More than a Convenient Marriage

By: Dani Collins

CHAPTER ONE

GIDEON VOZARAS USED all his discipline to keep his foot light on the accelerator as he followed the rented car, forcing himself to maintain an unhurried pace along the narrow island road while he gripped the wheel in white-knuckled fists. When the other car parked outside the palatial gate of an estate, he pulled his own rental onto the shoulder a discreet distance back then stayed in his vehicle to see if the other driver noticed. As he cut the engine, the AC stopped. Heat enveloped him.

Welcome to hell.

He hated Greece at the best of times and today was predicted to be one of the hottest on record. The air shimmered under the relentless sun and it wasn’t even ten o’clock yet. But the weather was barely worth noticing.

The gates of the estate were open. The other car could have driven straight through and up to the house, but stayed parked outside. He watched the female driver emerge and take a moment to consider the unguarded entrance. Her shoulders gave a lift and drop as though she screwed up her courage before she took action and walked in.

As she disappeared between imposing brick posts, Gideon left his own car and followed at a measured pace, gut knotting with every step. Outrage stung his veins.

He wanted to believe that wasn’t his wife, but there was no mistaking Adara Vozaras. Not for him. Maybe her tourist clothes of flip-flops, jeans chopped above the knees, a sleeveless top and a pair of pigtails didn’t fit her usual professional élan, but he knew that backside. The tug it caused in his blood was indisputable. No other woman made an immediate sexual fire crackle awake in him like this. His relentless hunger for Adara had always been his cross to bear and today it was particularly unwelcome.

Spending the week with her mother. This ain’t Chatham, sweetheart.

He paused as he came alongside her car, glancing inside to see a map of the island on the passenger seat. A logo in its corner matched the hotel he’d been told she was booked into. And now she was advising her lover where to meet her? Walking bold as you please up his million-dollar driveway to his billion-dollar house? The only clue to the estate’s ownership, the shields welded to the gate, were turned back against the brick wall that fenced the estate from the road.

Gideon’s entire body twitched with an urge to slip his reins of control. He was not a poor man. He’d got past envying other men their wealth once he’d acquired a certain level of his own. Nevertheless, a niggle of his dock-rat inferiority complex wormed to life as he took in what he could see of the shoreline property that rolled into a vineyard and orange grove. The towering stone house, three stories with turrets on each corner, belonged on an English estate, not a Greek island. It was twenty bedrooms minimum. If this was the owner’s weekend retreat, he was an obscenely rich man.

Not that Adara needed a rich man. She had grown up wanting for nothing. She had a fortune in her own right plus half of Gideon’s, so what was the attraction here?

Sex.

The insidious whisper formed a knot of betrayal behind his breastbone. Was this why she hadn’t shared that stacked body of hers with him for weeks? His hands curled into fists as he tried to swallow back his gall.

Dreading what he might see as he looked to the front door, he shifted for a full view. Adara had paused halfway to the house to speak with a gardener. A truck overflowing with landscaping tools was parked midway up the driveway and workers were crawling like bees over the blooming gardens.

The sun seared the back of Gideon’s neck, strong enough to burn through his shirt to his shoulders, making sweat pool between his shoulder blades and trickle annoyingly down his spine.

They had arrived early this morning, Adara off the ferry, Gideon following in a powerboat he was “test-piloting.” She’d been driving a car she’d rented in Athens. His rental had been negotiated at the marina, but the island was small. It hadn’t surprised him when she’d driven right past the nose of his car as he had turned onto the main road.

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