However, the man was knee-deep in wedding preparations right now. Cass might not want a big production, but Neo wanted their small wedding to be perfect in every way. Hell, Zephyr was surprised his friend hadn’t insisted on designing and building a venue just for the event.
A group of newly arrived travelers surged toward the luggage carousel, bringing Zephyr’s thoughts firmly to the present. He scanned the crowd for Piper’s beautiful blond head. There she was, her attention caught by a small boy talking animatedly to his mother. The signature blue skirt-suit Piper wore highlighted her curves deliciously, while managing a claim to elegance. Yet, he doubted it was a designer label.
Piper’s business was still operating on too fine a line for her to splurge on clothes, or even an apartment much bigger than a closet. He’d offered her a job that would have made it possible for her to live at a higher standard, but she’d turned him down. Twice. Damn, the woman was stubborn. And independent.
He wondered if she would turn down a shopping spree in Athens’s fashion district?
She looked up and their gazes met. Eyes the color of a robin’s egg filled with warmth and pleasure as they landed on him, her bow-shaped lips curved in a gorgeous smile. That look struck him like a blow to the chest.
He felt a grin take over his mouth without his permission, a more honest smile than anything that usually masked his features. Not that he had to hide that he was pleased to see her. They’d hit it off when he hired her to update the main offices for Stamos & Nikos Enterprises a little over two years ago. Their friendship had only grown since. The addition of phenomenal sex to their relationship had only improved the situation as far as he was concerned.
In fact, Piper had been the reason Zephyr had encouraged Neo so strongly to develop interests outside their company, and to pursue his friendship with Cassandra Baker, the famous recluse master pianist. That had worked out better for Neo than Zephyr could have imagined. And Zephyr was happy for him. He really was.
However, it boggled his mind, to tell the truth. Neo in love. Zephyr shook his head. Sex and friendship were one thing, love something else altogether.
Piper’s delicate brows drew together in a frown and she gave him a questioning look.
“It’s nothing,” he mouthed.
When she reached him, he pulled her into a tight hug. Her soft curves felt so good against him, the low-level arousal he’d experienced since waking that morning and realizing he would be seeing Piper today went critical. Just that fast.
“I guess you really missed me.” She leaned back, a sensual chuckle purring from her throat, her eyes glinting with teasing humor.
Chagrin washed over him. He wasn’t some untried adolescent. Nevertheless, he laughed and admitted, “Yes.”
“When is our first meeting with the architect?”
“The day after tomorrow.”
“But you told me I needed to be here today.”
“You needed a break.”
“Building a new business is always consuming.”
He shrugged because he couldn’t disagree. For the first ten years when he and Neo had been building their fortune, they had worked weekends and long hours during the week and hadn’t taken so much as an afternoon off. Things had gotten a little better after that, though they were both too much of overachievers to develop much of a life outside their company.
After meeting Piper, Zephyr had started leaving the office around six instead of eight, but he still wasn’t great about taking time off. However, Piper had sounded exhausted the last time they’d spoken on the phone, and he’d determined she would take a break, one way or another.
“Agreed, but I did not think you would begrudge an extra couple of days in Athens.”
Her eyes lit up. “You mean I actually get to do some sightseeing before submersing myself in the job?”
“Exactly. I’d hoped you’d consider the next couple of days as information-gathering time as well as our time on the island. We want the resort to fit into the island’s ambiance, but also reflect Greek culture.”
“Ambiance? I thought it was a private island. Empty.”
“The family leased out land for a small fishing village and a few farms for local produce, as well as having their own fruit orchards and olive groves.”
“Oh, that’s perfect for what you are wanting to do.”
“I thought so.” But he enjoyed how in-tune with his vision she was.
“I’m glad I’ll have time to really get to know the area then. I like to try and make my designs reflect the local setting’s positive attributes.”
“I know and I’m sure you’ve done a lot of research on Greek culture already.” Heck, she’d researched it when they’d first met, telling him she wanted to understand him and Neo better as clients. He didn’t know how much it had helped her, considering he and Neo had left Greece behind so many years ago. But there was no denying Piper got him in a way no one else did. And her design updates in their offices had been perfect. “Nothing can replace experiencing an environment in person though.”