Demetriou Demands His ChildBy: Kate Hewitt
An heir for her enemy…
Ten years ago, innocent Iolanthe Petrakis surrendered to the most ruthless tycoon in Athens. Alekos Demetriou gave her the one and only sinfully seductive night of her life. But when he discovered she was the daughter of his enemy, he cast her out…before Iolanthe could reveal she was pregnant with his child!
Now, with her family’s company in peril, Iolanthe’s forced to reveal her most precious secret to her nemesis. When he learns the truth, Alekos declares he will legitimize his son and, to Iolanthe’s horror, informs her they will marry!
‘You do realise that Niko is the heir not just to Petra Innovation but Demetriou Tech?’ Alekos met her gaze, his eyes like burning embers, singeing her.
Shocked realisation sliced through her. ‘You would recognise him as your heir...?’
‘I don’t have another.’
‘But you might marry,’ Iolanthe protested. ‘You might have other children—’
‘I will marry,’ Alekos affirmed. ‘And I will have other children. But Niko is my firstborn son and he will be my heir.’
The coolly stated fact that he would marry put both Iolanthe’s head and heart in a spin—which was ridiculous, of course. Alekos was thirty-six years old. Of course he would marry at some point—and probably soon. Maybe he even had a woman already, waiting in the wings, ready and eager to become Kyria Demetriou. It had nothing to do with her.
‘You sound very sure,’ she said after a moment. ‘You haven’t even met Niko.’
‘I know he’s my son.’
Iolanthe tried to gather her scattered thoughts. ‘But what about this potential bride of yours? She might want the children you have together to—’
‘My potential bride—’ Alekos cut across her, his voice like a blade ‘—will want Niko as my heir.’
Iolanthe stared at him, flummoxed. ‘How—?’
‘Because,’ he continued implacably, ‘my prospective bride—my only bride—is you.’
TONIGHT WAS FOR MAGIC. Iolanthe Petrakis gazed at her reflection in the cheval mirror of her childhood bedroom, her mouth curving into a smile of delighted expectation. Her new gown of silvery-white satin rippled over her body, flaring out from her hips and ending in frothy ruffles around her ankles. It was a fairy-tale dress, sparkling whenever she moved, fit for a princess. And tonight she felt like a princess, Cinderella poised for her first ball. She was determined to enjoy every moment.
A light knock sounded on the door. ‘Iolanthe?’ her father, Talos Petrakis, called. ‘Are you ready?’
‘Yes.’ Iolanthe smoothed her hand over her shining dark hair, drawn up into an elegant chignon by the housekeeper, Amara. Her heart thudded with both excitement and nerves. Taking a deep breath, she turned from the mirror and opened the door to her father.
Talos surveyed her silently for a moment, and Iolanthe held her breath, hoping he was pleased with her appearance. After subjecting her to a lifetime of seclusion at his countryside villa, he was finally allowing her an evening’s entertainment and pleasure. She couldn’t bear for it to be taken away.
‘Is it all right?’ she asked when the silence stretched on. She smoothed her hands down the shiny fabric. ‘Amara helped pick it...’
‘It is suitable.’ Talos gave one terse nod of acceptance, which filled Iolanthe with relief. Her father had never been one for physical affection or effusive praise; she’d got used to it. A nod was enough. ‘You must conduct yourself with propriety at all times,’ he added, his face set into stern lines.
‘Of course, Papa.’ When had she ever done otherwise? But then, she’d never had a chance to do anything but. Tonight, perhaps... She smothered a mischievous smile, not wanting her father to guess her thoughts. In any case, she’d hardly get up to much. But a little adventure, a little excitement...she craved that, after so many years of solitude.
‘Your mother would smile to see you now,’ Talos said gruffly, and Iolanthe’s heart gave a painful little twist. Althea Petrakis had died from cancer when Iolanthe had been only four years old. The few memories she had of her mother were hazy, no more than a whiff of perfume, the touch of a soft hand. Since her death, Talos had withdrawn from family life and immersed himself in his business. If Althea had lived, Iolanthe had often wondered sadly, would her father have been different, more present, more affectionate? As it was, she only saw him every few months or so, and the visits were short, no more than inspections to make sure she was toeing the line.