Home>>read The Greek Commands His Mistress free online

The Greek Commands His Mistress(14)

By:Lynne Graham

Her thoughts abstracted, Lilah prowled through Louis Vuitton, Dior and Chanel and browsed, before obeying the letter of the law in Ralph Lauren and flourishing Bastien’s credit card to buy Bastien a new tie. He couldn’t complain now, could he? She had bought something.

Bastien joined her at noon. ‘Where are your shopping bags?’ he demanded.

Lilah extracted the small package from her clutch and handed it to him. ‘For you.’

Bastien frowned at her. ‘For...me?’

‘You said I had to spend your money, so I did.’

Bastien unwrapped the gold silk tie and studied it in astonishment. ‘You bought me a tie?’

‘I won’t need anything new to wear this century, after the amount of stuff you bought in London,’ Lilah pointed out.

‘That wasn’t the point of the exercise,’ Bastien traded harshly. ‘The point is that, for once, I wanted you to do exactly as you were told.’

‘Sorry, sir, I’ll have to try harder,’ Lilah quipped.

‘Have you always found it this hard to follow instructions?’

‘When you’re issuing them...yes,’ she admitted ruefully.

‘You should want to please me,’ Bastien told her as blue eyes bright as sapphires met his critical gaze.

With her dark hair framing her triangular face and her eyes sparkling above her neat little nose and her full rosy mouth, she looked amazingly fragile and feminine—as well as fizzingly alive.


‘It puts me in a better mood.’

While Lilah tried to imagine Bastien’s moods influencing her in any way, the limo nosed back into the traffic.

The Durands lived in an imposing eighteenth-century townhouse on Ile Saint-Louis. A maid ushered them into an airy salon, where introductions were performed and drinks were served.

Keenly aware of Marielle Durand’s scrutiny, Lilah struggled to relax. Marielle was even more beautiful in the flesh than she had looked in her photographs, and Lilah was surprised to realise that the other woman was English.

Bastien surprised Lilah by closing his hand over hers to keep her close while he chatted to François. The conversation was solely in French, until Marielle addressed Lilah in English and asked her about her home town. Relieved not to be forced to stumble out any more stock phrases in her schoolgirl French, Lilah relaxed a little over the light lunch that was being served.

Over a glass of wine, the beautiful blonde invited Lilah to walk round the garden with her.

‘How long have you been with Bastien?’ Marielle asked with unconcealed curiosity, as soon as the men were out of earshot.

‘Only a few days,’ Lilah admitted wryly. ‘Am I allowed to ask when you...?’

‘Years and years ago—soon after I first made my name in the modelling world. He was probably my most exciting affair,’ the other woman confided with an abstracted laugh. ‘I adore my husband, but I’ve never felt anything like the excitement I once felt around Bastien. He’s a heartbreaker, though, too damaged to ever trust his heart to one woman and settle down.’

‘Damaged?’ Lilah queried with a frown.

‘Oh, I don’t know any details, but I’ve always been certain he must come from a challenging background. No man’s that hard to hold, and no man finds it that impossible to trust a woman without good reason,’ Marielle opined. ‘He was too complicated for me.’

And then Lilah made a discovery that disconcerted her: she liked complicated—actually enjoyed the challenge of wondering what made Bastien tick. He was like no other man she had ever met. Incalculably clever, impatient, volatile and unpredictable. He was an unashamed workaholic, evidently unfulfilled by the huge achievements he had already made. What had made him like that... Who had made him like that? What drove him? And why did she care?

‘You charmed the Durands very effectively,’ Bastien pronounced on their journey back to the airport. ‘You don’t have a jealous bone in your body where I’m concerned, do you?’

‘Why would I?’ Lilah parried, quickly overcoming her surprise at that unexpected stab. ‘I can’t think you’d welcome a possessive woman.’

That was certainly true, Bastien acknowledged grudgingly, and yet when he had glanced out through the patio doors standing open to the sunlight to see Delilah smiling and laughing, seemingly on the very best of terms with Marielle, he had been surprisingly riled by Delilah’s complete indifference to his past history with the beautiful blonde.

The faintest colour warmed Lilah’s cheeks, because although she had not been jealous or possessive she had felt uncomfortable in Marielle’s company—and positively nauseous at the knowledge that Bastien had been sexually intimate with her hostess.

‘Where are we going now?’ she asked, purely to change the subject.

‘I have a chateau in Provence...’


THEY LEFT THE airport in a rough terrain vehicle, with Bastien at the wheel and his security team following in another car.

The glorious Provençal light was beginning to fade, softening hard edges with shadow. They drove through rugged hills with deep gorges and fertile valleys. The hilltops were scattered with picturesque fortified villages with narrow meandering streets and sleepy shuttered houses. As the landscape grew increasingly spectacular the land became lusher. Ancient vineyards cloaked the sloping hills with ranks of bright green vines, while orchards of peaches, pears, nectarines and cherries flourished on stone terraces.

‘Did you inherit the chateau from your family?’ Lilah finally asked, unable to stifle her curiosity because Bastien had not offered a shred of further information.

‘I’m not from a rich family,’ Bastien told her drily. ‘My mother was a waitress born in an Athens back street. My father is a small-time property developer who is, admittedly, married to a very wealthy woman. Regrettably, he was never married to my mother.’

‘Oh...’ Lilah responded after an awkward pause. ‘When you mentioned your father giving your mother the sea horse pendant, and you thinking that you and your parents were the perfect family, you gave me a very different impression of your background.’

‘What I meant was that back then I was still young enough to be ignorant of exactly what their relationship entailed.’

‘And what did it entail?’

‘My father, Anatole, is married to another woman. My mother was his mistress. She once admitted to me that she deliberately chose to become pregnant with me because she believed my father would divorce his wife for her if she gave him a child,’ Bastien volunteered in the driest of tones. ‘Unhappily for her, her scheme failed—because my father’s wife had already conceived my half-brother, Leo, who is only a few months older than I am. My mother was extremely bitter about that development.’

‘And she told you that?’ Lilah pressed in consternation.

His beautifully shaped mouth quirked. ‘Athene wasn’t the maternal type, and she never did overcome her resentment at having the responsibility and expense of a child she no longer had any use for.’

Lilah compressed her full lips, the skin around her mouth bloodless from the force of will it took for her to remain silent in the face of what he was telling her. She was shocked, but she didn’t want to admit it, sensing that Bastien would ridicule her revulsion at his mother’s callous candour. But no child should know he was unwanted, she thought painfully. No child should have to live with the demeaning knowledge that he had only been conceived to be used as a piece of emotional blackmail in his mother’s battle to win a wedding ring from his father.

‘No comment? I felt sure you would have several moralising remarks to make.’

‘Then you were wrong. I know that all children don’t grow up in a picturebook-perfect world,’ Lilah breathed tautly. ‘Otherwise my father would have loved my mother and stayed faithful to her...’

‘He wasn’t?’ Bastien shot her a disconcerted look from frowning dark eyes. ‘You’re very close to your father. I naturally assumed...’

‘My parents weren’t happily married. There were always other women in my father’s life, and constant upsetting scenes in my home. He didn’t love my mother. They’d been together since they were teenagers, though, and everyone expected him to marry her—so eventually he did,’ she proffered ruefully. ‘It was a long time before I understood that succumbing to that social pressure had made him feel trapped in their marriage. He’s a different man with my stepmother.’

‘Did your father’s infidelity contribute to your judgemental view of me as a “shameless man whore”?’ Bastien shot at her, throwing her completely off balance.

Lilah flushed to the roots of her hair at having her own insult flung back at her two years after the event and when she’d least expected it. ‘Of course not... However, you are a womaniser, Bastien.’

‘But not a man whore. I have never been unfaithful to a lover,’ Bastien asserted levelly. ‘I have never taken indiscriminate sexual partners either. While my values may not be the same as yours, I do have standards.’

Mortification had claimed Lilah and it was eating her alive. She closed her hands together tightly on her lap. ‘I lost my temper that night. I shouldn’t have made such personal and disparaging comments to someone I barely knew,’ she conceded, hoping that her admission would close the subject.