Ruthless Greek Boss, Secretary Mistress

By: Abby Green

‘No. I’m your assistant. This is not possible.’ More shame rushed through her as she said, ‘If you think I gave you some indication that I might welcome…’ She couldn’t even say it. ‘You’re just…bored or something. You can’t possibly—’

‘Can’t I?’ he interrupted harshly. He stood with hands fisted at his sides and glowered at her. ‘I saw you changing the other morning and I felt like a schoolboy watching a naked woman for the first time. No woman has ever reduced me to that. And you want me too, Lucy. You’ve just shown me that.’

Embarrassment washed through her in a wave of heat. He had seen her. She’d known it…but to hear him confirm it nearly made her mind short-circuit. And along with the embarrassment came another feeling, one of illicit pleasure, when she remembered seeing his face. She shook her head again, even fiercer this time, both hands clutching the dress.

Just at that moment the phone rang shrilly. Lucy jumped. She was starting to shake; reaction was setting in. ‘That’s the taxi. Get out right now.’ When he didn’t move she said, ’Please.’

Aristotle finally strode over to pick up his coat and, flinging it over one shoulder, he walked to the door. He looked back at her for a long moment, hugely imposing and dark in her plain little apartment. Men like him weren’t meant for scenes like this, she thought.

The phone had stopped, but now started again.

‘I’ll see you on Monday, Lucy. This isn’t over—not by a long shot.’

And then he was gone. Lucy stood stock still and could barely breathe. When the phone impacted upon her consciousness again she went over and picked it up. ‘He’s on his way down,’ she said.

When she was certain he had gone, Lucy undressed and had a steaming hot shower, thinking perhaps it might eradicate the painfully intense feelings Aristotle had aroused in her when he’d touched her and looked at her. She dressed in her oldest and comfiest pyjamas and made herself a hot chocolate, dislodging the bra she’d hurriedly hidden as she did so from the cupboard. Heat rose upwards again, but she resolutely ignored it and went into the sitting room and sank onto the couch, cradling the hot cup in cold hands.

She reached up and took down the photo of her and her mother and tears filled her eyes as emotion surged upwards. She felt incredibly raw after what had just happened.

Her mother had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s two years ago. It had come on the back of her growing ever more forgetful and irritable, prone to mood swings and dramatics. It had been so unlike her usually sanguine mother that Lucy had insisted she go to be checked out by a doctor. They’d run some tests, and as soon as a diagnosis had been made her mother’s condition had worsened by the day—almost as if naming it had allowed it to take hold completely.

At first Lucy had been able to look after her in their small townhouse near Holland Park, but when she’d come home one day to find her mother wailing inconsolably in a flooded kitchen, with all the gas rings of the cooker on and alight and no idea how or why she’d done it, Lucy had known she couldn’t fight it on her own any more.

She’d started with home help—the cost of which had rapidly eaten up all their savings. Her mother had never worried about money too much beyond making sure Lucy was provided for, and there had invariably been a new rich lover more than happy to provide. However, in recent years Lucy’s mother had been coming to terms with the harsh realities of aging in a world where youth and beauty were a more potent draw to powerful men. The protection of rich lovers had all but disappeared.

Lucy’s mouth compressed as her finger ran over her mother’s image in the picture. She supposed in the nineteenth century her mother might have been considered one of the most famous courtesans of her time. But in this lifetime she’d been a famous and much sought after burlesque dancer—a true artist. Lucy’s mouth tightened even more; her mother had simply got used to the attention of very rich, very powerful men.

She’d craved the control she’d had over them—her ability to reduce them to ardent lovers, desperate to please her in any way they could. Her allure and beauty had been legendary. Her powerful lovers had funded their lives, and unwittingly helped put Lucy through the best schools all over the world. She couldn’t denigrate her mother’s memory now by judging her over where that money had come from. Her mother had simply used all the tools at her disposal to survive.

Her father had been one of those men. When he’d found out Maxine was pregnant and refusing to give up her baby, he’d paid some maintenance but hadn’t wanted anything to do with Lucy. When Lucy was sixteen he’d died, and maintenance had stopped abruptly—because of course he hadn’t told his family about her.

What had upset Lucy more than anything else was the lack of confidence and self-esteem her mother had suffered that only she, as her daughter, had been privy to. While on the one hand her mother had been in control, using those men as they used her, on another, much more vulnerable level she had craved their affection and approval. She’d used her beauty to enthral her lovers, but she’d been broken in two every time they’d walked away, leaving behind nothing but costly gems, clothes—things.

It had been shortly after finding her mother so distraught in the flooded kitchen that Lucy had discovered the house they’d lived in—a generous present from another lover—had never been signed over to her mother, despite assurances at the time. The man was a prominent politician who’d just died. Lucy’s mother’s solicitor had advised that Lucy should not contest ownership of the house when the family had discovered its existence, as obviously they had no idea of their father’s secret affair. The family had debts to clear on the death of their father, and Lucy had had no option but to let the house go. The precariousness of their situation had forged within Lucy a deep desire for order and her own financial independence.

About a year ago they’d moved into her current small apartment. Lucy had still hoped that home help would be enough, but the cost of it had barely left her with enough to buy food at the end of each week. Her job at Levakis Enterprises was the only thing that kept them afloat. And now with her increase in wages, it was the only thing giving her mum the opportunity to have decent care.

Lucy stared unseeingly down at the picture, and suddenly an image broke through—Aristotle standing right here in this room, holding her close, his hand between her legs. She could remember the way she’d throbbed and burned for that hand to go even higher, to where she ached. To where she still ached. Lucy shifted so violently in reaction that the picture fell from her lap to the wooden floor and the glass smashed in the frame. With a cry of dismay she put down her cup and picked it up carefully. As she did so, something hard solidified in her chest.

She knew exactly how to handle this situation, how to handle Aristotle Levakis and make sure everything returned to normal. She couldn’t contemplate how her decision would impact her mother just yet. All she knew was that she had to protect herself—because she’d never felt under such threat in her life. She would make sure her mother was safe and cared for. She would. She just couldn’t do it like this.

On Monday morning, early, Ari stood at the window of his huge office, with its commanding view out over the city of London and all its impressive spires and rooftops. From the moment he’d been placed in charge of Levakis Enterprises at the age of twenty-seven, on the death of his father five years previously, he’d moved the power centre of the business here to London, his adopted home.

He’d told himself it was for strategic reasons, and certainly the business had thrived and grown exponentially since he’d moved it here, but it was also a very distinct gesture from him to his family, to say he was in control, not them. They’d shunned him enough over the years. No way was he going to play happy families back in Athens. And while he had left the original office there, which his half-brother now oversaw, they all knew that it was just a symbolic front for the business. Ari controlled its beating heart, and it lay here, under the grey and rain-soaked skies of London.

But today his main focus was not on business; it was on something much more personal and closer to home. On something so exquisitely feminine and alluring that he didn’t know how he’d managed to control himself for the past weekend and not go back to that small dingy apartment, knock down the door and take Lucy hard and fast, before she could draw up that faux injured virgin response again. He could still feel the imprint of every womanly curve as he’d held her close to his body. She’d been more lusciously voluptuous than any fantasy he could have had.

His hands were clenched to fists deep in his pockets now, and his jaw was gritted hard against the unwelcome surging of desire. His assistant was causing him frustration of the most strategic kind.

She wanted him. And he couldn’t understand where her reticence came from. No woman was reticent with him; he saw, he desired, he took. It was quite simple and always had been. An alien and uncomfortable feeling nagged him as he acknowledged the dominant feeling he’d had the other night. He’d felt ruthless as he’d coaxed and cajoled a response from Lucy. When she’d finally capitulated, even for that brief moment, it had been a sweeter conquest than any victory he could remember. He didn’t usually associate ruthlessness with women—that was reserved for business—and the fact that such a base emotion was spilling over into his personal life was—

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