Authors: Cathy Williams
She winced as she said that, as though what she had felt for him and still felt could be dismissed in a few well-chosen words. “However strong your sense of duty is, I don't intend to fall victim to it.”
“This isn't about
though, is it?” He turned to face her then. “And it isn't about whether I wanted to become a daddy or not. The reality is that you're pregnant with my baby and I intend to take care of the situation.”
“This is not a
” Mattie told him, but a small, treacherous side of her longed to be taken care of. It was the same small, treacherous side that had told her she could handle a man like Dominic. Wisdom would be to avoid that small, treacherous side like the plague.
“Event. Occurrence. Happening. Call it whatever you want to, but whatever you decide to call it, you're not running away from me this time.”
They're the men who have everythingâexcept a brideâ¦
Wealth, power, charmâwhat else could a heart-stoppingly handsome tycoon need? In THE GREEK TYCOONS miniseries you have already met some gorgeous Greek multimillionaires who are in need of wives.
Now it's the turn of talented Presents author Cathy Williams, with her feisty and passionate romance
The Greek Tycoon's Secret Child
This tycoon has met his match, and he's decided he
to have herâ¦
Coming soon in Harlequin Presents:
The Greek's Virgin Bride
by Julia James
The Mistress Purchase
by Penny Jordan
The Stephanides Pregnancy
by Lynne Graham
hadn't expected to like this sort of place. In fact, he had always been contemptuous of those high-flying businessmen who played at happy families while taking time out to frequent the sort of nightclub that offered them the opportunity to ogle beautiful young women, dressed in next to nothing, for the price of some very expensive alcohol. The sort of place where a woman sold her dignity for ridiculous tips. In fact, a nightclub pretty much like this.
But he hadn't been able to get out of this. His very important client, along with his entourage of two accountants and three board directors, had insisted.
They wanted to see London at night, by which they had not been referring to a refined restaurant in Knightsbridge followed by a stroll through Piccadilly Circus. Nor had they meant an evening of culture at one of the theatres in Drury Lane.
âWhere the hell am I supposed to take them?' he had asked his secretary in frustration. âDo I look like the sort of man who goes to places like that? And before you answer that one, remember that your job may be on the line.' But he had grinned at his fifty-five-year-old secretary. âI don't suppose you could recommend somewhere? Do you go to places like that?'
âDon't think they allow grannies in, Mr Drecos,' Gloria had said with commendable seriousness. âI'll ask around and find somewhere appropriate.'
It had been to her credit that she had managed to find
one that, at least, had not involved any erotic table dancing or live performances in overhead cages. Thank heavens.
In fact, he thought now as he looked around him with the obligatory glass of champagne in his hand, aside from the minuscule dress code of the waitresses, the place wasn't too sordid. The lighting was a little subdued, admittedly, but the food had been passable enough and if the drinks were outrageously priced, then what the hell?
This particular deal was worth a substantial amount of money, and his client appeared to be having a good enough time.
And it had to be said that the array of gorgeous waitresses paraded before him were manna to his jaded soul.
Dominic Drecos had had it when it came to meaningful involvement with members of the opposite sex. Just the thought of his ex-girlfriend was still enough to bring him out in a cold sweat, even though he had, thank heavens, neither seen nor heard anything of her for the past six months.
No, sir. Conversation. Intimate meals out. Theatres, presents and the whole paraphernalia of courtship could take a running leap as far as he was concerned.
He forced himself back into conversation with his client, asked politely interested questions about his Oxford University education, and glanced discreetly at his watch.
It was when he looked up that he saw her.
She was standing by their table, tray balanced, naturally, on her hip, body inclined slightly forward. Typical ploy of the waitresses, he had drily observed earlier on. They leaned over to take orders, revealing a tantalising amount of cleavage, in many cases cleavage that seemed
to owe their existence to science rather than nature, smiling provocatively as they encouraged the punters to fling their money away on champagne. They would, of course, be taking a cut of each bottle they managed to entice out of their customers.
This one was using the same tired ploy, along with the same smile, same tilt of the head, but he hadn't noticed her before.
Where had she come from? She certainly hadn't been in evidence at their table before now. No, that girl had been a brunette of ample proportions and wickedly provocative eyes.
âCan I interest you gentlemen in some of our champagne?' she coaxed now, in a voice like slowly burning smoke.
Dominic was amused and slightly surprised to find that the question running through his head was what else she had on offer of interest. To him.
Surprised because since Rosalind he had managed to conduct a very celibate existence, untempted by the many women with whom he came into contact on virtually a daily basis. Either through his very hectic social life or through the myriad business dos that he was obliged to attend.
Her eyes flitted around the group of men and found Dominic's and, as if reading the message lazily conveyed in his broodingly dark gaze, she looked away quickly and straightened ever so slightly.
âPerhaps a couple more bottles?' His client sat back in his chair, knowing that his question was more in the nature of a flat statement. None of his henchmen would dare query the need for yet more champagne and Dominic, who would easily have made known his
thoughts on any such thing, found himself readily agreeing.
âWhy not?' He was finding it difficult to tear his eyes away from the blonde.
She wasn't just good-looking. Good-looking blondes were a dime a dozen. She was exotically unusual. Slimmer than most of the other waitresses in the place, with a lean, boyish frame that should have lent her an androgynous look but didn't because her face was just too damn feminine. Heart-shaped, with a short, straight nose, very large, almond-shaped eyes whose colour he couldn't discern because of the discreet lighting, and framed by the most amazing hair he had ever seen. Hair the colour of vanilla, poker-straight and almost waist-length.
He relaxed back in the chair, all the better to survey her, aware that he was now behaving like one of those sad old businessmen he had mentally sneered at earlier on.
She was, he noticed, making sure not to look in his direction. Which he found just a bit irritating, partly because he was footing the bill for the very expensive and highly unnecessary champagne she had succeeded in persuading them to buy and partly because he was accustomed to being looked at by women.
So he said now, in a smooth drawl, âBut that's the last of the champagne, my darling. Some of us have a full day's work in the morning.' An equally smooth half-smile accompanied that remark.
He heard the patronising arrogance in his voice and winced, but hell, anything to get her to look at him.
Celibacy, he thought with wry amusement, must really be kicking in if he now found himself reduced to trying to commandeer the attention of a waitress in a nightclub.
But it worked. She looked at him and he could see the need to appear friendly warring with cold distaste. She began gathering the empty glasses onto her tray, and as she turned for his she leaned slightly forward, offering him a glimpse of generous cleavage that looked all natural, and said in a sibilant, deadly whisper,
.' Then she was standing up again, the bland smile back on her face, and heading off into the shadows.
How dared he?
Mattie thought furiously. Of course, she had encountered that sort of thing before. Well-oiled businessmen with eyes on stalks, thinking that they could talk to her in whatever suggestive voice they wanted.
For the most part, she had learnt to ignore them. She was a waitress, whatever her outfit of high shoes and small, tight dress might indicate to the contrary, and there was a strict policy of not fraternising with the customers.
But their customers didn't usually come wrapped up like that one. Something about him had made the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end, and the lazy contempt she had heard in his voice had fired up a part of her that should have known better. After all, she had been working in the place for nearly seven months now, way long enough to know how to handle seedy customers.
Not that he had looked seedy. Too good-looking for that. But she of all people ought to know that good looks could cover a multitude of sins.
She found that she was glowering at Mike as he replaced two empty bottles of champagne for another two.
âWhat's up, gorgeous?' he asked, grinning, and Mattie smiled back a weak smile.
âOh, the usual.'
âAh.' A nod of understanding. âJust ignore him.' He began handing her clean flutes. âFilthy minds. Probably has some poor wife waiting up for him at home and a handful of kiddies.'
âLook, can Jessie handle that table? I really can't deal with that sort right now.' One particularly bad row with Frankie, a course project with a deadline she was finding it difficult to meet, did not add up for a whole lot of patience when it came to difficult customers.
âNo chance.' Mike looked at her ruefully. âThe place is heaving and we're two girls short. Which is why you're working that table in the first place, with Jackie leaving like that. Old Harry's fit to explode as it is. If you value your life, I'd just put up with the bastard. He'll clear off soon enough.'
Easier said than done. She weaved her way back over to the table, her jaw aching from the effort of trying to appear natural. Harry did not approve of his girls looking anything but bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. As if they were enjoying every minute of having to serve drinks to inebriated, rich men whilst dressed in outfits that invited lurid comments and lecherous remarks.
Sometimes it all just seemed too much.
But the money was brilliant. That was one thing she couldn't afford to forget.
And she needed the money.
And how many other night jobs could offer what she got at this place? Because a day job was out of the question. Too much of her time during the day was used up with completing her course, and what part of the day was left was devoted to sleeping.
Not that she had been getting much of that recently.
She thought of Frankie, knowing that something
would have to be done very soon about him, but, as always, the minute she started thinking of him her brain began to rear up at the logical course of her thought processes, and closed down.
The man appeared to be involved in an intense conversation with his friends when she arrived at his table, which was a blessing, and she was given only a fleeting glance as she expertly opened the champagne and filled their glasses.
But he continued to jar on her mind. She found her eyes straying over to him as she waited on her other tables, watching the way he leaned into his conversation, commanding attention. Still managing to command it even when he drew back, drumming restlessly on the table with one hand whilst the other caressed the champagne flute.
People were beginning to filter out now. It wouldn't be long before she could make her escape. It was a financial disadvantage to leave before the bitter end, as she was inevitably doing herself out of much needed tips from those groups who turned up in the early hours of the morning, but she needed the sleep. Needed the time to restore some energy back into her body. She was young, but she wasn't made of iron and, unlike the other girls working the tables, she didn't have hours of unimpeded sleep ahead of her in which to recover.
She watched covertly as they finished the champagne, hoped that there would not be another bottle ordered even if she was doing herself out of money in the process, walked over towards them, taking a deep breath on the way.
Training was given to all the girls when they first joined on walking. She had never, in her twenty-three years of life, known that there were different ways of
walking. She had always narrowed it down to simply putting one foot in front of the other. But she had picked up the style quickly enough so that now, as she headed towards their table, her gait was unconsciously provocative, all the more so because of her slenderness.
Dominic followed her progress with leisurely enjoyment. She was determined not to look at him. He could see it in the way she collected their glasses. Nor was she interested in them ordering another bottle of champagne, even though she asked the question in the same breathlessly tempting voice.
âNow, where,' he drawled, capturing her reluctant attention, âdo you suggest I put this?' He rested one elbow on the table and heard his client chuckle with wicked amusement as he watched the notes between Dominic's long fingers.
Mattie stretched out her palm.
âIsn't it customary to slip it somewhere rather more intimate?'
âNo.' Mattie flashed him a smile of pure ice and prayed that Harry wasn't anywhere within earshot.
âFair enough.' He surrendered and handed her his extremely generous tip.
Mattie hadn't expected it. He was, after all, a typical obnoxious customer who felt he had no need to treat her, a lowly waitress in a nightclub, with anything resembling respect. He shouldn't be capable of smiling at her with such genuine rueful amusement. As if he could read her mind and could also see for himself what sort of picture he had portrayed and how it had conveyed itself to her.
She felt a second of passing disorientation, then her fingers curled around the money, well earned as far as she was concerned, and she was walking away. Out to
the changing room, where she could get rid of her ridiculous outfit, step out of the high shoes which still pinched her toes even though she should have broken them in a long time ago, into sensible jeans and the flat trainers she was so much more comfortable wearing.
âHarry,' she said, when she had changed. He was circling the room, frowning, making sure that everyone was happy. âI'm off now.' Mattie liked Harry. If she hadn't, she would never have stuck the job out for as long as she had, but underneath his veneer of ill-tempered bossiness, he liked the girls who worked for him and treated them with fondness and respect.
âYou're letting me down, Mattie,' he growled. âThree girls short. What's the matter with Jackie, anyway? You took over from her. She tell you anything? Suddenly flouncing out like that, leaving me in the lurch.'
âShe felt ill. Tired, I expect.' Pregnant, Mattie thought, wondering how Harry would take the news. Finishing work at five-thirty in the morning, Mattie was also feeling the strain of her job.
âWhy don't you stay on, Mats? Earn yourself a few extra quid?'
âWhat, and get even less sleep than I manage to now?'
âYou should dump that course of yours,' he grumbled. âMarketing. Pah! Still, when you get your diploma, or whatever it is that college is dangling in front of you, you just make sure you come right back here. Help manage this little joint of mine. Anyway, you'd better go. No good the punters seeing that their glamorous hostess wears jeans and trainers.'