From One Night to Wife(9)

By: Rachael Thomas

 He was right about that, at least. She had wished and hoped for more, but deep down had known it would finish once she’d left the island and returned to her life. What she hadn’t known was that he too would leave the island and go back to his life. A life he’d kept from her because he’d believed she was after his money or the scoop of a big story.

 She pulled her hands from his slowly and shook her head in despair. ‘It doesn’t mean we can raise a child together, Nikos. Money isn’t everything.’

 * * *

 Fury seeped through Nikos’s veins like poison, mixing with memories of the day his mother had walked away and left him. Serena’s words, although calmly said, screamed inside his head. What was she saying? What plans had she been making for their child whilst he’d been living in ignorance of its existence?

 ‘It still sounds very much as if you are considering giving my baby away.’ Incredulity made his tone sharper than a blade.

 ‘That is absurd.’

 She met his accusation head-on, looking determined to do battle and defend herself. And he knew for certain that there could only be one reason. He’d exposed her plans before she’d had a chance to knock him sideways with the idea, but all it had done was make him ever more certain that he would be there for his child—not just now and again, but all the time.

 ‘You have more than implied it.’

 He clenched his hands into tight fists, resisting the need to reach for her, to hold her arms and force her to look him in the eye and tell him the truth.

 ‘We can’t sort this out now—not when you are jumping to such outrageous conclusions.’

 She looked at him tempestuously and her green eyes met his, but his usual accuracy in reading a person had deserted him. He couldn’t see lies or truth, but he did see something else in them. The same fiery passion he’d seen three months ago—which had been his undoing.

 He stepped closer to close he could smell the sweetness of her perfume. He battled with his memories of their time together as the scent of summer flowers invaded his senses, light and floral, evoking more memories he’d do better to bury. But he couldn’t. This woman, the only one who’d made him want more than a brief affair, was in reality no better than his mother. Worse, in fact. She wanted to abandon her child, and she expected him to do the same.

 ‘Nikos, we have to be practical. The baby will grow up in England—with me.’

 Never. The word resounded in his head. Never.

 He ignored the pleading edge to her voice, wondering if she thought he’d meekly accept that. Would she really be a mother to his child? Or had she planned all along to give her baby away?

 His thoughts returned to his mother with unnerving clarity. Had she been being practical when she’d walked away? Had she given her six-year-old son a thought as she’d left, preferring to escape with her lover, to the bright city lights and her modelling career, instead of remaining on the island with the man she’d married?

 Nikos tried to push back the demons that had haunted him since that day. The woman who’d given birth to him didn’t know him—just as he didn’t know her. He might have passed her on the streets of Athens, or any other city he’d visited for business, and not known. All he knew was that despite her attempts to contact him since he’d turned sixteen he’d written her out of his life.

 He looked at Serena, the woman he might have loved if things had been different—if his past hadn’t convinced him he was incapable of love or being loved.


 The word was fired harshly from him like a bullet and, precisely aimed, it found its mark. Serena’s eyes widened in surprise and those long lashes blinked rapidly in confusion. Did she have to be so beautiful? So compelling even in the heat of this war she’d waged?

 ‘You can’t just say no. We haven’t sorted anything.’

 She looked beseechingly up at him, searching his face, and he took a deep breath as memories of kissing those soft lips avalanched over him. Did she know the effect she was having on him? Did she realise that right at this moment he couldn’t think past what they’d had, those passionate moments they’d shared in the summer?

 The waves rushed to the shore with a normality that stunned him. Apparently they were not aware of the horrendous situation unfolding on the sand. The lights of the small town glowed like stars around them and he found his past colliding with the present, becoming inseparable.

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