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The Greek Commands His Mistress(13)

By:Lynne Graham

‘From the moment I let you into my life I had that right. Did you spend the night with him?’

Battling to keep her temper over that far-reaching declaration of his rights over her, Lilah swallowed hard. ‘No, I didn’t. Josh dropped me straight home. There was one kiss, Bastien, nothing more.’ She frowned at him, dismayed by the depth of his distrust. ‘He’s never kissed me before, and I wasn’t expecting it. He was just trying it on.’

‘You didn’t try to stop him.’

‘He’s a friend and we had an audience.’ Lilah grimaced. ‘I didn’t want to make a big scene of rejecting him in front of everyone. It would have made us all feel horribly uncomfortable.’

Bastien studied her, torn between belief and disbelief. His lean, strong features remained hard and set, his tawny eyes veiled by his lashes. The silence lay there, thick as a swamp between them.

‘You were too generous. You’re mine now,’ Bastien told her in a raw, gritty undertone. ‘I will not tolerate any other man touching you.’

‘Bastien...I don’t want anyone following me around, spying on me.’

‘It goes with the territory. It’s for my peace of mind and your protection.’

‘I don’t need protection.’

‘That’s my decision,’ Bastien decreed, snapping off the light in a sudden movement that made her flinch.

‘Bastien...?’ Lilah whispered.

A powerful silhouette, he hovered. ‘What?’

‘Sometimes you really, really annoy me.’

‘That cuts both ways.’

Bastien studied her slight figure in the bed and then strode into the room to flip back the duvet and scoop her up into his arms.

‘What are you doing?’ she gasped in consternation as he strode into the room next door to hers.

Bastien thrust back the sheet on his bed and settled her on the mattress. ‘I want you where I can see you,’ he told her curtly.

‘You told me that I was getting my own room,’ she reminded him breathlessly.

‘For what remains of tonight, I’ve changed my mind.’ Removing his jacket, he cast it on a chair, a lean, strong band of muscle flexing below his shirt. ‘I’m going for a shower,’ he extended, without any expression at all.

Lilah curled up in a ball on one side of the bed, too tired and wrung out to agonise or argue. So that was that? There was to be no further discussion?

Bastien had assumed that she had slept with Josh last night. Did he believe that she hadn’t? Did she care whether he believed her or not?

He was so...so...volatile. She hadn’t been prepared for that—had assumed that deep down inside he was cold as ice and detached. She had been wrong. In addition, only a few hours ago she would have been overcome with embarrassment at the prospect of facing Bastien again. At least she would’ve been until Bastien himself had dismissed what they had shared as ‘innocent’, which had certainly clarified matters as far as she was concerned.

Years of standing back and protecting herself while other people dabbled in sex had, she had decided ruefully, made her prudish and naive. As far as Bastien was concerned nothing worthy of note had yet happened between them. Why else would he have called an episode that had shocked her ‘innocent’? And if he wasn’t disturbed or embarrassed by it why should she be?

The arrival of a lavish breakfast tray awakened Lilah the next day. She glanced at the dent in the pillow next to her own and marvelled at the reality that she had fallen asleep with Bastien beside her and, in spite of his presence, slept like a log.

She was tucking into a chocolate croissant and covered in crumbs when Berdina, one of Bastien’s personal assistants, arrived to tell her that Bastien was in a meeting and that after a brief appointment with Bastien’s lawyer she would be flying to Paris with Bastien in a couple of hours.

While wondering why she was to meet with a lawyer, Lilah packed her new wardrobe and picked out a stylish electric blue coat and fine dress to wear. These designer clothes were props, to support the role that she was being well paid to play, Lilah told herself firmly. Bastien was reopening Moore Components and re-employing the workforce—including her father. That was her payoff. That was why she was with Bastien in the first place.

She needed to remind herself of that reality on a regular basis. There was nothing complicated about their agreement. Bastien had made it all completely straightforward, hadn’t he? He wanted her and he had worked out exactly what it would take to persuade her to surrender to his demands. He had proved that she had a price, and she doubted she would ever be able to forgive him for being right about that.

When she emerged from the bedroom the lawyer was waiting to present her with the confidentiality contract that she had agreed to sign.

The older man settled the slim document on the table and Lilah sat down to read it. He drew her attention to various clauses and handed her a pen. It was fairly standard stuff, and after adding her signature she passed the document back.

Porters had arrived to pick up her luggage, and she vacated the hotel in Berdina’s company.

‘We’re lunching with François and Marielle Durand in Paris,’ Bastien informed Lilah the instant she sat down opposite him on board his sleek, opulent jet. He wore a charcoal-grey suit, superbly tailored to his lean, powerful frame, and his white shirt framed his strong bronzed jaw.

‘Who are they?’ Lilah asked curiously.

‘Marielle is an ex, now married to François. Including you in the arrangement will make it a more relaxed meeting,’ Bastien opined with smooth assurance as coffee was served.

His admission that Marielle Durand was a former lover sent Lilah’s interest hurtling into the stratosphere.

‘This is for you...’ Bastien tossed down a credit card on the table between them. ‘While I’m taking care of business this morning you will go shopping, and I’ll pick you up when it’s time for lunch—’

Lilah studied the credit card with a sinking heart and pushed it away several inches. ‘I don’t want to spend your money,’ she told him tightly.

‘I didn’t give you a choice. Spending my money goes with the territory and I expect you to do it,’ Bastien decreed, flicking the card back towards her with the tip of a forceful finger.

Lilah reminded herself that she didn’t have to buy anything and put the card in her clutch bag for the sake of peace. It had not escaped her notice that Bastien’s staff watched her every move, visibly curious about her connection with their employer. That interest implied that, from the outside at least, her relationship with Bastien appeared unusual in some way.

She lifted her chin and collided unexpectedly with Bastien’s smouldering dark golden eyes. Her temperature rose and her heartbeat thundered, the tip of her tongue sliding out to moisten the dryness of her full lower lip. She was helplessly recalling the expert stroke of Bastien’s fingers over the most intimate part of her body and reddening to the roots of her hair.

‘Se thelo... I want you...’ Bastien breathed thickly.

Lilah couldn’t have found her voice to save herself. Hot colour inflamed her pale complexion, her eyes widening she gazed back at him, taken aback by his candour.

A long, tanned forefinger skimmed down the back of her hand where it rested on the tabletop. ‘I’ve never waited as long for any woman as I’ve waited for you. Of course I’m hot for you. Last night only whetted my appetite, koukla mou.’

As he touched her Lilah tore her gaze from his and yanked her hand back out of reach. ‘You weren’t waiting,’ she told him with tart emphasis, before she could think better of it. ‘Over the past two years you’ve been with one woman after another.’

A winged ebony brow climbed. ‘Keeping count, were you?’ Bastien quipped.

‘Why would I care what you do?’ Lilah traded, hot cheeked.

‘I don’t want you to care about me in any way,’ Bastien countered without hesitation, his stunning dark eyes welded to her expressive face. ‘This is sex, nothing more.’

Lilah lifted a delicate brow. ‘What else could it be?’

Walking through the airport in Paris with Bastien, she was disconcerted to move beyond the barrier and suddenly find a phalanx of cameras aimed at them. Dismay gripped her, because the last thing she wanted was to be publically outed as Bastien Zikos’s latest ‘hottie’.

In an effort to lessen that risk she stepped away from Bastien and endeavoured to act more like an employee than a lover. The cameras continued to flash regardless. Questions were shouted, asking who she was in both French and English. They, like the photographers, were ignored.

Her colour fluctuating, Lilah climbed into the limo outside the airport accompanied by Berdina, who was to act as her guide on the shopping trip, and Ciro, who was with her for security. By that time Lilah was worrying that her family or her friends would see photos of her with Bastien in the papers and become suspicious that she was doing more than simply working for him.

But once the affair was over would that really matter? she asked herself ruefully.

The car whisked them to the Avenue Montaigne, where a whole range of designer shops were located.

While Berdina’s attention was elsewhere Lilah looked up Marielle Durand on her phone. Photos of a slender exquisite blonde cascaded across the screen and Lilah swallowed hard. Marielle had been a famous model before her marriage.