Authors: Marian Tee
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Women's Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Romance, #Contemporary, #New Adult & College, #Contemporary Fiction, #Romantic Comedy, #Teen & Young Adult
The Art of Forgiving a Greek Billionaire (Book 4)
By Marian Tee
Copyright 2014 by Streak Digital Publishing
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Once upon a time, there was an ordinary girl who grew up listening to bedtime stories where there were no knights in shining armor or Prince Charming. Instead, it had Greek billionaires and this little girl dreamt she’d one day have Her Own Greek Billionaire to live happily ever after with.
When this little girl grew up, she discovered a painful lesson. Not all wishes are meant to come true, not all broken hearts may be repaired, and not all Greek billionaires love forever.
Not even hers.
This is my story.
I mean your story.
I mean, Mairi Tanner's story.
Damen Leventis was closing in on them.
It was only a matter of time before the Greek billionaire found out where she and Norah had sent their niece to recuperate. He was the most persistent man Vilma had ever met. He was everywhere they went, and his spies were everywhere, too.
During the day, he was engaged in a fierce corporate battle, Damen Leventis against the world with his own board turning against him and attempting to wrestle control from his hands in light of his “undesirable way of conducting his personal life”.
Everyone in the corporate world was of the opinion that Damen was fighting a losing battle, no different from the way a disgraced actor could never again make his audience believe him. But Damen seemed to be the only one who did not believe it, working every minute of the day without fail.
And at night —
Vilma scowled. Only the TRO she had been forced to file against him kept the Greek billionaire away. It had been her last resort, and a cowardly move at that, but he had left her no choice. When push came to shove, Vilma would do everything – even sell her soul – to make sure her little Mairi was safe.
Making a snap decision, she dialed a number she only called for the most critical emergencies. “Get me Morrison.” Afterwards, she gave explicit directions to her driver.
The chosen meeting place for Hollywood’s most famous divorce lawyer and the man who was, for a time, one of the government’s top snipers was a rather quaint-looking chapel in a small town in Florida.
Between them was a thick file of documents containing all the necessary information about a young woman named Mairi Tanner – his next assignment.
Vilma Tanner’s voice was a mix of sugar and steel as she asked, “Will you do it?”
The man in front of her was strikingly attractive, and his twinkling eyes gave him a boy-next-door charm that was effective in getting everyone to trust him with their secrets. His voice was mild when he asked, “Are you not taking this a little too far, Attorney Tanner? She’s heartbroken, I get that. But that you want her to practically disappear—”
“You don’t get it, do you?” she asked impatiently. “My niece fell in love with a
Worse, he’s a
and though I love reading about such men in books, they are not what I’d call my ideal husband in reality. They are often chauvinistic pigs and they can be very stubborn. My niece needs time away from him to heal, and I am willing to bet my entire wealth that he will not be willing to give her that.”
“So instead you want me to kidnap her and keep her hostage while she gets over being dumped?”
“It won’t be kidnapping. When you tell Mairi that it is my wish for her to stay under the radar, she will not cause any problems.” Vilma paused. “Well, except for one thing, which I cannot guarantee.”
The odd tone in the older woman’s voice made Drake raise a brow. “What is this problem?”
She said gravely, “Please do not fall in love with her.”
The words caught him unaware and he jerked in his seat. He said tightly, “If you’re in any way implying about the last assignment I had—” Even now, that part of his life…
He had always known Yanna Everleigh was not for him, but being a fucking idiot, he had fallen for her anyway.
“I just want you to be prepared. My niece is the kind of girl that any man can and will fall in love with, given enough time in her company. But…she’s not for you.”
Stung at the thought that Vilma perhaps thought him unworthy of her niece, he murmured, “With all due respect, Attorney Tanner, but that’s not for you to decide.” His eyes flashed, the usual friendliness in them turning into the cold glittery gaze of a natural-born killer. “If I care to seduce her, I will. Perhaps you should think twice about considering me for this job.”
Vilma sighed. “Now I have offended you when I did not mean to. I only meant she is
the woman who will be able to love you the way you deserve. Do not ask me why or how I know it. I only do.”
He snapped, “You make her sound so irresistible.”
“To men like you, yes. Someone like my niece
irresistible.” She opened the folder and unclipped the large print of Mairi’s photo.
“This is my niece.”
Drake took the photo.
A heart-shaped face of almost old-fashioned beauty, the loveliest smile in the world, and oh, a voluptuous figure that begged for a dominating man’s caress. But what really had him holding his breath was the innocent hope in her eyes—
No matter what life would throw at her, she was the kind who believed in the pot of gold at the end of every rainbow.
She reminded him so strongly of Yanna it made Drake swallow.
“Do you understand now?” Vilma asked. “The risk isn’t to your life. It’s to your heart.” She waited tensely for Drake to speak, secretly disliking the fact that this man was one of the few individuals she had no control over.
“I accept the job.”
She started to breathe—
“But only if it will be on my terms.”
Vilma’s eyebrows shot up. “What terms?”
Drake’s face was impassive as he said, “I will not hide your niece from Leventis. If you entrust her in my care, I will make sure that she becomes strong enough to face him alone.”
She threw her hands up in frustration. “But can’t you see? He’s hurt her too much—”
“And he will always hurt her through their memories if you do not allow me to help her face the truth.” Drake’s gaze strayed back towards the photo he still held in his hands. “I will not fall in love with your niece, Ms. Tanner. It’s impossible for me to fall in love with anyone. But what I can promise is that I will do my damnedest to make her fall out of love with Leventis.” And in his mind, Drake added silently,
and it will happen even if it means making your niece think she is slowly falling for me instead.
~ One ~
Little Lake, Rhode Island
One week later
Winter had enveloped the world outside the quaint-looking cottage at the end of the road, its chilly winds forcing everyone to stay in. Within the cottage, however, was a young woman on the floor, her body bathed in sweat. She moaned.
The man observing her from the chair simply crossed his arms over his chest, unaffected. “Again.” It was just the two of them inside the room, which was bare except for the table and chair next to the window and the full-length mirror nailed to the wall across them.
Mairi Tanner couldn’t believe what she had just heard. They had been doing this for
She was so tired she just wanted to close her eyes and sleep. “Are you serious?”
Drake Morrison blinked innocently at her. Unlike Mairi, he looked completely relaxed, and no surprise there since
was the one who did all the work. As always, he was dressed like a preppy trust fund millionaire, a poster boy for All-American gorgeousness with his collared shirt and corduroy pants. Next to him, she felt like a dirty rag.
Mairi glared up at Drake. “You look so
but I’m on to you now. You’re the devil in disguise!”
Drake raised a brow. “Why are you complaining about the workout? You chose this.”
“You told me you were going to help me forget! You didn’t tell me I was going to forget because you were out to kill me!”
The temptation to smile was incredible, but Drake managed to rein it in. “Then are you changing your mind about your choice of workouts?” he asked pleasantly. “The offer still stands about doing this in my bed.”
The look in Drake’s eyes made Mairi swallow. It totally unnerved her, the way Drake could be Mr. Sweet Boy Next Door one moment then turn into some mysterious and dangerous stranger the next. One moment, he’d be moving with lazy grace, a man used to a life of leisure, but the next time she blinked he had transformed into someone who seemed to have been born to move in the shadows – and a man who could make a woman cry in the dark for the most sensual reasons.
She said hastily, “You know what? I think I’m good, after all. I’m going to move again—” She tried to get moving, but her body protested and she fell back to the floor. “—in a minute.”
He stood up from his seat and nudged her bare leg twice with his foot until she was forced to turn over on her stomach. In an implacable voice, he said, “NOW.”
With a groan, Mairi forced her limbs to work, pushing herself up with a groan.
Arms stretched out, palms down, she slowly lowered herself down until her body was an inch from the floor. “One.” She raised herself up again, and her muscles protested anew at the effort she exerted. She lowered herself. “Two.”
“Good. Eighteen more to go.”
Without stopping her push-ups, Mairi said, “Shut up.”
Since Mairi wasn’t looking up at him, Drake allowed himself a slight smile. A week ago, the young woman on the floor had been lackluster, a fake bright smile never leaving her lips. Her dark eyes had been just as bright, telling him that she would rather commit suicide than shed another tear.
Mairi had not argued when her aunts came to visit and told her that Drake would be living with her as her “life coach”. When her aunts left, she had been very polite to him the way only someone lost in misery could be.
But that had only lasted for a few hours since the next day, Drake had forced Mairi out of bed before dawn and gotten her into Day 1 of her training.
Looking back at Mairi, Drake noticed that she was slowing down. “If you don’t finish the rest of your push-ups in thirty seconds, you’ll do twenty more.”
“ARE YOU SERIOUS?”
She was really moving on.
“Twenty-eight seconds and counting, Mairi.”
Mairi thought, but she didn’t bother arguing anymore. She completed her push-ups in the nick of time and dropped herself back to the floor, gasping in exhaustion. “I hate you.”