He was envisaging a world without Molly and it would be a world shorn of colour or warmth. Every morning she got up to have breakfast with him and chattered tirelessly through the meal he had once enjoyed in the strictest silence with his newspapers. Now he would have the peace back and the castillo would echo around him again. He would no longer have her to come home to, a beacon at the end of a long working day spent in meetings or travelling. But that was as it should be, wasn’t it? What odds when she had been unfaithful and only a divorce could settle their differences? But he was not capable of such cool logic. He could not get beyond one basic fact: her bed was empty and she was gone.
Someone knocked on the door and he swung round to refuse that invasion of his privacy. But it was Julieta, his younger sister, who stood flushed and tear-stained in the doorway.
‘I don’t want to talk to anyone right now,’ Leandro breathed not quite steadily.
‘Even if I’m here to tell you that I’m the one who was having the affair with Fernando?’ Julieta sobbed.
There were three women in the swimming pool.
Molly lay back on her floating couch and sipped at her strawberry smoothie while twitching her toes to the beat of the dance track playing in the unashamedly luxurious pool house at Nikolai’s London home.
‘You’re looking better,’ Abbey, her brother’s red-headed, beautiful and equally pregnant wife, pronounced with approval as she awkwardly got down to towel dry her son. Danilo was a wriggling, laughing toddler with a good deal of his father’s forceful personality.
‘You were as pale as a waif when you arrived,’ Ophelia opined. ‘Now you’re eating proper meals and much more relaxed.’
Molly smiled, more than satisfied with the family circle she had found and got to know over the past week. She had spent the first few days with Ophelia and Lysander at Madrigal Court, where she had also got to know her niece and nephews, the youngest of whom was only four months old. Nikolai had insisted that DNA testing should be carried out so that no one could ever question her identity, and the tests had also revealed a connection that Molly had never suspected before.
Her father, it seemed, had definitely been the Greek tycoon, Aristide Metaxis, the man who had not only jilted her unfortunate mother at the altar, but who had also become Cathy’s long-term lover in later years. Molly did, in fact, have a vague memory of a male visitor, who had often given her sweets. It had fascinated her that Aristide’s adoptive son, Lysander, who was Ophelia’s husband, should also be her adoptive half-brother. What was more, that particular relationship would have lasting effects on her life, for, apparently, Aristide had discreetly left money in trust for an unnamed child and his lawyers were convinced that that child was Molly and that he had been well aware at the time of his death that he had a daughter.
Abbey answered the house phone by her side and then gave Molly a speculative smile. ‘Your husband is here to see you.’
Molly began paddling like mad for the side of the pool with Ophelia, an unflappable blonde, following suit at a leisurely crawl. She climbed out and caught the towel that Abbey tossed to her, wrapping it round her to warm suddenly chilled skin. A whole week had elapsed since she’d left Spain. Leandro had taken his time to come looking for her. Cramming her bare feet into flip-flops, she headed into the lift to go upstairs.
Her heart was thundering in her eardrums as she padded into the opulent drawing room and she was as out of breath as though she had been running. Leandro was a very tall, still figure by the front windows. He swung round, brilliant dark eyes zeroing in on her small figure. Her casual appearance startled him. With her black curls anchored on top of her head with a clip and a bright tangerine bikini top showing above the edges of the black and yellow towel she wore, Molly took him very much by surprise.
Superbly well dressed in a black pinstripe designer suit that was tailored to enhance every muscular angle of his lean, powerful body, Leandro had a pure physical impact that engulfed Molly like a wave breaking over her head that left her struggling for breath. A masculine dream of black hair, golden skin and lustrous dark heavily lashed eyes, he looked stunning to a woman whose senses had been starved of his presence. This, after all, was the guy she woke up searching for in her bed at night. Her breasts swelled and her body tingled back to life at the mere sight of him.
‘Your brother refused to tell me where you were,’ Leandro growled soft and low, but with all the warning threat of a tiger flexing his claws.
Molly tensed. ‘Honestly? I had no idea-’
‘I first made contact with him by phone when he was flying you back to London on the day you left a week ago.’ Leandro volunteered that information grimly. ‘He said you didn’t want to speak to me.’