The Petrakos Bride | Chapter 14 of 15

Author: Lynne Graham | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 1257 Views | Add a Review

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CHAPTER TEN

GIANNIS strolled through the door and watched Maddie shimmy her curvaceous hips, sending her wedding gown down over them into a frothy wave of lace and silk round her ankles. She stood revealed in a low-cut bra, minuscule panties and lace hold-up stockings. A blue garter encircled one slender thigh as a finishing touch. He was enthralled.

‘Hold it there, pedhi mou,’ Giannis urged. ‘Let me take care of the rest.’

Maddie blushed, for she hadn’t heard him come in. It was so long since they had shared a bed that she felt wildly self-conscious. A charismatic smile on his lips, he shed his jacket and tie and unbuttoned his dress shirt. The entire time he watched her like a hawk. ‘Do you know?’ he murmured conversationally. ‘I’ve never gone so long without sex in my life.’

Taken aback by that admission, Maddie gave him a startled look, and then she started to giggle, all her tension dissolving.

Giannis scored long brown fingers through his luxuriant black hair. ‘I didn’t intend to say said that—’

‘Oh, I’m so glad that you did. I thought you didn’t want me any more,’ Maddie whispered, closing the space between them and stretching up on tiptoe to share that fear. She wondered how long it had been since he was with another woman. Just as quickly she squashed that thought. Because she was convinced that since the day he learned that she was pregnant, he had been true to her.

Giannis gave her an amused look and slowly shook his handsome dark head. ‘Where did you get that idea? Initially I thought restraint was a necessity. You looked so fragile.’ Lean hands anchoring to her narrow wrists, he drew her to him. Slowly, sexily, he backed her down onto the opulent bed behind her. ‘Then time became an issue. You deserved something more than a stolen hour. If I had been a different kind of guy, you might still have been a virgin tonight.’

‘You’re not that patient.’

‘Would you want me to be?’ He flicked loose the catch on her bra and peeled it away.

‘I should say yes…’ Her heart was already beating so fast with anticipation that she was breathless. ‘But I’d be lying.’

As the pale voluptuous mounds of her breasts spilled free, Giannis released his breath in a deeply appreciative hiss. He bent his handsome dark head to take immediate advantage of a quivering pink peak. Supersensitive there, she whimpered and let her head fall back over his arm, her hips squirming as he teased the tender buds until each was as ripe as a berry. He pulled her on to his lap and slid his tongue into the delicate interior of her mouth, probing with erotic mastery while he played with her swollen nipples.

Faster than Maddie could have believed, she became unbearably aroused by his touch. Liquid heat coiled in her belly and set up a tingle of tormenting awareness between her slender thighs. Settling her down on the bed, he sprang upright to undress.

Theos mou…I have never desired a woman as much as I desire you,’ Giannis intoned. ‘I didn’t know I could feel like this, and every time I feel it with you I crave it again. There has been no other woman for me. Don’t you ever try to disappear out of my life again.’

‘Never,’ she managed shakily, treasuring his every word as reassurance of the kind she most needed to feel secure.

‘Or I’ll tag you like a criminal…even tie you to my bed,’ Giannis muttered thickly, coming down beside her again. ‘But then I might never leave the bedroom, agape mou.’

Looking at him, she felt the inside of her mouth run dry. He was all virile male, from his strong shoulders and muscular hair-roughened chest to his long powerful thighs and aggressive arousal. He kissed her with fierce heat, and yet there was a gentle edge to his sexual urgency that filled her with delicious tension. He explored the delicate pink folds of her femininity and she shivered violently, too excited to stay still. He stroked the tiny pearl of sensitivity with a skill that made her hips writhe and her teeth clench. She was hot and swollen and damp, and the ache between her trembling thighs was edging closer and closer to pure sensual torment.

‘Are you ready yet?’ Giannis breathed raggedly.

‘Yes…oh, yes,’ she moaned.

He sank into her with a ravenous groan of raw physical pleasure, and the extreme surge of delight she experienced almost overwhelmed her. His every slow, deliberate movement electrified her. Each individual sensation was so hot and fresh and intense that her excitement kept on rising. His endurance was amazing. Tiny tremors started running riot through her. The pleasure was exquisite, making her burn and tighten and throb until at last his powerful passion pushed her to an ecstatic climax. Ripples of rapture left her ravished by the bliss of complete gratification.

Giannis tugged her down on top of him and covered her hectically flushed face with tiny featherlight kisses. The unfamiliar display of affection filled her with happiness.

She smiled giddily at him, feeling warm and loving and very lucky. ‘I think you’re the one who’s going to end up tied to the bed,’ she whispered dreamily. ‘I hope it’s going to be a long honeymoon.’

Giannis dealt her a lazy masculine grin. ‘I think I’ll be up to the challenge.’

Maddie snuggled closer. ‘You didn’t need to try and make me agree to marry you,’ she confided. ‘I hadn’t the smallest intention of saying no.’

Surprise and confusion flared in his brilliant dark eyes.

Maddie grinned. ‘I just thought you should know.’

 

The portrait of a pretty little girl with black hair and laughing brown eyes hung on the wall of Giannis’s study. ‘Who is she?’ Maddie asked, having meant to enquire before, on another occasion, but having forgotten.

His lean strong face tensed. ‘My sister, Leta.’

Maddie spun round. ‘My goodness—I didn’t even know you had a sister! I thought you were an only child.’

‘People prefer to forget about Leta.’ Giannis looked sombre. ‘She was a passenger in the car that my father crashed on our private estate in Italy. He was drunk, and racing one of his friends for a bet. Leta was ten years old. My father walked away, but my sister suffered horrific injuries that left her disabled in mind and body. She required constant nursing care but she still recognised us…’ His voice had grown rough-edged with emotion. ‘I spent as much time with her as I could, but I was only thirteen and in boarding school and it was difficult.’

Warm sympathy had filled Maddie’s green eyes. ‘You must all have found that very difficult to deal with.’

‘My parents didn’t.’ His lean, darkly handsome face was bleak. ‘Leta was airbrushed out of our lives. They said that visiting her upset them too much. Her condition embarrassed them. When they were told that she was dying they didn’t go to her, and I didn’t find out until it was too late. She died alone, save for the nurses who were caring for her.’

That sad conclusion to a situation that she could tell had devastated him when he was a teenager made Maddie swallow hard. ‘I’m so sorry. It would have helped you to be with her at the last.’

‘Yes. But good can come out of bad. A few years afterwards Dorkas persuaded me to put my anger at Leta’s lonely passing to more positive use. That was when I became involved with charities that work with terminally ill children. But I also think that’s why I thought until I met you that I would never want children,’ Giannis admitted. ‘Maybe I was afraid that being a lousy parent was in the blood.’

‘And maybe you were just remembering unhappy times and protecting yourself. That’s only human,’ Maddie added softly.

Giannis hovered, and then dropped a casual kiss on the top of her head. He walked out to the helicopter waiting to whisk him to Athens and then an onward flight to London. They had been together almost constantly for more than a month. About twenty feet away from the helicopter he stopped dead in his tracks, wheeled round, and strode back to her. Dark golden eyes smouldering, he closed a possessive arm to her spine to pull her close and kiss her breathless.

‘What was that for?’ she whispered, wide-eyed

‘Don’t get too used to sleeping alone in my bed, agape mou,’ he murmured huskily.

 

Maddie went down to the beach accompanied by a cavalcade of willing helpers bearing a chair, a table, rugs, parasols, cool drinks and books. It was her husband’s wish that she receive what she considered to be a ridiculous amount of attention. He was afraid that she might overtire herself, and he had insisted that when she was outdoors someone else should always be within reach, in case she had an accident. Getting in the water even to paddle was strictly forbidden when he was not present. She had pointed out that her gynaecologist was delighted with the way her pregnancy was progressing, but Giannis remained unconvinced.

A friend had had the poor taste to tell Giannis that twin pregnancies were more likely to end in premature labour. In an effort to educate him, and cool his apprehension on her behalf, Maddie had made the mistake of pressing a book on the subject on him. Unfortunately he had turned straight to the section on complications and discovered a bigger source of apprehension.

Maddie, however, was supremely unconcerned. She felt good. She was also feeling incredibly happy. Although she would never have risked saying it to Giannis, she believed a couple of days back at work would give his thoughts a more appropriate focus. At times he was downright exhausting to be around.

A dreamy smile softening her mouth, she sipped at her apple juice and watched the waves streaming into shore one after another, in a timeless hypnotic pattern. The constant surge of the water rolling in over the sand was as soothing to her as music. Five weeks had passed since their wedding, and even though Giannis had had to devote time to his business empire, the spirit of the honeymoon was still very much alive.

Indeed, his care and concern for her wellbeing had melted away her insecurities. He had become everything to her—a passionate lover and a fiercely entertaining, amusing companion. She loved his boundless energy and his quick, incisive mind. She had learned to appreciate his sardonic humour. In short, she absolutely adored him and could not imagine life without him.

He was teaching her Greek. She had utterly failed to teach him how to relax doing nothing. Giannis was active for eighteen hours out of every twenty-four. If she woke at dawn he was already up and about. Together they had island-hopped on the yacht, eaten in unspoilt tavernas in mountain villages and dodged photographers in more fashionable locations. They had picnicked below the plane trees his grandfather had planted at the eastern end of the island, and watched the sun go down from the little ruined temple down by the shore.

On her first night without Giannis, Maddie decided on an evening of self-indulgence. She had a bubble bath, went to bed early, ate chocolate fudge cake and tuned the television to the sort of glamorous celebrity programme that bored Giannis to death. In truth, fashion had not interested Maddie that much before her wedding, but she was planning to make more effort after the twins were born and she rediscovered her waist. Although Giannis had had an array of designer maternity clothes flown out for her benefit, Maddie remained unimpressed. All she ever saw when she looked in the mirror was the expanse of her stomach.

Feeling lazy, she was content to lie in bed and watch the famous walk up a red carpet to attend an awards ceremony. When Krista, accompanied by a minor actor, appeared in a striking silver evening gown, Maddie paid very close attention. The other woman was so extraordinarily beautiful that Maddie could never quite accept that Giannis did not suffer constant stabs of regret at having surrendered such a prize. Maddie had not told her husband about Krista’s phone call on their wedding night, but she had been very relieved that it had not been repeated. On screen, the presenter approached Krista and admired her extremely elaborate diamond and sapphire necklace and drop earrings.

‘They were a very special gift from Giannis Petrakos. We’re still very close,’ the beautiful blonde shared.

‘How close is close?’ the presenter joked. ‘I mean, didn’t Giannis Petrakos only get married last month?’

Krista laughed and widened her turquoise eyes. ‘No comment. I can only tell you that I received my jewellery much more recently than that.’

After a shaken pause, Maddie hit the off button on the television remote control, and then suddenly she was scrambling in a mad rush off the bed and racing into the en-suite bathroom to be ingloriously sick. In the aftermath, she was shaking so badly that she had to sit down before she could gather the strength to stand up and wash. Krista’s smug, self-satisfied smile kept on replaying inside her head. Could it be true? Could Giannis be seeing his former fiancée behind his wife’s back?

During the past five weeks Giannis had only been absent on half a dozen occasions from her side, and not once overnight. He had gone to Athens on business. Did she believe that? He could have been meeting up with Krista somewhere. With a fleet of private jets and unlimited funds at his disposal such a liaison would be easily facilitated. Was that why she had not heard from Krista again? Had Krista been waiting for just such a moment to make her public announcement?

Maddie knew she would have no peace of mind until she had confronted Giannis. She phoned Nemos and asked him to make arrangements for her to fly to London the following morning. She told him that she intended to surprise Giannis. Even so, she thought that Giannis might ring her, because she assumed that he would soon hear about Krista’s indiscreet declaration. But Giannis did not call, and Maddie got no sleep that night. She packed an overnight bag at three in the morning, tormented by questions she couldn’t answer. Was her whole marriage a sham? Had he only wed her to confer legitimacy on the twin babies she carried? Or was the truth much less complex than that? Was Giannis simply a womaniser?

All of a sudden the relationship she had believed so secure seemed to be built on sand foundations. He had never promised her fidelity. He had never sworn to be with her for ever. He had never said that he loved her. But he liked her, he laughed at her jokes, he looked after her—and from the moment he woke up until the minute he finally slept at night he couldn’t seem to keep his hands off her. Only that wasn’t love, was it? That was good old-fashioned lust, she reminded herself unhappily.

 

During the flight, Maddie planned exactly what she would say. She promised herself that she would be cool and dignified while she told him that she would not live with a man who carried on with other women. Particularly Krista. Hadn’t Krista warned her that Giannis always came back to her? The idea of Krista being with Giannis made Maddie feel hopelessly inadequate. Nothing had ever hurt her so much as the power of her own imagination.

Nemos picked her up at the airport. ‘The boss knows you’re on your way.’

Maddie was disappointed to have lost the element of surprise. When the limo dropped her off at the City apartment, she felt weak and shaky. But when she got into the penthouse lift a sudden tide of rage filled her. A giant tumult of agonised emotion was being born out of the anguish she was struggling to contain. She stepped into the magnificent hall just as Giannis appeared in a doorway.

‘I’m really pleased that you’re here, but I’m not at all happy that you flew all this way. You must be exhausted, pedhi mou.’

He looked breathtakingly handsome. A sleek ebony brow quirked in a questioning move that was so familiar it hurt like a knife twisting in her chest. All her cool and dignity died in that moment, along with the careful script of cutting but polite condemnation that she had planned to voice.

‘You rat…I hate your guts!’ Maddie launched at him, and she yanked off her wedding ring and threw it. ‘You don’t appreciate me. You don’t deserve me. I hope you’re absolutely miserable with Krista!’

For a split second he was stunned, and then he caught the ring in mid-air. ‘I would be miserable with her.’

‘Then why are you having an affair with her?’ Maddie sobbed.

‘I swear that there is no affair—’

‘I don’t believe you!’ Maddie dashed away the tears from her furious eyes. ‘I won’t forgive you either.’

‘I know you would not forgive me for infidelity, which is why you can safely believe that I will never betray you.’ His dark, deep-set eyes intense, Giannis grimaced. ‘I think I should have told you all this before today. But I had no idea that Krista would go to such lengths to save face.’

‘Save face? What are you talking about?’

The front doorbell was buzzing.

As a manservant answered the door, Giannis took Maddie into his office and urged her to sit down. ‘I believe that is Krista’s father arriving. He asked if he could come to discuss what his daughter did last night. Hopefully you will find it easier to believe him.’

Her eyes widened in bewilderment. ‘Her father? But what’s he got to do with this?’

A portly middle-aged man with a troubled expression entered the room, and came to a surprised halt when he saw Maddie.

‘Pirro Spyridou…my wife, Madeleine.’

Maddie was disconcerted when the older man immediately offered her his apologies for his daughter’s comments on television the night before. ‘I can’t excuse her for embarrassing us all in this manner. But Krista lives for media attention, and once the engagement ended people were no longer so interested in her, which hurt her pride. She also felt that she had been made to look foolish.’

Giannis nodded acceptance of that fact.

Pirro Spyridou sighed. ‘But the real problem is that she has been experimenting with drugs, and her behaviour has become more and more erratic.’

‘Drugs?’ Giannis ejaculated in consternation. ‘Are you certain?’

‘This morning Krista agreed to enter a clinic for treatment,’ the older man explained heavily. ‘It is not the first time she has needed help.’

‘I had no idea,’ Giannis admitted grimly. ‘I hope that I did not contribute to the problem?’

‘No. I feel that we were at fault for not warning you before the engagement.’

Equally troubled by what she was learning, Maddie described the phone call she had received from Krista on her wedding night.

Giannis frowned at Maddie. ‘I wish you had shared that call and its content with me. I would’ve acted then, and Krista would not have made defamatory statements on television last night.’ Turning back to Krista’s father, he told him about the visit his daughter had made to Maddie, and Krista’s proposition that she might adopt the twins and still marry Giannis.

Pirro was astonished by that story. He apologised for any distress his daughter might have caused, and began to discuss the wording of the retraction that he intended to have printed in a well-known newspaper. In that retraction, Krista’s misleading statements would be withdrawn.

Giannis sighed. ‘You have enough to worry about right now. Let it go, Pirro. Go home to your family. Let us forget this unpleasantness.’

The older man was embarrassingly grateful for such a level of understanding. It was clear that he was at his wits’ end about how to handle his daughter’s problems. With a final apology he took his leave.

‘The day I finished with Krista I saw her screaming at a maid,’ Giannis recalled. ‘Some time afterwards I recalled that, and questioned the housekeeper about the incident. But the maid had been dismissed. Krista said she had found the maid taking drugs in her bedroom. She was probably lying. That wrong must be righted.’

‘How could you have known?’ Maddie was feeling distinctly shellshocked, and rather naked without the wedding ring she had thrown at Giannis. He was innocent of infidelity and blame. She had believed Krista rather than him.

‘I’m sure you are wondering why I gave Krista a small fortune in diamonds. I had acquired the set as a gift for her, and I felt that she should still have it,’ Giannis breathed heavily. ‘I felt guilty. Neither she nor I were in love, but I should never have asked her to marry me. She got on my nerves. I was eager to be free of her. It might have been kinder if I had been more honest.’

‘I don’t think being told that she got on your nerves would have helped,’ Maddie sighed

‘But had I told her that I had fallen hopelessly in love for the first time in my life, she might at least have seen that trying to get me back was a complete waste of time.’

Maddie had a mental image of her ears perking up high like a rabbit’s. ‘Hopelessly in love?’

Giannis crouched down at her feet so that he could see her face. His beautiful dark eyes were usually unguarded. ‘I didn’t realise it until I married you. But you were never out of my mind for a moment from the first day I saw you. There has not been another woman in my arms since that day either…’

‘Are you serious?’ Maddie whispered, practically mesmerised by what he was telling her, and yet scared to believe in it as well.

‘My desire was only for you. I couldn’t control it. Yet I was still foolish to think it was just sex…I only thought in terms of sex…’

Maddie could not resist tracing the hard slant of one classic male cheekbone with a wondering forefinger. ‘Oh, I know that. You were very vocal on that score. But what I don’t understand is why you were ready to marry a woman you felt nothing for?’

‘I had given up believing that there was a perfect woman out there for me, so when you came along I didn’t recognise you.’ Giannis sprang upright and shrugged. ‘I was bored with dating. I didn’t want to give a woman anything but money and position, and Krista was content with that. I thought it was a sensible arrangement.’

‘You were lonely—’

Giannis froze. ‘No, I wasn’t!’

But Maddie was convinced that he had been lonely, looking for something more than casual affairs and hoping that the stability of marriage with Krista would somehow fill that lack in his life.

‘I suppose I was lonely after you disappeared,’ he ground out grudgingly. ‘But that was because I’d got used to you.’

Maddie was too kind to ask him how she had contrived to become such a necessity after a mere thirty-six hours with him in Morocco.

‘I should have been much more honest about Krista. I was an arrogant bastard, and I did behave badly. But when you said to me that I had been your hero as a teenager, it hurt. Those words of disappointment would not leave me alone,’ Giannis admitted. ‘I was ashamed, but still too stubborn to say what I should have said.’

‘Why am I hearing all this now?’ Maddie queried in fascination. ‘You’ve never talked to me like this before.’

‘You weren’t the only person who heard Krista being interviewed on live television last night. I heard soon afterwards, and there was this deep feeling of panic, agape mou.’ Giannis shot her a speaking appraisal. ‘I knew that because I had not been more frank with you it would be very hard to convince you that Krista was lying. I was afraid that you would never believe me. When I asked myself what I would do if you walked out on me, I felt empty. I didn’t know what to do. I was going to drag Pirro back to Greece with me to clear my name. I’ve been up all night…’

A rueful smile tugged at Maddie’s tense mouth, for she could see the strain etched in his lean dark features now that she knew to look for it. ‘Just like me. I couldn’t bear to lose you—’

‘Or I you,’ Giannis confided thickly. ‘What a fool I’ve been! All those weeks on Libos and we were so happy—and still I didn’t tell you how much I cared about you, or how important you had become in my life.’

But all the time he had been showing her that he loved her in so many ways, Maddie reflected ruefully. Unfortunately she had been too intimidated by the spectre of Krista’s apparent perfection to appreciate that Giannis was so attentive, caring, affectionate and possessive because he had fallen in love with her.

‘You’re telling me now. I’m better with emotions than you,’ Maddie told him sunnily. ‘I knew I was falling for you in Morocco—’

‘But you still wouldn’t have anything to do with me!’ Giannis protested.

‘It wouldn’t have been right to do anything else when you were still engaged.’

‘The only problem being that the minute I got unengaged, you vanished!’ he reminded her darkly. ‘I was shattered by that, and when I couldn’t find you I started not sleeping. Sometimes I’d wake up in the middle of the night and wonder if you were with some other guy. I don’t ever want to live through an ordeal like that again.’

‘So behave,’ Maddie advised, relaxing enough to get cheeky. ‘I can’t credit that that’s how you really felt. You’re the man who told me that I had nothing to do with your decision to end your engagement.’

Giannis groaned at that timely reminder. ‘It had everything to do with you, but I wasn’t ready to admit that to you or myself.’

‘You’re so secretive,’ she scolded.

‘Not any more. You’ve got my every secret out of me,’ Giannis lamented feelingly.

‘It’s unhealthy for you to bottle things up,’ she said comfortingly. ‘You’ve got to know I’m mad about you.’

‘Barely ten minutes ago you flung your wedding ring at me!’

Maddie stuck out her finger for it to be replaced. He didn’t waste any time playing hard to get on that score.

‘I really, really love you,’ she told him earnestly.

‘Even after all that’s happened?’ he pressed. ‘And everything that’s gone wrong?’

Maddie pretended to think about that question, for her confidence was growing by leaps and bounds and she decided to tease him. ‘Well, there were times when I was worried it might just be sex…’

Giannis leapt upright and bent down to scoop her up like a parcel from the sofa. ‘We’ll go to bed and find out, shall we?’

‘Is that your answer to everything?’ Maddie giggled, thinking that they were wonderfully well matched in that department.

‘When you’re in my arms in bed you feel one hundred per cent mine. It feels amazingly good,’ Giannis confided, and he kissed her long, slow and deep, until her toes curled inside her shoes.

She wrapped her arms round his neck. ‘Hmm…’

‘I’m never going to let you go, agape mou,’ he swore, with satisfying fervour.

 

Almost eighteen months later, Maddie watched her children toddle about below the shaded loggia on the roof terrace of their Moroccan home. Her son, Rodas, had black curly hair and enormous energy. Always exploring, he needed careful supervision, and plenty to keep him occupied. Her daughter, Suzy, was as copper-haired as her mother and was as calm as her brother was over-active. A tolerant baby, she slept when she was expected to sleep, and played in an orderly manner. Maddie was grateful she had a nanny to give her a break when she needed one, or wanted to spend time alone with Giannis.

Giannis adored his children. From the instant the twins had arrived in the world, with remarkably little fuss, Giannis had been a devoted father. Some of their most happy moments had been family ones, when they’d fooled around with the twins, or paused to marvel at a first word or step. Time and love had given Maddie a lot more confidence in herself and in her marriage.

Krista had been through rehab and had recently married a Hollywood movie mogul twice her age. She was regularly featured in glossy magazines, wearing the latest fashion and arriving at the most exclusive events. She seemed happy, which pleased Maddie, who sometimes felt a little guilty about the extent of her own blissful contentment.

Giannis had been nagged out of being a workaholic. When he had discovered that babies had bodyclocks that disliked changing time-zones he’d begun to travel a lot less. Also, he disliked being away from his family for longer than a couple of days. They spent a great deal of time on the island of Libos, where Dorkas was a regular visitor to their home. Once the children reached school age, however, Giannis and Maddie were planning on settling at Harriston Hall during the week, for Maddie wanted them to enjoy an English education. Here, at the old fortress in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, was where they always came to relax and take advantage of just being with each other.

With the help of the children’s nanny Maddie put the twins to bed for the night. That afternoon she had had a massage and beauty session. Now she shed her casual clothing and dressed to impress in a flimsy lingerie set, followed by an azure-blue cocktail dress and high heels. Smoothing the stretchy fabric over her hips, she smiled when she heard the helicopter coming in to land. It had taken hard work and will-power, and a personal trainer, but she had regained her waist. When Giannis walked in she was posed by the terrace doors.

‘I have died and gone to heaven,’ Giannis murmured, his deeply appreciative gaze locked to his red-headed temptress of a wife. ‘You look fit to ravish.’

‘You didn’t spend long with the twins.’

‘For once in their lives they’re both fast asleep on schedule,’ he told her huskily. ‘And, wonderful though my son and daughter are, it’s been three long days since I saw my wife.’

‘You’ve been counting?’

Giannis curved an admiring hand to the full curve of her derrière and eased her up against his lithe, powerful frame. For a moment he just held her close, with the affection that was becoming more and more natural to him. When he lifted his handsome dark head again, his dark golden eyes smouldered with possessive heat over her lovely face. ‘When I’m away I miss you. You’ve changed my life around, agape mou.’

‘And there’s me thinking I was being so subtle,’ Maddie teased, leaning into him with alacrity, loving the familiar feel and warmth of him.

Giannis set her back from him and lifted her wrist to clasp around it a shimmering diamond bracelet adorned with the letter M. ‘Happy birthday.’

‘It’s gorgeous.’

‘Like that outfit,’ Giannis remarked huskily, stepping back from the temptation of getting too close to her shapely body. ‘Hamid is waiting to serve a very fancy meal in honour of your special day.’

Maddie stretched up to kiss him, and that one taste led to another taste, and then she started wrenching at his tie—until she too remembered the birthday meal, and strove to behave with greater self-discipline.

‘I love you very much, Mrs Petrakos,’ Giannis murmured over the exquisitely presented dinner. ‘How am I doing in the hero stakes?’

‘You’ll have to show me,’ Maddie whispered, her attention glued to his lean, dark face with sensual intent.

‘So you work on a basis of continual assessment?’ Giannis drawled with a wicked grin.

Mid-meal, the long, languishing looks, the flirtation and the ever-increasing urge to touch triumphed, and they vanished into the bedroom. Giannis kissed her breathless and told her that she was the most irresistible woman alive. Maddie thought about how much she adored him, and decided that exercise would do her much more good than dessert.

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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