Sale or Return Bride(7)

By: Sarah Morgan

‘He doesn’t know. Until recently he didn’t even know of your existence. He will never know until you are safely married and he discovers that you are unable to provide him with a son.’ Dimitrios Philipos gave a nasty smile and Alesia flinched.

This was all wrong.

She shouldn’t be doing this.

And then she remembered the money. She had to have that money. She would do anything for that money. And anyway, was what she was doing really so bad? If Sebastien Fiorukis was a gentle, decent man then it would have been different and her strong sense of right and wrong would never have allowed her to go ahead with a wedding, knowing what she knew. But he wasn’t like that.

The whole Fiorukis family was every bit as corrupt as her grandfather and Sebastien was at the helm. From what she’d heard, he was Greek to the very core. He was utterly without conscience and as cold and ruthless as her grandfather. Judging from his total lack of interest in commitment, he’d never had any great desire to become a father. Undoubtedly he would be a terrible father. To give a man like that an innocent child would be wrong. Perhaps it would be a good thing for everyone if both lines ended, she thought grimly. Philipos and Fiorukis. At least the feud would be buried with them.

And both men owed her. Between them they were responsible for the accident that had wrecked her family. It was time for them to pay.

On the day of the wedding, Fiorukis would transfer a lump sum into her account and continue to do so for the remainder of their marriage. Which meant that her mother could have the operation she so desperately needed. No more worries, no more holding down three jobs and worrying that the money wouldn’t stretch.

As long as Fiorukis didn’t discover that her mother was still alive.

Alesia bit her lip. If he found that out then it wouldn’t take a man of his intelligence two minutes to realize that her grandfather had no love for her whatsoever and that this entire deal was suspicious.

She paused in the doorway of the helicopter and gave a soft gasp as the heat thumped into her. It was on the tip of her tongue to ask her grandfather how, if she was truly half Greek, she found the heat so intolerable but she held the words back. Over the past few days she’d learned that the best way of dealing with her grandfather was to stay silent.

‘Don’t forget.’ Her grandfather jerked her back roughly and glared at her. ‘You are now a Philipos.’

Alesia hid her distaste. ‘You refused to let my mother use that name,’ she said thickly, ‘but now, when it suits you, you expect me to use it.’

‘Fiorukis is to marry you because you’re a Philipos,’ he reminded her with an evil smile. ‘If he knew you were a nobody he wouldn’t touch you with a bargepole. And stop tugging at that dress.’

Alesia gritted her teeth and released her grip on the hemline. ‘It is positively indecent. It barely covers anything.’

‘Precisely.’ Her grandfather glanced over her and gave a satisfied grunt. ‘A man likes to know what he’s buying. Remember everything I said. Fiorukis has a brain as sharp as the business end of a razor but he’s still a red-blooded Greek. One look at you in that and he won’t be thinking business, I can assure you. You wear the dress as if you dress like that every day. You do not mention the existence of your mother. You do not say why you want the money.’

‘He’ll want to know why I’m marrying him,’ Alesia said defiantly and her grandfather gave an unpleasant smile.

‘Sebastien Fiorukis has an ego as large as Greece. And for some unfathomable reason women can’t seem to leave him alone. Probably because he’s rich and good-looking and women are usually too stupid to resist that combination.’ Her grandfather gave a snort of derision. ‘He’ll assume you’re just another in a long line of admirers who want access to his millions.’

Alesia shuddered. The man must be arrogant beyond belief. To be considered so brainless and shallow as to judge a man by his looks and his wallet seemed to her the ultimate insult. ‘I don’t think—’

‘Good!’ Her grandfather glared at her as he interrupted her stammered protest. ‘I don’t want you to think. And neither does he. You are not required to think. You are merely required to lie down for him whenever he pleases. And if he asks you, then you desire this marriage simply because Sebastien Fiorukis is one of the most eligible bachelors in the world and you are keen to rediscover your Greek roots. And try not to flash those eyes at him. A Greek man does not like confrontation in the marriage bed.’

Marriage bed?