Sebasten Contaxis: a gorgeous Greek billionaire. Reputedly, to him women are just for decoration.
Lizzie Denton: misunderstood and miserable. She’s been wrongly labeled as a heartbreaker. Sebasten decides he’ll get his own unique brand of revenge – and takes Lizzie’s virginity. So now it’s Lizzie Denton, misunderstood and pregnant. And Sebasten Contaxis, gorgeous Greek billionaire…and father-to-be!
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WHEN Sebasten Contaxis strode to Ingrid Morgan’s side to offer his condolences on the death of her only son, she fell on his chest and just sobbed as though her heart had broken right through.
A ripple of curiosity ran through the remaining guests in the drawing room of the Brighton town house. The tall, powerfully built male, every angle of his bronzed features stamped with strength and authority, looked remarkably like…but surely not? After all, what could be the connection? Why would the Greek electronics tycoon come to pay his respects after Connor’s funeral? But keen eyes picked out the long, opulent limousine double-parked across the street and then judged the two large men waiting on the pavement as the bodyguards that they were. Heads turned, moved closer together and the whispers started.
Stunning dark eyes veiled, Sebasten waited until Ingrid had got a grip on that first outburst of grief before murmuring, ‘Is there anywhere that we can talk?’
‘Still looking after my good name?’ Ingrid lifted her blonde head and he tensed at the sight of the raw suffering etched in her once beautiful features. Then he knew that even her love for his late father had in the end been surpassed by her devotion to her son. ‘It doesn’t really matter now, does it? Connor’s gone where he can never be embarrassed by my past…’
She took him into an elegant little study and poured drinks for them both. Always slim, right now she looked emaciated and every day of her fifty-odd years. She had been his father’s mistress for a long time and some of the few happy childhood memories Sebasten had related to her and Connor, who had been five years his junior. For all too short a spell, Connor had been the kid brother he had never had, tagging after Sebasten on the beach, a little blond boy, cheerfully and totally fearless. As an adult, he had become a brilliant polo player, adored by women, in fact very popular with both sexes. Not the brightest spark on the block but a very likeable guy. Yet it had been well over a year since Sebasten had last seen the younger man.
‘It was murder, you know…’ Ingrid condemned half under her breath.
Sebasten’s winged dark brows drew together but he remained silent, for he had heard the rumour that Connor’s car crash had been no accident, indeed, a deliberate act of self-destruction, and he knew that there was no more painful way to lose a loved one. She needed to talk and he knew that listening was the kindest thing he could do for her.
‘I liked Lisa Denton…when I met that evil little shrew, I actually liked her!’ Ingrid proclaimed with bone-deep bitterness.
The silence lay before Ingrid continued in a tremulous tone. ‘I knew Connor was in love when he stopped confiding in me. That hurt but he was twenty-four…that’s why I didn’t pry.’
‘Lisa Denton?’ Sebasten was keen to deflect her from that unfortunate angle.
Her stricken blue eyes hardened. ‘A spoilt little rich brat. Gets her kicks out of encouraging men to make an ass of themselves over her! It’s only three months since Connor met her but I could tell he’d fallen like a ton of bricks.’ The older woman swallowed with visible difficulty. ‘Then without any warning, she got bored. She cut him dead at a party two weeks ago…made an exhibition of herself with another man, laughed in his face…his friends told me everything!’
Sebasten waited while Ingrid gathered her shredded composure back together again.
‘He begged but she wouldn’t even take a phone call from him. He’d done nothing. He couldn’t handle it,’ Ingrid sobbed brokenly. ‘He wasn’t sleeping, so he went for a drive in his car in the middle of the night and drove it into a wall!’
Sebasten curved an arm round her in a consoling embrace and seethed with angry distaste at the ugly picture she had drawn up. Connor would have been soft as butter in the hands of a manipulative little bitch like that.
‘You’re going to hate me for what I t-tell you now…’ Ingrid whispered shakily.
‘Nonsense,’ Sebasten soothed.
‘Connor was your half-brother…’
Sebasten released his breath in a sudden startled hiss and collided with Ingrid’s both defiant and guilty gaze.
‘No…that’s not possible,’ he breathed in total shock, not wanting it to be true when it was too late for him to do anything about it.
Ingrid sank down in a distraught heap and sobbed out a storm of self-justification while Sebasten stared at her as though he had never seen her before. She had never told his father, Andros, because she had known how ruthless Andros would be at protecting the good name of the Contaxis family from scandal.
‘If Andros had known, he would’ve bullied me into having a termination. So I left him, came back eighteen months later, confessed to a rebound relationship, grovelled…eventually he took me back!’ For a frozen instant in time, Ingrid’s face shone with the remembered triumph of having fooled her powerful lover and then her eyes, fell, the flash of energy draining away again.
‘How could you not tell me before this?’ Sebasten bit out in an electrifying undertone, lean, strong face rigid with the force of his appalled incredulity. In the space of seconds, Connor’s death had gone from a matter of sincere and sad regret to a tragedy which gutted Sebasten. But he knew why, knew all too well why she had kept quiet. Fear of the consequences would have kept her quiet throughout all the years she had loved his father without adequate return.