Carrying the Greek's Heir

By: Sharon Kendrick
CHAPTER ONE

 HE WANTED HER. He wanted her so badly he could almost taste it.

 Alek Sarantos felt the heavy jerk of lust as he drummed his fingers against the linen tablecloth. Tall candles flickered in the breeze and the rich perfume of roses scented the air. He shifted his position slightly but still he couldn’t get comfortable.

 He was...restless. More than restless.

 Maybe it was the thought of returning to the crazy pace of his London life which had heightened his sexual hunger, so that it pulsed through his veins like thick, sweet honey. His throat tightened. Or maybe it was just her.

 He watched as the woman walked through the long grass towards him, brushing past meadow flowers which gleamed like pale discs in the dying light of the summer evening. The rising moon illuminated a body showcased by a plain white shirt, tucked into a dark skirt which looked at least a size too small. A tightly tied apron emphasised her hips. Everything about her was soft, he thought. Soft skin. Soft body. The thick hair which was plaited in a heavy rope and fell down to the middle of her back was silky soft.

 His lust was insistent—his groin the opposite of soft—yet she wasn’t his type. Definitely not. He didn’t usually get turned on by curvy waitresses who greeted you with an uncomplicated, friendly smile. He liked his women lean and independent, not gently rounded and wholesome. Hard-eyed women who dropped their panties with ease and without question. Who took him on his terms—which had no room for manoeuvre. Terms which had helped carve out his position as a man of influence and given him a lifestyle free of domestic tie or encumbrance. Because he didn’t want either. He avoided anyone he suspected might be soft, or needy or—heaven forbid—sweet. Sweet wasn’t a quality he required in a bed partner.

 So why was he lusting after someone who’d been drifting around the periphery of his vision all week, like a ripe plum waiting to fall from the tree? Something to do with her apron, perhaps—some late-onset uniform fetish, which was playing some very erotic fantasies in his head?

 ‘Your coffee, sir.’

 Even her voice was soft. He remembered hearing its low, musical cadence when she’d been comforting a child who had cut open his knee on one of the gravel paths. Alek had been returning from a game of tennis with the hotel pro when he’d seen her crouching down beside the boy, exuding a general air of unflappability. She’d stemmed the flow of blood with her handkerchief as an ashen-faced nanny had stood shaking nearby and, turning her head, had seen Alek. She’d told him to ‘Go inside and get a first-aid kit’ in the calmest voice he’d ever heard. And he had. A man more used to issuing orders than taking them, he’d returned with the kit and felt a savage twist of pain in his gut to see the boy looking up at her with such trust shining from his teary eyes.

 She was leaning forward now as she placed the cup of coffee in front of him, drawing his attention to her breasts, which were straining tightly against her shirt. Oh, God. Her breasts. He found himself wondering what her nipples might look like if they were peaking towards his lips. As she straightened up he saw pewter-grey eyes framed by a pale and heavy fringe. She wore no adornment other than a thin gold chain around her neck and a name badge which said Ellie.

 Ellie.

 As well as being cool and unflappable towards small boys, she’d spent the week anticipating his every need—and while that was nothing new to someone like him, her presence had been surprisingly unobtrusive. She hadn’t tried to engage him in conversation, or wow him with wisecracks. She’d been pleasant and friendly but hadn’t hinted about her evenings off, or offered to show him around. In short, she hadn’t come onto him like any other woman would have done. She had treated him with the same quiet civility she’d exhibited towards every other guest in the discreet New Forest hotel—and maybe that’s what was bugging him. His mouth hardened—for it was almost unheard of for Alek Sarantos to be treated like other people.

 But it wasn’t just that which had captured his interest. She had an air about her which he couldn’t quite put his finger on. Ambition maybe, or just some quiet professional pride. Was it that which made his gaze linger for a heartbeat too long—or the fact that she reminded him of himself, more years ago than he cared to remember? He’d once had that same raw ambition—back in the days when he’d started out with nothing and waited tables, just like her. When money had been tight and the future uncertain. He had worked hard to escape his past and to forge a new future and had learnt plenty of lessons along the way. He’d thought that success was the answer to every problem in life, but he had been wrong. Success made the pill sweeter, but you still had to swallow the pill all the same.

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