The Carides Pregnancy

The Carides Pregnancy

by Kim Lawrence

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Overview

The Carides Pregnancy by Kim Lawrence

Naive Becca Summer is seduced by Greek tycoon Christos Carides. Knowing of the hostility between their families, Christos deliberately conceals his true identity. Their lovemaking is passionate and Becca discovers she's expecting Christos's child!

Christos is furious that Becca has tried to keep her pregnancy from him, and he's determined to marry her. What sweeter way to get his revenge?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781552545904
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 09/01/2006
Series: Expecting! , #2565
Sold by: HARLEQUIN
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 143,728
File size: 155 KB

About the Author

Kim Lawrence was encouraged by her husband to write when the unsocial hours of nursing didn’t look attractive! He told her she could do anything she set her mind to, so Kim tried her hand at writing. Always a keen Mills & Boon reader, it seemed natural for her to write a romance novel – now she can’t imagine doing anything else. She is a keen gardener and cook and enjoys running on the beach with her Jack Russell. Kim lives in Wales.

Read an Excerpt

CARL STONE'S control over his financial empire was total, whereas the weather in the Home Counties, for the moment, remained outside his dominion.

It was the day of his only daughter's wedding, and the Met Office had predicted an early snowfall across the country. The ominous clouds overhead suggested that promise would almost definitely be fulfilled.

Sure enough, as a sprinkling of early guests began to arrive, making their way through the tight security cordon around the Cathedral, the first thick white flakes began to fall.

A few snowflakes, however, were not about to dampen the spirits of these guests. Most would have happily struggled through a total white-out, weighed down by their understated—in some cases overstated—elegance, their designer hats, fur coats, and jewels, to attend what was extravagantly being billed as the society wedding of the year!

Only one person appeared not to appreciate his good fortune at being there. The tall, lean figure stood a little apart, with one hand thrust negligently into his trouser pocket, his broad back set against the gnarled trunk of an ancient yew. He was apparently oblivious to the biting cold wind, and the snow that had begun to dust his dark hair and the shoulders of his well-cut morning suit.

If the expression on his dark, startlingly handsome face suggested anything it was intense boredom. This sombreness of expression was lightened occasionally when he responded in kind to a greeting from a friend or family member as they passed by.

One impressionable young lady, gasping as she witnessed such a moment, was heard to declare fervently that she would happily sell her soul to be on the receiving end of that smile. Her more literally-minded sister retorted bluntly that she would like to be on the receiving end of more than his smile!

"Jocasta... India... Behave, girls." Herding her sulky daughters ahead of her, their mother—a long way from indifferent herself to the attributes of the tall, enigmatic figure with the fallen angel features and the dangerous sexy aura—gave a slightly wistful glance in his direction before following her offspring inside the splendid Gothic edifice.

If others present had been unaware of his identity, his colouring would have immediately placed him on the groom's guest list. Typically Greek, they would have said, observing his jet-black hair, warm olive skin, and a profile that could have come straight from an ancient Greek statue. But those better acquainted could have told them that this man wasn't typically anything!

The question of identity didn't arise, however, because of course there was hardly a soul amongst the socially prominent guests who wasn't aware of his identity. Any number, if asked, could probably list his star sign, his shoe size, and hazard an educated guess at his bank balance.

Christos Carides, head of the Carides Empire, was actually as instantly recognisable to his fellow guests as was their host, and according to some sources he was even more disgustingly rich! And, it went without saying, much better looking.

Despite outward appearances Christos was feeling the cold, having spent the last month enjoying warm Australian sunshine, he was keenly aware of the chill in the air. A chill that was very nearly as bone-biting as the one between him and his cousin—the groom.

A spasm of contempt briefly distorted the perfect contours of his sensually moulded lips as his thoughts touched on the subject of his cousin Alex.

At that moment a shortish, cherubic-faced and fair-haired young man emerged from the side of the building. He gave a relieved sigh as he immediately spotted the person he was looking for. Breathless, his jacket flapping open to reveal a striped silk waistcoat, the harassed best man belted along the path, narrowly avoiding several collisions with startled-looking guests.

"I'm Peter," he blurted out as he skidded to halt in front of the tall, commanding figure of the Greek financier.

"Yes, I remember. You're Carl's godson, aren't you...?" Peter nodded. "I'm the best man after..." He stopped, looking uncomfortable.

Christos helped him out. "After I refused." 'Yeah, well, you don't know how glad I am to see you." 'Always glad to make someone happy," Christos observed drily. "Can I help you?" he prompted, when the younger man didn't respond.

"You've got to come with me!" In response to this dramatic statement Christos flexed his shoulders and levered himself with effortless elegance from the tree trunk. "I have...?" he murmured politely.

The sardonic inflection and the cold light in the dark, deepset eyes that rested on his face caused the breathless younger man's hopeful smile to gutter and fade. This was not a promising start.

"He's asking for you. Please...Mr C-Carides," he stuttered. "I don't know what to do. He's a total mess, and if Uncle Carl sees him like this there'll be hell to pay," he predicted gloomily. "He drank enough to sink a battleship last night. He really isn't himself."

Christos did not display surprise—because he wasn't surprised. He would have been more surprised if his cousin hadn't fallen off the wagon. At times of stress—and presumably marrying the heiress of one of the richest men in Britain came under that title—his cousin always reached for a crutch.

"I think you'll find, Peter, when you have known Alex a little longer, that he is being himself."

He would learn, as people generally did, that underneath the charm Alex possessed in abundance his cousin was essentially weak and, like many insecure men, inclined to be spiteful and manipulative when thwarted.

The younger man looked a little nonplussed by the languid response. "I don't think you understand. He can hardly stand up and he keeps..." He paused and glanced over his shoulder. 'Crying..."

It was clear to Christos that in the young Englishman's eyes these masculine tears were the most embarrassing feature of this situation. "And this should concern me because...?" he enquired, in his deep, accented drawl.

The younger man's expression betrayed his shock and revulsion at this casual response. "You're not going to help?"

The reply, when it came, was unambiguous. "No." Under normal circumstances the younger man would not have dared speak his mind to the likes of Christos Carides, but the realisation that he was going to have to sort out the mess himself made him recklessly outspoken.

"When Alex said you were a cold, callous bastard I gave you the benefit of the doubt!"

Christos smiled, revealing even white teeth and zero warmth. "Your mistake, I think," he observed mildly. "If you want my advice, for what it's worth, I'd shove his head in a bucket of ice water, fill another with black coffee and force-feed it to him. "Don't worry too much," he added. "He has the constitution of a hospital superbug. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm waiting for someone." With a slight inclination of his dark head he dismissed the younger man.

The stressed best man retreated a few feet, then turned back, his resentment roughening his young voice as he yelled back, "Uncle Carl is right. You and the rest of Carides family may think you're a cut above everyone else, but when it comes down to it you're no better than a damned pirate. No morals, no scruples and no manners."

Peter saw that, rather than being offended by the insulting tirade, Christos was grinning, in that instant looking every inch a swashbuckling buccaneer—one, furthermore, likely to cut his throat on a whim!

"Is that a direct quote?"

Peter was not a physical young man, but the mockery gleaming in the Greek's dark eyes filled with him with an uncharacteristic desire to resort to physical violence. Not that he did, of course. He was angry, not insane! This was no sedentary businessman he was talking to. Christos Carides was only in his early thirties, and besides, he had to be six five if he was an inch—and he definitely worked out!

Cooling down slightly, Peter became belatedly aware that people were staring. And, being much less comfortable with this attention than his adversary, the young man gritted his teeth and stalked off with as much dignity as he could muster.

He would have been comforted to know that there was someone close by who would have applauded his reading of the Carides character—and added a few choice observations of her own!

Becca Summer, mingling with guests, was approaching the security cordon. At that moment her throat was so dry with nerves she probably couldn't have strung two words together, and if she had she wouldn't have been able to hear what she said above the heavy thud of her pounding heart. Six weeks earlier she hadn't been similarly hindered.

Six weeks earlier she had been uncharacteristically vocal!

"People like these Carides," she had declared, snarling the name contemptuously. "They make me sick! They think that just because they have money and power they can do anything they want." She'd looked at her sister, Erica, and swallowed past the emotional lump in her throat. "Regardless of who they hurt."

"You know, Becca, there's not much point being mad," Erica had pointed out defeatedly.

"You mean don't get mad, get even?" The old cliché had never made more sense to her than it had at that moment.

"Get even?" Erica had exclaimed with a laugh. "Are you serious? We're talking about the Carides."

"So you think that people like the Carides imagine they can do anything they want?" Becca had retorted.

"I know they can, Becca." The bleak retort had made Becca's eyes fill. She'd struggled to hold back the tears and declared fiercely, "One day I'll teach them that they can't walk all over people and get away with it! You see if I don't."

It had been said in the heat of the moment, and deep down she probably hadn't really believed that such an opportunity would arise—but here she was, about to do her small part in balancing the scales of justice.

And she was already regretting it big-time! Becca caught a passer-by staring at her head and quickly pulled off the knitted cloche—not the sort of head gear that people wore to posh weddings—crammed over her tangled titian hair. Pulling a not quite steady hand through her PreRaphaelite curls, she shook her hair back, letting it fan over the dark material of her coat.

Don't give up the day job, Becca. Undercover work is definitely not for you, she told herself, repressing a worried grin.

Part of the problem was that she was not just scared out of her mind, she was exhausted. Hardly surprising, considering that the previous evening she had jumped in her ancient Beetle and driven through the night, halfway across the country, to get here.

Adrenaline and outrage—and seeing the newspaper article concerning the 'society wedding of the year' had given her a double dose of both—could, she discovered, take a protective big sister a long way.

Cars, on the other hand, needed petrol—which was why she had had to walk five miles along a lonely road to the nearest service station at three in the morning. A terrifying experience. And then, just to add to her misery, it had started to snow.

Snow in early November—how unlucky was that? She had a blister on her right heel to bear witness to her trek, and a suspicion that spontaneity wasn't all it was cracked up to be. After this was over it would be a relief to go back to her normal sensible, cautious, consequence-considering self!

Reckless just wasn't her. It wasn't in her nature to throw caution to the wind. In fact, her inability to be spontaneous had been one of the reasons Roger had cited for the failure of their relationship.

Her family and friends had been suitably supportive when the announcement—the very week following their break-up—of Roger's engagement to a bubbly blonde had appeared in the local paper. Becca, uneasily aware that as the dumped fiancée she ought to be feeling more trauma-tised, had received their sympathy with a degree of guilt.

After a few weeks the role of pathetic victim had begun to get wearing.

When she had said as much to her sister, Erica had said, "Don't worry—in a few weeks' time they will have a new juicy scandal to talk about."

Neither of them had suspected at the time that it would be Erica who supplied the scandal!

Erica had told her family about her unplanned pregnancy the same day the ambulance had been called, its sirens ringing, to the neat Edwardian semi where Becca and Erica had grown up

But it had been too late to save the baby.

Later, back home, with the promise that—all being well—their youngest daughter could be discharged the next day, the Summers family had sat down in the sitting room, staring mutely at one another.

Recognising her elderly parents were still in shock—her father was ten years older than her mother, and Elspeth Summer had been forty-five when her younger daughter had been born—Becca had done the only thing she'd been able to think of: she'd made tea.

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Carides Pregnancy 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really don't care for books where the couple nit picks throughout the book. Also, I was highly confused at times.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hard to read when he is so enchanting and she is a moaning, mannerlesss lightweight.
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