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The Power of the Legendary Greek

By:Catherine George

The Power of the Legendary Greek
Catherine George

       PROLOGUE




HE STRODE along the top floor of the building towards the double doors  standing open at the far end, savouring the moment as he entered the  room to smiles of welcome from eleven members of the board. The twelfth  member, the only woman present, speared him with eyes like shards of  black jet as he gave her a formal bow. The tall windows looked out on a  panoramic view of Athens, but inside the boardroom all eyes were riveted  on his face as he took the only empty chair and sat, composed, to open  his briefcase.

The woman at the head of the table watched his every move like a cat  ready to pounce on its prey, but Luke ignored her, supremely confident  of success. Due to weeks of secret negotiations held with every man in  the room, the meeting today was a mere formality. Once formal greetings  were concluded, Luke got to his feet to outline details of his proposal,  ignoring the mounting fury of the woman as he brought his bid to a  conclusion.

He scanned each face in turn.

'All those in favour?'

Every hand but one shot up in instant approval as Melina Andreadis  surged to her feet in furious dissent. Dressed in stark couture black,  her signature mane of ringlets rioting in cruelly youthful contrast  around her ageing face, she directed a look of such venom at her  adversary he should have turned to stone where he stood.

She swept the basilisk stare over every man at the table. 'You fools  think you can turn my company over to this-this playboy?' she shouted,  incensed, and shook her fist at the man unmoved by her tirade. 'I vote  against! I refuse to allow this.'

Luke stared her down, his face blank as a Greek theatre mask to hide the  triumph surging through his veins. 'It is already done. My more than  generous terms are accepted by the Board by majority vote.'

'They cannot do this. I forbid it. This is my airline,' she hissed, enraged.

His eyes glittered coldly as they speared hers. 'No, kyria. It was my  grandfather's airline, never yours. And now it is mine. I, Lukas  Andreadis, own it by right of purchase-and of blood.'





CHAPTER ONE




THE smudge on the horizon gradually transformed into an island which  surged up, pine-clad, from the dazzling blue sea. As the charter boat  grew nearer, Isobel could see tavernas with coloured awnings lining the  waterfront, and houses with cinnamon roofs and icing-white walls,  stacked like children's building blocks on the slopes above. She scanned  the houses as the boat nosed into the harbour, trying to locate the  apartments shown in her brochure, but gave up, amused, when she saw that  most of them had the blue doors and balconies she was looking for. She  hoisted her backpack as the boat docked and picked up her bags with a  sigh of relief. She'd arrived!

Isobel's first priorities were lunch and directions to her holiday  apartment on this picture-perfect island of Chyros. The taverna her  brochure indicated for both was inviting and lively, its tables crammed  inside and out with people eating, drinking and talking non-stop. She  made a beeline for one of the last unoccupied tables under the awning  outside, and tucked her bags close to her feet as she sat to study the  menu. With a polite 'parakalo,' she pointed out her choice to a waiter  and was quickly provided with mineral water and bread, followed by a  colourful Greek salad with feta cheese. She fell on the food as though  she hadn't eaten for days; which wasn't far off the truth. She enjoyed  the arrival part of holidays a whole lot more than the travelling.

'You enjoyed the salata?' asked the waiter, eyeing her empty plate in approval.

Isobel smiled, delighted to hear English. 'Very much; it was delicious.'  She produced her brochure. 'Could you help me, please? I was told I  could collect the keys to one of these apartments here.'

He nodded, smiling. 'My father has keys. He owns the Kalypso. Wait a little and I take you there.'

Isobel shook her head, embarrassed. 'That's very kind of you, but I can't interrupt your work. I can take a taxi-'

He grinned. 'My father is Nikos, also owner of the taverna. He will be pleased if I take you. I am just home from the hospital.'

She eyed the muscular young man in surprise. 'You've been ill?'                       
       
           



       

'No. I work there. I am a doctor. But at home I help when we are busy. I  am Alex Nicolaides. If you give me your name for my father, I take you  to the Kalypso.'

She told him she was Isobel James and, by the time she'd downed more  water and paid the bill, the helpful Alex was on hand again.

'It is near enough to walk,' he informed her and picked up her luggage, but Isobel hung on to the backpack.

'I'll take this.'

'It has your valuables?' he asked as they walked along the marina.

'In a way.' She pulled the peak of her cap down to meet her sunglasses. 'Some of my drawing materials.'

'You are artist, Miss James?'

Isobel smiled. 'I try to be.'

Her escort was right. It was not far to the Kalypso holiday lets, but in  the scorching sunshine it was far enough for Isobel to feel very hot  and travel-weary by the time they reached a group of six white cottages  scattered on the hillside on the far side of the waterfront. Offset at  different angles amongst the greenery, all of them had blue-painted  balconies overlooking the boats bobbing on the brilliant waters below.

Her guide checked the number on Isobel's key tag and eyed her  doubtfully. 'Your house is last, high on hill. You will not be lonely?'

She shook her head. Far from it. The peace and semi-isolation of the cottage was exactly what she needed.

The other houses had been left quite a distance behind by the time the  young man led the way up a steep path quilted with soft, slippery pine  needles. He put the bags down on a veranda furnished with reclining  chairs and a table, and with a flourish unlocked the door of Isobel's  holiday home.

'Welcome to Chyros, Miss James; enjoy your stay.'

She turned from the view. 'I'm sure I will. One last thing-where exactly is the nearest beach?'

'Next to the harbour. But down here is one you will like better.' He  pointed to a path among the Aleppo pines behind the house. 'Smaller,  very pretty, and not many people because the path is steep.'

'Sounds wonderful. Thank you so much for your help.' Isobel gave him a  warm smile as she said goodbye and went inside to inspect her new  quarters, which consisted mainly of one big air-conditioned room with a  white-tiled floor and yellow-painted walls. It was simply furnished with  a sky-blue sofa and curtains, two white-covered beds and a wardrobe;  and through an archway at the end a small kitchen and adjoining  bathroom. Everything was so scrupulously clean and peaceful it felt like  sanctuary to Isobel.

Her friend Joanna, her regular holiday companion in the past before her  marriage, had disapproved of Isobel's choice and had urged her to stay  at a hotel on somewhere lively like glitzy Mykonos. But Isobel had opted  for quiet, idyllic Chyros, where she could paint, or do nothing at all  for the entire holiday, with no demands on her time. Or her emotions.

Isobel unpacked, took a quick shower and, cool in halter neck and  shorts, went outside on the balcony. She sent a text to Joanna to report  safe arrival and sat down with her guidebook, hair spread out on a  towel over her shoulders to dry a little in the warm air before she set  about taming it. A fan of Greek mythology from the time she could first  read, she checked the location of the island of Serifos, where legend  said Perseus and his mother Danae had been washed ashore in a chest set  adrift on the sea, but decided the journey there could wait until she'd  recovered from this one.

Isobel sat back, content to do nothing at all for a while, but in the  end balanced a pad on her knee as usual and began to sketch the boats in  the harbour below. Absorbed, she went on working until the light began  to fade and sat up, yawning, too tired to go back down to the taverna  for supper. Instead, she would eat bread, cheese and tomatoes from the  starter pack of supplies provided with the cottage, then, with her iPod  and a book for company, she would go early to bed. Tomorrow, as Scarlett  O'Hara said, was another day.

Isobel lingered on the veranda as lights came on in the boats far below,  and in the houses climbing the slopes above them. Music and cooking  smells came drifting up on the night air as she leaned back in her chair  to watch the stars appearing like diamonds strung across the dark  velvet sky. Contrary to Joanna's worried forecast, she felt peaceful  rather than lonely. For the first time in weeks she was free of the dark  cloud she had been unable to shake off, no matter how hard she worked.  And there had to be something really special in the air here, because  she felt sleepy, even this early. It would be no hardship to go to bed.                       
       
           

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