Sale or Return Bride(3)

By: Sarah Morgan


Alesia closed her eyes and tried to remember how she’d got into this situation. She’d never believed in feuds and vengeance.

She was English!

Her grandfather’s smile was unpleasant. ‘If you want the money then you’ll do it.’

Alesia bit her lip hard, her mind racing in all directions.

She wanted the money. She had to have the money. ‘It’s wrong—’

‘It’s justice,’ her grandfather said, his voice icy-cold. ‘Justice that we should have meted out to the Fiorukis family a long time ago. The Greek always avenge their dead and you, even though you are only half Greek, should know this.’

Alesia stared at him helplessly.

Was this the time to tell him that she hated everything Greek? That she didn’t feel at all Greek and never would?

She stayed silent, she couldn’t risk alienating her grandfather.

Anything.

That was what she’d told herself before she’d arrived at her grandfather’s villa today. She’d do anything to get the money she needed.

But she’d underestimated her grandfather’s ability to turn her desperation to his own advantage.

She studied him carefully, noting the chill in his eyes and the ugly set of his fleshy mouth. The thought flashed through her brain that to intentionally make an enemy of this man would be foolish in the extreme. Then she almost laughed at her own naïvety. They were enemies already. Had been from the day that her mother had smiled up at her father and captured his heart, shattering Dimitrios’s plans for a wedding to a good Greek girl.

‘Fiorukis will never agree to marry me,’ she said calmly. ‘He’ll refuse.’

And then she wouldn’t have to spend the rest of her life with a man she’d been bred to hate. There was no way he’d agree to marry her, she consoled herself. Sebastien Fiorukis discarded women with ruthless efficiency and with a casual disregard for their feelings. It was common knowledge that marriage was right at the bottom of his agenda.

Why would he marry her, when their families were virtually at war?

‘Sebastien Fiorukis is first and foremost a businessman,’ her grandfather said in derisive tones, ‘and the inducement I have offered him to marry my granddaughter will prove too tempting for him to pass up.’

‘What inducement?’

Her grandfather gave a nasty smile. ‘Let’s just say that I have something he wants—which is the basis of all successful business negotiations. He is also a man who can’t pass an attractive woman and not make a move on her. For some reason he favours blonde women, so you’re in luck—or you will be once we’ve got you out of those tatty jeans and dressed you in something decent. And if you want that money then you won’t do anything to put him off. Now clear up the mess you made on my floor.’

In luck? Her grandfather truly thought that attracting the attentions of that arrogant, ruthless Greek was lucky?

Functioning on automatic, Alesia stooped and gathered together the papers with shaking hands, her mind working quickly. What choice did she have? There was no other possible source for the money she needed. If there had been then she wouldn’t be standing here now. And it wouldn’t be marriage in the true sense of the word. They probably wouldn’t even need to speak to each other very often—

‘If I do it—if I say yes, you’ll give me the money?’

‘No—’ her grandfather gave a grunt ‘—but Fiorukis will. It will be part of the agreement. He will give you an allowance every month. How you spend that will be up to you.’

Alesia’s mouth fell open. Her grandfather had managed to construct a deal where he didn’t even have to part with his money—

Sebastien Fiorukis was not only going to have to marry the granddaughter of his greatest enemy but he was going to have to pay for the privilege.

Why would he agree to such an outrageous idea?

What exactly was the inducement that her grandfather had referred to?

She raised a shaking hand to her temple, wishing that her head would stop aching. Wishing that she could think clearly.

She knew enough about her grandfather to assume that, for whatever reason, Sebastien Fiorukis would agree to the deal.

Which meant that if she wanted the money then she was going to have to do the one thing she’d promised herself that she’d never do.

She was going to have to marry.

And marry not just anyone, but the man whose family had been responsible for the death of her father.

A man she hated.



‘Why would Dimitrios Philipos come to us?’ Sebastien Fiorukis paced the terrace that ran the length of his luxury Athenian villa and then paused to study his father, his handsome face devoid of expression. He’d learned at an early age the advantage of inscrutability and he practised the art to perfection. ‘The feud between our families goes back for three generations.’