That choice was no choice, really. Lizzie smiled ruefully to herself as she headed for the double doors to one side of the enormous low-level bed, dressed in immaculate grey and white linen to tone with the slate-grey tiled floor.

Beyond the double doors was a dressing room-cum-wardrobe space—enough space to house the entire wardrobes of her whole family with room to spare—and beyond that, through another set of doors, was the bathroom, containing both a shower and a bath, and a separate lavatory. For the first time since she had entered the apartment Lizzie realised she was in a room that combined both modern artistic design and sybaritic sensuality. For a start, the glass wall continued the full length of the bathroom, making it possible to stand in the wet-room-style shower or lie in the huge stone bath and look out into the garden. Limestone tiles covered floor and walls; thick fluffy grey, white and beige towels were stacked on the inbuilt limestone shelving unit next to the double basins.


After a regretful look at the shower, Lizzie washed her hands and face and then returned to the bedroom, sinking into the white sofa as she quickly texted her family to tell them the good news about her new commission from the owner of Manos Construction.

That done, she only just had enough time to comb her hair and renew her lipstick before a quick glance at her watch told her that her time was up.

When she had made her way back to the living area, she suspected, from the quick frowning glance that Ilios gave her, that he had expected her to have changed clothes. No doubt he was used to women making an all-out effort to impress him, but even if she’d had time to change, Lizzie acknowledged, since all she had to change into was a different top she was hardly likely to have impressed him.

While he might not exhibit the tendencies one somehow expected to see in a man who had ‘come from nothing’—for instance, whilst she had no doubt that both his clothes and the watch he was wearing were expensive, they were the opposite of ostentatious—she suspected that designerclad females were his normal choice of arm candy. Which was perhaps why he considered her sex to be so rapacious.

Their food, delivered whilst she had been in the guest suite, was a simple moussaka-type dish. It was, Lizzie admitted as they sat opposite one another at the polished black glass table, absolutely delicious—as was the wine Ilios had poured to go with it.

It was merely necessity that had prompted him to decide that Lizzie could pay off her debt to him by becoming his wife. He had no personal interest in her whatsoever, Ilios reminded himself as he watched her enjoying her food, plainly not in the least bit concerned about the fact that she was still dressed in workmanlike clothes that did nothing to accentuate her figure and were obviously neither designed nor worn with the idea of arousing male desire. So why did it irk him so irrationally to recognise that she had not made the slightest attempt to attract his attention? Was he really such a stereotypical male? Or was it because, despite the fact that she was not making any attempt to attract him, he was very much aware of her?

If he was, then it was probably due to the fact that it was some time since he had shared his bed with a woman. He had ended his last relationship after his lover had started trying to pressure him into marriage—over a year ago now, in fact.

If Lizzie’s manner irked him then it was surely because, even though his current contact with the female sex was via a variety of social and business-related events, and not on any personal level, he took it for granted that the women he met would be well groomed, dressed in such a way that pleasing the male of the species would be their clear intention.

Ilios looked at her and frowned.

‘You will need a new wardrobe before you can appear in public as either my fiancée or my wife,’ he informed Lizzie.

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