The Greek Commands His Mistress(2)

By: Lynne Graham

A very faint shadow of a smile softened the tough line of Bastien’s mouth as he boarded his private jet. Someone else? Maybe...maybe not.

His finance director, Richard James, was already seated in the opulent cabin. ‘Am I allowed to ask what secret allure—evidently known only to you—exists in this dull northern town we’re heading to, and about the even more dull failed business enterprise you have recently acquired?’

‘You can ask. I don’t promise to answer,’ Bastien traded, flicking lazily through the latest stock figures on his laptop.

‘Then there is something special at Moore Components that I haven’t yet picked up on?’ the stocky blond man prompted ruefully. ‘A patent? A new invention?’

Bastien dealt the other man a wryly amused glance. ‘The factory is built on land worth millions,’ he pointed out drily. ‘A prime site for development close to the town centre.’

‘It’s been years since you played asset-stripper,’ Richard remarked in surprise, while Bastien’s personal staff and his security team boarded at the rear of the cabin.

Bastien had started out buying and selling businesses and breaking them up to attain the maximum possible profit. He had no conscience about such things. Profit and loss was a fact of life in the business world. Trends came and went, as did contracts. Fortunes rose and fell as companies expanded and then contracted again.

Bastien was exceptionally gifted when it came to spotting trends and making millions. He had a mind like a steel trap and the fierce, aggressive drive of a male who had not had a wealthy family to give him his breaks. He was a self-made billionaire, who had started out with nothing, and he took great pride in his independence.

But just at that moment Bastien wasn’t thinking about business. No, indeed. Bastien was thinking about Delilah Moore—the only woman who had ever rejected him, leaving him tormented by lust and outraged by the frustrating new experience. His ego would have withstood the rebuff had she been genuinely uninterested in him, but Bastien knew that had not been the case. He had seen the longing in her eyes, the telling tension of her body when she was close to him, had recognised the breathy intimate note in her voice.

He could forgive much, but unquestionably not her deceitful insistence that she didn’t want him. Fearlessly and foolishly judgemental, she had flung Bastien’s womanising reputation in his face with as much disdain as a fine lady dismissing the clumsy approaches of a street thug. In reaction, Bastien’s rage had burned, and now, almost two years on, it was still smouldering at the lack of respect she had demonstrated—not to mention her lies and her sheer nerve in daring to attack him.

And now fortune had turned the tables on Delilah Moore and her family. Bastien savoured the fact with dark satisfaction. He didn’t believe she would be hurling defiance at him this time around...

* * *

‘How is he?’ Lilah asked her stepmother in an undertone when she spotted her father, Robert, standing outside in the backyard of her small terraced house.

‘Much the same...’ Vickie, a small curvaceous blonde in her early thirties, groaned at the sink, where she was doing the dishes with a whinging toddler clinging to one leg. ‘Of course he’s depressed. He worked all his life to build up the firm and now it’s gone. He feels like a failure, and being unable to get a job hasn’t helped.’

‘Hopefully something will come up soon,’ Lilah pronounced with determined cheer as she scooped up her two-year-old half-sister Clara and settled her down with a toy to occupy her.

When life was challenging, Lilah was convinced that it was best to look for even the smallest reason to be glad and celebrate it. Just then she was busy reminding herself that, while her father had lost his business and his home, their family was still intact and they all had their health.

At the same time Lilah was marvelling at the reality that she had grown so close to the stepmother she had once loathed on sight. She had assumed that Vickie was another one of the good-time girls her father had once specialised in, and only slowly had she come to recognise that, regardless of their twenty-year age gap, the couple were genuinely in love.

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