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The Wealthy Greek's Contract Wife(6)

By:Penny Jordan

Ilios watched as the wind buffeted Lizzie, whipping her hair into a   tangled blonde skein, and then he realised what she was doing.                       


Lizzie had only gone a few feet when she heard Ilios commanding, from behind her, ‘Don't move. Stay where you are.'

It was too much to be denied such a small pleasure on top of everything   else, so Lizzie ignored him, determined to defy him and have her moment   of small rebellion and triumph even though she had been forced to give   in to him on the bigger issues.

When Lizzie ignored him and continued to head for the edge of the promontory, Ilios let go of her case and raced after her.

Too late, Lizzie learned the reason for Ilios's command. The ground was   shifting beneath her feet, moving. The edge of the headland was falling   away-and she was going to fall with it. She was falling, in fact-but   not, Lizzie recognised with relief, into the sea with the rock and   earth. Instead she fell onto hard, firm ground, clear of the headland,   wrapped in Ilios Manos's arms as he grabbed her in a flying tackle,   dragging her backwards with a speed and force that sent them both   falling to the ground. He had saved her life.

‘Are you crazy? What the hell were you trying to do?'

‘Not throw myself off the cliff, if that's what you thought,' Lizzie   answered. ‘Apart from anything else, I haven't got any life insurance.   So there wouldn't be any point in trying to kill myself.'

‘So you weren't planning some dramatic gesture, claiming you'd rather   have death before dishonour?' he taunted her. ‘That's just as well,   because you'd have been wasting your time since you have already   dishonoured yourself with your debt to me.'

‘I wasn't trying to do anything other than look at the view.' Lizzie   defended herself. ‘I didn't know it was dangerous. There aren't any   warning signs.'

‘There don't need to be any. It's private property, exclusively mine, for my own use and pleasure.'

Lizzie was still in his arms, with the weight of his body pinning her to   the ground. She should try to move, she knew, but those words he had   used-private property … exclusively mine … for my own use and pleasure-had   set off a trail of lateral thinking inside her head. Applied to herself,   in the context of his insistence on her repayment of the debt she owed   him, they were now conjuring up the kind of sensual scenarios that   turned her body weak with a reckless longing and filled her with   excitement and apprehension.

She wasn't used to feeling like this about any man. She didn't want to   feel this way about any man-especially not Ilios Manos, who would, she   felt sure, take her desire for him and use it against her to punish her.   Wanting a man she barely knew wasn't something she had ever imagined   would happen to her-her whole way of life, her entire way of thinking,   was diametrically opposed to such a possibility. Not for her own   protection, but for the protection of her family. To have such feelings   now alarmed and terrified her. Lizzie desperately wanted to ignore what   she felt, to deny it completely if she could. But it wouldn't let her.   It was too strong for her, too determined to make its need felt.

Her heart was thudding under his hand, Ilios recognized, like the beat   of the wings of a trapped bird, frantic for its freedom. But, like this   land and everything on it, she was his by rights so ancient they were   imprinted on every cell of his body. She was his. He was still holding   on to her, and against the palm of his hand he could feel the soft, warm   swell of her breast, more rounded and fuller than her slenderness had   suggested.

Automatically, of its own accord, as though divorced from his thoughts   and answerable only to its own need, his palm curved closer to her   flesh, the pad of his thumb-tip moving experimentally over a nipple soft   at first, but rising immediately to his touch. He cupped her breast   fully, stroking her nipple, and his other hand tightened its hold to   draw her closer. His body moved so that he could thrust one thigh   between the jean-clad flesh of hers.

The world-her world, the world she had thought she knew-had gone crazy,   Lizzie acknowledged. The heat burning through her body was surely  global  warming gone into overdrive. Her breasts-both of them, not just  the one  he was caressing-were aching to be enjoyed, whilst the knowing  male  thigh thrusting between her own made her want to lean against it,  move  against it, open herself to it and to all the delicious sensual   possibilities its presence signposted.

This man was …

This man was her enemy!

What was he doing? Ilios had never had any taste for casual, meaningless   sex, and yet here he was touching this woman who was lying beneath him   as though he was starved for the sensation of her female flesh beneath   his hands-as though the desire he could feel pounding through him was  so  strong, so all-important and demanding, so beyond his own control,  that  he had no choice other than to submit to it.                       


As Lizzie pushed him away Ilios released her, infuriated both with   himself for his unacceptable and inexplicable need and with her for   being the cause of it.

‘You had no right to do that,' Lizzie told him fiercely, desperately   anxious to establish that she was not the one who had started what had   happened.

‘That wasn't what your body was saying.'

Of course he was bound to have known what she was feeling, a man like   him, with that aura he had of sexual power and knowledge. Lizzie's face   burned hot with self-conscious awareness of how he had made her feel.   She wasn't going to allow him to get the better of her, though. She   couldn't afford to.

‘You can think what you like,' she told him defensively. ‘But I know the truth.'

Of course she did. And the truth was …

She didn't want to think about what the truth was, or what it had felt   like to be held in his arms, to be touched by him, to have her senses   set alight and her defences laying down their arms in willing surrender.   She didn't want to think of anything other than putting as much   distance as she could between herself and Ilios Manos as fast as she   could.

Chapter Four

‘WHERE are we going?' Lizzie asked uncertainly, once she was back on her feet and Ilios was a safe distance away from her.

‘Not to some secluded grotto so I can imprison you like some Greek nymph   awaiting the gods' pleasure, where you will be obliged to answer to my   every sensual need, if that is what you are imagining. We are merely   returning to Villa Manos, which is where I left my car.'

‘Villa Manos? That is where you live?' Lizzie queried-after all, it was   far safer talking about a villa than it was thinking about the  dangerous  effect his previous comments had been having on her.

‘No. I have an apartment in Thessaloniki, at the top of the Manos   Construction office block. The villa is very old, and the building has   fallen into disrepair. It was Tino's hope that he could insist that it   be bulldozed, because it might present a danger to the holidaymakers   visiting the complex he planned to build here-but then I am sure that   you already know all about that, since you are partners.'

They had almost reached the top of the incline now, and even though she   was slightly out of breath Lizzie turned to face him, her normally calm   grey eyes sparkling quicksilver-bright with temper as she objected. ‘I   have already told you. I have never even met your cousin, never mind   been the recipient of his confidences with regard to his business   plans.'

‘Business plans which included manipulating me into selling him my half   of our grandfather's land once he had forced me to remove our ancestral   home from it.'

Ilios had started to climb the last few feet of the path, so Lizzie did   the same, coming to an abrupt halt as she saw what lay below them,   bathed in the last dying rays of the day's light.

At the far end of a long straight drive, lined with tall Cyprus trees   and surrounded by Italianate gardens, slightly elevated from the   surrounding terrain, set like a pearl against the dark green of the   Cyprus and the blue of the Aegean Sea beyond it, perfectly framed by its   surroundings was-