The convenient bride…with a shocking secret.
Billie has a job that most women would love – PA to gorgeous Greek billionaire, Alexei Drakos. She tries to convince herself she’s immune to his extraordinary charms, but when events throw them inextricably together she finds herself in his bed. However, within hours, Alexei has an accident and loses his memory of their special night together, and Billie discovers she’s pregnant — by a man who has no recollection of having slept with her…
ALEXEI DRAKOS broodingly surveyed the crowded Port Vauban marina from the deck of his yacht, Sea Queen. There were paparazzi everywhere. As a man who set a high value on privacy, he was not impressed. He was even less impressed with the topless sunbathers on the vessel moored beside his who were calling out to him and making inviting gestures. As if, Alexei thought with all the disdain of an aristocrat for rotten meat. As a teenager he had sampled many female bodies without the need to make dates or chit-chat, but he had grown up since then.
If Calisto had not begged him to bring her to Cannes, he would have been miles away from the noise, the poseurs and the fuss. Sea Queen was easily the biggest, sleekest and most expensive yacht there but, as he was a fourth generation Drakos, and possessed of fabulous wealth and privilege from birth, such petty comparisons were beneath Alexei’s arrogant notice.
Standing six feet four inches in his bare feet, Alexei was built with the lean muscular power of a trained athlete and surprisingly fit for a noted workaholic. Half Russian and half Greek, he was a dazzlingly handsome man with a formidable reputation as a womaniser. Yet for the past few months there had been only one woman in his life: Calisto, the ex-wife of the Swiss electronics tycoon, Xavier Bethune. Keen to get back to work and aware that his business team awaited him indoors, Alexei strode back into his on-board office, which was as streamlined and technologically advanced as any on shore.
Some minutes later, Calisto stalked into the crowded room without warning. Alexei was surprised, for he had sent her down the coast to tour his magnificent villa in an effort to get some peace. An echoing silence spread even before Calisto burst into staccato speech. ‘You won’t believe what I’ve discovered at your villa!’
‘Nothing short of the Loch Ness monster in the bath tub would excuse this intrusion when I am working,’ Alexei drawled, and he was not entirely joking as he glanced up from his laptop to survey the irate blonde.
‘The place is a disgrace! The swimming pool hasn’t been serviced in months, the garden is overgrown and the house isn’t even stocked for our stay next week,’ Calisto raged, her bright blue eyes full of indignation. ‘And when I asked the housekeeper to explain herself, all she would say was that Billie always dealt with that stuff and that she had received no instructions.’
Calisto Bethune was a six foot tall beauty and former model, quite capable of stopping traffic with her stunning face and shapely body. She was Greek-born, she was gorgeous and, now that she was free of her husband, the woman whom Alexei had loved and lost as a teenager was finally his again.
‘Did you hear anything I just said, Alexei?’ Calisto prompted impatiently. ‘Last month the refit on Sea Queen overran and we couldn’t use her. Who was responsible for that? Every place I go in your life things are going wrong and I discover that this Billie creature is at fault!’
‘Until a couple of months ago, Billie took care of all my properties as well as my social calendar and travel arrangements. Unfortunately, she insisted on taking a career break and her replacement was so inept, I sacked her after a month—’
Calisto studied him wide-eyed, a frown building on her face. ‘This Billie that everybody talks about is a…woman?’
‘Why not?’ Alexei returned to his laptop with renewed energy as he was hotwired to the pursuit of profit and in no mood to hear any more about boring domestic problems. No Drakos male he had ever known had concerned himself with such trivialities. In even listening to Calisto’s tirade, he believed he was being very tolerant, offering the listening ear that all women were supposed to crave.
‘And this Billie, this woman insisted on taking time off? Since when do you allow your employees to insist on anything?’ Calisto demanded.
Alexei frowned and straightened before he rose to his full height and urged the gorgeous blonde across the hallway outside the office into the opulent and spacious salon. ‘I’ve known Billie since she was a child growing up on Speros. She has a little more licence than the rest of my team—’
A frozen look stiffened Calisto’s wide cheekbones. ‘Does she indeed?’
‘Until now Billie has always been available when I want her. Usually she doesn’t take vacations or even days off. Day or night, she has worked extremely hard for me,’ Alexei volunteered, but his tone was flat because in spite of what he was saying he too blamed Billie for the many annoying developments that had taken the edge off his comfort in recent months.
Billie Foster, his most trusted aide and gofer, his right-hand woman, had insisted on taking an eight-month-long career break to look after her recently widowed but pregnant aunt in England. His even white teeth clenched as he mentally shifted through the aggravations he’d had to tolerate during Billie’s prolonged absence. Impersonal and personal matters that he had once taken for granted as being taken care of were suddenly rolling up in front of him undone and causing him considerable inconvenience.
He had never dreamt that Billie might act in so selfish a manner. Even though she knew he disagreed with her taking uch a lengthy break, she had gone ahead regardless. He had been too soft with her. He should have told her no. He should have told her that if she left she would have no job to return to. After all, for what did he pay her such a handsome salary? To go running off to England whenever she took the fancy? Alexei had expected a lot more from a young woman whom he had known since childhood and who owed more than she knew to his family’s generosity.