‘I want to go there,’ Ella whispered dreamily. ‘I want you to bid for that.’

Nikos shot her an amused look. ‘You want me to bid for a chance to stay in my own hotel?’

‘Yes.’ She gave him a pleading look. ‘Can we? It looks fabulous. Is it smart?’

‘Extremely exclusive,’ he drawled, his mind thinking of a way in which he might be able to turn this to his advantage. ‘Why not? A week of sun, sea and sex sounds good to me.’

Colour touched her cheeks and her glance was suddenly shy. ‘I wouldn’t be able to get the time off work.’

‘Ella, you have been working without a break for the past four months,’ he murmured, raising his hand to include himself in the bidding. ‘You’re due a holiday.’

‘They won’t be able to spare you.’

Indifferent to the fact that most of the room were looking at him as if he’d gone mad, Nikos raised his bid. ‘I will find them a replacement. I have a friend working in London who owes me a favour. He might be able to step in.’

‘Seriously?’ Her face was alive with excitement. ‘So we might be able to go some time?’

Bored with the game of bidding, Nikos offered an astronomical amount that drew gasps and then stunned silence from the audience.

‘It’s for a good cause,’ he told Ella, lowering his head to plant a gentle kiss on her open mouth. ‘So—we now have seven days staying in one of my own hotels. It will be an interesting experience. I’ve never actually stayed in one of my hotels as a guest before.’

Ella was giggling. ‘I can’t believe you just did that.’ She leaned across and hugged him impulsively. ‘Thank you. I’m so excited.’

As she pulled away, Nikos caught her face in his hands and stared into her eyes, trying to read her expression.

‘Let’s go back to the hotel,’ he said huskily. ‘I want you to myself.’

Within minutes of arriving back in the hotel they were in bed again and this time, as he dragged every last drop of response from her quivering body, he took her face in his hands.

‘Marry me,’ he demanded in a hoarse voice and she gave a moan, so shockingly aroused that she couldn’t think straight.

‘Don’t do this to me, Nikos,’ she gasped, ‘not now. I just—I need—Please…’

It was a moment of exquisite intimacy, so intensely personal that there was nowhere for her to hide, and in that single moment as she lifted her dazed eyes to his Nikos gritted his teeth with the effort to hold back.

He lost the battle, his driving thrusts tipping her over the edge into an erotic sensual paradise, their passion carrying them along on a tidal wave of pure ecstasy.

Afterwards, he kissed her damp forehead and smoothed her tangled hair away from her face. ‘Talk to me,’ he murmured, and she gave a faint smile.

‘You expect me to talk after that?’ She pressed her lips to the base of his throat but he shifted away, wanting to look at her.

What was going on in her head?

Why was she still refusing him?

And when was she going to say what he wanted to hear?

Ella woke early the next morning, a feeling of dread in the pit of her stomach because she knew that tonight she’d be sleeping in the house again.

‘What are you thinking?’ Nikos asked, coming into the room, frowning down at her as she lay staring up at the ceiling.

‘That I’ve really enjoyed this weekend,’ she said softly. ‘It felt as though—I don’t know. We were somewhere else. It was good. What time do we have to leave?’

‘Right now.’ Nikos drew her up to him. ‘We’ll shower, change and then we can make an early start.’

And she was supposed to be pleased about that?

Feeling sicker by the minute, Ella followed him into the shower but this time when he made love to her, she started to cry.

‘Theos mou, what is wrong?’ Nikos switched off the shower and smoothed her damp hair away from her face with a gentle hand. ‘Have I hurt you?’

‘No, nothing like that.’ She pressed her face against the hard muscle of his chest, feeling really stupid. ‘It isn’t you. It’s me. I suppose I don’t want to go home.’

He cleared the water from his eyes with the sweep of his hand and then lifted her chin, forcing her to look at him. ‘We’re not going home, agape mou. We’re going to Greece.’

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