For the first time in his life, Ariston had absolutely no clue to the puzzle before him and he found that more than a bit frustrating.
Had she felt too young for motherhood? While she hadn’t said as much, Chloe had revealed a level of bitterness at her circumstances he would never have guessed at. Feelings she’d apparently needed to work through before being willing to have his baby.
One thing was certain, her coming off the pill—even in the eleventh hour of their marriage—blew his initial assessment of what she’d wanted out of their marriage all to hell.
Though he was a man who hated to be wrong, he found he didn’t mind in this instance.
And regardless of the past, soon she would be exactly where he wanted her, back in his bed on a permanent basis.
Unlike what Chloe had implied with her question about his lovers during their two years apart, he’d hardly had legions of sexual partners since she’d left Greece. The few he’d taken to bed since the divorce had only proven one thing to him. Once a supremely congenial lover was found, no one else measured up.
While he did not believe in romantic drivel like all-consuming love, he did believe in sexual compatibility. And he and Chloe had that in spades.
Against all of Ariston’s expectations, when he’d married the artsy, somewhat introverted and extremely innocent daughter of his business associate, Chloe had turned out to be the most amazing lover he’d ever had.
She didn’t play sexual power games, but gave him everything in her responses, holding nothing back. Her honest, awakening passions had become addictive in a way Ariston had neither expected nor been happy about once he learned of her subterfuge about the birth control.
But he had no intention of ever admitting it to anyone, and Chloe least of all—she’d been gone from his bed only two years, but that had been one year, eleven months and twenty-nine days too long.
He didn’t like feeling weak, and needing her sexually had done that to him.
Eventually, he’d realized that the problem wasn’t how much he’d enjoyed bedding his ex-wife, it was that he’d allowed the balance of power to shift in their relationship in a way he never would have done in any other business deal.
This new deal was much more weighted in his favor. And that was just the way he intended to keep it. No matter what revelations she made about the past.
It had taken him only six months to realize he wanted his wife back, but another eighteen to bring everything into place so that it could happen—on his terms.
She would make an ideal mother. He’d thought so from the beginning. So had his grandfather.
Ariston might give the appearance of an American businessman and speak English without an accent, but at heart Ariston Spiridakou was a Greek man.
Despite his own parents doing their best to destroy it, he still had a strong sense of family and heritage. He wanted offspring, children that would never be neglected as he had been.
He’d expected Chloe to provide the other half of that equation. And with her purely Greek lineage, even though she’d been raised entirely in the United States, she’d found favor with his grandfather as well.
Once she’d met him, she’d charmed Pappous as well, cementing her role in their family, though Ariston hadn’t realized how permanent that was until he’d filed for divorce.
Pappous had been apoplectic.
Unused to upsetting the one person in the world Ariston did not want to disappoint, he’d been more than a little dismayed by his grandfather’s reaction to losing Chloe from their small family.
Even after Ariston told the old man she’d been on birth control, he’d ranted at Ariston, being the one to first suggest maybe she’d been too young to face motherhood yet.
An old-fashioned man, Takis Spiridakou had still been furious when he learned Chloe hadn’t been allowed to finish her university degree. Ariston doubted she had any idea what an ally she had in the strong-minded old Greek.
One thing both Ariston and Takis agreed on—Chloe was nothing like Ariston’s own mother.
He hadn’t been surprised at all that Chloe categorically refused to give him a child and walk away. She was not the type of woman to abandon her baby to be raised by others. Not that that had ever been Ariston’s intention.
She’d shown herself to be tenderhearted and generous; he imagined that under the right circumstances, she would be willing to surrogate a child for someone else. But these weren’t them.
And between the two of them, he was fairly certain, never could be. He didn’t mind. He didn’t want a mother for his children that saw them as a bargaining chip to ensure a certain lifestyle as he’d been for the woman who gave him birth.