The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling WifeBy: Kate Walker
THE villa looked just as she remembered it.
Or rather, Rebecca acknowledged to herself, it looked just as it had always appeared in her dreams. Because the truth was that she had actually seen so very little of it on that one day she had ever spent inside it.
The one day that should have been the start of her honeymoon.
The one day of her marriage.
They had arrived just as the sun was setting and so she had only had the briefest glimpse of the huge, elegant, white-painted building, the sweep of the bay behind it blue and crystal-clear. But it seemed that that had been enough to etch the image onto her mind with perfect clarity so that the memories that had surfaced in her sleep were far more detailed and accurate than she would ever have imagined she could describe when awake.
Clearly the eyes of happiness recorded things much better than vision that was blurred and distorted by tears. Because that was how she remembered her arrival at the Villa Aristea, and then, just a few short hours later, her departure from it. She had reached the tiny island in the heights of delirious happiness, and left it just a few short hours later in the very depths of despair.
She hadn’t even had time to unpack her case. Rebecca shivered in spite of the heat of the sun on her back as she recalled the way that Andreas had picked it up and flung it out of the door in a blazing, black rage. She had been so sure that he would have flung her out after it that she hadn’t stayed even to protest, but had fled in a rush, trying to convince herself that discretion was the better part of valour and that she would do better to wait until he’d calmed down before she tried to explain the truth. At least then she might have a hope that he would listen.
She’d waited. And waited. But it had seemed that Andreas would never, ever calm down at all.
‘Is this the right place, kyria?’
Behind her, on the steep, curving road, the taxi driver stirred restlessly in the afternoon heat. He was clearly anxious to get back to the tiny village and into the shade once again.
‘Oh, yes,’ Rebecca assured him hastily, opening her bag and rooting in it awkwardly, hunting for her purse and thumbing through the unfamiliar notes she’d acquired in a rush at the very last minute, hunting for one that looked something like the amount on the meter. ‘Yes, this is the right place.’
It was impossible not to contrast the shambles and discomfort of her arrival today with the way she had first visited the Villa Aristea barely a year before. Then she had travelled in the greatest possible comfort, flying to Rhodes in Andreas’ private jet and then being ferried in a helicopter across the sea to this island that was little more than a dot in the ocean.
And she hadn’t had to lift a finger. Everything had been arranged for her. Everything planned to be the end of a perfect day and the start of a perfect marriage.
Except, of course, it hadn’t worked out at all that way. That day had been the start of nothing and had brought the end of her ill-fated marriage before it had even really begun.
Except in one way…
Bitter tears burned at the backs of her eyes as she was forced to remember how Andreas had so ruthlessly made sure that their marriage could not be dissolved easily and swiftly.
‘There will be no annulment,’ he had declared coldly and harshly, making it plain that that was what had been at the back of his mind all the time. He hadn’t wanted her for himself any more, but he had made so sure that she could not be with anyone else for as long as he could keep her from it. ‘If you want your freedom, you will have to go through the full legal procedure.’
‘If I want my freedom!’ Rebecca had flung at him, blinded by pain and desperate to get out of there before she had broken down and let him see just what he had done to her. ‘If! I wouldn’t come back to you if you crawled over broken glass to come to me to beg for my return.’
He’d tossed aside her furious protest with an indifferent shrug of one powerful shoulder, a look of scorn on his beautiful face.
‘You’ll come crawling to me before I ever even think of you, if only because you need money for something. I’ll be willing to bet that you’ll come looking for cash before the year is up.’