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What The Greek Wants Most

By:Maya Blake

What The Greek Wants Most
Maya Blake

       CHAPTER ONE

THEO PANTELIDES ACCELERATED his black Aston Martin up the slight incline   and screeched to a halt underneath the portico of the Grand Rio Hotel.

He was fifteen minutes late for the black tie fund-raiser, thanks to another probing phone call from his brother, Ari.

He stepped out into the sultry Rio de Janeiro evening and tossed the   keys to an eager valet who jumped behind the wheel of the sports car   with all the enthusiasm Theo had once felt for driving. For life.

The smile that had teased his lips was slowly extinguished as he entered   the plush interior of the five-star hotel. Highly polished marble   gleamed beneath his feet. Artistically positioned lighting illuminated   the well-heeled and threw the award-winning hotel's design into stunning   relief.

The hotel was by far the best of the best, and Theo knew the venue had   been chosen simply because his hosts had wanted to show off, to project a   false image to fool him. He'd decided to play along for now.

The right time to end this game would present itself. Soon.

A sleek designer-clad blonde dripping in diamonds clocked him and glided   forward on sky-high stilettos, her strawberry-tinted mouth widening in  a  smile that spelled out a very feminine welcome. And more.

'Good evening, Mr Pantelides. We are so very honoured you could make it.'

The well-practised smile he'd learnt to flash on and off since he was   eighteen slid into place. It had got him out of trouble more times than   he could count and also helped him hide what he did not want the world   to see.

'Of course. As the guest of honour, it would've been crass not to show up, no?'

She gave a little laugh. 'No, er, I mean yes. Most of the guests are   already here and taking pre-dinner drinks in the ballroom. If there's   anything you need, anything at all, my name is Carolina.' She sent him a   look from beneath heavily mascaraed eyelashes that hinted that she   would be willing to go above and beyond her hostess duties to   accommodate him.

He flashed another smile. 'Obrigado,' he replied in perfect Portuguese.   He'd spent a lot of time studying the nuances of the language.

Just as he'd spent a lot of time setting up the events set to culminate   in the very near future. For what he planned, there could be no room  for  misunderstanding. Or failure.

About to head towards the double doors that led to the ballroom, he   paused. 'You said most of the guests are here. Benedicto da Costa and   his family. Are they here?' he asked sharply.

The blonde's smile slipped a little. Theo didn't need to guess why. The   da Costa family had a certain reputation. Benedicto especially had one   that struck fear into the hearts of common men.

It was a good thing Theo wasn't a common man.

The blonde nodded. 'Yes, the whole family arrived half an hour ago.'

He smiled at her, effectively hiding the emotions bubbling beneath his skin. 'You've been very helpful.'

Her seductive smile slid back into place. Before she could grow bolder   and attempt to ingratiate herself further, he turned and walked away.

Anticipation thrummed through his veins, as it had ever since he'd   received concrete evidence that Benedicto da Costa was the man he   sought. The road to discovery had been long and hard, fraught with   pitfalls and the danger of letting his emotions override his clear   thinking.

But Theo was nothing if not meticulous in his planning. It was the   reason he was chief troubleshooter and risk-assessor for his family's   global conglomerate, Pantelides Inc.

He didn't believe in fate but even he couldn't dismiss the soul-deep   certainty that his chosen profession had led him to Rio, and to the man   who'd shattered what had remained of his tattered childhood twelve  years  ago.

Every instinct in his body yearned to take this to the ultimate level.   To rip away the veneer of sophistication and urbanity he'd been forced   to operate behind.

To claim his revenge. Here. Now.

Soon …

He grimaced as he thought of his phone call with his brother.

Ari was beginning to suspect Theo's motives for remaining in Rio.

But, despite the pressure from his family, neither Ari nor Sakis, his   older brothers, would dare to stop him. He was very much his own man, in   complete control of his destiny.                       
       
           



       

But that didn't mean Ari wouldn't try to dissuade him from his objective   if he'd known what was going on. His oldest brother took his role as   the family patriarch extremely seriously. After all, he'd had to step up   after the secure family unit he'd known for his formative years had   suddenly and viciously detonated from the inside out. After his father   had betrayed them in the worst possible way.

Theo only thanked God that Ari's radar had been momentarily dulled by   his newfound happiness with his fiancé, Perla, and the anticipated   arrival of their first child.

No, he wouldn't be able to stop him. But Ari … was Ari.

Theo shrugged off thoughts of his family as he neared the ballroom   doors. He deliberately relaxed his tense shoulders and breathed out.

She was the first thing he saw when he walked in. His lips started to   curl at his clichéd thought but then he realised she'd done it   deliberately.

The dress code for this event had been strictly black and white.

She wore red. And not just any red. Her gown was blood-red,   provocatively cut, and it lovingly melded to her figure in a way that   made red-blooded males stop and stare.

Inez da Costa.

Youngest child of Benedicto. Twenty-four, socialite … seductress.

Against his will, Theo's breath caught as his gaze followed the supple   curve of a breast, a trim waist and the flare of her hips.

He knew each and every last detail of the da Costas. For his plan to   succeed, he'd had to do what he did best. Dig deep and extract every   last ounce of information until he could recite every line in the   six-inch dossier in his sleep.

Inez da Costa was no better than her father and brother. But where they   used brute force, blackmail and thuggery, she used her body.

He wasn't surprised lesser men fell for her Marilyn Monroe figure. A   true hourglass shape was rare to find these days. But Inez da Costa   owned her voluptuousness and confidently wielded it to her advantage.   Theo's gaze lingered on her hips until she moved again, dropping into   conversation with the consummate ease of a practised socialite. She had   guests eating out of her hands, leaning in close to catch her words,   following her avidly when she moved away.

As he advanced further into the room, she turned to speak to another   male guest. The curve of her bottom swung into Theo's eye line, and he   cursed under his breath as heat raced up through his groin.

Hell, no.

His fists curled, willing his body's unwanted reaction away. It had been   a while since he'd indulged in a mindless, no-holds-barred liaison.  But  this was most definitely not the time for a physical reminder, and  the  instigator of that reminder was most definitely not the woman he  would  choose to end his short dry spell with.

He exhaled in a slow, even stream, letting the roiling in his gut abate and his equilibrium return.

As he made his way down the stairs to join the guests, the deep-seated   certainty that he was meant to be here-in the right place at the right   time-flared high.

If Pietro da Costa's love of excess hadn't led him down the path of   biting off more than he could chew, this time in the form of   commissioning a top-of-the-line Pantelides super-yacht he could ill   afford, Theo wouldn't have flown down to Rio to look into the da Costas'   finances three years ago.

He wouldn't have become privy to the carefully hidden financial paper   trail that had led right back to Athens and to his own father's shady   dealings almost a decade and a half ago.

He wouldn't have dug deeper and discovered the consequences of those dealings for his family. And for him personally.

Memory stirred the unwanted threads of anxiety until it threatened to   push its way under his control like Japanese knotweed. Gritting his jaw,   he smashed down on the poisonous emotion that had taken too much from   him already. He was no longer that frightened boy unable to stem his   fears or chase away the screaming nightmares that plagued him.

He'd learned to accept them as part of his life, had woven them into the   fabric of his existence and in doing so had triumphed over them. Which   wasn't to say he wasn't determined to make those who'd temporarily  taken  power from him pay dearly for that error. No, that mission he was  very  much looking forward to.                       

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