From One Night to Wife(2)

By: Rachael Thomas


 Nikos took a deep breath and strode to the window, watching as a large cruise liner docked with an ease belying its size. Beyond that several container ships waited on the horizon, but the familiar sense of fulfilment from seeing the reality of his hard work and dreams out at sea didn’t come. Nothing before had ever taken the edge off standing at his window and looking at all he’d achieved, but right now his mind was elsewhere, unable to focus on anything other than the memory of the slender redhead who for two weeks had driven him wild with desire.

 He could still see her pale face, and the green eyes that had always sparkled with life like the sea beneath the dazzling sun. Her silky hair, as red as autumn leaves, had begged his fingers to slide through it. Each smile had invited his kisses so tantalisingly.

 The last words he’d said to her forged forward in his memory—as did the image of her standing on the beach, dusting sand from her clothes, her face flushed from the passion that had engulfed them so spectacularly that evening. He should have had more control, more restraint, but she’d made that impossible. Just holding her in his arms, feeling her curves against his body and her soft lips beneath his, had been too much temptation.

 Had that been what she’d intended? He balled his hands into tight fists of frustration, hearing again his words that night, harsh and unyielding, breathing life into the worst scenario as he’d made his position clear.

 ‘If there are consequences of what has just happened you will tell me.’

 He’d put stern emphasis on those last words and could still see her face paling beneath his hard gaze. As she’d looked up at him the desire burning in her eyes had slipped away faster than the setting sun. He’d spoken in a stern and uncompromising tone, but with his past snapping at his heels he’d been unable to think rationally, furious that passion had got the better of him, making him break his cardinal rule of always being in control.

 He couldn’t blame her for running from him that night. He’d been furious at her—but mostly at himself.

 Since the day she’d left he’d yearned for her, wanted her in his arms at night, but he had held firm to the resolute silence that had existed between them. As weeks had turned to months he’d hoped his fear of consequences of their night on the beach was unfounded.

 Now, three months after that heated night under the stars, she was back. His heart slammed harder in his chest at the implications of her visit. She might have left it too long to tell him, and almost certainly had ulterior motives, but there was only one reason she was back and he had to face the fact.

 She was carrying his child.

 * * *

 Serena’s heart thumped hard as she waited on the beach, with the day ebbing faster than the tide. Where was Nikos? Would he come?

 The rhythmic rush of the waves over the sand did little to calm her.

 During her flight from London thoughts of the amazing two weeks they’d spent together had been overshadowed by her accidental discovery of Nikos’s true identity only minutes before she’d boarded the plane. The man she’d fallen in love with was far from the humble fisherman he’d described himself as being all those months ago. She’d been sitting in the departure lounge and Nikos’s image had flashed across the news app on her phone, with a story speculating on the Greek shipping billionaire’s involvement in an aggressive takeover bid.

 Nikos was a shipping billionaire?

 She’d chosen to fly out to Santorini believing that he had very little money, but that he at least deserved to be given her news in person. Her shocking discovery, moments before she’d boarded her flight, had changed everything. Angry and betrayed, all she wanted now was to upset Nikos’s profitable little world and turn it upside down—just as he’d done hers.

 As she stood on the beach the bravado she’d built up during the flight threatened to desert her. He would know exactly why she was here, but it didn’t make what she had to tell him any easier—whoever he was. He didn’t want ‘consequences’, as he had so nicely put it, and of that she was certain.

 The tiny stirrings of hope she’d allowed to grow...that they might have a future together...had been crushed completely. A man like Nikos—a billionaire—would most certainly wash his hands of her.

 Instinctively she placed her palm protectively over her stomach and the new life within. What if Nikos didn’t come? She’d wanted him to acknowledge that their passionate holiday affair had resulted in pregnancy. Now she wasn’t so sure. Did she want a man like that in her life? In her child’s life?

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