Carrying The greek Tycoon’s baby
Series: Greek Island Brides, book 1
Available at (Print/Digital):
Publisher: Harlequin Romance / Mills & Boon True Love
First Published: March 1, 2019
Formats: Mass Market Paperback, Hardcover, e-Book, Large Print
Pages: 256 (large print)
From one night…
To nine months!
In this Greek Island Brides story, for jaded tycoon Xander Marinakos, renowned wedding destination Infinity Island is just another opportunity to expand his empire. Until he’s captivated by its beautiful owner, Lea Romes… When their one night together has unexpected consequences, Xander must negotiate the deal of a lifetime, and put his guarded heart on the table to convince independent Lea they can be a family…for infinity!
March, Infinity Island, Greece
Things would get better.
They had to.
Lea Romes refused to accept any other alternative.
She pushed her chair back from the desk with its insurmountable pile of paperwork. In this modern age of technology, she thought paperwork would be a thing of the past. But alas, it seemed as though dealing with written documents would be a constant while the digital correspondence and spreadsheets just added to the burden.
At least she got to work in paradise as a wedding planner. She picked up her oversized coffee mug and moved to the French doors overlooking the private cove. She stepped out onto the spacious balcony, letting the vibrant sun warm her face. Since she’d inherited the island some thirteen months ago, her life had changed dramatically.
Her move from Seattle, Washington, to Greece had happened not in a matter of months or even weeks but days. Of course, it hadn’t helped that she’d learned she had extended family in Greece from an attorney instead of her own parents—parents who had deprived her of that part of her life. It was a betrayal she’d never seen coming. She’d felt utterly blindsided and hurt beyond belief.
With nothing more than two suitcases and a disillusioned view of life, she’d set out on her journey to Greece. She hadn’t known what to expect when she arrived on this small, lush Greek island. The attorney had informed her that Infinity Island had been in the family for generations. It wasn’t until she browsed through all of the photos in the family home that she realized her own mother had been born and raised on this very island. It was like an arrow to the heart. How could her mother have kept this place and her family from her?
Lea hadn’t spoken to her parents since their heated argument right before she left Seattle. But it wasn’t like they’d reached out to her, either. Her parents were stubborn and so certain they’d done the right thing by omitting certain details of Lea’s life. But right now Lea had bigger problems, starting with the fact that this wedding/honeymoon destination spot was in deep financial trouble—
Lea stepped back inside the office. “Come in.”
Popi Costas, her best friend and the other wedding planner on the island, stuck her head inside the office. Her dark brown ponytail swung over her shoulder. “Your guest has arrived.”
“Already?” That couldn’t be right. He wasn’t due to arrive for another hour. Her gaze sought out the little smiling emoji clock on her desk. It was in fact 10 a.m. Not 9 a.m. Time had gotten away from her.
She’d wanted to touch up her makeup and hair before greeting this man—this very important man. She’d seen his photos on the internet. He was strikingly handsome in that tall, dark and mysterious sort of way. But she assured herself that wanting to fix herself up and put on a good—no, a great—first impression had more to do with business than anything else. He might just be the person to change everything for her and this island.
“Quit frowning,” Popi said. They’d become fast friends when Lea had arrived on the island. It helped that they were of similar age and Popi was easy to be around. She could make Lea smile, even when she didn’t want to. “You look amazing. As always.” Popi gestured with her hand. “Come on. You don’t want to keep him waiting.”
She was right. The last thing Lea wanted to do was give this man a bad impression right from the start. She dashed out the door, wishing she’d taken more time that morning in front of the mirror. She sighed. There wasn’t time to do anything about it now.
Outside, the sun was shining brightly in the clear blue sky. One thing about living on a Greek island versus Seattle was there was sunshine almost every day of the year. And Lea loved it. Arriving on Infinity Island had felt, strangely enough, like coming home.
She climbed on the golf cart that she used to get around the small island. They had a whole fleet of golf carts for their guests as well as paved paths. She quickly maneuvered her way down to the marina. Most of their guests arrived from the mainland via a ferry or flew in via a chartered seaplane. In rare cases, a helicopter was used—but generally that was saved for emergencies or the occasional guest who could afford such extravagances.
When she’d first arrived on the island, she’d spent all her spare moments of that first month venturing down every meandering path littered with wild flowers and blazing some paths of her own. She’d met every human and every goat, of which there were many, that resided on the island. Most people there worked for the wedding business in one manner or another. They were like one big family and they’d welcomed her with open arms. Lea couldn’t imagine a friendlier place.
Just then she noticed a seaplane preparing to take off over the calm blue sea. But it was the man in the dark suit standing on the wooden dock, with his back to her, that caught her attention. She took in his immense height and broad, muscled shoulders accentuated by his suit jacket—a very fine set of threads. It probably cost more than she made in a month. Definitely.
His dark hair was trimmed in a short neat cut just like in his online photos. Not a strand was out of place. She wondered if he liked his life to be just as neat and orderly. As she continued to stare, she imagined what it’d be like to comb her fingertips through his hair. Her fingers tingled with temptation. She tightened her hold on the steering wheel.
Lea tramped the brakes, causing the cart to skid to a halt. She quickly alighted and moved across the dock toward the man. His attire continued to draw her curiosity. Did he not realize he was coming to an island? Around here swim trunks were more common than a suit jacket. When the man turned to her, she realized he was also wearing a tie. She inwardly groaned. If he was as uptight as his appearance, she was in big trouble.
As the departing plane flew overhead, she leveled her shoulders and stepped forward. She held out her hand. “Hello. I’m Lea Romes.”
The man’s dark brows rose in surprise. “You are in charge?”
When she nodded, he took her hand in his. His grip was firm. She could tell just from his touch that he was quite strong. So, there was more to this man than just a designer suit.
Her gaze rose to his clean-shaven jaw and his mouth that was pressed into a firm line, not giving away what he was thinking. She’d caught him off guard at first but he seemed to have regained his composure.
When her gaze met his, she couldn’t read anything in his dark eyes. So she decided to smile, hoping to lighten the mood. “Welcome to Infinity Island.”
“Do you have many guests?” He withdrew his hand and glanced around at the quiet morning.
So much for the pleasantries.
She schooled her expression so as not to frown at his obvious lack of social niceties. “Not at the moment. We’re expecting guests to begin arriving tomorrow for an upcoming wedding.”
“So right now, the island is deserted, other than staff?”
She shook her head. “Not exactly. We have some honeymooners as well as some couples who have returned for a renewal of their vows and a second honeymoon.”
He frowned. Apparently that was the wrong answer.
“If you’d like to come this way—” she gestured toward the golf cart “—I can give you the grand tour.”
“Is there much to see?”
Was he being serious? Or was he being sarcastic? It was impossible for her to tell as neither his tone nor his expression changed much. His gaze continued to scan the area. And so she did the same, trying to see Infinity through his eyes. There was lots of green foliage interspersed with red, yellow, pink, purple and blue blooms. Wild orchids grew everywhere. A few of the buildings overlooked the cove. Her office happened to be one of them. And then she realized the problem.
She swallowed hard and turned to him. “You can’t see much of the resort from here as the island has been strategically planned. The buildings have been placed in various locations over the island instead of concentrated in one spot.” She should have grabbed a map of the island for him. It was something that was distributed to all the guests with their welcome basket. “Trust me. There’s a lot to the island including acres of vegetable gardens. We grow most of our own food.”
His gaze met hers, but she couldn’t read his thoughts. “Let’s proceed.”
He bent over and it was only then that she noticed he had an overnight bag. She hadn’t expected him to want to stay. Most business people who had flown in to meet with her had also flown out the same day. This was a situation that she hadn’t quite anticipated.
She stepped forward and held out her hand to take his bag, but he resisted. She didn’t know if he was being gentlemanly or if he was afraid that she might drop it. Whatever.
Once he placed the bag in the back of the cart, he joined her up front. His bicep brushed against her shoulder. It was as though static electricity flowed through her body. And suddenly the cart felt as though it had shrunk to half its size. Her mouth grew dry as her palms grew damp.
She refused to turn to him. Their faces would be far too close together. And there was something about his mouth that made her wonder if he had to be in control even when he was kissing someone. And then realizing how out of hand her thoughts had gotten, she gave herself a mental shake as she started the engine and then pressed on the accelerator.
She had to keep it together. She had to be a professional instead of letting the lack of a love life get the best of her. After all, the future of Infinity Island rested on her making this deal. And so they set off.
It was late afternoon by the time she’d given him the full tour. He was the first potential investor who had stuck around this long. Lea’s hopes soared. He had many questions about the island and she did her best to answer them. She was proud of her little island. As she’d spoken of the various aspects of the island, Mr. Marinakos made notes on his digital tablet.
This is going to work. This is going to work.
She struggled not to grin. After all, nothing was final yet—
“Miss Romes, I’d like to make you an offer.”
Yes! Yes! Yes!
She stifled the giddy happiness bubbling up inside her. She had to maintain her cool just a little longer. Later she could celebrate her success with Popi.
“Please call me Lea.” When he sent her a puzzled look, she added, “If we’re going to do business together, there’s no need to stand on formality.”
He hesitated. “Agreed. Call me Xander.”
“Okay, Xander.” She sent him her brightest smile. “What do you have in mind?”
And then he stated the most amazing number. She never ever imagined that anyone would want to invest such an incredible amount of money in the island. She wasn’t even sure what to do with that much money. Sure the place needed work, but none that would amount to that sum.
“Thank you. That is a very generous investment—”
“Wait. I think you misunderstood me. I’m not investing in your island. I’m buying it.”
He wanted to buy her island? Her heritage? Her heart sank clear down to her white sandals. This partnership was over before it even had a chance to begin.
Lea shook her head. This couldn’t be happening. She’d only just found this link to her past, and she wasn’t about to give it up. No way.