The billionaire’s discovered her secret…
She’s had his son! Learning of tycoon Eros Nevrakis’s betrayal, personal chef Winnie Mardas walks out of his life, determined never to look back-or reveal the child she’s carrying… A year later she’s shocked when Eros arrives to legitimise his heir! Swept away to his lavish Mediterranean villa, Winnie is overwhelmed by the fire still burning between them. But can she accept her new role as his convenient wife…?
UPDATE: Winnie and Eros’s book was originally titled The Greek Claims His Son. This has now been changed to The Greek Claims His Shock Heir.
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‘MR FOTAKIS WILL be free in just a few minutes,’ the PA informed Eros Nevrakis as he stood at the window overlooking the bay while she regarded him with far more appreciation than the magnificent view could ever have roused in her. He was a tall, broad-shouldered man in his early thirties, and his legendary good looks had not been exaggerated, the young woman conceded admiringly. He had a shock of black glossy curls and brilliant green eyes that more than one appreciative woman had been heard to compare to emeralds.
The view from the small island of Trilis would not be half as impressive as that from Bull Fotakis’s private estate, Eros was thinking with rueful amusement. On this particular morning Eros was in the very best of moods. After all, he had made several offers through intermediaries to buy back Trilis from Stam Fotakis and those offers had been royally ignored. That he had finally been awarded a meeting with the reclusive old curmudgeon was a very healthy hint that Bull was finally willing to sell the island back to Eros.
Trilis, however, was greener and rather less developed than the extensive estate that Fotakis owned outside Athens and maintained as his headquarters, complete with office blocks and employees on-site. Of course, Fotakis had always been a famous workaholic. When Eros’s father had gone bust in the nineties and had been forced into selling his family home, everyone had assumed that Fotakis was planning to build a new base on the private island, only that hadn’t happened. Should he ever contrive to regain ownership of the island, Eros planned to open an upmarket resort on the coast that would generate jobs and rejuvenate the local economy. The old man, however, had done nothing with Trilis but hadn’t seemed interested in selling it either.
So, what had changed? Eros ruminated, irritated that he was unable to answer that question. He preferred to know what motivated his competitors and opponents because ignorance of such revealing details was always risky. Going in blind wasn’t smart, especially when Fotakis was too rich to be tempted by money. Eros turned the question around, considering it shrewdly from another angle. What did he currently have that Fotakis wanted? Eros asked himself then, reckoning that that was likely to be a far more accurate reading of the situation. Bull Fotakis was notoriously crafty and devious.
At the same time, Eros was uncomfortably aware that he would pay just about any price to regain the island of Trilis because it was the sole possession his father had truly regretted losing.
‘It is our family place and if you lose family, you lose everything. I learned that the hard way,’ his father had rasped painfully on his deathbed. ‘Promise me that if you do well in the future, you’ll do everything you can to buy Trilis back. It’s the Nevrakis home and your ancestors and mine are buried there.’
Eros compressed his sensual mouth, shying away from such sentimental recollections from the past. He had learned from his father’s mistakes. A man had to be hard in business and in his private life, not soft, not easily led or seduced. And a man forced to deal with a Greek icon of achievement like Bull Fotakis had to be even tougher.
‘Mr Fotakis will see you now…’
Stam’s gaze was hard when it zeroed in on Eros Nevrakis. A good-looking louse, he conceded grudgingly, exactly the type calculated to turn a young and naive woman’s head. Nevrakis hadn’t told Winnie that he was married. Stam had drilled every relevant fact out of his reluctant granddaughter. He had recognised her shame, gasping in relief that, despite his initial troubling assumptions about her character, her morals were in the right place. Winnie would never have knowingly slept with another woman’s husband. Nevrakis had lied to her, conning her into a demeaning living arrangement before hanging her out to dry without a single regret.
Eros saw a small stocky bearded man with eyes as sharp as tacks set in a weathered face. His hair and his neat little beard were white as snow but there was no suggestion of Santa Claus about him. Eros took a seat and refused refreshment, keen to get down to business once the usual pleasantries had been aired.
‘You want Trilis back,’ Stam remarked, startling Eros with that candid opening and the complete lack of any social chit-chat. ‘But I want something else.’
Eros leant back in his chair, long powerful legs carefully relaxed in pose. ‘I assumed as much,’ he quipped.
‘I believe that you’re divorced now.’
So random did that remark seem that Eros was disconcerted. He blinked, lashes longer than a girl’s, Stam noted in disgust, while wondering simultaneously how he was going to tolerate the lying rat as a grandson-in-law. Unfortunately, little Teddy couldn’t get his father’s name without his mother also getting a wedding ring, so choice didn’t come into it. Stam refused to stand back and allow his sole great-grandchild to remain illegitimate. He knew that was an old-fashioned outlook, but he didn’t care because he hadn’t got to the top of the ladder by bending his principles to suit other people’s and he had no plans to change.
‘I can’t imagine why you would remark on that fact,’ Eros drawled softly. ‘But it is true. I was divorced last year.’
Stam gritted his teeth. ‘Was that because you were thinking of marrying your mistress?’
‘I have no idea where this strange conversation is heading,’ Eros retorted crisply, lifting his strong chin in a challenging move of quiet strength. ‘However, I can tell you that I’ve never had a mistress, but if I did have one, I seriously doubt that I would marry her.’
Stam went rigid with offence until he reminded himself that Nevrakis had no idea that he could be causing offence because he was not aware that Winnie was Stam’s granddaughter and would undoubtedly never have dared to lay a single finger on her had he known that salient fact. He then chose to entertain himself by approaching his goal in a roundabout manner.
‘My granddaughter is a single parent who needs a husband. That is my price for the island of Trilis. If you agree to marry her, no cash need change hands.’
Stunned by that bald assurance, Eros straightened in his seat. ‘You want me to marry your granddaughter?’ he exclaimed, so taken aback by the idea that he could not even hide his consternation. ‘I didn’t know you had one. I’m sure I read somewhere that you had no relatives left alive…’