HARLEQUIN FREE ONLINE READ: Get A Peek Into The Greek Tycoon’s Ultimatum By Lucy Monroe
FREE ONLINE READ:
A Peek into the Lives of Leiandros & Savannah Kiriakis from The Greek Tycoon’s Ultimatum
By Lucy Monroe
Over the years, I’ve received countless questions from readers about what happened to this or that character, did they have a baby, was the baby a boy or girl, what are they doing now?
Some characters have gotten cameos in other books, like Leiandros Kiriakis from The Greek Tycoon’s Ultimatum. He showed up in The Greek’s Christmas Baby, but was also mentioned in Not Just the Greek’s Wife. Sebastian Hawk showed up in other books, both before and after his own book (Forbidden: The Billionaire’s Virgin Princess) was written.
In fact, he has a cameo in my upcoming May release, Kostas’s Convenient Bride.
For my compassionate and patient readers, and particularly those who have asked over the years: What ever happened to so-and-so, was their baby a boy or a girl, will their children grow up and get their own stories?” These vignettes peeking into the lives of past characters are for you!
These vignettes are not intended to be books, or even novellas. They do not follow typical story structure with a beginning, a middle, a story climax and an ending. The beginning for each vignette was the book it’s based on. Simply put, these are codas, the asked-for glimpses into the lives of favorite characters.
Each of those glimpses is different. Some are very short, others are near novella length and the rest fall somewhere in between. A few are sexy and sensual, all are a bit emotional, but a couple will take you on a new heart-wrenching journey with the characters.
All answer the question “What happened after the HEA?”
I’ll be releasing a new vignette every couple of weeks so be sure to keep an eye on the Harlequin blog as there will be seven in total. It is my sincere hope that you will find as much joy reading these peeks into the lives of the characters as I had writing them.
Love and hugs,
Leiandros & Savannah Kiriakis
from The Greek Tycoon’s Ultimatum (2003)
December, fifteen years after the birth of the twins
Taking a moment to enjoy the scene before her, Savannah Kiriakis stopped in the doorway to their living room. Both the older girls were home from university for a month. Savannah had missed them so much. Despite the fact that Eva was in her third year attending an American college and Nyssa, who had followed her to the United States for school, was now in her second year, Savannah had never gotten used to them being gone.
Neither had Leiandros, though he was less willing to admit it.
He was here now, though, and had been all day, visiting with the girls and the twins, who were also out of school for the winter break.
Her gorgeous tycoon husband looked up and their eyes caught, her breath going shallow just like it always had. She’d never learned to take for granted her reaction to the man who did his best to show her his love every single day. Perhaps because her first marriage had been so painful and not at all sexually compatible, she still found wonder in how perfectly she and Leiandros, tycoon, family man and amazing husband, fit.
“What are you thinking with that look on your face?” he asked, coming forward to take her hand in his and press a kiss to her cheek. “You look beautiful.”
“Thank you. I was thinking what a perfect husband you are.”
“Oh, please. Let’s not go all mom-and-dad sappy before dinner,” Nyssa, their twenty-year-old daughter, teased.
Bea, their youngest daughter and one of the fifteen-year-old twins, rolled her eyes. “They’re always like this. It doesn’t matter what time of day.”
“Would you prefer we argued all the time?” Leiandros lobbed right back, while tugging Savannah to sit on the sofa with him.
“You can’t argue when you always give in,” Leo said with an eye roll very much like his twin’s.
Savannah gave her son a mock frown. “Your father does not always give in.”
“To you, he does. He’s got other billionaire business colleagues quaking in their shoes, but you just have to look a little upset and boom, whatever you want.” Her son did not sound as disgusted as his words might imply.
In fact, his tone was wholly approving and a little wistful. Savannah couldn’t help wondering if there was a certain daughter of one of their friends that inspired the desire to be the same. At fifteen, they were far too young for permanent commitments, but Leo and Chara Kouros had a connection that seemed very familiar to Savannah.
She just hoped their lives allowed them to explore it without the trauma, guilt and pain she and their father had experienced finding their way to each other.
And still…fifteen was too young.
“Now you’ve got that my children are growing up too fast look on your face,” Bea said, looking just a tad more concerned than Savannah thought she would with such an offhand remark.
“You all are growing up too fast!” Savannah’s smile slipped a little as she accepted in that moment that, in the not-too-distant future, each of the incredible children she’d spent the last two-plus decades pouring her heart into would be leaving the nest.
“Now she looks about to cry.” Nyssa jumped up from where she’d been sitting beside the tree and rushed over to give Savannah an impromptu hug. “It’s okay, Mama. We’re still here.”
“I love you all so much. My life as your mom has been so full, so perfect.”
“You can say that after how I screamed at you during my teenage years?” Nyssa asked with a laugh.
Savannah felt the tears her daughter had teased about burning the back of her eyes as she nodded vehemently. “You are stubborn, a little dramatic and perfect.”
“I’m so not perfect.” Nyssa shook her head. “But you always see the best in us children, even when we’re calling you names and sending dad into apoplectic fits with our rebellions.”
“I have never been apoplectic, I assure you.” Leiandros managed to utter that blatant lie without a single blink.
“So that wasn’t you shouting the house down when Eva and I ditched our bodyguards and spent the day shopping in Athens before going to a club?” Nyssa tormented her father with a memory that still caused the indestructible tycoon to wake in a cold sweat at night.
“But you have promised to never do that again,” Savannah said before her husband’s good mood disappeared in memories.
Nyssa grinned, unrepentant. “Never again. I promised.”
“And we let them go to university in America. What were we thinking?” Leiandros asked, not altogether teasing.
“I don’t know!” It wasn’t Savannah answering that way to her husband, but their oldest daughter looking suddenly ready to explode with some terrible emotion.
Savannah was on her feet in a second, headed across the room, but still Leiandros reached their usually quiet, not at all dramatic daughter before Savannah did.
He pulled the now-crying twenty-one-year-old into his arms. “It is all right, moro mou. Papa will fix whatever it is, I promise.”
“You can’t fix this,” Eva wailed. “Not even you.”
Savannah looked around at the other children, to see if any of them had an inkling what this wholly unexpected meltdown was about. Nyssa was staring at her older sister like she’d grown a second head. No joy there, then. Leo looked panicked, like he didn’t know what to do to make it better and didn’t like that feeling at all.
But Bea, Eva’s fifteen-year-old sister, was biting her lip, her eyes, the same espresso brown as her father’s, filled with concern and understanding.
Savannah pressed her hand to her sobbing eldest daughter’s back, but focused on the youngest. “Bea? Do you know what’s going on?”
Bea wrapped her arms around her stomach and nodded. “Please don’t make me tell you. That’s for Eva to do. It’s not my place.”
Savannah gave Bea as reassuring a smile as she could muster.
What on earth was going on with her usually even-tempered daughter? Despite being an artist and going for a fine arts degree, Eva was the most levelheaded of Savannah’s children. And she had plans. For her life, for her siblings. One of those plans had to have gone awry for this kind of reaction, but honestly, if it wasn’t Nyssa, and her baffled expression said she had no idea what was going on, Savannah couldn’t imagine which of her children could have gone off the rails to cause this kind of reaction.
“What?” Leiandros shouted loud enough to make Savannah jump. “What did you just say to me?” he asked their daughter, his expression utterly astounded.
“You heard me,” Eva said, making no move to leave the comfort of her father’s arms.
“You are pregnant?” Leiandros asked, his tone too bewildered to be angry, despite his earlier shout.
Savannah didn’t hear her daughter’s answer. Blood was rushing too loudly in Savannah’s ears. The room had lost all its oxygen, too, and she didn’t know what to do about that, but no matter how many breaths she took, she felt like her chest was too tight. The world went a little black around the edges, but Savannah refused to sway on her feet.
Her daughter couldn’t see her dismay. Not right now. She needed support. Love. Encouragement. Inside, Savannah was screaming; terror unlike she’d felt since ending her marriage with a monster took over her brain. Fear for her daughter. Fear for the baby she carried. Worry for their family, concern for Leiandros. Because he adored his children. He would take this on himself, thinking somehow, something he had done had brought this about.
Was it the end of the world? No.
But Savannah’s heart screamed at her. What if the father was that terrible boy Eva had been dating? The one the bodyguards had warned them got physical when he got angry; although, because of their presence, he’d never crossed that line with Eva. Only, someone had crossed some line, because Eva wasn’t pregnant without having had sex.
Savannah wanted to remind her that she’d promised not to ditch the bodyguards again, but now was not the time. Savannah had to stuff her fears way down. She had to let the love she felt for her daughter rise to the top. She was the voice of hope in their family, the emotional barometer, and if she didn’t keep it together, everything would fall apart.
Never had she felt so sure that her own emotions did not matter, that they could not show, as in that moment when faced with her daughter’s pregnancy.
Eva was a year and a half from being finished with school. Did she even think about that? She’d had the opportunity to do things with her life that Savannah never had, the safety net that Savannah had lost when her aunt had developed Alzheimer’s when she was nineteen.
“It will be okay,” Leiandros was saying. “You are not alone.”
“Mama?” Eva asked, her voice trembling.
Savannah hugged her daughter tight. “Your father is right. We are a family. Whatever you want to do, we will support you.”
“I want to finish school, but that’s not fair, is it? After all, I made the mistake, nobody else.” Eva was crying again.
Savannah gently nudged her husband out of the way so she could take her daughter’s face in her hands and meet beautiful green eyes. “Listen to me, right now, Eva. Yes, you had sex with a man and became pregnant. I’m not sure how that happened with the bodyguards, much less the birth control you’re on, but it happened. And we will go forward as a family.”
“No, no buts, no questioning the love of your parents. I’ve adored you since the moment you were conceived, your father has loved you nearly as long, but just as deeply. You are our daughter, and this child? This child you carry is our grandchild.”
“I don’t know what I want to do, what I can do.”
“Let’s start with what you want.”
“You’re not giving that baby up,” Nyssa said with characteristic firmness and certainty of her own opinion. “He or she isn’t just yours, but ours, as well.”
“I know that,” Eva said, giving her sister a grateful look, rather than the frown Savannah might have expected after that bit of bossiness. “I want the baby. I want to stay in school.”
“And the father?” Leiandros asked in even tones that meant he was doing his best to control his emotions, as well.
“He’s not in the picture. I don’t want him in the picture. When I told him I was pregnant, he…” Eva had to collect herself. “He hit me.”
“I will kill him and bury him so deep no one will ever find the body.”
Savannah had no doubt her husband meant every word he said. She shook her head firmly. “No. We will let the lawyers take care of this. You aren’t laying a hand on anybody. In fact, you’ll pay him off if that’s what it takes to get him to sign over parental rights.”
“His rights will be nil here in Greece. Good luck proving his parentage in our courts.”
“Nevertheless, we aren’t going that route. We’re getting the papers signed.” Savannah looked around her family, letting every single one of them know just how serious she was right now. “We are going to grow by one within the next year, and every single one of us will take on whatever role we are meant to with grace and love.”
“Yes, Mama,” all of her children said while Leiandros inclined his head, his expression saying, Of course.
“All right. As to school—”
“She’s not going back to the US. In fact, neither girl is going so far away again.” Oh, Leiandros was going into full-on protection mode.
If Savannah didn’t rein him in quickly, he’d have the younger children learning with tutors and the girls finishing their university years at an all-girls college as close as he could find one.
“We will discuss where our daughters are going to university later,” Savannah said, then went for the strategic change of subject. “We still have an annual party to host tonight. Our family’s new addition and the changes the baby will bring will have to wait until tomorrow.”
“Chara is coming tonight,” Leo said.
Savannah bit back a smile. Like she didn’t know the Kouros teenager was one of the three guests she’d allowed her son to invite to the adult party.
“As tempted as you may be to discuss this new situation with your friends, we are not announcing Eva’s pregnancy until we have solidified our future plans. Is that understood?” Leiandros’s tone and firm jaw did not invite argument.
Neither Savannah nor the children gave him one.
Savannah crawled into bed feeling older than her forty-seven years, so exhausted, her limbs ached. Hosting their annual Christmas party was always tiring, but doing it with the secret knowledge that her oldest daughter was pregnant by a man who had struck her when she told him? Now, that had challenged Savannah right down to her soul.
Leiandros didn’t climb in on his own side, but came into the bed on hers, pulling her under him and blanketing her body with his big one in that way that always made her feel safe. “Everything will work out. You need to trust me, agape mou.”
“She had sex with that awful boy.”
“We have all had sex with people we wish we had not. At least she is not compounding the mistake by trying to build a relationship with him.”
“But he’ll always be a part of the baby’s life.”
“No. He will not.”
“Even you can’t guarantee that, Leiandros.”
Savannah had never gotten to a place where her husband’s arrogance annoyed her. Okay, sometimes in the moment, but for the most part? His absolute confidence gave her a sense of security she’d never known in her first marriage, or even while growing up as she had done.
“Promise me, Leiandros,” she begged him. “Promise me our daughter’s life isn’t going to implode and she isn’t going to spend the next two decades forcibly connected by the string of their child to a man who hit her.”
“I do promise you. Even if he takes anger-management counseling and chooses to pursue visitation, our daughter will never have to see him again.”
The tension that had been holding so tightly to Savannah since her daughter had dropped the I’m pregnant bombshell began to dissipate. Okay, so Eva wasn’t finished with university. And the final year could well take longer than one, but they had resources Savannah had not had in her early adulthood. Perhaps that wasn’t fair, but she didn’t care. Her daughter was never going to feel like she’d done something wrong or awful getting pregnant or being a single mom.
Leiandros chose to complete her relaxation through means he had perfected in twenty years of marriage.
He wasn’t doing a thing to help her relax on Christmas Eve as he blithely told the rest of their family that Eva and Nyssa would be completing their university education in Europe.
Nyssa gasped, turned red and glared like she was ready to throttle the stepfather who had treated her more lovingly and accepted her more completely than her biological one ever had. “I am not transferring schools.”
Nyssa didn’t yell. She’d learned long ago that raising her voice didn’t get her heard, but oh, the look she cast Leiandros said he had the fight of his life on his hands if he thought she was buckling to his wishes in this instance.
Leiandros grimaced, acknowledging her stance, but his stubbornly held jaw said he wasn’t swayed by it. “I am sorry if you are disappointed, but that is exactly what is going to happen.”
“Why have you decided this?” his mother, Baptista, asked, her expression concerned. She’d helped Savannah convince Leiandros to allow first Eva, then Nyssa, to go to university in the States.
“You aren’t making me pay for Eva’s mistake. I have friends at school. I’m in the best program for my major. My professors like me. I’m not quitting school because you’re angry.”
“I am not angry.”
“Then why punish us?” Eva asked, her eyes glistening with tears. “If you aren’t ashamed of me and disappointed in me for getting pregnant—”
“I thought we weren’t talking about that in front of anyone else,” Leo interrupted.
Leiandros shrugged. “That was in front of others. Everyone here is family and there is nothing to be ashamed of discussing this openly,” he emphasized.
Too little, too late, in Savannah’s opinion, but she silently acknowledged the effort. “And still, I think you might have shown a little more tact in sharing our daughter’s good fortune,” Savannah chided her husband.
“Good fortune? He’s so furious with me, he’s punishing Nyssa by association!” Eva’s voice was so loud it could be heard over the cacophony of voices that had broken out with the announcement of her pregnancy.
It was so unlike her, so shocking to hear quiet Eva screaming at the top of her lungs, everyone in the room went silent.
Even Leiandros. He stared at her with consternation and shock. “I’m not angry with you, my daughter. I’m angry at myself for not protecting you.”
“Was she raped?” Helena, his aunt and Savannah’s former mother-in-law, asked with less tact than even her bullheaded nephew had shown.
“I was not raped!” Eva’s eyes snapped with fury, her tone glacial. “I had sex. With a man who is not ready to be a father, even less so to be a boyfriend or, heaven forbid, a husband.”
“What does that mean?” Sandros, her biological grandfather (and uncle to her stepfather) demanded. “Was it like Dion with Savannah?”
He asked about Savannah’s first marriage, the one to his son, Dion. The result of which had been her two beautiful daughters Leiandros loved every bit as much as the twins they’d had together.
“A little,” Eva said with dignity, breaking Savannah’s heart. “Not as bad.”
The girls knew Dion had forced Savannah to flee with them to America, and if not all the intimate details, enough about that history to hopefully never make the same mistakes their mother had. And her daughter hadn’t.
Eva didn’t want to marry the man who had hit her and no doubt denied the paternity of their child.
Sandros turned gray, falling against the wall. His daughter Iona’s husband made a sound of shock and worry before leaping forward to guide the older man to sit on the sofa. “It is all right, Sandros. Your granddaughter is fine.”
Iona’s children, closer in age to Leo and Bea than Nyssa and Eva, were asking questions, making remarks that Savannah hoped her daughter was ignoring and, in general, acting with all the drama of teenagers.
Savannah gave her husband a serious look of reproach before settling her gaze on the other teens in the room. “You all need to calm down. My daughter is pregnant, not dying of an incurable disease. In a few months, I’m going to be a grandmother and I’m delighted about that fact. Anyone who doesn’t feel as I do is welcome to keep his or her opinion to themselves.”
“You’re really not mad at her, Aunt Savannah?” her youngest niece asked.
“No. I’m proud of her for coming to her father and me and being honest. I’m so very proud she realizes a man who reacts with his fists in anger is not ready for an adult relationship, or marriage. But most of all? I’m just grateful we are a close and loving family and I get to be a part of this baby’s life. Full stop.”
“How would you be if she went back to the States?” Leiandros demanded, sounding belligerent.
Which only happened when he was worried.
“You know I love your arrogance, but you aren’t making these kinds of decisions for our daughters. Do I hope that Eva will transfer to a local university to finish her degree? Yes, of course. But there’s no reason she can’t finish out this year. Even less of a nonexistent reason for her sister to leave the school she is enjoying so much.”
“And that man? How are we to protect her from him, if she is over there and we are over here?”
“First, I think she files an assault report, though without physical evidence, it probably won’t go anywhere.” Savannah had documented everything Dion had done to her and still, it hadn’t been a walk in the park keeping him out of her life. “Second, we get more security assigned to both girls until we are assured of their safety.”
Nyssa groaned, but she didn’t argue, which said she was fully aware of how serious her father was about pulling the financial plug on school in America.
“Third.” Savannah smiled at both her daughters. “We trust our daughters to continue to make mostly good choices and protect themselves by being smart.”
“That is all well and good, in theory,” Iona (her former sister-in-law and Leiandros’s cousin) said with some asperity. “But in reality, two women from our family should never have gone to America for college to begin with. They are the stepdaughters of one of Greece’s wealthiest men. The fortune hunters have open range on them there.”
“Fortune hunters come in every nationality, Io,” Savannah said.
“There’s nothing wrong with a Kiriakis attending school in America. If you haven’t forgotten, our mother is from there.” Leo was giving Io an offended look, his stance combative.
“I haven’t forgotten.”
“That is enough.” Leiandros’s tone dripped ice. “Savannah had every right to want her children to experience some of her heritage after graciously allowing our family to remain in Greece after we wed.”
“Where else would you go?” Iona scoffed.
“Oh, I don’t know. The US maybe?” Bea asked with the perfect sarcasm of a fifteen-year-old girl.
“Beatrice, you will not be disrespectful to your aunt,” Sandros ordered.
“She’s not my aunt. She’s my cousin. And I wasn’t being rude, I was being honest. There is a difference.”
But her daughter was heading toward the cliff on that one fast. Savannah sighed. Really? Why had Leiandros decided to open this can of worms now?
Eva was looking ready to bolt and Savannah didn’t blame her.
Leiandros noticed, too, and his expression went stoic like he did sometimes, then he grimaced and he sighed. He crossed the few feet to Eva and pulled her into his arms. “I apologize. My arrogance got away with me again. I should have allowed you to make this announcement in your own time.”
Eva nodded from where she’d let her forehead fall against her father’s chest, hiding from the rest of them. “Yes.”
“I am not ashamed of you. I am not angry with you.”
“Then don’t punish me.”
“How will you care for the baby without your mother’s and my help?”
“Other women do it, but I don’t want to. I admit that. Maybe it makes me weak, but I want you two around.”
“So, you come home.”
“After next term. I’ll move home permanently in the summer. I’m glad both you and Mom want me to finish school, because I want my degree, but I want this baby more.”
“Good. It will take every bit of that passion to be a single mother and do right by your child.”
“I know.” Oh, Eva sounded so lost.
Leiandros pulled her into a tight hug. “You are not alone.”
“We’re all with you,” Nyssa announced with a glare around the room, daring any of their relatives to disagree. “But I’m still not finishing college in Europe.”
Her father laughed. “You are stubborn.”
“Like you aren’t?” she challenged.
Savannah smiled, feeling like the crisis had been averted.
Sandros pulled himself up from the sofa and crossed the room to lay his hand on Eva’s shoulder. “Congratulations, granddaughter. I won’t pretend it isn’t difficult for an old man like me to accept this single-motherhood thing, but we made the mistake once long ago of not accepting family as they needed and lost the first few years of your and Nyssa’s life. I will never allow that mistake purchase in my family again. This great-grandchild will be celebrated and loved.”
And it was. The next summer, when the little baby girl was born, every member of the Kiriakis family showed their love and welcome volubly and often.
Savannah would never regret her decision to marry her arrogant tycoon, the only man who had ever shown unconditional, powerful, protective love toward her and who, once he started, had never stopped.
About the Author
With more than seven million copies of her books in print worldwide, award-winning and USA TODAY bestselling author Lucy Monroe has published over sixty books and had her stories translated for sale all over the world. While she writes multiple subgenres of romance, all her books are sexy, deeply emotional and adhere to the concept that love will conquer all. A passionate devotee of romance, she adores sharing her love for the genre with her readers.
Look for Lucy Monroe’s next title from Harlequin Presents:
Kostas’s Convenient Bride
Coming May 2018!