Saturday Excerpt: The Greek’s Blackmailed Mistress by Lynne Graham
Start off your weekend with a passionate read you’ll never forget. Featuring a sexy billionaire hero, you’ll definitely want to keep a cool drink nearby before you dive into this steamy book!
Three months between the Greek’s sheets!
Blackmailed into the billionaire’s bed? Elvi can’t believe her attempt to appeal to heartless Xan’s benevolent side has gone so wrong! But to save her stepmother’s job, she nervously agrees to the Greek’s outrageous terms. Xan is gorgeous with a damaged side only Elvi sees—but how will he react when he realizes that his new mistress is an innocent virgin?
‘I’m too beautIful to be dumped,’ Fabiana told Xan in all seriousness, her perfect face a mask of disbelief. ‘It’s my poor English, isn’t it? I’m picking you up wrong—’
‘No,’ Xan contradicted with gravity, smoothly switching to her native Spanish. ‘The movers will be here in an hour to help you pack. We’ve been together two months. I did tell you that this arrangement wouldn’t last any longer than that—’
‘But you can’t not want me any more—’ Giving her reflection an appreciative appraisal in the nearest mirror, Fabiana fluffed up her fall of tumbling dark curls.
‘I don’t want you any more,’ Xan countered, losing patience, beginning to wonder how the hell he had enjoyed even one encounter with the brunette, infused as she was with astronomical vanity.
‘Where am I supposed to go?’ Fabiana demanded abruptly, studying him in frustration, silently recognizing that she was unlikely to ever have a better- looking man in her bed. Six foot three and beautifully built, his black hair cropped short over a lean, devastatingly handsome face, the Greek financial guru, Xan Ziakis, would be a very hard act to follow and without him she would lose access to the exclusive events she had so much enjoyed.
‘Your possessions will be stored and a hotel room has been engaged for you,’ Xan clarified, on firmer ground now because he had been changing mistresses every couple of months for years. There was nothing new about the status quo and Fabiana had benefitted richly from their association even though his visits had been few.
Reflecting on that last surprising truth, Xan questioned his libido. He was only thirty years old. Obviously he was bored with Fabiana, he told himself impatiently. Yet, in truth, work and the pursuit of profit had always won out over the thrill of sex for Xan. Some day he would heed his mother’s endless pleas and start dating with a view to taking a wife but that day was many years off. His father, Helios, had married five times over, gifting Xan with a costly and troublesome flock of half-siblings, and he was determined not to repeat his father’s mistakes. Helios had married too young while Xan intended to wait until he was in his forties, at the very least, and had sown every last wild oat available to him.
Not that Fabiana and her faceless, virtually indistinguishable predecessors had much in common with wild oats, he conceded with wry self-mockery. All his bed partners had been models or minor actresses, the sort of women who understood that he paid generously for everything they wanted in return for their bodies. Framed in those words, it sounded crude, he acknowledged without shame, but that very basic format worked well for him and the one time he had tried another approach, when he had been both young and idealistic, it had gone badly wrong for him.
Xan believed love was a dangerous risk. His father had fallen in love repeatedly with demonstrably unsuitable women. Xan had had his heart broken when he was only twenty-one and nothing would’ve persuaded him to revisit that learning experience.
A financial genius, who had become a billionaire by the age of twenty-five, Xan was the acclaimed mastermind behind City coups worth billions. He had quickly repaired the giant hole in the Ziakis family fortunes left by his imprudent father, and had simply chosen to organize his sex life much as he organized everything else around him because disorder of any kind put him in a bad mood. He liked his life smooth; he preferred a routine he virtually never deviated from. He would not risk the upheaval of marriage breakdowns and hugely expensive divorces that had decimated his father’s wealth. He was stronger than that and infinitely cleverer, indeed smarter than most of the people around him, and the only risks he took were in the financial field where he trusted his gut and aggressive instincts.
His phone vibrated, instantly freeing him from all awareness of Fabiana’s presence. He dug it out, immediately wondering why Dmitri, the head of his security team, would be contacting him. A moment later, he found out and he was enraged. Someone had dared to steal something very precious from him, and he stalked out of the apartment his mis- tresses used without another word to the brunette. His penthouse apartment was his sanctuary where he entertained neither women nor anyone else. The idea that any person could violate his London home in spite of all the security he had put in place sent his hot temper nuclear.
‘The maid?’ he breathed with audible distaste. ‘Or her son. She let him into the apartment even though it’s against the rules,’ Dmitri filled in stiffly. ‘I could pursue this discreetly or call the police—’
‘You call the police and provide them with the evidence,’ Xan cut in fiercely. ‘You punish them with the full weight of the law!’
Xan collected imperial jade that cost him shocking sums and he had placed that little brush pot in the hall for his own enjoyment because it was a remarkably tactile piece and had once belonged to a Chinese emperor. In his penal frame of mind, whipping was too light a punishment for thieves.
The following day, Elvi’s teenaged brother flung himself into her arms and sobbed, ‘I’m so sorry… this whole nightmare is my fault!’
‘Let’s calm down,’ Elvi suggested gently, framing her little brother’s face with both small hands, recognizing from the anguish in his green eyes that he had been crying alone in his room for some time. ‘I’ll make some tea—’
‘I don’t want tea!’ Daniel protested. ‘I want to go down to the police station and admit it was me and not Mum!’
‘No, we’re going to talk about this first,’ Elvi over- ruled. ‘Mum protected you for a reason—’
‘Bloody medical school! It doesn’t matter—’
Of course it mattered, Elvi thought ruefully, that Daniel wanted to be a doctor like their late father. It was all he had ever wanted to be since he was a little boy and a conviction for theft would totally destroy that ambition. Furthermore, Daniel had already been awarded a place at Oxford to study because his academic results were the very best. She knew exactly why her mother had lied and taken the blame for her son, but what she could not understand or credit was that Daniel would ever have stolen anything.
‘I need to know what happened,’ she persisted quietly, seating herself on the bed where her dark- haired brother had flopped down to hang his head. He was getting so tall and lanky at just past eighteen that he was fast growing out of all his clothes, his jeans barely reaching his ankles and his enormous feet. She and Daniel bore not an ounce of re- semblance to each other because, although they had had the same father, they had had different mothers. Elvi’s mother had died when she was a baby, and her father’s second wife had adopted her and brought her up as her own. She was the short, plump one of the family, Elvi conceded ruefully, bright blue eyes troubled, pushing back the white-blonde hair sticking to her perspiring brow because she had run all the way home from work as soon as Daniel had phoned her.
‘Yesterday, I called to pick up Mum for her AA meeting but I was a bit early,’ Daniel confided.
Elvi heaved a sigh, for both of them tried to ensure that their mother went to regular meetings and since the summer arrived and Daniel had finished school and only contrived to find part-time employment, he had taken over the duty. Sally Cartwright deserved her family’s support to stay sober. She had been sober now for three long wonderful years but Elvi was painfully aware that alcoholism was an affliction that never entirely went away. Denying herself the craving for that one dangerous drink was what Sally dealt with every day.
‘She was cleaning something and had to finish it, so she told me to sit down in the hall and not to touch anything,’ Daniel grumbled. ‘Like I was a little kid or something and I was annoyed, so I didn’t listen…’
‘What did you touch?’ Elvi almost whispered. ‘There was this little jade pot sitting on the console table in a patch of sunlight—honestly, Elvi…it was the sort of thing I’ve only ever seen inside a museum case—and I just wanted to hold it for a minute, so I picked it up and took it over to the window to hold it up to the light because it was so delicate—’
‘And then what?’ Elvi prompted with anxious impatience.
Daniel studied her in almost childlike discomfiture. ‘Then the doorbell went and Mum rushed out to answer it and I kept the pot hidden in my hand because I didn’t want her to see what I’d been doing. Unluckily for me, the man at the door worked for Mr. Ziakis too and he was there to tell me that I shouldn’t be in the apartment in the first place and that I should be waiting for my mother downstairs. He made me leave immediately, like…he was sort of nice about it but I had no chance of putting the pot back with him standing there—’
‘For goodness’ sake, Daniel!’ Elvi erupted in vehe- ment protest. ‘You should’ve handed it to him straight away! The minute you stepped out of that apartment door with it, you labelled yourself a thief—’
‘Yeah, you think I don’t know that now?’ Daniel traded with laden irony. ‘But I gave way to panic and I concealed it, brought it home and stuck the blasted thing in a drawer. I planned to ask Mum to put it back for me tomorrow but apparently the housekeeper re- ported it missing when she turned in for work in the evening, so that was that. I missed the boat and—’ Stupid, stupid, stupid, repeated in Elvi’s head but she didn’t let the word pass her lips because she could see that her sibling was already painfully aware that he had acted like an impulsive and reckless total idiot. ‘When did the police get involved?’ she interposed.
‘This morning…they arrived with a search warrant and of course they found it. Mum asked me to go into her room to get her handbag and while I was in there she may have confessed to taking it because by the time I came back out again because I couldn’t find the blasted thing she was being arrested and read her rights,’ he revealed chokily, gulping back more unmanly sobs. ‘We need a solicitor—’
Elvi was thinking hard and fast but coming up with nothing. Her brain was still in shock. She wished she didn’t know as much about her mother’s fabulously wealthy employer as she did. He was the guy with the colour-coded closets and alphabetically arranged books. He had a desk that must never be touched and a bed that had to be changed every day. Her mother’s duties in his apartment were hedged in by a very detailed list of do’s and don’ts. That in the flesh the same male looked as though he had stepped straight out of a glossy magazine advertisement as a supermodel for designer apparel had struck Elvi as uniquely unfair.
She had read up about her mother’s employer on the Internet, learning more that had made her grind her teeth together. Why? Because, Xan Ziakis seemed to have been born under a very lucky star, blessed by every conceivable attribute, and all he seemed to have learned from his remarkable good fortune was a marked tendency to behave as though he suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Of course, maybe he did, she allowed ruefully, because nobody could possibly be that perfect in the real world. When she was still meeting her mother out of work to accompany her to AA meetings, she had seen Xan Ziakis coming home on several occasions while she sat waiting in the foyer of the luxury apartment block. And he was gorgeous to look at, absolutely, unmistakably gorgeous.
Is there a Harlequin book you’d like to see an excerpt for? Let us know in the comments which reads you’d like to take a peek at!