The Andreou Marriage Arrangement(2)

By: Helen Bianchin

Dimitri Karsouli had ruled his life and his business interests with an iron fist in a velvet glove, earning him a corporation now worth a fortune.

His father before him had come from humble beginnings in Athens, and, fostering an idea presented to the right person at the right time, initiated the founding office in Athens of the Karsouli Corporation. Dimitri, his only son, had followed in hallowed footsteps, living and breathing the business and injecting it with new ideas, broadening its scope and extending it onto a global market.

Dimitri had married and moved to Sydney and had sought to have his own son continue, except his marriage had gifted him a daughter, born in difficult circumstances that had rendered his wife unable to produce another child.

A beloved daughter, Alesha, who had become her father’s pride and joy, especially when she proved she’d inherited his business acumen and sharp mind.

Privately educated and exclusively schooled, Alesha had graduated from university with honours in a business degree, and had entered Karsouli in a lowly position, rising in the ranks through hard work and dedication.

Her one error in judgement had been to marry in haste, against her father’s wishes, a man who, while playing a part to perfection during their brief courtship, had revealed his true persona within hours of leaving the wedding reception.

A painful time, when divorce and a handsome pay-out had been the only option. Especially so, as it was compounded by her mother’s losing battle with a virulent form of cancer.

Alesha’s adamant refusal to consider marriage at any future stage became a bone of contention between father and daughter. Now, by a conditional clause in his will, Dimitri was bent on manipulating her into matrimony with a man of whom he approved. A man of Greek descent. Someone who had his utmost trust…to take the reins of Karsouli and lead his daughter into the marriage bed.

Dimitri had to be smiling in his grave, assured Alesha would never concede to losing what she loved most in life…the family firm.

In that respect she’d inherited her father’s genes. His blood-line was so strong, the desire to achieve, to succeed, to prove her worth beyond doubt, irrespective of gender.

‘This…scheme has Loukas Andreou’s approval?’

The lawyer spread his hands in a telling gesture. ‘I understand he has indicated his consent.’

‘It’s outrageous,’ Alesha uttered with considerable heat. ‘Impossible,’ she added for good measure. ‘I don’t want to marry anyone.’

Loukas Andreou had been welcomed into her parents’ home on the few occasions he’d visited Sydney. She’d dined in his company, and met up with him in Athens on the occasional trip to Greece with her parents. Combining business with pleasure…or so she’d thought at the time.

Now, she wasn’t so sure. Even then, had Dimitri sown the seeds of a possible future marriage?

Loukas Andreou. The man was a force to be reckoned with in the business arena…and the bedroom, if rumour had any basis in fact.

Old money. His great-grandfather, so the Andreou biographical details depicted on record revealed, had made his fortune in shipping. A fortune added to by each succeeding generation.

The Andreou consortium owned two Greek Islands, property, residences in most European cities, and there was the private cruiser, the Lear jet, the expensive cars…the women.

The media followed and tabled Loukas’ every move, embellishing the smallest fact with gossip.

Tall, well-built frame, dark hair, ruggedly attractive facial features…he unsettled her. Almost as if he saw far more than she wanted anyone to see.

There were some secrets she’d buried so deep, no one would uncover them. Ever.

‘How long has Loukas been aware of the contents of my father’s will?’

‘It’s something you’ll have to ask him.’

She would…at the first opportunity!

Alesha glimpsed the faint lift in the lawyer’s brow.

‘You have two clear options,’ he cautioned quietly. ‘Agree to the marriage…or disagree. I strongly advise you not to make a decision until you’ve spoken with Loukas Andreou.’

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