Rion's mouth tightened. He was not accustomed to explaining his behaviour to anyone, but he realised if he had talked or listened to Selina in the beginning he would never have lost her, and if he wanted to win Selina's trust again he had to be one-hundred-percent honest with her.
'From the moment I set eyes on you I never looked at another woman until long after the divorce.'
'I find that hard to believe. The night we met, you didn't have a conference call-you had a date with a woman called Chloe. Iris showed me the picture. Though I'm surprised Chloe only gave you four out of ten for performance,' she couldn't help teasing.
'Iris showed you too d.a.m.n much,' he snorted. 'I did have a date with Chloe and I intended taking her to bed. Is that what you want to hear? But after I met you I took her to a club, took her home and left her at the door. She was angry because I didn't take her to bed-a woman scorned ... As for the others-I didn't even know them. And the reason I worked so much when we were married was because your grandfather was a crafty old villain. The deal was my father's, but after it went through my father took off on his cruise and asked me to sort it out. Stakis Shipping was in a much worse state than had been presented to him and it took me three months to save the d.a.m.n thing from going bust.'
'Oh no! Though, knowing my grandfather, I can believe that,' she said. And with a questioning look she added, 'But you did know about the deal, because you married me.'
'Why are we talking about this now? Yes, my father asked me, and I gave him an emphatic no. But to humour him I went to the dinner, and you know the rest.'
'Yes, you thought you'd got me pregnant.'
'I took one look at you and wanted you, and after we made love I thought you might be pregnant. It only took one look six years later for me to want you just as badly-more so. In fact I think I loved you all along. But finding a man in your bed so enraged me I blocked you from my mind. It was the only way I could deal with the fury I felt. And I have carried on working sixteen-hour days ever since, so that should tell you something.' He tightened his arm around Selina. He wasn't going to lose her now.
'What about Lydia? Iris said you were still in love with her?'
Rion chuckled. 'You're jealous-that is what this is all about-and trust me you have no need to be. You remember the woman Lydia was with when I introduced you? That is her lover-has been for years.' He told Selina the whole story.
'But she is married,' Selina said, round-eyed with amazement.
'You are still so naive in some ways.' He chuckled. 'Lydia would have married any man. There had been the odd rumour about her s.e.xual preferences, and her parents are the strict high-society types. She could never come out as a lesbian. That is why she married Bastias. He is old enough and flattered enough to have got her and Lydia can get away with anything. She is a nice woman. I have known her since I was about twelve and we've stayed friends. The reason I was arguing with the paparazzi guy was that he was asking Lydia awkward questions about her girlfriend, who was actually standing behind us at the time.'
Selina laughed, feeling mightily relieved. 'My, what a colourful life you lead, Rion.'
'Well, you have heard about mine, but I won't ask you about yours. It is enough to know you are mine now,' Rion declared huskily.
'You know all there is to tell. I have only had one lover-you.'
Rion stared at her. 'But you were taking the Pill.'
'Yes, a low-dose one for cramps.'
Rion reached for her head and threaded his fingers through her hair, held her face firmly in his hands. 'I think I am dreaming.' The pupils of his eyes darkened, dilating with pa.s.sion. 'You are everything in the world to me, Selina, and I will treasure you to my dying day and beyond.' And with a groan he covered her mouth with his, kissing her with a depth of pa.s.sion and pure love.
Selina held her baby son in her arms unable to take her eyes off him. He was so gorgeous, with black hair just like his father.
'Smile for the camera, Selina,' Rion ordered, and she did tear her gaze away from her child-for her husband.
'How many is that?' She laughed.
Rion grinned. 'A lot.' He moved to the bedside and kissed her. 'Have I told you today I love you?' He kissed her again. 'And I thank you with all my heart for our beautiful son.' His dark eyes suspiciously moist, he gazed at the baby in her arms. 'I never imagined in my wildest dreams such happiness existed, and it is all down to you, my love.'
'My turn, Daddy. I want to see my brother,' a little voice piped up.
Rion chuckled and picked up a little girl with red-gold hair and amber eyes-the image of her mother. 'And so you shall, my heart.' He kissed the child and sat down on the side of the bed, holding two-year-old Phoebe. 'There-now you can kiss his cheek and say h.e.l.lo to Theodore.'
Phoebe pursed her lips and gave the baby a big kiss. 'h.e.l.lo, Theodore.' She sat on her daddy's knee, silently watching the baby for a while, then with a big sigh said, 'He doesn't talk, and he is too tiny to play with me.' She looked at Selina and said, 'Can we go home now, Mummy?' Their live-wire daughter was already bored.
Rion looked at Selina and they both burst out laughing.
'You and Daddy can, as it is nearly your bedtime, but your brother and I have to stay the night. We will be home in the morning,' Selina replied to her beloved daughter, and after a few hugs and kisses-one pa.s.sionate one for Selina from Rion-she watched them depart.
Alone with her son, she let a smile of pure happiness curve her full lips. Her free hand went as it so often did to the pendant around her neck. Rion had given it to her on their second wedding night and told her he had bought it for her nineteenth birthday. Their initials were entwined in diamonds on a platinum chain. He'd also told her he had planned a honeymoon to the Seych.e.l.les for the following week, when Iris would have been back at school. But as they'd never made it he was taking no chances and they were going to the Caribbean this time. She loved him more than ever, and was beginning to believe he might have loved her from the start.
Surprisingly Beth was convinced of it. Had been ever since Selina had arrived in Cambodia from her stay on Rion's yacht. A large donation had arrived on the same day as Selina, and Beth had winkled the truth out of her. Beth had become a champion of Rion and now they were all great friends. So much so that Trevor and Beth were Phoebe's G.o.dparents.
Contrary to what he had once said, Rion was a very jealous and possessive man. He had bought her another Mercedes a week after they'd got back together. She had tried to object, and laughed when he'd told her he didn't like the idea that a friend had bought her a car any more than he'd liked a drunk being in her bed. He'd said if it was him even blind drunk he would still be aware she was in his bed ...
She had told him she had bought the car herself, and the 'friend' with her had been the elderly gentleman who lived next door. Though he would never admit it, Rion had looked relieved.
The past four years had seen all her dreams come true, she thought happily. Their main home was a beautiful house in the hills high above Athens that Rion had had an architect design and build to his specifications. He had given his stepmother, Helen, the old home. They also had a house in London, and a holiday home in the Caribbean, and of course the villa on Letos, greatly renovated now, which Anna still looked after.
Rion rarely worked long hours, and had cut his trips abroad to the minimum. If it was possible Selina and Phoebe went with him. Rion adored Phoebe and was a very hands-on father, playing with her, bathing her. But then again he was a very hands-on husband, she thought. Rarely a day pa.s.sed when he didn't make love to her, and she knew with absolute certainty that he loved her.
A nurse walked in and took her son to put him in the crib by her bed, telling her to get some sleep.
With a smile on her face Selina curled up on her side and watched her sleeping baby until her eyes closed and she fell asleep.
A slight noise woke her up, and immediately she glanced at the baby. But it wasn't the baby, it was Rion. He sat down on the bed.
'What are you doing here?' she whispered. 'What time is it?'
'After ten. Don't worry. Phoebe is asleep and Aunt Peggy is watching over her.' Leaning forward, he put a hand either side of Selina on the bed. 'It is her father that needs you,' he said huskily. He brushed her lips lightly, then kissed her deeply. 'I couldn't go to bed without saying goodnight.' He nuzzled her throat and the baby whimpered.
The nurse walked in, smiled, but told Rion to leave. With another kiss for Selina, for once Rion did as he was told and left.
'You are a lucky woman. That man worships the ground you walk on,' said the nurse.
'I know.' Selina smiled and, totally secure in his love, she did know.
All the characters in this book have no existence outside the imagination of the author, and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not even distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author, and all the incidents are pure invention.
Recent t.i.tles by the same author:.
PICTURE OF INNOCENCE.
THE SABBIDES SECRET BABY.
UNTAMED ITALIAN, BLACKMAILED INNOCENT.
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