Ilios’s bedroom was twice the size of the guest suite, with both a bathroom and a wetroom attached to it. Not that Lizzie allowed herself to spend any more time than was absolutely necessary in the modern bathroom, with its limestone floor and walls, and its huge bowl-shaped bath.
The bed, as Ilios had told her, was very big—wide enough, surely, for two parents and at least four children; plenty wide enough for two adults to sleep in totally separate. Even so, Lizzie looked at the large sofa on the other side of the bedroom and then, still wrapped in her towel, went over to it. One by one she carried the cushions from it over to the bed, where she laid them meticulously down the middle of the immaculate pale grey silk and cotton cover.
There! That should stop her, should she attempt to do anything silly in her sleep.
Now all she had to do was find the cotton pyjamas she had brought with her from home.
Ten minutes later, wearing the tee shirt top and cut-off trousers, Lizzie pulled back the bedclothes and got into ‘her’ half of the bed.
Ilios rubbed his hands over his face to ease the tiredness from it and then looked at his watch. Almost two a.m. Lizzie should be asleep by now. Had he really needed to do this? an inner voice scoffed at him. After all, he was perfectly capable of ensuring that nothing happened that he did not want to happen. Wasn’t he? Or maybe, given the lengths he was going to to avoid joining her, he wasn’t as sure as he’d like to be.
He looked at the sofa. If that was how he felt, then he had better not take any risks, hadn’t he? Picking up the cashmere throw that was draped just so over one of the sofas, Ilios lay down with the throw over himself, flicking the remote to switch off the lights.
This was certainly not something he had envisaged when he’d decided that Lizzie would make him a perfect pretend wife, Ilios thought grimly. Sleeping on the sofa whilst she occupied his bed, in order to protect her from herself…
It was a statement, not a question, and the familiar darkly smoky male voice in which it was delivered brought Lizzie abruptly out of her sleep.
Ilios, dressed in a white towelling bathrobe and smelling discreetly of clean, warm male flesh, was standing beside the bed—her side of the bed—holding out to her a stylish white china mug, obviously wanting her to take it from him. Obediently Lizzie struggled out of her warm cocoon of bedclothes to sit up, reaching for the mug with one hand whilst keeping the bedclothes pressed to her with the other.
‘I’m still not safe, then?’ Ilios drawled, a gleam of something approaching amusement in the golden eagle eyes that held Lizzie spellbound.
He was actually smiling! Delight flooded through her, causing her to smile back at him before she could stop herself as she took the mug he was holding out to her. Until recollection of their conversation of the night before made Lizzie groan inwardly, and curse whatever had been responsible for her reckless folly.
Unable to come up with a suitably crushing and mature response, she looked away from him, almost sloshing coffee onto the bedding when she saw that the sofa cushions she had carefully put in place last night had gone.
Her eyes wide with disbelief and censure, she accused Ilios, ‘You took the cushions away.’
‘I had no other choice. I’m Greek! I have to think what it would do to my reputation as a man if Maria arrived and found that you had barricaded yourself on one side of the bed in isolation.’
‘You could have told her that we’d had a quarrel.’
‘I could have,’ Ilios agreed. ‘But there is a saying that you should never sleep with your anger or without your wife. Maria is of the old school, and she would believe that the more intense the quarrel, the more passionate the making up. In Maria’s eyes a quarrel between man and wife can result in only one thing—the arrival of a new baby nine months later.’