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Excerpt from The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife


The villa looked just as she remembered it.

Or, rather, Rebecca acknowledged to herself, it looked just as if had always appeared in her dreams. Because the truth was that she ahs 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 have described 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 them 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.

Until now.

'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 back of her eyes as she was forced to remember how Andreas has 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 be 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.'

'Never — ' Rebecca had begun, desperate to stop him from thinking of her like this. 'I'd rather die.'

He'd scorned that declaration too, swatting it away as if her fury was just a buzzing fly that had annoyed him.

'You'll be back — because you can't help yourself. You'll want to get your greedy grasping hands on as much as you can before our marriage is finally over and done with.'

And then he had added the comment that had stunned, her, leaving her gasping with shock like a fish that had been suddenly pulled from the water and dumped, struggling to breath on the alien terrain of a river path.

'Well, money I'll give you — but nothing else. Not a damn thing else.'

'Kyria . . ..'

The taxi driver was still hovering, trying to give her change, it seemed.

'Oh, no .. ..'

Rebecca waved him away, trying to find the strength to smile in spite of her memories.'

'Keep it. — Keep the change.'

She might need him later, she told herself. Sooner, rather than later, if this interview didn't go well. But certainly at some point soon, she would need a taxi to take her back down to the ferry and it was as well to keep this man friendly as it seemed that he ran the only firm on this island.

She barely heard his thanks or the roar of the car's engine as it swung out into the road and set off down the hill again. Her gaze had gone back to the big, carved wooden door before her and her thoughts to the night, a year ago, when she had crept away from this place like a beaten dog, with her tail well and truly between her legs.

'You'll come crawling to me before I ever even think of you. . ..'

The brutal words sung round and round inside her thoughts, making her head ache, and her, mind blur. She had come crawling to him in desperation, because only desperation could drive her to fulfil his prediction, make the callous words come true when she had vowed that they were the last thing on earth that she would ever want. And she was desperate.

But desperation wasn't why she was here.

Excerpt from The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife © Kate Walker.


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