Ari idolised his father and then discovers after his death that his parent had concealed a sordid secret for many years. His image of his perfect family and childhood is destroyed by this unwelcome revelation.
Troubled by his discovery, Ari plunges himself into a work event- a company retreat- to keep his thoughts and emotions at bay. And there he meets Cleo, ditsy, chatterbox, Cleo, who has wisely adapted to her own imperfect family experience.
Cleo will make Ari think again about a major decision he was making and while doing so the pair of them will succumb to the attraction between them. Determined to avoid the pitfalls of a bad relationship, Cleo walks away but Ari finds out that that is not as easy as he thought it would be.
UPDATE (July 2021): Cleo and Ari’s story will be called “Promoted To The Greek’s Wife“.
Excerpts From the Book
Have you contacted your half-siblings?
Ari released a heavy sigh as he paced. ‘Yes… Do you mind me asking if you’ve ever contacted your half-siblings?’
Cleo twisted to look at him and frowned. ‘No. Why would I do that?’
It was Ari’s turn to look surprised. ‘They’re your flesh and blood.’
‘Yes, but I’ve always assumed that they don’t know about me and probably have no idea that their father cheated on their mother with another woman. Why would I want to upset them with that knowledge?’ Cleo asked ruefully. ‘Yes, I’m curious about them, but approaching them would probably hurt them by revealing stuff they don’t need to know. I doubt that I would get a very positive response.’
His level ebony brows pleated. ‘All the same—’
‘No, Ari,’ she cut in, using his name for the first time because she was so caught up in the discussion. ‘Look at how you are feeling now. You said you were shattered when you discovered that you had siblings and that it’s trashed your belief in your parents’ happy marriage…’
How can I help you?
The bar was quiet when it opened, and she was up on a stool dusting shelves when the doors swung and she flipped her head expecting to see a customer and seeing Ari instead. Ari, devastatingly spectacular in a dark suit that fitted him like a glove, his bronzed and handsome face unusually grave. She froze and then lurched down off the stool clumsily, almost turning her ankle, wincing as she made contact with the ground again.
‘How can I help you?’ she asked in a frozen voice as he approached the bar.
‘Have you blocked me on your phone?’
‘Of course I have. Why would I want to hear from you?’ Cleo asked, genuinely surprised by that question as she bent down to rub her aching ankle.
This isn’t a real marriage…
‘I’m not remotely concerned about your past history with other women unless it impinges on our marriage,’ Cleo declared steadily, meeting his gorgeous eyes calmly. ‘And sadly, this baby does, and it threw me for a loop, I’m afraid. You need to try and view this development from my point of view—’
‘No, you haven’t,’ Cleo responded, with bitter certainty in that accusation. ‘This isn’t a real marriage, not the way others are. You married me for Lucy’s sake. I don’t have the security of knowing that you love me, so I felt more threatened than many women would by the idea of a former lover having your child and the constant contact between you that will obviously follow on from that continuing relationship.’