Authors: Penny Jordan
“You never said that before,” Sadie protested lightly.
“Didn't I?” The corners of his eyes crinkled with amusement.
He really was heart-stoppingly sexy, Sadie acknowledged giddily.
“Ah well, I'm saying it now!”
“But if we don't talk about business, then whatâ¦” Sadie stopped and blushed as she saw the way that Leon was looking at her.
“Oh, I think we'll find that we have plenty of things to say to one another,” Leon told her softly.
Sadie didn't make any reply. She was far too conscious that she was dangerously close to wanting much more from him than a simple business relationship!
They're the men who have everythingâexcept a brideâ¦
Wealth, power, charmâ
what else could a 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 internationally popular Presents author Penny Jordan, with
The Mistress Purchase.
This tycoon has met his match, and he's decided he
to have herâ¦
Coming next month:
The Stephanides Pregnancy
me!' Sadie Roberts grimaced as her plea was ignored and she had to try to wriggle her way past the small group of men, all hanging fawningly on the every word of the man who was addressing them. And what a man, Sadie acknowledged with a small, irritated female surge of hostile and unwanted but still undeniably fierce awareness of him. If maleness was an essence, then this man possessed a potency that made Sadie's sensitive female receptors twitch warily.
He stood a good four inches above the older man who stood faithfully by his side, and whilst his voice was cool and low pitched it had a timbre that made Sadie shiver sensually, as though a soft, scented velvet glove had been slowly stroked over her bare skin.
Trapped where she was by the sudden surge of people trying to move down the narrow tented corridor that led from one part of the trade fair to another, Sadie wobbled perilously on her unfamiliar high heelsâthe shoes, like the heavy make-up, were her cousin Raoul's ideaâand found herself being inexorably pushed closer to the arrogant stranger. So close, in fact, that she could have put out her hand and touched him. Not that she had any intention or desire to do such a thing. Had she? Wasn't she secretly thinkingâ¦wantingâ¦? Frantically Sadie made a grab for her reckless thoughts.
He, the man she was tensing her body into denying its reaction to, had lifted his hand to look at his watch, its fingers lean, tanned, the nails neatly cut and clean, but
still very masculine. It was a hand that belonged to a man who was fully capable of dealing competently with any number of manual tasks, whilst the suit he was wearing clearly identified that he was equally capable of writing a cheque to pay someone else to do them!
Oh, yes, he would be very good at writing cheques, Sadie decided. He had that kind of arrogance. A wealthy man's arrogance. It was there in the cool look of hauteur he was slanting over her; a slow, thorough visual inspection that was a disturbing combination of sensuality and slicing assessment.
Another rough push as someone else fought their way through the tightly packed crowd almost sent Sadie straight into him, so that their bodies might have meshed in a shared physical exchange that would sting her blood and stop her breath.
What was the matter with her? Why should she feel so alarmed, so unnerved, soâ¦affected by the knowledge that beneath the cool silk mohair of the immaculate suit he was wearing surely lay a body that was all raw masculinity, solid hard muscle and sinew, allâ¦?
Immediately Sadie froze, pushing away her unwanted and disruptive thoughts.
Irritated with herself and her uncontrollable reaction to him, she seized the opportunity provided by the thinning of the crowd and made herself walk away.
Hot-faced, she hurried back down the corridor in search of her cousin Raoul.
âCome here, Sadie, and let the guys get a whiff of our scent.'
Stony-faced, Sadie turned to face her cousin and co-director.
She was still furious with Raoul for the trick he had
pulled on her this morning, in persuading her to wear the perfume house's current scent. This was a scent created in Raoul's father's timeâwhen he had briefly managed the small family-owned business. And even she was more annoyed with herself, for being gullible enough to fall for it. She should have listened to her own instincts and refused to go along with Raoul's plans the moment she had smelled the appalling concoction which was now offending her own olfactory senses! Instead, she had given in to a bout of sentiment and told herself that she wanted to do everything she possibly could to mend the breach in their family!
She had assumed that she was simply going to accompany Raoul to the trade fair. But Raoul had other ideas! The clothes, the make-up and the âbig' hairstyle he had bullied her into were bad enough, and just not âher' at all, but she had bitten on her lip and given inâin the interests of cousinly harmony. But, oh, how she wished now she had not done so!
For the last few interminable hours she had been subject to a barrage of leering looks, suggestive remarks and totally unwanted physical intimacies from the would-be male buyers Raoul had persisted in inviting to sample the perfume she was wearing on her skin!
She loathed the scent. It was everything that Sadie detested most about modern synthetic-based perfumes, completely lacking in character and subtlety, with no staying power, and thin and cold where a perfume should be rich and warm, lingering on the senses like good chocolate or a lover's caress. And, even worse, this perfume had a brashness about it, a sexualityâthere was really no other wordâthat Sadie personally found so loathsome that she now actually had a nauseating headache from wearing it!
âThat's it. I've had enough. I'm going back to the hotel right now!' Sadie told her cousin grimly, as she evaded the unwelcome attentions of the red-faced overweight buyer who had been trying to nuzzle the side of her throat.
âWhat's wrong?' Raoul demanded, grinning slyly at her.
âWhat's wrong?' Sadie took a deep breath.
Eighteen months ago, on the death of her much loved maternal grandmother, Sadie had inherited a thirty per cent shareholding in the small prestigious French perfume house of Francine, which had been in her grandmother's family for several generations, along with the secret recipe for what had been the house's most famous scent.
Her awareness of the rift that had existed between her grandmother and her brother, Sadie's great-uncle and Raoul's grandfather, which had caused her grandmother to distance herself from the business and take no part in it, had initially coloured Sadie's reaction to her inheritance. But Raoul, who owned the remaining shares in the business, had invited her to heal the rift which had developed between the two branches of the family during her grandmother's time and not only take her place on the board but also put her skills as a perfumier to good use and work in the business.
But then she'd had no idea just how far from her own idealistic imaginings and dreams Raoul's plans for the business were!
Raoul, with his shrewd business acumen and lack of sentimentality, seemed determined to use every means he could to promote the perfume house, no matter how un-savoury or out of keeping with the house's history and traditions!
âWhat's wrong?' Sadie repeated furiously, her wide-set topaz eyes appearing pure gold with emotion. âDo you really need to ask me that, Raoul? Can't you see how thisâ¦this publicity gimmick of yours is cheapening not just me but our perfumes as well? Do you really think that what I have just had to endure will encourage women to buy our scent? That by being pawed over byâ¦byâ'
âBy the world's most influential megastores' perfume buyers?' Raoul cut in, the humour gone from his voice and his face set.
âI don't care what you say, Raoul,' Sadie told him. âI'm going back to the hotel!'
Without giving him the opportunity to reopen the argument, she spun round on her heel and headed for the exit.
Initially she had been excited at the prospect of this trade fair, especially when Raoul had informed her that it was to be held in Cannes, which was so close to Grasse, where their great-great-grandfather had first begun his perfume business. But now she couldn't wait to get away and return home to her cottage in Pembrokeshire, overlooking the seaâand to her own burgeoning business, involving perfumes she made to order for a small group of discerning clients who came to her by word of mouth.
No, the world of big business most definitely wasn't for herâand as for the way that Raoul had set her up! Angrily Sadie hurried along the poorly lit tented walkway, too engrossed in her own thoughts to pay any attention to the small group of besuited businessmen hovering by the exit until one of them stepped in front of her, giving her a look of insolent sexual inspection before addressing his colleagues.
âCome over here and check out Raoul's latest offering, guys,' he invited.
Sadie froze, anger, contempt and disgust all burning into one hot golden fireball in her eyes as she flashed a look of fierce hostility at him. The height she had inherited from her father's family enabled her to meet the man's piggy-eyed leer, but a small quiver of female vulnerability still shuddered protestingly through her body.
The other men were surrounding her like a pack of jackalsânot capable of hunting down their own prey, she decided, but all too eager to drag down and feed off someone else's. They were like vulturesâ¦
One of the men made a sexually abusive comment about her in French, causing Sadie to lock gazes with him in silent contempt. Thanks to her maternal grandmother, her own French was fluent and comprehensive, but there was no way she was going to lower herself to making any kind of response to what she had just overheard.
Instead she stepped sideways and, keeping her head held high, walked past the group of men, mentally promising herself that she would make sure Raoul knew exactly what she thought of him and his promotional ideas when he later returned to their hotel!
She was almost past the men when one of them suddenly reached out and grabbed hold of her arm.
Sadie was wearing a sleeveless black dress, and the sensation of the man's unwanted touch on her bare skin made her shudder and immediately pull herself free. Not only angry now, but also beginning to feel queasily apprehensive, Sadie kept on walking, her gaze resolutely fixed on the exit.
Which was no doubt why she didn't see the other man who suddenly loomed up at the side of her, having either bypassed or emerged from the leering crowd she had just escaped from.
She might not be able to see him, but she was immediately conscious of him, Sadie acknowledged as the felt the restrictive shadow his presence cast over her. And instinctively she knew! A sharp frisson of awareness shuddered through her, causing her to turn slightly towards him, even though she didn't want to. Her recognition of him was immediateâand shocking. His height and the breadth of his shoulders made her catch her breath, and she could sense too the alien and intensely male quality about him that had stopped her in her tracks earlier that day. Now it caused her to sway a little on her high heels as her body registered things about him that broke through her normal reserve.
She turned back sharply, determined to continue her journey. To her shock he lightly tapped her on the shoulder. Immediately Sadie swung round on her heels to confront him, her tawny gaze suddenly hazing as she realised just how far she had to look up before she could look into his eyes.
Just how tall was he? Six-twoâ¦six-threeâ¦four? He looked as though he might be Greek, Sadie recognised; he had olive skin colouring and the right kind of arrogantly and openly aristocratic good looksâthe sculpted cheekbones; the hawk nose, the clean jawline and the thick jet-black hair. But his eyes weren't a warm, rich brown, they were an icy pale green, and he had a lean fitness about him that was possessed by very few Greek men in their early thirties, which Sadie estimated he must be.
Sadie saw him look at her and then frown slightly, leaning closer to her and very deliberately sniffing the air. The disparaging look he gave her made her whole body burn.
âThat's an unusual perfume you're wearing. Is it up
for sale as well?' he demanded, in a voice that was pure soft sensuality with an accent that was equally pure Australian.
Sadie had had enough. In fact she'd had more than enough. Jerking back from him, she hissed bitingly, âHow dare you imply that I am for sale? What is it about men like you?'
âMen like me?' His pale green eyes narrowed icily. âWell, let's put it this wayâwhen it comes to women like you, then men like me tend to be a bit on the fussy side. I like my women like my perfume. Exclusive!'
He broke off suddenly, turning away from Sadie as the older man at his side touched his arm, and murmured something to him whilst looking at Sadie with distaste.