as he stared silently out over the crowd, his jawline tight and rigid.

Marietta chose that moment to reach forward for her water, needing to feel something cool in a throat that felt too tight, too dry. In itself it wasn't a foolhardy action. The mistake she made was in turning her head, only to have her eyes connect once again with the man three seats down, who was staring right at her. Sensation sizzled down her spine as the connection was made—and held.

'Oh, I had my reasons,' he muttered, his voice low, his lips tightly drawn, and his eyes still locked on hers so that she was in no doubt that he had waited until the last moment to attend his best friend's wedding so as to avoid her.

Beside her, Rafe made a move to remonstrate, but his fiancée stopped him with one hand on his wrist. 'Rafe, Yannis is here now, in plenty of time for the wedding. That's all that matters.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2014

    Very good read

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    Posted November 17, 2012

    Great story

    Enjoy this easy read. Very nice story.

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