Sale or Return Bride(10)

By: Sarah Morgan

Sebastien narrowed his eyes, something about the whole situation jarring uncomfortably in his sharp brain.

His innate business sense warned him that this deal didn’t feel quite right and he mentally shifted through different angles, seeking answers to the questions stacking up in his mind. And the main question was: What did the Philipos heiress stand to gain from a union         with a Fiorukis?

Why would the granddaughter of the richest man on the planet need to marry him for money? Still pondering that question, Sebastien studied Dimitrios Philipos and caught the cold, avaricious gleam in the older man’s eyes. Remembering his reputation for being the ultimate miser, Sebastien decided that he probably restricted her spending, which was why she was looking for other sources of income. He’d known loads of women who made a career out of marrying rich men. If granddaddy was no longer a soft touch then she’d need to look for some other sucker to pick up her bills. And, judging from her horrified reaction to the idea of being sequestered on an island without a boutique in sight, those bills were going to be big.

A flicker of contempt shot through him but he dismissed it with almost bored indifference. So she was greedy. He gave a mental shrug. That didn’t come as a surprise.

Reminding himself that her motives had never been in question, he hid his distaste. ‘I also have houses in Athens, Paris and New York,’ he drawled lazily, ‘so if you’re concerned about the opportunity to exercise my credit card, then you can relax.’

Her eyes were fixed on the sea and she seemed not to have heard him.

Sebastien suppressed his irritation. Clearly he had been right in his assessment that she would have no personality. Even though he’d invariably thought that women generally talked far too much about very little of interest, he was finding the reverse considerably less satisfying than he would have imagined. Why on earth didn’t the woman say something? Unaccustomed to such a lack of interest Sebastien decided that the sooner he got her on her own, the better.

‘You don’t like the island?’ His tone was conversational and she shot him an agonized glance.

‘There’s lots of sea.’

That was most definitely not the answer he’d expected. ‘There generally is when you live on an island. All the bedrooms in my villa open on to the beach or the pool.’

If he’d expected an enthusiastic response to that announcement then he was again disappointed. Instead of the delight he’d anticipated, her face seemed to pale dramatically.

Sebastien frowned. Was there something wrong with her?

‘My granddaughter feels sick after the journey,’ her grandfather grunted and Sebastien felt another surge of irritation with the older man.

Did he never let the girl speak for herself?

And surely if she’d been brought up in England she was used to expressing her own opinions?

Aware that the deal could not be concluded without his signature on the document, Sebastien focused on the girl. ‘I will take Miss Philipos and show her the island while you two begin the meeting—I’ll join you shortly.’

Dimitrios Philipos glanced at his watch. ‘I have to be back in Athens in two hours. I want the deal signed before I leave.’

Sebastien watched him closely. The older man was definitely up to something. Why the hurry?

He was nothing like she’d expected.

Alesia stared in frozen silence at the man standing in front of her, her gaze resting on the width of his shoulders before lifting to his cool black eyes. Bold brows framed night-dark eyes and his strong nose accentuated the perfect symmetry of his staggeringly handsome face.

She’d been bred to hate this man.

In vain she searched for some evidence that he was as unsettled by this bizarre, awkward situation as she was but she found none. She sensed without even speaking to him that he was a man who would never find himself discomfited by any situation. Instead he studied her through narrowed eyes, the expression on his sinfully masculine face revealing nothing of his inner thoughts. He wore authority with the ease of a man who’d been born with a ferocious talent at business and had proceeded to exercise it at every opportunity.

Alesia looked at him helplessly.

How could this ever work out?

Ludicrously rich and breathtakingly good-looking, he was totally, totally out of her league and it was utterly mortifying to know that if her grandfather hadn’t offered him a significant ‘inducement’ and dressed her in such a ridiculous dress he wouldn’t have looked twice in her direction.

She felt like a total fraud.

Alesia bit back a burst of hysterical laughter. What would he do if he knew that she lived in a tiny damp flat? That she held down three jobs in an attempt to make ends meet? That the dress she was wearing was the only one she had and even that was on loan?