They walked into the library, where an older man was arranging velvet-covered trays on Chrysander’s desk. When they entered, he looked up and beamed.

“Sit, sit,” he encouraged as he walked around the desk to grasp Marley’s hand. He raised it to his lips and brushed a polite kiss over her skin.

When Chrysander had settled her into a chair, he took the one beside her, and the jeweler hastened around the desk.

Marley took in the stunning rings, the dazzling array of diamonds, in front of her, and gasped. She turned a questioning gaze to Chrysander.

“He is here so we can choose your ring,” Chrysander said matter-of-factly. As if having a jeweler personally come out was an everyday occurrence.

“I don’t understand,” she began lamely.

Chrysander picked up her left hand and raised her fingers to his lips. “It is important to me that you wear my ring, pedhaki mou. We had not gotten around to choosing one when you had your…accident. I want to rectify that matter now.”

“Oh.” As responses went, hers wasn’t terribly brilliant, but it was all she could manage.

Chrysander urged her to turn her attention to the rings, and she did so a little nervously. They were so huge. And expensive! She didn’t even want to know how much they cost. After trying several on, she spotted one that she loved, but then wondered if he’d be offended by her choice.

Her gaze kept wandering to it even as she continued to try on the rings the jeweler pressed on her.

“That one,” Chrysander said, pointing to a ring to the far right.

To her surprise, the jeweler plucked the one she’d been staring at and handed it to Chrysander. Chrysander slid it onto her finger, and it fit perfectly. It was smaller than the others, and simple, but it suited her. A single sapphire-cut solitaire sparkled on her finger, and suddenly she had no wish to take it off.

“You like it,” Chrysander said.

“I love it,” she whispered, then looked quickly up at Chrysander. “But if you’d prefer another, I don’t mind.”

“We’ll take this one,” Chrysander told the jeweler.

If the jeweler was disappointed, he didn’t show it as he smiled broadly at the couple. He efficiently boxed the jewelry back up and stored it in a briefcase that he locked. A few minutes later, Chrysander walked the jeweler out to the waiting helicopter but not before issuing Marley a stern order not to move from her spot.

She giggled as he left. He looked so exasperated, but then he was probably used to people obeying his every command and staying where they were put. A sudden thought horrified her. Had she been one of those people? Surely not. She may have lost her memory, but she hadn’t had a personality transplant.

With that in mind, she left the library and went in search of something to eat. Her nonbreakfast was now a regret as her stomach protested.

Before she could open the refrigerator, she heard Chrysander enter the kitchen.

“How did I know you would not be where I left you?” he said.

She turned around and smiled sweetly. “Because you didn’t ask nicely?”

He let out a low laugh, a sexy sound that vibrated right up her spine. “I’ve asked the helicopter to return in an hour’s time. If you are feeling well enough, I thought we could go visit the ruins you were interested in and maybe take in some of the other sights.”

“Oh, I’d love to!” Forgotten was food or anything else as she hurried across and threw herself into Chrysander’s arms. She hugged him tightly in her excitement.

Chrysander chuckled again. “Am I forgiven then for being no fun?”

She pulled back and made a face. “Trust you to throw my words back at me. But yes, you are forgiven. Let me just go change.”

“Bring a sweater,” he cautioned. “It will grow cooler toward evening.”

She started to hurry off, but he caught her hand and pulled her back to him. She landed against his chest and looked up to see his mouth just inches from her own.

“Surely I deserve a reward?” he murmured.

She licked her lips, and he groaned. “I suppose a little one wouldn’t be remiss,” she said huskily.

His mouth closed over hers, and she melted into his arms. She trembled as he deepened his kiss, and a small moan escaped her lips.

He pulled away, his eyes blazing. “I better take you upstairs to change, or we will not be going anywhere but to bed.”

She grinned impishly then pulled away and headed for the stairs. Not that she thought she’d get far, and she didn’t. He caught up with her before her foot hit the first step.

She gave him an exasperated look as they climbed the stairs. “I am perfectly capable of navigating the stairs on my own, Chrysander. I’m not completely helpless.”

“I can be a reasonable man. Just not in this matter,” he said arrogantly. “I’m sorry, but you’ll have to live with the fact that I intend to take care of you.”

She rolled her eyes, but a smile twitched at the corners of her mouth. She could tell she strained his patience, and for some reason that amused her.

He waited while she changed and handed her a sweater when she was finished. She laid it over her arm, and once again he took her down the stairs and out to the helipad, where the helicopter waited.

Soon they were flying over the water and a while later landed in Corinth. A car was waiting, and to her surprise, Chrysander put her into the passenger seat of the Mercedes then slid into the driver’s seat himself.

“I do know how to drive,” he said dryly when she looked at him questioningly.

She laughed. “It’s just that I’ve never seen you do so.” She frowned as she realized what she’d said. “What I mean is, I haven’t seen you drive since…”

He laid a hand over hers. “I know what you meant, Marley. True, I don’t drive very often. I’m usually occupied with business matters, but I have a car both here and in New York.”

She settled into the soft leather seat as he drove away from the airport.

They spent much of the morning walking among the ruins. He explained the history, but she was more focused on the fact that it was a beautiful autumn day and they were together. No annoying personal assistants, no doctors or nurses, no business calls or faxes. It was, in a word, perfect.

“You’re not paying a bit of attention, pedhaki mou.” Chrysander’s amused voice filtered through her haze of contentment.

She blushed and turned to look at him. “I’m sorry. I’m enjoying it, truly.”

“Are you ready to return to the island?” he asked. “I’m not overtiring you, am I?” The amusement had turned to concern, and if she didn’t dissuade him of the notion that she was not well, she’d find herself bundled back on the helicopter and her perfect day would be at its end.

“Tell me about your family. You’ve said nothing about them. I realize the information may be redundant, but since I can’t remember any of it, perhaps you could humor me.”

“What would you like to know?” he asked.

“Anything. Everything. Are your parents still living? You don’t talk about them.”

A flash of pain showed in his eyes, and she immediately regretted the question.

“They died some years back in a yachting accident,” he said.

She slipped her hand into his and squeezed comfortingly. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bring up such a painful subject.”

“It’s been a long time,” he said with a shrug. But she could tell speaking of them bothered him.

She opened her mouth to change the topic when he suddenly frowned and lowered his other hand to his pocket. He pulled out his cell phone and studied it for a moment before opening it and putting it to his ear.

“Roslyn,” he said shortly, after a quick glance at Marley.

Marley stiffened and pulled her hand away from Chrysander’s. Trust his assistant to know just when to call. She must have radar.

She could see the tension rise in Chrysander, and when he looked in her direction, it was as though he stared right through her.

“Everything is fine here,” Chrysander said. “Find out from Piers how things are going for the Rio de Janeiro hotel and report back.” There was a long pause. “No, I don’t know when we’ll return to New York.” He glanced again at Marley, and she got the distinct impression Roslyn was talking about her. “No, of course not,” he said in a soothing voice. “I appreciate your diligence, Roslyn. You’ll be the first to know when I plan to leave the island.”

Marley looked away in disgust, no longer able to listen to his part of the conversation. A few moments later, he snapped the phone shut and put it into his pocket. As expected, when she turned back to him, his entire demeanor had changed for the worse. He looked at her almost suspiciously, though she couldn’t imagine why. But she wasn’t imagining it. There was a distinct change in his mood.

“I’m sorry for the interruption,” he said almost formally. “What were we talking about?”

“Tell me about your hotels,” she said impulsively, wanting to steer him away from his concerns.

His expression froze and wariness stole over his face. “What would you like to know?”

She found a place to sit that overlooked the tall pillars and tugged him down beside her.

“I don’t know. Anything. Where do you have hotels? Imperial Park in New York is one of yours, isn’t it?”

He nodded.

“Where else do you have hotels? Are you very international? I heard you say something about Rio de Janeiro. Do you have a hotel there?”

He’d gone completely stiff, and she puzzled over why. Did he not like to discuss his business? In truth, she craved whatever details about him she could get. He hadn’t been very forthcoming about his work life, a fact she found odd.

“We have hotels in most major international cities. Our largest are in New York, Tokyo, London and Madrid. We have several others, slightly smaller, across Europe. We’re currently working on plans for one in Rio de Janeiro.”

“But not in Paris? I think I’d like for you to have one in Paris so we could visit.” She grinned teasingly at him.

Her smile faded when his eyes went cold and hard. A shiver worked its way up her spine, and a knot formed in her stomach. He looked angry. No, he looked furious.

“No, we do not have one in Paris.”

His clipped tone had her backing away. She slid several inches down the bench. “I’m sorry….” She didn’t even know what she was apologizing for. His mood had gone black in an instant, and she had no idea why. She seemed to have a penchant for dredging up the wrong subjects. First his parents and now his business. Was there any safe topic for them to discuss?

She stood and clenched her fingers into tight balls. “Perhaps you’re right. Maybe we should go back now.” She turned swiftly, her intention to walk back toward the car, but she moved too fast and the world spun dizzyingly around her.

She thought briefly of her missed breakfast before her knees buckled and she blacked out.

When Marley regained consciousness, the first thing she heard was a furious voice rapidly firing in Greek. As her eyes opened and her gaze flickered around her surroundings, she realized she was on an exam table in what appeared to be a clinic.Chrysander’s back was to her, and he was interrogating the doctor standing in front of him.

“Chrysander,” she murmured weakly.

He spun around immediately and hurried over to where she lay. “Are you all right?” His hands swept over her body even as his eyes bored intensely into hers. “Are you in pain?”

She tried to smile, but she felt shaky. The doctor moved in front of Chrysander and held a cup toward her.

“Drink this, Miss Jameson. Your blood sugar is too low, but I think some juice will set you to rights.”

Chrysander took the juice then curled an arm underneath her neck to help her sit up. He held the cup to her lips as she cautiously sipped at the sweet liquid.

“When was the last time you ate, Miss Jameson?”

The doctor pinned her with an inquiring stare, and she felt her cheeks warm with embarrassment. She ducked her head. “I didn’t eat breakfast,” she admitted.

Chrysander bit out a curse. “Nor did you eat much dinner last night. Theos, but I should not have brought you here today. I knew you hadn’t eaten properly, and yet I didn’t think to remedy the situation.”

She gave him a wan smile. “It isn’t your fault, Chrysander. It was foolish of me. I didn’t give it much thought in my excitement over our trip to the ruins.”

“It is my job to take care of you and our child,” he said stubbornly.

The doctor cleared his throat and smiled at them. “Yes, well, no harm was done. A proper meal, and she’ll feel like a new woman. I’d suggest being off your feet for the rest of the day. No sense in chancing things.”

“I’ll personally see to it,” Chrysander said stiffly.

Marley sighed. He was taking her fainting spell personally. He fairly bristled with guilt, and she knew there’d be no swaying him from his course. She might as well resign herself to the rest of the day in bed.

“Can I take her home now?” Chrysander asked the doctor.

The doctor nodded. “Just make sure she eats promptly and that she rests.”

“You can be certain I will,” Chrysander said grimly.

Marley made to slide off the exam table, but Chrysander put out a hand to prevent her movement. Then he simply plucked her up into his arms and strode out the door.

When they got outside, a dark car pulled immediately in front of them, and a man jumped out to open the door for Chrysander. He ducked in, still holding Marley close to him. Copyright 2016 - 2023