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The Greek Commands His Mistress(3)

By:Lynne Graham

Halfway out of her coat, Lilah froze. ‘When did he arrive?’

‘The security guard said it was barely seven...talk about an early start!’ Julie gushed admiringly. ‘Mr Zikos has brought a whole team with him—I think that’s hopeful, don’t you? He is seriously good-looking too.’

Lilah’s coat finally made it on to the hook. Her slender spine was rigid. ‘Really?’

‘Absolutely beautiful...like a male supermodel. Maggie made coffee for him and even she agreed,’ Julie said, referring to the office cleaner and tea lady, a known man-hater, who was hard to impress. ‘But Maggie said it isn’t his first visit. Apparently he was here a couple of years back?’

‘Yes, he was. He was interested in buying this place then.’

‘You knew that? You’ve seen him before?’ Julie exclaimed in consternation. ‘Why didn’t you mention it?’

‘With all that’s been going on, it didn’t seem important,’ Lilah muttered, sitting down at her desk and closing her ears while Julie lamented her lack of interest in the new owner of Moore Components.

A young man with a neatly clipped beard entered their office an hour later. ‘Miss Moore?’ he asked, stopping in front of Lilah’s desk. ‘I’m one of Mr Zikos’ team—Andreas Theodakis. Mr Zikos would like to see you in his office.’

Lilah lost colour and tried and failed to swallow, scolding herself for the instantaneous fear that washed through her. Of course Bastien wasn’t going to harm her in any way. Why did even the thought of him charge her with near panic?

As she mounted the stairs she breathed slow and deep to compose herself. Bastien would want to crow, wouldn’t he? He had got the business at a knockdown price and the Moore family had lost it, exactly as he had predicted. Rich, powerful men probably liked to boast whenever they got the opportunity, she reasoned uncertainly. For, really, her brain cried, what did she know about rich, powerful men? After all, Bastien was the only rich and powerful man she had ever met.

He was using her father’s office, and it felt exceedingly strange to Lilah to be entering such a familiar space and find her father absent. Her eyes flickered super-fast over Bastien without pausing, as she registered that no other person was to be present for their meeting. Was that a good sign or a bad one?

‘Mr Zikos,’ she framed tightly.

‘Oh. I think you can still call me Bastien,’ he derided, studying her while wondering how on earth she could look so good in a plain black skirt of indeterminate length and a shapeless camel sweater.

Curly black hair lay in tumbled skeins across her shoulders. It was still the same length. He would have been vexed had she had it cut shorter. But, no, it was unchanged, and there was still something strangely fascinating about that long, long black hair that had ensnared his attention the instant he first saw it. And something equally memorable about the striking contrast between her bright blue eyes and her pale porcelain-fine skin.

Forced to look at him properly for the first time, Lilah froze, willing her rigid facial muscles to relax, ensuring that she betrayed no reaction to him. It was an exercise she had become adept at using in self-defence two years earlier. Her breath rattled in her throat, as if she had been dropped unexpectedly into a dark and haunted house where she was surrounded by unseen threats.

Bastien stood about six foot four inches tall, a clear twelve inches bigger than she was, which meant she could easily get away with focusing on his blue silk tie. But the glance she had got at him as she’d entered the office was still etched on her brain—as if it had been burned there in lines of fire with a red-hot poker.

Whether she liked it or not, Julie had hit it right on the nail: Bastien did have a supermodel look, from his sculpted high cheekbones, classically arrogant nose and strong jawline to his full, incredibly kissable lips. Uncomfortable warmth washed up over her skin and she reddened, gritting her teeth, because she knew that she was blushing and that he would notice. Why would he notice? Because Bastien never missed a trick.

‘Take a seat, Delilah...’ Bastien indicated one of the armchairs beside the coffee table in one corner of the spacious panelled room.

‘It’s Lilah,’ she corrected, and not for the first time.

He had always insisted on calling her by her full name—that name with its biblical connotations, which had caused her so much embarrassment from primary right up through to secondary school.

‘I prefer De-lilah,’ Bastien purred, with all the satisfaction of a jungle cat who had been lapping cream.

Lilah sank down in the chair, her slender spine too rigid to curve into the support of the seat. Her entire attention was locked on to Bastien and she clashed unwarily with his truly spectacular eyes. Tawny brown, golden in sunshine, literally mesmerising and surrounded by the most fabulous velvety black lashes, she reflected dizzily, plunged into one of the terrifying time-out-of-time lapses of concentration and discipline which Bastien had frequently inflicted on her two years earlier.

‘I can’t think why you would want to see me,’ Lilah told him quietly, just as the door opened and Maggie bustled in with a tray of coffee and biscuits.

Lilah jumped up and immediately removed the tray from the older woman’s grasp. Maggie had chosen to work well beyond retirement and, although she would never have admitted the fact, Maggie now found it difficult to carry heavy trays.

‘I would’ve been fine,’ Maggie scolded.

Lilah settled the tray of fancy silverware and fine china which her father’s secretary had kept for VIPs down on the table. Maggie departed. Lilah poured the coffee and sugared Bastien’s before she had even thought about what she was doing.

‘You can’t think why I would want to see you?’ Bastien queried, unimpressed by the claim. ‘How very modest you are...’

Suspecting him of mockery, Lilah flushed and extended his coffee to him. He reached for the cup and took a sip of the black, heavily sweetened coffee, smiling when he discovered that she had got it right.

Striving to play it cool and composed, Lilah lifted her own cup and saucer—but that smile...oh, that smile...was flipping up the corners of his beautiful mouth, transforming his lean, dark forbidding features with an almost boyish grin. Helplessly she stared, sapphire-blue eyes widening.

‘Today,’ Bastien drawled lazily, ‘you are a very influential young woman, because it is in your power to decide what happens next to Moore Components.’

Lilah kept on staring at him, literally locked into immobility by that astonishing assurance. ‘What on earth are you talking about?’


BASTIEN STUDIED HER, inordinate satisfaction glittering in his dark deep-set eyes. He had waited a long time for this particular moment and it was giving him even more of a kick than he had hoped.

‘I have a few options to put before you. The fate of Moore Components is now entirely in your hands.’

Lilah set her coffee down with a jarring rattle of china and leapt upright. ‘Why the heck would you say something like that to me?’ she demanded.

‘Because it’s the truth. I don’t lie and nor do I backtrack on promises,’ Bastien asserted levelly. ‘I assure you that what ultimately happens to this business will be solely your responsibility.’

Still frozen in place, Lilah blinked rapidly while she battled to concentrate. ‘I don’t understand. How can that be?’

‘You’re not that naïve,’ Bastien drawled with a curled lip. ‘You know I want you.’

‘Still?’ Lilah gasped in astonishment at that declaration, because after all two years had passed since their last meeting, and even six months on she would have expected Bastien barely to recall her name, never mind her face.

The faintest scoring of colour had flared across Bastien’s high cheekbones and he parted his lips, even white teeth flashing. ‘Still,’ he confirmed, with forbidding emphasis.

Lilah didn’t understand how that was possible. How could he still find her attractive after all the other women he had been with in the intervening months? It didn’t make sense to Lilah at all.

It was not as if she was some staggeringly beautiful woman who regularly stopped men dead in the street. Admittedly she had never had a problem attracting men, but retaining their interest when she wasn’t prepared to slide casually into bed with them had proved much more of a challenge. In fact, most men walked away fast sooner than test her boundaries, choosing to assume that she was either devoutly religious or desirous of a wedding-ring-sized commitment before she would share her body.

Lilah dropped back into the seat she had vacated, her brain buzzing with bewildered thoughts. How could Bastien’s continuing physical desire for her have anything to do with the business and its prospects? And how could he still find her attractive when he had so many other more sophisticated women in his life? Was it simply the fact that Lilah had once said no to him? Could a male as clever as Bastien be that outrageously basic?

‘I don’t want to keep you all morning, so I’ll run through the three options.’

‘Three...options...?’ Lilah queried even more uneasily.

‘Option one—you choose to walk away from me,’ Bastien extended grimly, shooting her a glance of warning that made her pale. ‘In that event I sell the machinery in the factory and sell the site to a developer. I already have a good offer for the land and it would turn an immediate healthy profit...’