Sale or Return Bride(6)

By: Sarah Morgan


Sebastien narrowed his eyes and wondered when his father had grown so soft. If Philipos wanted his half-English granddaughter to have a Greek husband then there was undoubtedly a reason. And he intended to discover that reason.

‘What about the girl? Why would she agree to such a marriage? She is the granddaughter of Dimitrios Philipos. As such she is unlikely to be possessed of the emotional stability I would want in a wife.’

‘At least meet her.’ His father tried a different approach. ‘You can always say no.’

Sebastien surveyed him thoughtfully. It was true that he wanted children. And he’d always wanted to restore Philipos Industries to his family, where it belonged.

‘What is in it for her?’ His voice was sharp. ‘Philipos gets his grandchild, I gain a son and a company that is rightfully ours—what does she gain?’

His father hesitated and shuffled the papers in front of him. ‘Sebastien—’

Sebastien inhaled sharply. ‘Tell me.’

His father glanced at him warily. ‘On the day of your wedding you are to pay money into her personal account.’ He shifted awkwardly as he studied the papers again. ‘A substantial sum. That sum is to be repeated every month during your marriage.’

There was a long silence. Then Sebastien gave a disbelieving laugh. ‘Are you seriously telling me that the Philipos heiress wants money for marrying me?’

‘The financial settlement is an important part of the deal.’

‘The woman is already richer than Midas himself,’ Sebastien launched, his volatile Mediterranean temperament rising to the surface with the force of an erupting volcano. ‘And yet she wants more?’

His father cleared his throat. ‘The terms of the deal are very clear. She receives money.’

Sebastien strode to the edge of the terrace and stared down across the city he loved so deeply.

‘Sebastien—’

He turned quickly, the expression in his dark eyes cynical and hard. ‘Why do I even hesitate?’ He shrugged broad shoulders in a dismissive gesture. ‘All women are gold-diggers, the fact that this one chooses to dig deeper than most changes nothing. At least she is honest about it, which is to her credit. As you rightly say, this is a business arrangement where both parties understand the score.’

‘You make her sound hard and money-grabbing but why not reserve judgement?’ his father urged. He looked at his son helplessly. ‘Any relative of Philipos is going to be accustomed to an extremely extravagant lifestyle. Her requirement for funds may not be a reflection on her character. She might be sweet.’

Sebastien winced and refrained from pointing out that his taste didn’t run to ‘sweet’ girls. ‘Sweet girls don’t demand huge sums of money from prospective husbands. And if she’s a Philipos then she will have horns and a tail,’ he said drily. ‘And I’ll do well to remember not to turn my back on her.’

‘Sebastien—’

‘Like you, I want the business restored to the family, so I’ll see her because I’m intrigued. But I’m making no promises,’ Sebastien warned grimly, depositing his empty glass on the table. ‘If she’s to be the mother of my children then I at least have to be able to stomach the sight of her.’



‘You are not to speak.’ Dimitrios Philipos glared at Alesia as the helicopter hovered over the landing pad. ‘And you are to keep those flashing eyes of yours fixed on the ground. You are to be meek and obedient like a good Greek girl. If you keep your mouth shut until the wedding takes place, everything will be fine. By then it will be too late for Fiorukis to change his mind.’

At that precise moment Alesia was more concerned with her own state of mind than that of her prospective groom.

Why did they have to visit him on his private island? What was wrong with the mainland?

Satisfying herself that the helicopter was safely down, Alesia relaxed her death grip on her seat and forced herself to draw some much-needed oxygen into her starving lungs. Even the supposed safety of the helicopter hadn’t distracted her from the vast expanse of azure-blue ocean beneath them. She was terrified of the water and always had been. And she still couldn’t believe that she’d actually agreed to this meeting.

Suddenly she felt terrified. Terrified that her hatred of her grandfather would show along with her contempt for the entire Fiorukis family. ‘What if he knows that I can’t have children?’

If her grandfather had discovered that the childhood accident had left her unable to bear children, then how did she know that Sebastien Fiorukis hadn’t discovered the same thing?