The Wealthy Greek's Contract Wife(4)

By: Penny Jordan

To say that Ilios Manos was not in a good mood was to put it mildly, and, like Zeus, king of the gods himself, Ilios could make the atmosphere around him rumble with the threat of dire consequences to come when his anger was aroused. As it was now.

The present cause of his anger was his cousin Tino. Thwarted in his attempt to get money out of Ilios via his illegal use of their grandfather’s land, he had now turned his attention to threatening to challenge Ilios’s right of inheritance. He was claiming that it was implicit in the tone of their grandfather’s will that Ilios should be married, since the estate must be passed down through the family, male to male. Of course Ilios knew this—just as he knew that ultimately he must provide an heir.

Ilios had been tempted to dismiss Tino’s threat, but to his fury his lawyers had warned him that it might be better to avoid a potentially long drawn-out and costly legal battle and simply give Tino the money he wanted.

Give in to Tino’s blackmail? Never. Ilios’s mouth hardened with bitterness and pride.

Inside his head he could hear his lawyer’s voice, saying apologetically, ‘Well, in that case, then maybe you should think about finding yourself a wife.’

‘Why, when Tino doesn’t have anything resembling a proper case?’ Ilios had demanded savagely.

‘Because your cousin has nothing to lose and you have a very great deal. Your time and your money could end up being tied up for years in a complex legal battle.’

A battle which once engaged upon he would not be able to withdraw from unless and until he had won, Ilios acknowledged.

His lawyer had suggested he take some time to review the matter, perhaps hoping Ilios knew that he would give in and give Tino the one million euros he wanted—a small enough sum of money to a man who was, after all, a billionaire. But that wasn’t the point. The point was that Tino thought that he could get the better of him by simply putting his hand out for money he hadn’t earned. There was no way that Ilios was going to allow that.

He had been attempting to vent some of the fury he was feeling by felling branches from an old and diseased olive tree when he had seen a taxi come down the road to the headland, stopping to let its passenger get out before turning round and going back the way it had come.

Now, still wearing the old hard hat bearing the Manos Construction logo he had put on for protection, his arms bare in a white tee shirt, his jeans tucked into work boots, he walked out from the tree line and watched as Lizzie looked out to sea, his arms folded across his chest.

Lizzie turned back towards the flattened ground where the apartments had been, shock holding her immobile as she saw the man standing on it, watching her.

‘You’re trespassing. This is private land.’

He spoke English! But the words he had spoken were hostile and angry, challenging Lizzie to insist with equal hostility, ‘Private land which in part belongs to me.’

It wasn’t strictly true, of course, but as a partner in the apartment block she must surely own a percentage of the land on which it had been built? Lizzie didn’t know the finer points of Greek property law, but there was something about the attitude toward her of the man confronting her and challenging her that made her feel she had to assert herself and her rights. However, it was plain that she had done the wrong thing. The man unfolded his arms, revealing the outline of a hardmuscled torso beneath the dirt-smeared tee shirt tucked into low-slung jeans that rode his hips, and strode towards her.

‘Manos land can never belong to anyone other than a Manos.’

He was savagely angry. The hardness of the gaze from golden eagle eyes fringed with thick dark lashes speared her like a piece of helpless prey.

Lizzie stepped back from him in panic, and lost her footing as she stumbled on a rough tussock of grass.

As she started to fall the man reached for her, hard fingers biting into her jacket-clad arms as she was hauled upright and kept there by his hold on her. The golden gaze raked her with a predatory male boldness that infuriated her. He was looking at her as though…as though he was indeed a mythical Greek god, with the right and the power to take and use vulnerable female mortal flesh for his own pleasure as and when he wished. Sex with a man like this would be dangerous for the woman who was drawn to risk herself in his hostile embrace. Would he take without giving, or would he subjugate a woman foolish enough to think she could make him want her by overpowering her with his sensuality and leaving her a prisoner to it whilst he remained unmoved? That mouth, with its full bottom lip, suggested that he possessed a cruel sensuality that matched his manner towards her.